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This podcast is intended for mature audiences. Listener discretion is advised. I still feel like I'm a secret. Lauren's story about finding out that she'd been conceived by a sperm donor and that big pieces of her identity, her race, had been hidden from her. It shook me. My parents were told to basically never speak of it again, to keep this a secret, even though they never talked about it. They both realized that there was something wrong with what they were told. Because her biological father was not the Jewish medical student they were promised. Obviously, there seemed to be plenty of secrets swirling around my story, too. So I really set out to find out as much as I could any documentation of how donor insemination exactly worked around the time I was born. Back in the '70s. I started at the beginning with the men and their sperm. I came across this newspaper clipping, an old article, 1974 in the Columbia University a student newspaper. Wanted Fertile Males, the headline read. The article was about what was then the only sperm bank in the country. The bank wanted sperm from college students because of their, quote, presumed intelligence.


In fact, the sperm bank had such a rigid screening process that most candidates were actually rejected, and now they were short on sperm. They needed donors. One student sperm donor, or really student sperm seller, he was quoted in the article, Trying to convince others to give, he said, It's nothing special. You do it all the time anyway. Nothing special. Just me. Anyway, the article went on to say that the company's sperm supplies were used for the artificial insemination of women whose husbands are infertile, which we knew. But as I kept reading, I learned that these sperm banks have always had a secondary business, one that doesn't get talked about as much. That's for guys who are about to undergo vasectomies as a form of birth control. Right before a vasectomy, these sperm storage facilities offer men the opportunity to hand over a sample of their sperm just in case. Insurance if they change their mind and want to have kids later in life. Eighth floor? Thank you. A few years ago, after having two beautiful kids with my wife, I got a vasectomy, and the doctor's office for an annual fee, stored a specimen of my sperm a few days before.


As I went through this whole process, essentially giving my genetic material over to a doctor, it was impossible not to think about how my biological father also did the same thing under the same unusual circumstances for the opposite reason, to make babies. This is going to be strange. I'm not sure why I'm doing it. At that early sperm bank in the '70s, men made their deposits in a soundproof room that was reportedly flush and tastefully done, complete with men's magazines and an ashtray. Good morning. Katz, K-A-T-Z? I was placed in a less than comfortable room in the doctor's office with neither men's magazines nor an ashtray. Also, afterwards, I had to show my driver's license to prove who I was, which was unlikely a requirement for my biological father 44 years earlier. I also had to fill out forms, which he likely didn't have to do either.


If you just want to fill this out, just print your name here, and then this is just sperm.


You just write sperm? Yeah. Of course, my father was selling his sperm for an expectant parent. I was storing it before my vasectomy, which I got a few days later. The urologist mailed me a vasectomy certificate some weeks afterward. It read, certificate of clearance, with a computer drawing of a single squiggly sperm and a slash mark through it, like a no smoking sign. It's up in my home office now. Back then, there were no certificates for sperm donation or pre-vasectomy storage to hang on the wall. In fact, there was just about no paperwork at all. So while my mother's doctor, Dr. Dubravner, told me he only used the sperm of those in medical training, interns and residents, occasionally students. It was impossible to prove that he didn't get sperm from elsewhere because no records. But now, thanks to DNA, I know from other donor-conceived people like me that he didn't just get sperm from people in medical training. There's Lauren, who learned decades later that her sperm donor was not in medical school. I came across another woman whose mother went to Dr. Dubravner, and she took a DNA test, tracked down her father. Turns out His then-girlfriend, now wife, was Dr.


De Brovner's receptionist at the time. This father was also not a medical student. The more I dig into all of this, I'm finding out that lies, deceit, were baked into how fertility treatment worked in the '70s. An article from the Journal Science in 1972, during the early years of artificial insemination, sounded the alarm about the perplexing ethical question infections involved with the artificial insemination of women via anonymous donors. This could promote an unhealthy preoccupation with good genes, alter the nation's gene pool, produce unwitting consanguineous marriages, in the next generation and encourage women to line up for the sperm of some Latterday Einstein. Private enterprise has leaped into an ethical and legal vacuum, and the price may be left for future generations to pay. From Waveland and Rococo Punch, this is Inconceivable Truth. I'm Matt Katz. Episode 5, Ghostfather. My Michael Green has at least 20 biological kids, but for decades, he never met any of them. He didn't really know if they existed at all.


