Donor Conceived

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About us


In 1884, William Pancoast performed the first artificial insemination by donor procedure at Philadelphia's Jefferson Medical College. While the woman was under anesthesia the doctor inseminated her with one of the medical student's sperm.  They informed the husband, but decided never to let the woman know that she had not been inseminated with sperm from her husband.

For the next half-century the procedure was virtually unknown to the public.  It was considered a private bedroom matter, and women were told to go home, have sex, and think that the child was their husband's.  

During this time fresh sperm was used, often locally recruited medical students and residents.  However the first successful pregnancy involving frozen sperm was in 1953.  The first commercial sperm banks(selling frozen sperm) opened in the USA in the 1970s, including Cryogenic Laboratories, Inc (CLI) and Idant Laboratories in 1971, Xytex Corporation in 1975, and California Cryobank (CCB) in 1977.

By the late 1980s, early 1990s, donor conception was becoming more and more mainstream, as single women (called Single Mothers by Choice -SMC), and same-sex couples sought the use of donated sperm to conceive.

The 21st century has brought about a change in mentality among legislatures, parents, and offspring.  More and more donor conceived children are informed of their origins (though it's still suggested that only about 10% of those conceived with a donor will ever know).  Countries like the Netherlands (1985), Victoria, Australia (1996), the UK (2005), British Columbia, Canada (2011), and most recently Ireland (2014), have instituted laws that ban anonymous donations and ensure that children conceived through these procedures will be able to have access to their donor's information upon reaching age 18.  

However, the biggest change in the past decade has been the insurgence of adult donor-conceived individuals speaking out for the first time, and demanding information about their biological fathers.  This has led to many donor conceived adults seeking alternative routes to locate and learn information about their biological father and their paternal relatives. One of these trends has been the increase in donor conceived adults usingDNA to trace their biological father.

Project Leadership:

Lindsay Manzoian-Greenawalt is the creator and currently the sole administrator of the Donor Conceived Project.  Conceived in 1984 in Northeastern Ohio by Xytex Sperm Donor #2035, Lindsay has been a vocal advocate for donor-conceived persons rights since 2003.  She authored a well-known blog Confessions of a Cryokid, where she discussed her personal search and opinions and shared advice on searching, DNA testing, and more. Through a little luck and a lot of perseverance, Lindsay identified her biological father in 2010 and confirmed it with a close match here on FTDNA in 2011. She has made contact with close relatives, but currently her biological father does not want contact. Lindsay holds a B.S. in Biology and spent two years working in Biomedical Research (Mouse Genetics) before receiving her M.S. in Library andInformation Science with a concentration in academic health sciences librarianship.  She currently works as an Informationist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, teaching medical students and faculty how to do research.