Philadelphia Family Pride sponsored our 4th Annual Family Matters Conference for LGBTQ parents and prospective parents on Saturday, October 19, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the William Way Center located in Center City Philadelphia at 1315 Spruce Street. This one day event for LGBTQ parents and prospective parents is a great chance to network, more »
In this issue:
- Another great Family Matters Conference
- Your Ad Here
- Neighborhood Potlucks, Free Birds Movie
- Get More Involved with PFP in 2014
- Member Milestones
- Upcoming Events
- PFP Interview with DSR Co-founder Wendy Kramer
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What is the Donor Sibling Registry?
My son Ryan and I founded the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) in 2000 to assist individuals conceived as a result of sperm, egg or embryo donation that are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties.
The DSR has provided support and connection to families which have been developed via donor conception, advocated for the rights of the donor-conceived, and educated the general public through research, national media interviews and appearances about the issues, challenges and rights of the donor-conceived community.
Why is it important to connect children with their biological half-siblings and egg or sperm donor?
The DSR’s core value is honesty, with the conviction that people have the fundamental right to information about their biological origins and identities. The donor conception industry is largely a for-profit enterprise, and after the “product” has been purchased, most doctors, clinics, egg donation agencies and cryobanks do not engage in discussions and activities which acknowledge the humanity and rights of the donor-conceived. It is our mission to bring these concepts to the public arena for discussion.
Parents are sometimes not prepared for their children’s curiosity and desire to know more about their genetic background. In order to move out of the secrecy and shame that has for so long shrouded donor conception, the DSR continues to educate parents and the general public on the importance of honoring and supporting their children’s natural drive to know more about their identity.
How many connections have been made through your web site?
We now have more than 40,500 donors, parents and donor-conceived people on the site, and have helped more than 10,450 people (in 40 countries) match with their half-siblings and/or their donors!
Do LGBT parents make up a large part of your membership?
Yes! Around one third of Donor Sibling Registry families are LGBT!
Tell us about your new book!
It’s called “Finding Our Families: A First-of-Its-Kind Book for Donor-Conceived People and Their Families” and as the subtitle says, is the first comprehensive book for children born through donor conception and their families.
Finding Our Families provides additional support for the growing DSR community and those just embarking on the journey of forming their families through donor insemination.
We draw on the extensive research that we’ve conducted, along with the 13 years of advising and listening to people’s stories to address situations families face throughout a donor-conceived child’s development, including curiosity about one’s genetic origins, the search for a biological parent or half-sibling, and how to forge a healthy self-image.
The book comes out on December 3 and is available for pre-order now.
And there’s a new docuseries TV show, too?
Yes! It’s called Generation Cryo and will air on MTV starting on November 25. The show is intense: it deals with a 17 year-old donor-conceived girl with two moms meeting many of her 15 (known) half siblings, and also searching for her donor. Her feelings, those of her half siblings and the parents are raw, emotional, varied, and very enlightening. A must see for all donor families.
For more about the DSR, check out their web site atwww.donorsiblingregistry.com.
I don’t remember how I found out about Cory’s book, but I do remember when because it was the day before the Kickstarter campaign ended. I was one of the last contributors — one of the last lucky bunch to be able to be a financial part of the publishing of this book, to get an advance copy, to receive updates on its progress in my inbox. It must have been a Facebook link to the campaign; that seems to be the only way I hear about anything these days.
The details, though, are kind of irrelevant because, thankfully, this sort of abstract idea of a maybe-book became — quite suddenly, it seemed — a tangible purple, amazing thing in our hands. On our bookshelf, even.
I remember when my son was born, one of the gifts we received was a boxed set of old-school Little Golden Books (the disturbingly outdated/sexist/ableist/sizeist Good Humor Man among them, but that’s another post entirely.) And tucked into the box was a completely blank Little Golden Book. White cover and all white pages. A create-your-own! I slid the create-your-own out of the box and put it in a special place at the top of the closet, vowing to write a book for my child that would represent our family and how it came to be: a butch mom, a femme mom, a kid conceived through donor insemination — all living out our homosexual agenda peacefully with our cats. As it should be. I thought, I am a writer! This is perfect! I could have written a book at any time, of course. Sites like cafepress make it easy to self-publish and even a good ole stack of paper and a stapler would have been enough, but somehow the idea of a pre-fab book, just waiting for my story made it that much more appealing.
Fast forward four years and parenting/teaching/living all took a spot in the line ahead of writing a book and that all-white Little Golden is still in the top of my son’s closet, now floating around amongst the outgrown clothes, the yet-to-grow-into clothes, the accumulation of stuffed animals, and the stacks of drawings and scribbles that I am determined to save forever. We have collected many books over the course of the last several years and several of them have been about two-mom families or ways that babies come to be. I am, fortunately, quite good at changing stories as I read them, so I’ve been able to adapt what we have to fit our family for the most part either by skipping pages or making something up, but I have always wondered what would happen when my son learned to read and could see that I was changing words and skipping around.
Enter: What Makes a Baby. This book, I swear to you, has changed my life. Dramatic? A little. But also true.
What Cory does (and I am such a fangirl that I feel comfortable just using his first name here) is tell a story without actually telling it. He gives parents a framework within which we can create and tell our own stories — and he does it so seamlessly and gracefully that we almost don’t know it’s happening. I read the book to my then-3-year-old son and he started asking questions about whether he had a uterus or not and whether his mommy (not me) gave us the sperm we used to make him. Which opened the door for us to explain, in age-appropriate terms, where he came from. How he was made. Lines such as “Not all bodies have sperm in them. Some do and some do not,” gave us the opportunity to explain that while we needed sperm to make him, we didn’t happen to have it ourselves.
The page that says, “Whichever way the baby comes out, it’s a pretty big deal for the baby. It’s also a pretty big deal for the people who waited and waited and WAITED for the baby to be born,” allowed us to explain the way in which he was delivered, while also allowing room for us to explain the way his cousins, for example, were delivered. That’s what makes What Makes a Baby so unique. And so treasured. And so needed. Among a field of books that talk about “when two adults love each other very much…” or “when you were in your mommy’s tummy…” or “when your mommy and daddy…” there comes this book that respects and honors and creates space for all families and all experiences.
Our family needed this book. Your family needs this book. In fact, I can’t think of a family that doesn’t need this book. Luckily (and at long last) we can all have it.
Cory Silverberg is the keynote speaker at PFP’s Family Matters Conference, which will be held at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia on October 19, 2013. You can meet Cory, buy the book, get it signed, and live happily ever after. Register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2013familymattersconference