tv The Worlds Biggest Family Deutsche Welle July 16, 2021 11:15am-12:01pm CEST
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i was conceived from the sperm of an anonymous man. i found out he started maybe $600.00 babies. now some of my siblings is starting to show up. and they all want the truth of their origin. i always actually felt those physical bits of me missing and donor can see people are all too often told you should be happy to be alive. but i also have an innate desire to know where i come from and who i come from. an anonymous donor can produce a 1000 children. so what was wrong with your child? don't get to affective disorder, gets a for any bipolar disorder. and don't concede, kids have grown up together without knowing they're related. i came in close contact with my siblings and didn't know, i think i wanted the government in the anonymity of sperm donors. now of course, flooding ocean continues to be human is to have a story. to have
a story. one must have the true story. me. ah, it began a long time ago in philadelphia, 984. a wealthy couple couldn't get pregnant. so the husband went to see a professor of medicine. turned out the husband was in fertile gonorrhea. so the professor got him to send in his wife a chloroform her. then without her consent he got his best looking student to go and masturbate. and he injected the sperm into her in front of the class. she got pregnant. sometime later, the professor did confess to her husband what he'd done. but the woman was never told. and neither was the son who resulted. this set the tone secret, sligh's, and anonymity. now there are millions of people we call donor conceived.
i'm one of them. me ok my story so far as me. my parents really wanted children, but my dad wasn't able to me. so they went to see a doctor and she inseminated my mother using sperm from an anonymous man to produce me and my sister. this was england and the 1900 fifties and it had to be a total secret. but after our dad died, our mother told me and my sister that secret me. i was curious who the guy was, but they destroyed all the records. so i could never know until you could get basic dna testing from your blood. i met a man,
david, whose parents went to the same doctor. and dna revealed that david was my brother. he came from the same anonymous bio dad. i was great to have a brother, but now i really wanted to know who it was. a lot of him is in me. we loved our fathers both of the so. so why does this to that connection matters so much faintest idea. but it does me. i did a lot of detective work, and with d n a, we figured out the guy's identity. he was a brilliant scientist called bear, told me the husband of the doctor who did the deed and are biological father. i, a david whose parents marriage was trouble. now i remember finding out as
a painful moment, i felt so angry. i felt so much that so many of the things i had found and still do find really frustrating in my own life would not have been frustrating. had i known that we found out that reasoning shars maybe 600 children during his life or even more. we may be the world's biggest family. we only knew of a few siblings, but then came something new, inexpensive consumer dna companies, you know, like ancestry dot com 23 and me people suddenly wanted to know about their ethnic origin or their health risks they sent in their dna. when the results came and some of them got a big surprise, like they had a lot of half siblings so far about 45 of my stamps have been identified.
here are a few so i'd like to suddenly find out your dad wasn't your biological father. it's like you're standing only edge of the sea when you're paddling and the way you go out and it pulls the sun for me and that's what it felt like to me that the been a, a firm foundation and suddenly i've got to reassess everything. i felt this makes sense, but also coupled with this ment, sense of loss. could it only been a year since i lost my dad and they felt like i've lost him all over again. the recently, some of this big family got together parties for this into a walk in ah,
no, feel quite sure. it actually be with people. before i came to party, give me a chance to talk to some of my students about how they felt about finding out the truth. i had a very nothing for me, i think was suddenly i had a truth and authenticity which was liberating. it was like a huge moment in my life. i danced around the flap. i was so happy why? this was a palm missing. i always, she felt this, those were physical bits of me missing. and it felt quite differently down the side of me. the hall area, i guess you'd say it felt that wasn't there. i would like to have known. i think my parents should have told me i was enormously grateful that i was able to discover who my biological father was. and i can't really imagine what it would be like not
to have been able to do that. i just probably the, whatever that being. so now the d. n a is revealing the secret. i think it's time to take a look at this question of donor anonymity because a lot of people want to know their genetic family as part of who you are and also the secrets and lies. they can cause real harm just to sort of idea that it can be done with a few shakes of the rest. and that's it. nothing else that does the same. there should be a bit more to it. and that i believe mr. fog of who knows could have been anyone except he never is just always the doctor at the back. it seems to be. i've come to ottawa to find out about one of those doctors, brother graham is talking about dr. norman far. when