I remember that I would be walking down the street in New York City and see somebody look just like me. But that was the extent of my recognition that I had all these kids walking around.


I wanted to talk to Michael because he has insight into this whole thing from the other side, the perspective of the sperm donor, the closest thing to understanding my biological father's experience. In fact, with a few happenstance details changed, maybe Michael could have been my biological father. Michael started graduate school at Columbia University in the '70s.


I got to New York. I was short of money, and I guess I talked to a couple people, and somebody said sperm donation.


Michael heard about a doctor who would pay for a batch of sperm. So on a pretty regular basis, Michael, while at home in Upper Manhattan, made a deposit in one of those old Black film canisters. He then got on the subway and brought the canister downtown to Dr. Dubravner, the same doctor who treated my mother.


He was a well-known fertility specialist. Typically, I take a subway down and walk from seventh Avenue to between first and second and dropped it off. In the wintertime, I'd make sure I kept it under my downcoat to keep it warm. That was the process. Because my sperm resulted in kids, they called me dad.


One thing Michael was not was a medical student or resident affiliated with Dr. De Brovner's University, NYU. Michael donated while he was studying psychology at Columbia University. It's not that I think it's important that donors be medical students, but the fact that he wasn't surprised me because, again, Dr. De Brovner told me and told other kids of his patients that he recruited his sperm donors from medical students and residents who worked with him. But here was Michael, yet another donor who was not in medical training. Why the discrepancy? When Michael told me this, I immediately wondered about the implications for the identity of my father. Maybe I shouldn't be looking for an Irish doctor after all, and maybe I needed to expand my search.


The nurse who I became friendly with called me and said, We need somebody this Friday. Are you available? And usually I was available. It did create some issues in my own sex life because if I was in a relationship, a sexual relationship, I remember a couple of the young women got really annoyed that I couldn't have sex for three days or five days, whatever. All right.


Because you did the one donation and then a day off and then another and day off and then another.


Wow. Right. I had to abstain during that time.


Michael had to abstain from sex for a day or so before a donation to make the semen more potent. Now, the doctor had told me that the men would drop off the semen in a labeled container in his mailbox, the medical center nearby, not at his office. He said he then personally picked it up and perform the insemination within two hours. And since the semen would be dropped off at a different location from the office where he inseminated the mother's, anonymity between donor and mother would be insured. But Michael remembers going right into his Another discrepancy.


Fortunately, I never bumped into a woman who was receiving the sperm.


Before he began donating, he had to fill out a basic questionnaire, though he doesn't remember exactly what it asked for.


They did try to match the fiscal features. Interestingly, at that time, and it might still be the case, is that you had to be, as a donor, a male donor, 5'10 taller. I was just barely 5'10.


Yes, it's still the case. The cryo bank in Manhattan that Dr. Dubravner co-founded to store and process semen for insemination is still operating under different ownership. And not only is the height requirement still in place, it's still 5'10, which, first of all, personally insulting. I'm 5'8. I don't know if it's ironic necessarily that I'm ineligible to donate sperm even after I was created by donated sperm, but it's something. Of all the things to make sure donors are free of, communicable disease, problematic hereditary medical conditions, what does height have to do with anything? It feels like eugenics, the racist and ableist pseudoscience of selecting superior genes for reproduction. What does a height requirement say about what doctors value and what society continues to deem worthy of using in reproduction? And think of all the worthy would-be fathers it leaves out. The other requirements for the current lab, by the way, must be pursuing or have obtained at least a bachelor's degree and must have never had sex with men. The pay is listed as $330 for three times a week, which is roughly the same rate given inflation that Michael earned from Dr. Debravner in the '70s.


Dr. Debravner said he paid donors $20 per specimen. Michael remembers 25. So you think you did this over several years, but you have no idea how many times you might have done it?


That's correct. And even if I knew how many times I did it, that's not a one-to-one correlation with how many babies that were produced because I suspect sometimes it didn't take at all.


Eventually, Michael graduated, became a psychologist. He didn't need to sell his sperm anymore. He got married, adopted a daughter, then divorced. Then a few years ago, in 2018, he got a letter from a stranger.


