I found out that I was donor conceived on my 30th birthday. This was not a planned event!
Six months before I found out my dad’s mum had taken an ancestry DNA test. I was excited to compare her test to my test which I had taken about two years before. To my surprise, she did not show up as a match for me! My mum’s dad, who I had tested just before, came up as a match but she did not!
After eliminating the possibility of a mix up with the tests and the sampling process, I confronted my family. Sticking to the facts, I could only assume that the issue was with my grandmother somehow not being my fathers’ mother.
Eventually the truth came out and it was like a bomb went off in my life!
Suddenly a lot of things started to make sense. I was always a lot more intelligent than my family. In my mind I felt like there was something wrong with me. I thought that I knew a lot less than I thought I did, and, in that way, I limited myself belief in what I can do and what I am capable of.
My parents can barely read, and my head is full of wonderful and crazy things and ideas that they could not begin to understand. I was like a bird who did not know that he could fly! However, it was not all good things.
For the past 12 years of my life I have been dealing with some very life limiting medical issues. The scary thing is that I have been giving the doctors and consultants and surgeons incorrect or incomplete medical information for all that time. That information was the basis for much of my treatment and I can think of some instances where that information was used to rule out certain conditions and diagnostic test. Even though, as it turns out, that most of my medical issues come from my mothers’ side, that lack of information may have still led to considerable delays in my diagnosis and treatment.
The scariest aspect of this is that being conceived before August 1991, there is no information available concerning my donor or how many times he donated. Some of the requirements donors had to meet back then were basic and some people who donated barely met them. There was no testing for things like HIV or psychological tests and family medical history was often ignored. Even if this was not the case there was genetic testing, and recorded family history, this does not rule out the possibility of inaccuracy or hereditary issues that may have been passed from the donor.
The fact is that I could have a lot of half siblings who could be any age, anywhere and may have inherited an unknown illness or issue from our donor. If, as it appeared at the time, that I was the only one who has this knowledge, I felt that I had a responsibility to put myself out there, find the donor, find the relevant information, find them and give them whatever help and information that I can provide.
Since then I have found my donor and one other donor conceived sibling. At the time of writing this I have also helped five other pre 1991 donor conceived people to find and contact their donors.