this is rebecca dixon. her parents thought assistance from dr. barton to conceive i've heard he was called the baby god. yeah. people. people have called, i don't know who started. he was called the baby guard at some point, but they didn't know that they had a donor sperm. they weren't intending to donor sperm, they were having issues, but they, they went to see dr rohan into their understanding. he used my dad's firm. i had always looked different from my parents and i was aware of that, and other people had commented on it when scandals with borrowing started to come out. rebecca heard of a young woman called cat palmer, whose parents were patient borrow and turned out to be her biological father. so rebecca did a dna test against cap and it confirmed already that we were we were half that sisters. so bar when was rebecca bio dad too, but there are a lot more than them. how many do you have? i have 18 siblings so far. you have 18 siblings and these are all from dr. baldwin
. yeah, the doctor who treated the parents. yeah. used his own sperm. yeah. we found 19 of us where he used his own firm without the parents knowledge. he is my biological father, but i don't think of him in that way at all. he was always the doctor helped my parents have me. and now i found out that he did it in a horrible way. also, sometimes borrowing, secretly, you sperm. he took from other patients without consent. all these lies have real dangers. cat and i are a similar age. there's about 6 months age difference. we found out that we went to the same high school for a couple of years. we thought about how easy it would have been for us to be friends. but it could have also very easily been that we started started dating or especially yeah it's, it's a small circle, like my family,
rebecca and our new siblings have become close. and it's easy to exaggerate the importance of genetics. i found myself dealing with the situation. where was my dad? i say it doesn't matter that we're not biologically connected. you're my dad. nothing changes that this other person who is my biological father doesn't really mean anything to me. and yet i'm saying at the same time to my siblings, we have this genetic connection, like like, love each other. that's a part of each other's lives. and i think it's okay that those 2 things are true at the same time borrow and was not alone. quite a few doctors have been revealed by dna testing to have secretly used their own sperm. most doctors don't do what borrowing did. of course, you, sperm, banks, corporations, ships sperm around the world. millions of offspring,
offspring to now. we don't know how many there is no central registry. me, nobody keeps track. nobody really knows how many offspring from one donor. but you think when a so called donor sells his firm, this farm bank make sure he is in super good health. not always. i've come to see angie. i am barry, i very nice to meet you soon. thank you very much. angie and her female partner use donor sperm to have a child. they picked a healthy donna or so they thought well, what we found out is that he had several debilitating mental health issues,
depending on which doctors diagnosis you were looking at. it was good. so affective disorder, skits are for any bipolar disorder. also narcissistic personality disorder was written in there and then he had a felony from a break and enter that he had done. and there were other arrests along the way. i mean, did they get a medical history from this guy, or did the guy just lie and they accepted the lie? yeah, they, they give them a questionnaire. they do call it a medical history questionnaire. and then they asked the donor to respond to a list of things. do you have this? do you have that? do you have this is a friend, is one of the things that he was asked, but he just checked it off. no, we notified them of our findings. they just told us we had the wrong guy. and then they didn't notify anybody. was the donor still active? oh yeah, they call them out of retirement to donate other families that were waiting for 2nd
or 3rd children on a waiting list. when you look at health canada as regulations, then i can definitely see why i was duped by this industry. because i mean, you can't even miss label the origin of a tomato, but you can miss label everything about a human being that's going to be creating another human being. and that doesn't seem to matter here. the thing is the law doesn't allow health canada to collect health information from donors. angie's kid is fine with only a small chance, there'll be problems. but if a donna has 50 kids with a 10 percent chance of inheriting disease, that's still 5 sick kids. the sperm bank say they're doing more genetic testing now, but in anonymous don't can still get away with lying. here's some of the health problems kids have inherited from donors and some of