I almost threw the letter out because it looked like a letter that I oftentimes get about a financial planner. I opened it up and saw it was from this woman who started out saying, I'm a genealogist, and I worked with two full sisters, and we think you may be their biological father. The girls do not want any... Not looking for any financial help in any way. They don't necessarily want to have a relationship.


Michael called the genealogist the next day. Over the coming years, he'd actually get to know those two sisters, and they've gotten very close.


I consider myself a father a father figure, and they consider myself a father figure. I never use the word father or dad because they have a father or dad. I talk to them or see them probably once a month and get together with them maybe once every other month. So it's become a really close and important relationship for the three of us.


That's so great. Wow. Since Michael is a psychologist, after he met his children, he started offering therapy for people who were donor-conceived, helping them deal with the emotional fallout from learning that the man they thought was their father is not their father. He also became an advocate for the donor-conceived. He believes that kids, produced this way, have a fundamental human right to know our origins. Michael and 10 of his children recently met up at a diner in New Jersey. They rented a room and played a little mock game show where one of the daughters asked everyone about different personal traits.


Like she said, How many of you are stubborn? All of them raised their hand. They asked me and my girlfriend, Yeah, he's stubborn. I obviously acknowledge that. There were a lot of traits that really shared.


Another trait they shared, Michael is 100% Ashkanazi Jewish, and most of his kids at the diner grew up with Jewish fathers, meaning Dr. Dubravner had matched the religious and ethnic identities of the anonymous donor, Michael, with the husbands. I thought I was 100% Ashkanazi Jewish, and I'm half Irish.


Really? Yeah. Wow.


I guess my mother probably should have gotten your sperm.


That's right. Your suspicions wouldn't have been raised.


Right, exactly. If Michael had been my mom's sperm donor, my DNA results would have matched expectations, and I may have never learned that there had been a sperm donor at all. At the time that Michael and my father were giving sperm, the doctors would first try to inseminate women with their husband's sperm. They used a glass syringe to deposit poor-quality semen directly in the cervix or uterus. If that didn't work, they went to donor insemination, which was done based on the days in the woman's cycle that ovulation was believed to occur. At Dr. Dubrovner's office, patients were inseminated three times during each menstrual cycle, 48 hours before ovulation, on the day of ovulation and then 48 hours after. Sometimes different donors were used for each insemination, like a firing squad in which an unknown sperm inseminates the egg. Women went home after the procedure and took their temperature every morning. When it dropped a minuscule amount, that would indicate ovulation was over. No more inseminations until the next cycle. This technique actually dates to 1790, when a husband first artificially inseminated his wife with his own sperm. In the 1880s, a doctor famously inseminated a woman using her donor's sperm without her knowledge or consent.


He told the husband, but not her. But it wasn't until the 1930s that this concept of a stranger giving sperm to a woman first took hold in medical circles. They called these merchants of sperm, Ghost Fathers. That's better than the term the press used for the babies themselves. A Time magazine cover story in 1945 was headlined Artificial Bastards. It centered on a woman who was artificially inseminated while her husband was away in the army. Her husband now wanted a divorce on the grounds of adultery. The article noted that artificial insemination brings up all sorts of legal problems. So, quote, US doctors usually seek refuge in a rigmarole of anonymity and secrecy. Doctors said donor-conceived children should never know because it would give them an inferiority complex that they could never shake. By the mid-20th century, thousands of babies were reportedly being made via donor every year. Doctors require donors have high IQs and said they must match the ethnicity of the husband. A newspaper article from 1956 called Babies Like Me: Test, Tatz. The article reported that the couple involved is instructed to be intimate before and after the procedure. This leaves the matter of the real father open to speculation.


Sex This before and after insemination is an instruction that Dr. Dubravner gave his patients, too, including my mom. He told me that this was done to give a sense of naturalness to the whole thing. By all the accounts I've read in newspapers and medical journals, in the dozen interviews I've done with donors and mothers and doctors and children, donor conception was a shady business from the jump, just straight up filled with secrets and sometimes manipulation. While sitting in those doctor's offices waiting to be inseminated, worrying about whether they would ever have their own children, women could only wonder about the names or identities or facial features of those men who just dropped off their semen and got back on the subway home. They may have not realized that multiple donors could have been involved with insemination from multiple sources They certainly couldn't Google donor conception. Add to that, a medical establishment controlled almost entirely by men. So getting any other informed advice or perspective or impartial understanding about this newfangled procedure from someone who wasn't also selling them the service? I have a lot of empathy for how difficult and stressful this would have been.


