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This podcast is intended for mature audiences. Listener discretion is advised. I'm just going to call my phone.


I will preface by saying that I love you very much for being my mom, obviously, and in reality, and then just going above and beyond my mom for the last 40 years and two months. I have a couple of questions, and there's no judgment whatsoever. My search for my ancestry is not about replacing you or dad at all. I'm just trying to figure out where I came from.


My parents were staying over in our guest room, Thanksgiving weekend, 2018. And as my mom was going to the bathroom to brush her teeth before bed, I asked if I could talk to her downstairs, away from my dad, Richard, and my wife, and my kids, everyone. I needed to figure out how I could possibly have two half-sisters, how I was half-Irish, and how all of that was connected to what my new half-sister, Helena, had just told me, that she was conceived via sperm donor, that our father, she said, was a sperm donor. My mother had to have some answers. I mean, she was there at the time of conception. After all, she was definitely my mom. The Ancestry. Com test we had both taken had proven that. But she didn't know I had taken a second DNA test and that I had connected with Helena. And then I had been spending nights messaging distant cousins and digging through decades old medical journals, trying to understand how I even existed at all. We sat side by side on the couch, our knees touching.


So this is my question for you. Did you and Warren get any fertility help?


From Waveland and Rococo Punch, this is Inconceivable Truth. I'm Matt Katz. Episode 3, The Doctor.


So this is my question for you. Did you and Warren get any fertility help?


Yeah, we did. We had trouble. I had to have what was... My ovaries were blocked. I had to open up my ovaries.


Is it possible there was a sperm donor?


Not to my knowledge, but I can even tell you the name of the doctor. I don't think he's alive anymore. But yes, we had trouble. I had to have what was... My ovaries were blocked where they had to open up my ovaries. It is possible. It was war on sperm, as far as I know.It.


Was you inseminated?It.


Sounds strange, not to my knowledge. I mean, we had sex, and But we had trouble becoming pregnant. Let's put it that way.


I don't think he's my father. Oh, he should.


If that's the case, I honestly I believe you. Have no clue. Oh, my God.


Oh, my God.


My mom's memory was that a doctor doctor used a medical instrument to inseminate her with a vial of Warren's sperm to get the sperm closer to the uterus as a treatment for infertility. But in reality, that's not what happens. Because Warren, this man I always knew to be my biological father, who had floated in and out of the shadows of my life for so long, he was not Irish. He was not Helena's father. This was not his sperm. So that seemed to mean he's not my and never was.


This guy who caused so much emotional angst was a fucking stranger to me. I didn't look like him. Right.


You'd have no qualities of him.


Other than, I just always thought maybe I'm a little Shader than you are, right? I played poker and I like... Yeah. I like to smoke cigarettes in college, and I like... But I don't... So maybe that was... Did you ever wonder why I didn't look like him?




Did you ever suspect?


No, I didn't. Because... No, never did.


So do you think he ever suspected that he was your father? No, I'm sure not. He was just a deadbeat. And he's not my father.


But he... And he's not my father. He acted that way no matter what. In other words, I believe, we believe, that he was your biological father.


I know. He was infertile, mom. That's why he couldn't get pregnant. He was sterile. Would that be the right Sterile would be the right word.


Sterile, infertile, either word works, actually. But it was clear I had been doing my research in the week since I made contact with Helena, learning about how infertility was addressed through donor conception back in the '70s when we were born. Sperm banks were not a big thing at the time. This all happened in doctors' offices. There were no regulations, no transparency, and total anonymity between sperm donors and receivers. Most doctors didn't even keep records. I'd already found evidence of some shady, medically dubious practices that might have explained why my mother thought she was being inseminated with warrants sperm.


Do you want more information?


Yeah, no, I do.


I wanted to- So what they would do often then is mix the father's sperm with other sperm. Really?


Yes. This is like- Without my knowledge?


Historically- Without my knowledge?


No, there's been... With the mother's knowledge, generally, but I believe there's also cases where mother was not clear about it. It was also times when doctors talk in medical ways. I can just imagine- Absolutely.


I was very emotional.


How, yeah, you, the condition you're in. Yeah, yeah. So that I know that they, historically speaking, now I know this woman, Helena, whose picture I'll show you, who's also 40, just turned 41.


The other sister was also 40. She's two weeks old.


That's weird. Why would it be the same?


Because what they would often do is a medical student in the practice or a resident would use the sperm, and they would often mix with the father's sperm.


Mix with That I've never heard of. I know sperm donors, but I never heard that there were mixed.


This was like in the days before sperm banks, and it was just they were doing what they were doing and trying to get women pregnant.


This makes a lot of sense.


Oh, my God.


This mixing thing. I learned that doctors would sometimes mix the husband's sperm, which the doctor would have known didn't work very well, with the sperm of a donor. They did it this way because they worried that a husband might not view a child of a sperm donor as belonging to him, might leave the mother after the child was born. Mixing created enough uncertainty that he could believe he could be the biological father. Doctors came up with more ways to amp up this idea. They'd tell parents that this donor semen would just boost the father's semen or treat it, help it work, even though that made no sense even back then. But it did help to convince the couple, these hopeful parents, that they might have their own 100% biological child, even if that wasn't necessarily true. Doctors even told couples to go home after the procedure and have sex right away, which cemented this idea that it was the father's sperm at work, not the donor's. I told my mom all of this. I also explained how I'd found my half-sister Helena, who told me what she knew. I had started to do all of this research to figure out who my actual father is or was.


