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Single moms unite around common sperm donor
Lois Romano, Washington Post
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
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.
"It's an emotional connection. We have a common base," explained Carla Schouten of San Jose, who adds that the women have less interest in knowing the donor than they do one another. "Most of us are single. We all desired children, and we were all attracted to the same donor."
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.
It was one of those sweet details about a man that most women couldn't walk away from. "Such a nice guy," said Schouten, 43.
"He was tall, and so am I," explained Carolyn George, 34, of Oklahoma, whose youngest child, Connor, 2, is the biological son of 401, as the donor is referred to. "He seemed likable."
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.
There is an art of which every man should be a master - "the art of reflection". If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all? ~ William Hart Coleridge
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