It was 1977. My mom had been married for four years. She couldn't get pregnant, and it was all her fault.


I feel that the emphasis at all times was on me, that I was the one that was having trouble conceiving.


That same year, while he was helping my mother conceive, Dr. Drabravner wrote an article in a medical journal. He titled it Pathologic Factors Involved in Infertility. In it, my mother's doctor determined that the reasons for infertility are equally caused by problems with the man and the woman. He was among the first to realize that, and as a result, he became an early and frequent practitioner of donor insemination because it addressed a problem that many doctors had ignored or failed to recognize, male infertility. Think of the centuries of blame heaped on women, wrongly thought to be solely responsible for any failure to conceive. Dr. Dabravner first He tried other procedures on my mom to address her possible fertility problems. When that didn't work, he employed her husband's sperm. At some point, he used donor sperm. As she was being treated by Dr. Dabravner, my mom didn't have any access to information beyond what the doctor told her. But I'm grateful that she could at least talk it all through with Margie.


I have to talk into this thing. You're going to talk. Don't worry about the Just test it before I begin. Test the mic. Yeah, of course. He knows that.


I invited Margie over to my mom's apartment because Margie knows my mom better than anyone. As soon as I turned on the mic, Margie started telling stories about her travels with my mom in Europe, summer of 1969.


This was like no hotel, no train schedule, no nothing, nothing. You just went.


They met in college and bummed around Europe for seven weeks together.


The place that we really had trouble communicating was in England. They all speak the same language. We went out for the evening and we came back, and our The cases were packed and they were in the lobby.


They remember that one night there had apparently been a miscommunication on the hotel checkout day. No place to stay. But they had met a guy at a bar and he said they could stay in his room.


And it's in one bed, and it's not even a room, right? It wasn't even a real room. And he said, So Roberta slept in the bed with him, and I slept on the floor.


Wow. Margie's got a long memory. Seven or eight years later, my mom is married, trying to get pregnant, and talking to Margie just about every day on the phone. You remember she really wanted a baby? Right. Do you remember the man with trouble having a baby?


She had trouble getting pregnant. I remember she tried different things, but I don't know what you tried.


Do you remember what different things-My mom remembers that Dr. Dubravner did a procedure to open up her fallopian tubes. But that didn't work.


Yeah, I remember that it really mattered. I wrote to you about your perseverance. This was the case.


What do you mean?


She was going to have a baby.


I wasn't going He was going to give up until something.


She was going to find a way.


I had recollection, but I'm probably wrong, that you had gone to Dubrovnik as well just as a regular gynecologist?


I thought you sent me to him.


I probably did.


I just liked him.


What do you remember about him?


That he was very caring. He would call you on the phone if you had any questions. He'd call you back for years. I stayed with him for a long time. You did. Yes. And Yeah, he gave you a straight answer, took his time.


One of the things that Dr. De Brovner would do is inseminate with the husband's sperm to get closer to the uterus to make... Which is one technique. Which is the technique you thought got you pregnant.


That was my question. Who sperm did you get?


That's the question. Six years ago, did this DNA test, come back half Irish.


I love it.


Why do you love it?


It's just so absurd.


It really is. It really is. That's why I'm making a podcast about it. The reality of my conception was absurd. I told Margie that one of my theories is that the doctor mixed the semen of the donor and the semen of my mom's husband, further confusing things about the true source of it all. There were two kinds of mixing back then. One method had doctors inseminate a woman with multiple donors during a single ovulation cycle. Then there was the mixing of donor semen with drops of semen from the husband who would have had low or nonexistent sperm counts. Dr. Dbravner acknowledged that the practice wasn't honest, and at some point, he said he stopped doing it. But back then, mixing this way was common and official enough that it had its own acronym in the medical books, AIM, or Artificial Insemination Mixed.A combination?


A combination.


That was my question. Where did the sperm come from?


Yeah, right.