died because they didn't have medical information. all this scares me about what my bio dad reason i may have given his hundreds of offspring. he actually had parkinson's, almost all the time. he is producing kids. my brother david and i meet up with my other brother david, who's been looking into the health risks in my dna. best and i'll show you where. okay, there it is. hawkinson disease late onset susceptibility to parkinson's disease on another genetic test or another gene. gotcha. that is all these nary like is definitely visa and because he had bargenson. yeah. you guys are really dark stuff . this was the dogs, the know the great news here and the gene set that this man gave this other than that is fantastic. just the talk. it's afraid the crumbs disease what medicines based on your personal genetics. and if you notice and environmental and viral
triggers, you've got to know there should be no name, samuel. medically that's over. i'm finding out that almost all my serbs think that the anonymity of donors is just wrong. now, of course, let emotion continue. everybody has the right to know who their logical parent was . definitely. i think for anybody's mental health, you write your own stories is very important. for those of us who have been through this experience, i think any of us down for a moment that our common genetic background has meaning has significance or not which we give to it, but which it gives to us most don't conceive people seem to want the option to know their donors identity and in the u. k. david and others influence the government to change the law. and in anonymity since 2005 kids have the right to know their donors identity when they reach 18. in
canada, in 2000 and 4th, we persuaded the government to do the same when people find their fathers or they find their relatives. these are tremendously important stories and i think they're important for a reason. i think it's a very basic yearning. then the government changed his mind. the doctors told him there'd be no more donors. and in the u. s. a. well, an image has been standard in the sperm industry since the beginning one. and i'll tell, i don't have a play with me since the start, and everyone's thought that the only way a guy would donate sperm is if he could be anonymous. turned out that wasn't true. meet tim galaxy. why did you decide to be identifiable? curiosity, i supposed to start with that at some point some portion of the kids would be interested in meeting me and i would be interested many of them. and so why not?
well, model actually picked, she tells me that's what she picked him because his voice according thundered really like sweet. and that he said that he wanted to meet the kids. she was, she was raising us thing. i've ever pretended like be like her parent because i wasn't doing that work right. i didn't take her to school everyday to tucker and invite you and your brother are not the only biological offspring that tim has cracked. how many do you have? the ones that i've met are $171717.00 total. me. here's joe. another one of jim's kids. i mean me every summer, tim rents and cabins by a lake and spends a week with a bunch of his bio kids. and just like in my own family, tim's offspring crossed paths before they knew they were related. i came in close
contact with my siblings and didn't know air. my like the guy that i worked with was on the same water polo team sawyer, boyfriend. so i, if i had not with him or i probably would have met sawyer and not known she was my sister and danny went to the college that i lived on the campus of. so i probably passed him out of all his in post start to minutes. my house. all like is your brother. he's my brother. good thing. most of the day. yeah. jim wants to be found by his offspring. but california cry bank his sperm. i didn't want to help these rules that i and things i had to follow to try to get any information and what was it like? i had the bottom line was they said they didn't know if they had my contact information, but they would try that. but you know, yeah, call me back and they didn't. and they, they never gave you teams information. now. even though he was supposed to be
identifiable to you. yeah. and basically they told me like, but i could not reach me. and so i called them up and said the lying, i've always kept you updated with my phone, my email, and my spam mail address. and they asked me for wasting their time. so it was clear to me they weren't interested in making or facilitating that connection, even though all parties wanted to correct or really more and more donors willing to be identified to their offspring once their adults. when the u. k ended anonymity, the number of sperm donors went up. other countries have also entered the secrecy. some us banks no longer accept new anonymous donors at all. california cry bank,
the biggest in the u. s. still hasn't. and they've agreed to talk to me. but at the last minute they cancel and they say they don't want to be part of my personal journey. anonymity means that a lot of babies can be produced from one man by bio the visa had maybe 600. but what if there's someone out there with an even bigger family? this is steve shelton. he's a body builder, a psychiatrist. and he used to be an anonymous sperm donor. when i was freshman and medical school actually, and medical school for me to be as firm. i've got started, that's on, i mean, it did it help you financially in medical school, you know, it actually, jed, initially they pay $20.00, a donation to very quickly that range that $40.00 and how many years did you do this?