So this is what I know about my family, right? Right. I'm Irish. Family was called Lynch.


The last name is Lynch.


They're from the County Cork.


Actually, it's County Cork. Give me a break. I just turned Irish. My mom had a bunch of questions. For one, was it possible that a doctor could inseminate her with a stranger's sperm without telling her?


Now. Yeah. Was that legal?


So this was like in the way I've been able to understand it. This is like the In the beginning of new science, right? There's not like rules or ethics to it yet. I've been doing a lot of research, and there's websites where you can try to track down your siblings. Because Mom, I could have fucking dozens of siblings. Honest, seriously.


I never wanted you to be an only child.




I showed her pictures of my new half-sister's. God.


She looks more Irish than you do.


She does.


She doesn't have your nose. This opens up so many cans of...


This is why it opens up so many cans of worms.


But it also I will never satisfy you to find out who your biological father is.


I might... Unless I find him. Unless you find him. I mean, if he's alive.


Are you okay? It's like...


Yeah, I'm okay. When I... Yeah. What? No, I was just nervous about talking you about it. I just didn't know. Because if you... I didn't know if you maybe He had a thought all these years and didn't-No, he never had a thought. And I didn't want to enforce you to...


I had a thought about why I married him to begin with. How that ever happened is beyond me.


But I... I just didn't want you to make you like... That's what I was nervous about. No.


If you had not, yeah, told me for whatever reason, which I would have understood.


I just didn't-No, I had no knowledge.


I was nervous about it. No, I had no knowledge. No, none whatsoever. I would have told you, I would have told dad. No.


What's weird is the sense of not knowing where my father is. He's so familiar from Lauren. You know what I mean? From all those years where I didn't know where he was. Right. The curiosity about him is so familiar, but now it's like I'm just reliving a different version of the story. You know what I mean? It's really weird. But if- Like, both cases, they're absent fathers for In wildly different circumstances. And then it's just the fucking DNA, man. Not we.


I mean-Who had no clue. Just think ahead. What happens if you do find him? And then, A, he wants nothing to do with you.


Yeah, it's possible. Although I'd be familiar with that, too.


Exactly. Which would be a real blunt. Or he turns out to be not who you would hoped him to be. I mean...


I feel like the fact that I I have a... I mean, this one sister hasn't gotten back to me, but the other sister, I don't know if I have a relationship with her, but I mean, I also... We're friends on Facebook now. So I think I got something positive out of it, regardless of how he handles it. Yeah.


Could be married and have a phone.


Yeah. And not want...


Sure. Sure. Never told anybody. Oh, God. But I did not know it wasn't his sperm. That's for sure. Did not know. I can't believe it.


I love you.


I love you too, baby.


It might get even more interesting.


I just don't want you to feel any more rejection or...


No, I'm not. No, it's okay. I don't think I will, even if he doesn't want to...


I mean, knowing a name would be...


Satisfy me. I mean, I might never figure out who he is. It's totally possible.


You know, and you have to decide what makes a father, not just the sperm, obviously.


Sure. But it is... It's just about how I came into the world. It's a fundamental question that I want to answer to some degree.


All right. I'll give you a hug.


My mom and I went upstairs to the guest room where my dad, the dad who raised me and adopted me, Richard, was reading in bed.


Do you want me to tell?




Okay, honey. Ready for this? You need to give you 100% attention to this investigative reporting. You know the definition of a good father, right? You're the definition of a good father. Has nothing to do with.


Not looking for a new father.


By any stretch of the imagination, I love you. Don't worry about it. Okay. I'm dead. But based on that ancestry test that I took just to find out what country I'm from, I now know with near certainty that Warren was not my father.


I had trouble-My mom interjected, telling my dad that she had trouble conceiving and that she had sought fertility assistance. I remember the doctor I went to, this very kind man. He inseminated me with what I thought was warrants.


But with the way they used to do it in the '70s, when they were first developing sperm donations. And they would mix it, mix the husband's sperm with a medical resident sperm, a medical student. And I found this out through one of the two half-sisters I've identified, this woman, Helena, who's my half-sister. So this fucking guy who's caused me considerable angst on and off over the last 40 years was just a fucking stranger. I love it.


I love it, he whispers. This reaction, this realization that Warren was very possibly not my father and was not Richard's grandchildren's grandfather, was perfect.


Now you can feel less bad about the fact that you have no contact with him. I regret the amount of that emotional energy it was spent on him, on a stranger. Nobody could be more my child than you. My grandchildren are my grandchildren. Yeah, I know. No, it doesn't. This is a funny thing about this, right? It doesn't matter in reality, right? I have my parents I have a loving family. It doesn't matter. But you got to find that. But on the other hand, it's the reason why I exist. So in that sense, it matters. It's a weird dichotomy. Out of me. It's crazy. Listen, I got to find it out. I may never find out who he is. So I got to find it out. I don't know if I will.