That was so unethical.


It's very bizarre.


And de Brovner agreed to this. He did that.


We have no records. We have no idea what happened in this case. We don't know what he did. We don't know what he explained to my mom. He says he would have explained it.


But this is technically done, that they mixed different people's phone together.


But this was done. I It was like medical journals, I've read. Yes, this was technically done, and it was intended, according to the doctors, to have a psychological effect on the husband, making him more likely to agree to a donor at all. Mother's report being told that the donor sperm would just treat the husband's sperm, boost it. No, it's like the sperm needs help swimming. Can you believe we're talking about this? I can't believe this. With your son and your best friend, we're talking about how I was conceived.


I can believe this.


You two were talking, but not you and I were talking. A donor-conceived person a bit older than me wrote that back then, doctors were God and did not think patients needed to be educated on these matters. They put their trust in the doctor to help them get pregnant. End of story. Just after I was conceived, doctors finally determined that mixing the husband's abnormal semen with donor semen could actually harm the donor's good semen, so they stopped doing it. All of these techniques were done in order to convince the couples that they'd be having their own child somehow. One person I spoke to who was conceived via mixing says she and her siblings call themselves the Milkshake Club. The philosophical underpinning for all of this stuff can be traced to the 1940s in an article written by Alan Guttmacher. Alan Guttmacher was a former President of Planned Parenthood and Vice President of the American Eugenic Society. Dr. Guttmacher said that he matched husbands with sperm donors by size, coloring, religious origin, and racial stock. The men are of such a type, he wrote, that I truthfully feel the child to be conceived is fortunate to have so superior a father.


He listed rules for doctors engaged in donor insemination. They're shocking. Here's one. Forget signed papers. They simply act as a permanent reminder of something which should be forgotten as quickly and completely as possible. Another rule was for doctors to make sure the husband's name was on the birth certificate. Even even if they knew he wasn't the actual father. He wrote, Here, a white lie is a kindly humane act. It is the type of offense in which the good accomplished completely neutralizes the infraction of a law. And Rule 6, make the fees low. A, quote, contribution to the happiness of some wretched, worthy, sterile couple. There were no rules about being carefully parent with the would-be mother about what was really going on.


You didn't know. I would know if you knew.


I thought I would know if I knew, too, but I was also emotionally invested. And then when Matt brings up the subject and wants me to tell my closest and dearest, I was blown away because I was embarrassed. How could I not know? How could IThat's where's the lie. I felt like I was a fool.


No, that's where the lie is. But it wasn't-They did not tell you.


Or did not tell you in a way that helped you understand what was happening. Exactly. It's amazing. If that had happened, if there was a donor involved in any way and my mom knew it, you would know it, is what you just said.


I would have known. We were very close. We would tell each other things.




Decades after he treated my mom, after helping to create possibly thousands of babies during the course of his career, Dr. Dubravner retired from medicine. He changed careers, and of all things, he became a bioethicist. He founded a nonprofit dedicated to exploring solutions to bioethical challenges, and he took a position with the state of New York, where his job was to evaluate complaints from patients about their OB/GYNs. I found a a copy of a speech that he made on ethics in medicine. He said, Just as in beauty, ethical issues may be in the eye of the beholder. When there is a conflict in any of these areas, it is often decided by determining the greater good or consequences. He specifically brought up the use of donor insemination. At that time, he said, the parties involved were myself, the donor and the couple. I was convinced that the information that I gave them was appropriate to the needs of both. However, was there a fourth party whose needs I failed to adequately consider? The yet unconceived child. Did I violate the physician's oath of do no harm? What might be the nature of the harm that I could have committed?


Did I fail to consider how important it might be for the children to know as much as possible about their ancestry? Did I make it too easy for the parents not to disclose it? Physicians are required to fully disclose the patient's the full nature of their treatment. Did I do so? Could the child that I was helping to create also Can you also be considered to be my patient? The doctor himself was wondering out loud if he fully disclosed the full nature of the treatment to the patients and whether I was in effect one of his patients. In the same year I was born, 1978, the New England Journal of Medicine did a big survey of all the doctors in the country who were using sperm donors in their practices. This was still the Wild West of making babies. Few states had any rules or regulations on it. One doctor said he used a single donor for 50 pregnancies. Less than a third of the doctors said they tested donors for diseases, and they overwhelmingly favored secrecy. Doctors said they advised their patients to hide the fact that a donor insemination had happened from everyone, including their obstetrician who would deliver the baby.


