Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Or so you thought.
I really feel for Donor 401. Though he remains anonymous to the vast majority of us, his offspring (and consequently his likeness) are all over the news after a gaggle of women got together online and started an impromptu family of which Donor 401 is the unsuspecting patriarch.
His story and identity (sans name, but with many personal details) have been revealed in various publications nationwide, for example this excerpted article from The Washington Post (read the full article here):
Ummm, no shit. Like the kind of doors that lead into a virtual ballroom full of women you've impregnanted and never expected to hear from again?
Some women have their book clubs, and others belong to professional groups. Some connect in therapy and others through sororities. But here is a relatively new connection: a group of 11 sharp, educated and independent women brought together on the Internet by one man's sperm.
Not one of them has met the donor -- his identity is kept secret by Fairfax Cryobank in Virginia. Known only as donor 401, he has fathered all of their children -- 11 so far, and Leann Mischel, 41, a Pennsylvania college professor, has a second child by way of his sperm on the way.
As best can be determined by the birth dates of the 11 babies, the donor got into the baby business at Fairfax Cryobank about six years ago, and what a popular fellow he turned out to be. Here's what is known about him: There is a good chance he lives in the Washington metropolitan area; he is 6 foot 4, of German heritage, has a master's degree, is athletic and is very close to his mother. "A ray of light," he called her in his personal essay.
Around the time that 401 was getting into the donating business, a woman who had no connection to donor 401 developed a Web site at www.donorsiblingregistry.com, which now has more than 6,000 members. In addition to the moms connected to donor 401 who met on the site, an additional 22 women connected to another single donor also found one another.
The 401 mothers are in touch by phone and e-mail and hope to have a grand reunion someday with all the siblings. They post baby pictures on a private message board and recently have begun posting health developments and histories of the kids for reference.
They also want to make it very clear that in signing up on the site, they were not looking for a husband or a relationship, and they are not romanticizing about the donor. "Some doors are better left closed," said Louisa Weix, 43, who has twin girls by 401.
To see how freakishly strong the resemblance is between all bizillion of his children (in spite of their different mothers) check out a video at CNN.com.