was 17 years i'll total what my schedule was twice a week, 17 years. but it's not impossible. you could have a 1000 kids or more. yeah, i think about the numbers in my head as possible. how do you feel then? well, i guess since one reality issue, and i just can't imagine that i've got all these kids out there. i've never really focused on what the numbers might be. i see to be whatever gods term. and they might be, you know, over the years i've thought about, certainly there may be some children out there and in prayer i would pass times, blessing upon them. again, there's not having met anybody until recently. it just didn't really feel real. you know. so i met derrick darren about a year ago actually. yeah. how did you find a job? i just got onto several of the websites. the 1st thing that i didn't need was was
to contact him who's kind of what, what, what did you think it's for money? well, you know, everything was figuring out all that was going through my head. you, how do you refer to him? my biological father, my friend, is become a really good friend and a friend my parents as well was using a spend on a difficult decision to go. it wasn't for me, but i'll let john speak for sale a little bit some somewhat. i want to say more of the of a pride thing. you know, you want you it would be nice to have your own related child there was a bit of the loss. yes. yes. so but you decided to tell you on the truth, derrick was having some medical issues that i'd never experienced or had run in
janet's family. and so that was probably the reason that we, we told derrick. so maybe he could do some research. and if you ever found out who's donor they had was, you know, that might help him give him some more insights into his medical issues. so may i ask what they were? i was having some allergy problems that made it difficult to swallow food at some point. and interestingly enough, that was, that was something that after i made the connection, you know, with steve that you, we kind of shared. and some of the families have that had that problem over the christmas holidays. i actually told steve, i said, well, we'll thank you for making it possible for us to have derek said, i thank you, turned out pretty well and i'm glad you were part of the, the donor program there at all that effort that the medical community, sorry, went to, to keep everybody divided wasn't actually that necessary perhaps. right. when
shared this was my response is tremendous. bless me. for one god showing me that my prayers. he but hundreds more might be too much of a blessing and still wants to find out how many he has. so he's going to talk to one of the doctors he sold sperm to i think there should be significant leverage to how many children, any individual don't attend. syiaa. if that is the word when you're talking, maybe hundreds of people. that's, that's not good. i do feel there's something wrong about that number being somehow much higher than if it could be natural. this mass production, it makes you feel a bit like you've come of the production line of a factory. how many women could be impregnated by one man. and conceive how many thousands, 2000 sure. i can see the problem then. yes,
it is indeed very steven 0 or you know that's and this is as long as you remember, we come to see the doctor. and one of the places steve donated in louisville is anxious to find out more about his hundreds of offspring. ready is 5 biological son who run happened upon me about a year ago, a testing mediconnect. he's cassius, who taught her simulation, prompts interviews and say, just ask questions. what was actually she's revived career as sperm donor. you know, all of this was done in a very anonymous fashion. all of parties were, as the donor would not know who the couple was and vice versa. you know,
the couples on the, the peace of mind to know that one day somebody's not going to come up to them and say, and that's my kid and i want my kid back kind of thing. so at that time, we only use medical students when we didn't want them looking over their shoulder for somebody that perhaps then got divorced and wanted to sue the donor for child support or something like that. with donor insemination. some people don't want their child to know with utter disregard to an agreement. you know, like i give you permission to tell. it's just coming out. it's popping out of the woodwork. derek has talked about how important this connection is with his bio. and ultimately, if he gets to know me, he'll get another dose enrichment of this life meeting or dealing with people enriches your life. you don't think there's nothing special about the genetic connection. i'm not
a psychologist. ok. i would, i would say that you would have to study it to see what you're saying intuitively. sounds good. when put to the test, it may or may not. i'm not disagreeing, but i'm not fully agreeing with it either. when a person becomes an adult, there are some pretty good reasons that maybe they should know their family medical history. and so i mean from my perspective, i think people should be allowed to know at least kind of at that point. so actually, that's the question i have. are there any such factors that might indicate anything about how come from donations past in terms of practices or pers? the answer is no. we did our best for a long term to keep the record kept records in a safe even i'm trying to think it was oh,