They did this to protect the obstetrician from legal liability. If the doctors delivering the babies didn't know there were donors involved, they could put the husband's name on the kid's birth certificate without committing fraud. The studies authors found that doctors kept, quote, incomplete records, and a whopping 83% of the doctors oppose the passage of any laws mandating that they keep records showing who fathered which kid. So in the shadows, doctors could do what they wanted, and they wanted to keep doing it that way. There was some opposition, religious institutions railed against artificial insemination, declaring the wives, adulteruses, and the children, illegitimate. A professor of law and bioethics named George J. Anis, warned in an article in a legal journal just one year after I was born that the children of the donor conceived needed to be evaluated, studied, checked up on to see how we fare. He argued that donor insemination was in the best interest of the prospective parents, not the child. He wrote, The child will never, under any circumstances, be able to determine its genetic father. The consensus seems to be to not tell on the basis that no one is ever likely to find out the truth.


In my case, not only was the truth hidden from me, but my mom doesn't remember being told that truth either. Maybe it's important to you, but actually, knowing exactly what was said in that doctor's office in Manhattan in 1977 is not that important to me. I'm much more interested to find out who this-Right, of course.


. Yeah, of course. But for me, it's important because I just feel in general, I'm frightened that my memory is failing me in general. So this is just a confirmation.


So that's the thing that bothers you the most about this whole thing?


Yeah. Because if I knew, I would have told you.


My conception took place during the heyday of straight couple insemination. One of the most common treatments for malinfertility today, in feature of fertilization, IVF, with sperm fertilizing the egg in a test tube, wasn't yet a thing. In fact, the first ever IVF baby was born in England just three weeks after I was born. Once IVF took off, straight couples need for donors dropped dramatically. Today, most people who use donors are single mothers by choice or lesbian couples. And in those circumstances, the child is one day going to know to ask who their father is. So the whole secrecy gambit is less necessary. I also wanted to let you know that, and I told you this before, my search for my biological father is not and has never been about some personal regret or some need to fill any hole in my life.


I know. Thank God. No, we know that. We're confident about that.Thank God.That's not part of that. That's not an issue. That might bother you. No, thank goodness.


Because I feel very fortunate to have you as a mom. I mean, I've always felt like my happiness and well-being is the most important thing to you in the world.


It is.


I'm filled with appreciation for that, really. Good. 23andme first began shipping DNA kits in 2007. Tens of millions of people have had their saliva analyzed since. Studies show that most people who find out that they're donor-conceived want to find their fathers and siblings. But in the US, only Colorado now has a law mandating that sperm and egg donors have their identities revealed to children that they may create once the children turn 18. In the UK, donor-conceived people can request information like their father's height and hair color, two things I'm super curious about when it comes to my father. They can also get any relevant medical history. After all, donor-conceived people have died of cancers that they may have been able to catch before it was too late. If only they knew their biological father's medical situation. But anonymity here persists. Sperm is being sold via Facebook, and there are no real limits on the number of people a single donor can be involved in reproducing. The donor-conceived community is organizing and meeting up in conferences and lobbying for regulations across the globe. There are said to be at least one million Americans like me, and so many of us are finding our siblings and fathers.


Many have had beautiful experiences, others, heartbreaking rejections. Many of us lost time because we were kept in the dark for so long. The most scandalous practice that has been revealed is that some doctors themselves, the ones performing the actual donor inseminations, have hundreds of children of their own. They use their own sperm without the mother's knowledge. Many of those kids end up in the same high school in the town where the doctor practiced. Other doctors who claimed they mostly bought sperm from medical students or residents of the hospital, we now know they also used other graduate students, husbands of patients and employees, and men in military academies. And according to an article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, donors even came from maternity wards. The sperm brokers, essentially the doctors, They recruited men in maternity wards because, The new happiness of a recent birth makes the man an attentive listener to any pitch about becoming a donor. That article went on to say that doctors should not inform the donors if a pregnancy occurs, because later in life, he will be troubled by the fact that somewhere there is another child of his alive. Oh, he'll be troubled, will he?


