Dean – Donated 1982

Name: Dean

Donated: 1982

Where donated: Southampton General Hospital

One day in 1982, aged 28, I found myself in the Southampton General Hospital (SGH) library studying for exams to qualify as a Biomedical Scientist. I had slipped away for a coffee and came back to my desk to find a slip of paper randomly placed on mine and other desks.

Anything to delay getting back into the books, I started to read …..

The wording was to the point. Sperm donors were required (no mention of egg donors as far as I remember?) at the local fertility clinic in the Princess Anne Hospital (PAH), which was separated only by a road from the SGH. The PAH clinic is long gone as are all records. Replaced in the 1990’s with a much slicker and regulated unit.

Sometime soon after I walked over to the PAH, found the reception  for the fertility clinic and was shown through to the clinician.

The interview was basic in the extreme: the obvious personal detail name age, physical description etc. Medically the questions were simply a Q&A re mine and my family’s medical history.

The clinician (cannot remember his name) then moved on to the process. Two initial samples would be provided, approx 3-4 days apart. Both would be tested for quantity and quality (motility and morphology) then tests would be repeated after a freeze and thaw process. I assumed that the samples would be tested for Hepatitis and Syphilis at the local Blood Transfusion Centre (BTC), also on-site.

Like many donors I  passed the screening tests with flying colours, so with my ego massaged I said I was happy to go ahead.

The next stage was to produce 5 samples, again spaced every 3-4 days apart. No mention that I remember re them being diluted, perhaps I was told, or I knew? Oh! I was also offered “expenses”, £5. I declined.

I had a few questions:

 (i)   Would my donations go to more than one couple? Just the one

 (ii)  How many children were likely? Average 3-4

 (iii) Would I be known to the family? No, I would remain anonymous (I did not believe that, didn’t need a crystal ball!) As far as the couple were concerned they  were encouraged to have normal sexual relations, obviously to encourage the possibility that the donor was not the father.

Needless to say my visits and the reason for my visits to the PAH were common knowledge amongst my colleagues and caused some amusement. I have never hidden the fact that I was a donor from either family or friends. I never shouted it from the rooftops. The majority of people said very little, after all it was a long time ago.

I never felt I had to justify it. To me it was a very simple decision. At the time I was single.  I knew that I either didn’t want children or wouldn’t until sometime well into the future. Anybody who chose to go down the route of DC parenthood must be keen to have children, must have given it much thought, and will provide a stable happy family for them?

In late 1983 I met Anne and married  in 1990 and we had a son, sadly number two never happened. Sadly Anne died in 2001.

Life moved on. In 2016 I started researching my family history very casually, specifically to find a lost member. It was not until 2022 that I went on Ancestry and provided a saliva sample for DNA analysis.

I knew that by placing my DNA on Ancestry it was likely to throw up possibly 3-4 DC children, especially since they would now be nearly 40. To be honest I was disappointed that the closest match was a known first cousin….. Like many I stayed on Ancestry several months and cancelled my subscription in late 2022. Interestingly no one who knew I was a donor asked if I had any matches?

In March 2023 I went back onto Ancestry and “bingo”. A DC child popped up. I was chuffed. Immediately curious, though I held off initiating contact. I felt it was very much up to him, his choice, I had no idea of his circumstances…

My new biological son came back to me within 48 hours. Predictably the first line was “I don’t know how to start….” It was well written, short, to the point, mainly asking the obvious health questions, no pressure to reply etc.

My reply was immediate, cautious and making it obvious that I didn’t have any problem with the contact.

We exchanged e-mails and photographs for several months. Our first meeting was in November and the second was March 2024.

Briefly, my new biological son didn’t find out he was DC until 2021, in a discussion/argument with his mother, parents divorced  in c2001. Knowing he was DC answered his questions as to why he never seemed to fit in with the rest of his family, especially his fathers side (?). The divorce changed his career plans negatively. He is possibly estranged from many of his family, though he is nearly 40, has a career, in stable relationship, no children

On his side only his partner knows that he has contacted me and is supportive. Similarly for me only my partner knew of his existence, as up to and until 3 weeks ago when I decided to tell my raising son…..

I knew that my son had a right to know. For obvious reasons we are close and I couldn’t be sure about how he might feel about “sharing” me? So I bit the bullet and told him with his partner present. He was not happy that I had known about my new biological son for over a year. I explained best I could that despite it being a year I had only met him twice, yes we had swapped e-mails but not many, also I needed to be comfortable in my own mind with his existence. As to whether they meet, it is entirely up to both of them. That is up in the air.

So where are we now? I am happy to maintain contact with my new biological son for as long as he wants/needs. My raising son will be very much in the loop re further contact, he is reassured that it will not affect our relationship negatively.  Will I tell other members of my family? That is an interesting one, as my younger brother would regard it as an episode of “East Enders”!!! It would be a constant source of Q&A. Which would be a pain in the bum!!

Would I do it again? I am sad that his family relationships are not what I would have hoped for, sadly that is life.

Yes I would do it again.






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