7 november that we had a flood in this building which took out 2530 percent of the building, including this whole suite and we were out of the building for a well and lost some of them to some of it may actually still exist that we don't put away and yet to come out. sounds like one thing you would like to know from dr. levine would be the number that would be nice to know. yes. that that would take some doing it would any possibility that steve could find out a bit more of that and see if he wants to make sure that we would have to chat about that one day over stating suburban or something. okay, so yeah, we'll chat about it over stating suburban losing
sperm. donor records seems to happen a lot in this business. so i've come to colorado to meet wednesday kramer. i've known wendy for a long time. and she's one of the sperm banks, biggest critics. so getting nice to you. yeah, we were out high, long before dna testing, wendy and i don't conceive son, ryan started a website. it was called donors, sibling registry. d. s. our parents only know the anonymous don't have a number on the d, as our site spring can use that number to find other children from the donor with the same number. their siblings and thousands of donors also sign on to match their offspring. as our tim, the donor and l. a found is these numbers are updated every night. this is how many people we've matched. 17926. so we will hit 18000
in february. and then 67188 people on the dsr. so that's parents don't or can see people children, the parents have posted and donors, a donors and firm donors. sometimes the donors find that the sperm banks have lied . can you imagine you're this guy and you go, you know, i think the right thing to do would be to make myself available to those 10 kids. i was told i might have out there. yeah. and you come to the dsr and i know this because i hear from donors all the time. who go? okay, just a minute. i just went on your website and it says i have 35 kids. that's impossible . i was promised 10. yeah, well right. of course, this can only happen in a closed anonymous system, which wendy hates as much as i do. donor can see if people are all too often told. you should be happy to be alive. you should be just happy. your parents wanted you so much and it's like book shore, but i also am
a human being. i have an innate desire to know where i come from and who i come from. so you can't deny that either not with adopted people, but also not with don't are conceived people. california credit bank has no idea how many have siblings ryan has because they have no accurate record keeping. it's preposterous. you can't promise limits when you don't have accurate records. it's impossible, you know, a cost money to have accurate record keeping a cost money to update medical records and to share medical information. it costs money to have the accurate record keeping that it would take to limit the number of kids per donor. so it takes money to do all of that. and that there are a profit business. they're selling gammy, it's least in the you can australia, tetra, there is some regulation. do you think that canada might progress to having some timber? they get all their spare me from the u. s. firm bank. so what are they going to regulate california cry? oh bank. i don't think so. well,
they could demand that the sperm be identifiable by yeah. let them try sir. i just don't see it happening. so you see the way forward is basically people using the dna sides with the help of your website. absolutely. there's nothing else. nobody else cares to step in and provide regulation or oversight. the sperm banks are big, they're powerful. they're wealthy. they have lobbyists in washington, they keep any and all regulation from happening. any time there's regulation that gets proposed. date put the kibosh on it immediately. it's the fox watching the hen house. we can't change what's happened in the past, but now there is no, absolutely no excuse whatsoever for donors to insist on secrecy. and furthermore, there is no such thing as secrecy anymore. everyone has the right not to be
deliberately deceived or deliberately deprived of information about essential aspects of their personal history. the trouble is straight couples often don't tell their kids. so david, a lawyer is campaigning for us to have birth certificates with the sperm or egg donors name as well as the parents. he's accurate. bern certificates would be available to offspring once they become adults. and in many countries, there's a growing movement from the donor conceived to end anonymity back in 2004. i was here in ottawa arguing the same. the government refused one of the m p. 's who persuaded the government to preserve don't anonymity was dr . eddie fry. hi, dr. fry you. i'm very steven. nice to meet you. nice to meet you. thank you for doing this. the really appreciate it. i can answer your questions
or concern was there too many people who donated? they did not want people to know that they did, they donated for whatever reason. but they didn't necessarily want to have someone coming and saying you my father or you, whatever. when you decided to preserve the anonymity, because some people might come and come out there much as to, to preserve anonymity, it is to protect the rights of the donor just as you protect the rights of the tribe. but they don't know that we don't know how to choice. we didn't have a choice and we were the ones who donated from that choice. yes, and of course the jonah had a choice and the doing that could refuse to do late, in which case a lot of people would not have had access to doing this phone. and so i don't see how anyone can suggest that only one group in a discussion should have their rights observed and the others should have none. the main reason was that you were afraid there would be no more donors if,
