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As women postpone having children and face the ticking of their biological clocks, they may turn to donor eggs or donor sperm to help them have children. For women (and men) in Washington State, the fertility industry will be transformed in late July, 2011. Under a law recently signed by the governor, anyone who provides sperm or eggs to a fertility clinic in the state must also provide identifying information and a medical history.
Twenty-year-old JoEllen Marsh was desperate to find her real father - a sperm donor. Little did she know when she set out on her quest that she'd also find 14 siblings fathered by Donor 150.
This extraordinary story has been made into new documentary Donor Unknown: Adventures in the Sperm Trade, and JoEllen is tells her story today about her fascinating discovery.
View the clip on 'This Morning' at www.thismorning.itv.com
Donor Unknown... a film about identity, genetic inheritance and the family of the future
JoEllen Marsh's life began 22 years ago in a pornography-lined, "collection" cubicle at the Los Angeles headquarters of California Cryobank, a private semen cryopreservation organisation. From there, the sample produced by her biological father, donor 150, was sent to Pennsylvania, where nine months later JoEllen was born to her biological mother, Lucinda Marsh.
Jessica McCallin has already chosen a name for her unborn daughter. She will be called Freya, after the Norse goddess of fertility. ‘Freya is one of my favourite girls’ names,’ she says. ‘I didn’t know the meaning but, when I found out, I knew straight away that would be her name. It’s perfect.’
It’s somewhat fitting, too. Because Freya’s father is a 6ft Dane in his 20s, with greeny-blue eyes and blond hair. But beyond those few physical characteristics, neither Jessica nor Freya will know any more.
There is no evidence that lesbians’ children are hurt or damaged by meeting their sperm donor fathers, a small study says.
The study, by researchers at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, used data from the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study.
Seventy-eight teenagers were studied, Reuters reports.
A third of the donors knew their offspring, just over a third were permanently anonymous and 18 could be contacted once the child turned 18.