Sperm Bank Supports Most
"Willing to be Known" Donors
Lesbian-owned sperm bank provides the nation's largest number of sperm donors willing to meet children when they reach 18
Since its founding in 1984, Pacific Reproductive Services has played a pioneering role in advancing the growing national trend to provide women the option of choosing sperm donors who are "willing to be known" when a child reaches 18.
Today, after years of focusing on identifying donors who agree to make such a commitment, PRS offers its clients the largest selection of any sperm bank in the country.
Sperm donors with a difference
According to PRS founder and longtime women's health care activist, Sherron Mills, N.P., the large majority
of her clients - most of whom are either single or coupled lesbians or heterosexual women choosing single
motherhood - select willing to be known donors over the anonymous ones the sperm bank also offers. "They do it
because they very much want their children to have the opportunity, if they choose to pursue it, to understand a
little more about the other half of their biological lineage," she comments.
Every willing to be known sperm donor contractually agrees to provide PRS current contact information and to have at least one face-to-face meeting with a child when he or she reaches 18, should the child request it. Any additional meetings must be mutually agreed upon by both the child and the donor. In addition, under California law, the donor waives all parental rights, eliminating the possibility that he could at some point seek custody or visitation privileges.
"I don't know what to expect, what to feel"
Cooper was one of the first babies conceived through PRS's "willing to be known" donor program. At the age of 19, and with the full support of the lesbian couple who are his parents, he made one of the biggest decisions of his young life. He decided to pursue the option of contacting his sperm donor. With a mixture of nerves, anticipation and a desire for a degree of closure, he filled out the request to Pacific Reproductive Services for the donor's information.
"I don't know what to expect, what to feel," Cooper said. "Just to know his name is pretty great." His moms, for different reasons, were just as nervous. "I just hope it goes well - it's so momentous," one commented.
"Such a moving experience"
The long-awaited telephone conversation was captured forever by a film crew working on an MTV documentary on
gay parents and their children. Cooper never stopped smiling and the donor assured him he very much looked
forward to meeting him. "It was such a moving experience," Cooper said. They have stayed in contact.
But not all young people now coming of age as part of the first wave of inseminations using PRS' willing to be known donors have shown the same interest as Cooper and others in making contact. At least not yet. "They may at some point in their lives," says Sherron. "But the main thing for me - and for their mothers - is that they have that option open to them."