Note the lack of any passing mention about the child, me, and whether we have a right to know anything. Part of the reason I want to find my father? To prove the medical gods of the '70s wrong. You're not going to keep this a secret any longer.


I think part of this also initially was, which is wrong, but what people would think, how could this happen? How could you be so naive?


Like What they'll think of you for having had a baby via donor, but not realizing that it was via donor.


Naive, that I was naive. Right.


Some people might think that. They might.


Yeah. I'm trying to get over that.


Do you care what people you don't know think or what people in your life?


Yeah, more the people in my life. But I think that the people in my life who are most important to me would be... I deep down believe that they're supportive and understand.


What bothers you about it?


What bothers me is my memory and that how I perceive it is different than the way it was presented to me with Dr. Dubravna. But in terms of this, it would be good to have some more clarity. But I don't know if you'll ever will. I mean, I don't know. I don't know how you're going to ever find out who actually donated that sperm.


I suddenly had a new reason for this whole mission for finding my father. If I could find his identity, and if he was not, as we were told, a medical student or a resident, then it would call into everything that happened in that medical office in 1977. I could therefore liberate my mother from this idea that she was told where the sperm came from, but somehow forgot. I could help her shed the shame. Would that make you feel better?




If he's not a doctor, it would make you feel better, right?


Yeah, definitely. Yeah.


That's the thing that bothers you the most? Did you feel like maybe you were...


Deceived. Well, I I thought he was wonderful. I really did because he made you possible.


Well, I love you. I love you, too.


I really do.


I know digging into this history is tough.


Well, it's tough for you, too.


I appreciate it. I also just feel like I'm hoping this whole process can be an opportunity to talk about things that we don't normally talk about.


I think so. That would be wonderful.


And get a better sense of where each of us are coming from. I hope it strengthens us, you and me. I'm optimistic, regardless of what we find out. Okay.


Me too.


I was optimistic because I was about to up my game, bring this investigation to a whole new level. I was finally going to do what other people with really impossible genealogy puzzles have done. Bring on a professional.


So I looked at all of your DNA matches, and I understand where you got stopped because your DNA took me to two brothers who were born in the '30s.


Why don't you go there first if one of them could be your father? We have to find the perfect person in this menagery of people that you can tiptoe into. This is where you make or break the whole thing. I'm just telling you, I have seen people destroy this whole process by going in the wrong way.


Next time on Inconceivable Truth.


I'm just looking at a photo. The resemblance to you is striking to me. Really? I'm just going to text it to you. I could do that. Okay. He looks a lot like you to me.


Inconceivable Truth is a production of Waveland and Rococo Punch. I'm writer and host, Matt Katz. The story editor is Erica Lance, Mixing by James Trout. Emily Foreman is our producer. Natalie White is our intern. I read several books detailing artificial insemination while reporting this episode. Inheritance by Danny Shapiro, Uproted by Peter Boney, Go Ask Your Father by Leonard J. Davis, and The Lost Family by Libby Copeland. I'm grateful to those who share these stories. Special thanks to donor Michael Green and his daughter, Sandra Rosenberg, and to the broader community of donor-conceived people working to force rules on a fertility industry almost as unregulated as it was back in my day, specifically, Laura High and Eve Wiley. Our executive producers are Jason Hoke at Waveland and John Perati and Jessica Alpert at for Coco Punch. For photos and more details on the series, follow at Waveland Media on Instagram, X, or Facebook. You can reach out via email at podcasts@waveland. Media. That's Waveland, W-A-V-L-L-Y. Com. L-a-n-d. If you like the series, please leave us a review. And as always, don't forget to tell a friend or a relative. I'm Matt Katz. Thanks for listening. If he is alive, then I'm going to have questions.


Oh, you're meeting his ass if he's alive. I will Liam Neeson take in this guy. If you fucking find this guy and you're like, Let's hang out, and he's like, No, I don't think so, I swear to God, I'm getting into camo, and I'm getting on a flight, and I'm getting zip ties and duct tape and bringing this person to you. That is so sweet. You would kidnap my biological father just so I could get some strange closure. You love me. No, I don't love you. I just want to stop hearing about this shit.