Born through MAP, “she had to find her donor at any price. Her life depended on it”. Today, Sarah is 25 years old. In 2013, after a bitter 4-year struggle, the German legal system finally granted her the right to find out the identity of her donor. This sounds extremely promising for Sophie, Béatrice, Romain and Raphaël in France, all of whom were conceived through sperm donation and who want to find out the identity of the biological father or, as Sophie put it: “I would just like to give human aspects to this person, and not just regard him as someone who donated his sperm in a test tube. “
Currently, only 10% of children born through medically assisted procreation involving sperm donation eventually discover their true identity. Some children have no answers and come up against a brick wall in the guise of legal anonymity for sperm donors. Béatrice admits that “All this stops me from having children. I’m passing on something I don’t know!”.
Sophie found out by chance at 15 years of age that she was born through a MAP procedure: “One day, when she was ‘pinching some of her mother’s clothes’ in the bedroom, Sophie discovered her mother’s personal diary hidden beneath a pile of clothes. There, in black and white, she discovered the truth. ‘I opened it right where she was writing about it’. She only spoke about it once with her parents and has been haunted by these questions ever since.
Romain returned to the “gynaecology surgery where he was conceived by AFI (artificial insemination with donated sperm)”. He wanted the doctor to give the donor a letter but she refused: “Only she knew and the secret could die with her”, whereas “other doctors at the surgery allowed information to slip out, saying that they often called on Port Royal firemen or medical students at Cochin”. Some private surgeries use donors who are remunerated outside any legal framework… “500 French francs a time – pays for a weekend”, fumed Romain.
Raphaël “has always been an outsider in the family”. He learned of his origins by chance, on returning home drunk from a party. As his mother reproached him, he lashed out at her without understanding: ” Before reprimanding me, it might be a good idea to tell me how I was conceived”, or something like that”. And he was sorry: “Everyone imagines how he/she was conceived. For me, it’s a no-goer, a myth, a kind of Immaculate Conception where intercourse was replaced by a medical procedure”.
Sarah, on the other hand, was able to meet her donor: “From the very first meeting in this café in Bonn, Sarah had no doubt: his approach was only too familiar, his chin identical to hers and his awkwardness too – he dropped his cup of coffee barely five minutes after picking it up. The mysteries surrounding her childhood are gradually disappearing. She thought she was the black sheep of her family – introvert, her head in her books, unlike her father, Wolfgang, a footballer in his spare time, who is very outgoing – she is definitely her donor’s daughter. The passion for history was passed on in the genes. She studied it and is teaching it. They both enjoy good food and have the same taste in music. The last CD she gave him was by Asgeir, an Icelandic group. ‘When I see him, it’s like meeting a relative, except that he’s a friend. It’s rather pleasant: we don’t know each other at all but we feel as though we’ve always known each other”.
Her donor, who has 14 other children, “is happy that they’ve met”. “He would like to organise an annual garden party for everyone to meet up. As a family”.
Le Monde (02/09/2016)