if we ended out on one of the major reasons. because people were very reluctant to come into an age and, and many of them when he did so because he knew that their identity would be protected. we didn't want to dry up the number of doing this. they don't dry up. when the u. k ended anonymity, the number of guns actually went up. i would like to see a system where only donors who are, who are willing to be identified to their offspring on the offspring. it to be bold enough, should be recruited and that has been shown to work. and if it does work, then why not do it in the future? well then if you think you would like to see amendments, you're a free canadians to come up and ask, oh, put our petitions, get a lot of people to sign on to that y m s and what no, but i, i will respond to people coming to me in with a petition and seeing a lot of us want this to happen. one person is not enough and, and i think it would be a good idea practically for,
for the government of canada to get out ahead of this. there is no problem when i don't have a problem with people coming to do that. and again, i and then i will wait and see what that evidence says. make my decisions based on not fair enough. thank you about some progress. and i just start to fries, right? i have to come back again with thousands of us. in the meantime, i'm going back to london one last time. my new family loves the party. so i've got them together to hear what they have to say about all this. like any family you meet some people. you really connect with the 1st person i met in england. david, we have what we have. we make, it's michelle and i let it, they were lined up in the gay ball by the end of the evening. so these guys, incredible, this is really fun. this is amazing. then as you get to know other people, you know, i just don't know if you like some people
listen, you like my family and that's, that's the basic line is the same thing. is this $400.00 more out this out. it's actually like $600.00 or more when the tests are all complete, we're going to set up. one of the forest focuses on like, you know, where the 1st one is. the only very recently, like in the last 2 years, i went on to some of these donor conceive sort of whatsapp groups and the facebook groups and, and, and i was really shocked really short and upset to see the really young people talking about how they hadn't been told, you know, people in the twenty's been told the finding we siblings, you know, is different in finding that the doctor was that mean loans of them? i think he, jesus, i've always was just off because we were in this weird sort of initial phase. i was all new. yeah. but it's actually still going on and that makes me really upset.
really, people should know better now, like maybe our parents didn't better they should know unlimited. the end of anonymity surely surely is going to cause pain for those people who chose shoes or chose to do something that was deep, can private for me that the real point is that we will have a right to our narrative. we will have a right to her story, and that seems to me just to be incontrovertible. the, to be human, is to have a story. and to have a story, one must have a true story. just saying these, these kids, but they'd be better off not knowing it. and for someone else to come in and say, but for the convenience of others, we'll just delete that is not clearly to argument for historically short. he was simply that donors would not come forward if understanding was that they might be
off to the abolition of anonymity. the number of registered spam denise went off. yeah. and then you will, the industry is making the money out often quite discussing, actually so i'd like to ask what, what's almost like the nieces and nephews, but we didn't have any really uncles or anything like that. it is like, i think it's great because of the young, but i've got a whole lifetime of people and family to be able to stay in contact with and to be able to meet if you're traveling across the globe and everything like that. we have a lot of catching. yeah, exactly. with that, and i think i mean on it, becky says, any car on the name and there is something i mean a lot of people in the, in the job i day and when i feel like i get on. but that was something there was a connection on the guy that was like in some ways, i know them all my life and i cannot describe it. and i like to say why thoughts? ios, i felt they saying sorry, in canada, he was,
that was sort of not a major female connection, but there was a connection that we bearing that i thought relaxed. i spent the day with him and we had some quite good last i think. but i wouldn't have had up with any other break the i just the experiences i don't know what it is, but there is something there is there is something last question. this is really who looks like who you're the, you're look like you the while i was editing this film, several new siblings appeared on the d. n. a science special visas, descendants that we have identified. now number 137. and there are plenty more to
a guy who's the be the national park in congo. the he and his family would love nothing more than to live in peace. but poachers and farmers hunting them and threatening the species what's being done to protect africa? 90 minutes on d. w. women in asia in the me will put all the money and manage and on the voices. the only way i can be is to create my own and by the weekend on d w, the green you feel worried about the meal house of the on the green fence post to me is clear. we need to change the
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