When Les Milstein and Noël Plummer decided to start a family, they decided to turn to a clinic that helps same-sex couples, single women, or those with fertility issues find a sperm donor. Now, like many lesbian parents, the couple is navigating how their children interact with the sperm donors who are their biological fathers.
“We were looking at donor profiles and we wanted to find someone who we thought would be open and friendly,” Plummer said.
The Ethics Committee of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine strongly advocates for identity release so that when the child turns 18 they can contact their donor, if interested.
Sidney Plummer, the daughter of Les Milstein and Noël Plummer, said she reached out to her biological father, Ricardo Botello, when she turned 18 and the two slowly started to get to know each other.
“I think 'biological father' is a good term to use... I wanted to learn about his family and his history and connect with my ethnicities,” Sidney Plummer told “Good Morning America.”
She said she noticed some similarities.
“I noticed, first of all, that we have the same smile and I think we have similar tendencies,” she said.
Botello said it was his belief in family that led him to become a donor.
“My value is family. I wanted to help those who also wanted to experience what that is all about,” Botello said.
However, not all donor-conceived children choose to connect with their donors. Jayne Robert-Adams said she doesn't have plans to know her biological father.
“I personally don't plan on pursuing identity release. … I have two parents who love me so it doesn't really matter who the sperm donor was as much,” Robert-Adams said.
Her brother, Charlie, said he is open to learning his donor’s identity.
“I will probably pursue it just because I am at least somewhat interested as, like, what they did as a person in their life,” he said.
Alice Ruby, the executive director of the Sperm Bank of California, said some children want to know, while others don’t. For those who do contact their donors, the nature of those relationships varies.
“Some of them have a couple of emails and that's it. Some of them may talk on the phone. Some of them may meet in person; some of them develop ongoing relationships,” Ruby said.
Botello said that he and his biological daughter Sidney are navigating the relationship their own way, and hopes the best for other donor-conceived adults who are coming of age.
“My hope is always that they're happy and they're being supported by a loving family,” he said. “That they know that they're loved.”