I'm really I have an Irish kid.


Yeah, I'm the least Jewish person in this house. That's fucking crazy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


Thank you for telling me.


Of course. Thank you for listening. Oh, God. Come here, son. I want to kiss. Love you. I love you, too. Crazy show.


I was so relieved to get this off my chest, to finally have this conversation with my mom and to connect with her in a way that normal life doesn't really make space for. I still didn't know what happened, but my mom dropped something that night. A clue, a name.


I wonder if De Brovner is alive.


De Brovner.


That's the doctor. Where was he? Was he at NYU? He was in Manhattan. Might have been at NYU. I remember very few names.


I know. It's amazing you remember this name. This is very important.


Because he was such a wonderful doctor that he was an important man.He was an important man?


She told me, really.


Because he was kind and he was helping us. He was helping He was helping us. He was helping us become pregnant. Never in a million years would I have thought that this is how this occurred. Oh, God.


Right away, I pulled down on the phone and started searching.


Dr. Charles de Brovner? D-e-b-r-o-v-n-e-r. Oh, my God, he's still alive. Devoted much of his professional career to helping couples challenge with reproductive difficulties and infertility to achieve their dreams of a family. So he's still alive.


Then I found mention of Dr. De Brovner in an online registry for donor-conceived people. People, apparently like me, looking for their biological families. They'd post what year they were born and where they were donor-conceived and the name of the OB-GYN, hoping to find siblings or the donor himself.


Does it say without the patient's knowledge? I mean, must be.


There's a guy who is a sperm donor. He donated four Dr. Duprovner from 1981 to 1983. And why did he post it? He was working at medical school, at NYC at the time.


Okay, why did he post it? Does he want to see his-He wants to find his kids. Really? He could have like a dozen kids.




Never dawned on me. Never.


I can't believe he's alive. After my mother told me the name of the doctor who inseminated her in an office on the east side of Manhattan sometime in the fall of 1977, I scoured the internet for Charles de Brovner and for any clue about how sperm donation worked in those early days. I learned that the first successful artificial insemination happened in 1884. It was in Philadelphia. When a doctor found that the semen of a woman's husband was void of sperm, he inseminated her with a rubber syringe full of the semen of a man the doctor thought to be the most attractive of his medical students. The mother was never told and thought she gave birth to her husband's baby. Nearly 100 years later, in the '70s, doctors were still getting donors from the pool of men most available to them. Medical students and interns and residents working in their practices or hospitals. But there were clues that even this was not a hard and fast rule. Doctors never expected the resulting children to ever know the identity of their fathers. They advised that children never be told that a donor was involved in creating them.


Of course, a few decades later, we map the human genome, we get the Internet, we swab the insides of our cheeks for DNA samples, send them off to a direct to consumer DNA company and find out in a matter of weeks where in the world our ancestors came from and who all of our relatives are. No one could have imagined that.


It was fascinating and amazing to learn the very unusual way in which I was conceived.


I'd be up late at night doing this research. I remember lying in bed with the laptop open while my wife Deborah was next to me scrolling through pictures of Japanese pottery on her phone. I badgered her with each new discovery in my crash course on 1970s infertility treatments. Like when I learned I was born in the so-called fresh era, back when most mothers received fresh, recently discharged sperm, not frozen. I mean, this sentence is crazy. I was frozen, 1980, but my social cis was fresh, 1982. That is nonsense. Now we can translate that. Her father's sperm was frozen in 1980, but her social cis, the sister she grew up with got fresh sperm.


She got one DC so far, which means donor conceived.


I read a post from a DC person who had found 38 siblings, born 1945 to 1971. Our estimated numbers are startling. We're meeting up in New York City next weekend. I love spending time together.


What? There must be people, siblings that are 27 years apart. Wow.


That guy had Great sperm.


That's a fresh sperm. Sure is.


I was also researching Charles de Brovner, the doctor who had treated my mom in 1977. Was he mixing sperm? And was he using his own sperm? You hear a lot of stories these days about doctors who use their own sperm to impregnate their patients without their knowledge or consent. Dna in recent years have revealed this happened across the globe. But I soon found a YouTube video where Dr. Dabravner talks about his life. In it, he explains how he grew up as an Orthodox Jew. So he was Ashkanazi Jewish, not Irish. Therefore, he was not my father. Eventually, I found this tiny private Facebook group made up of people whose mothers went to Dr. De Brovner's office for fertility issues. All had recently discovered that they were donor-conceived, just like me. I was not the only one in this situation. All of these people in the Facebook group were looking for biological fathers and siblings. I shared my story. It was nice to have this larger community of people who knew exactly what I was going through. Some of them said they'd actually spoken to Dr. Dubrovner. They said he'd take my call. And then they gave me his phone number.


Wow, I am... All right, I'm just going to do I'm nervous.


I'm nervous as hell.


My heart is beating out of my chest.


Please enjoy this Verizon ringback tone while your party is reached. Hello. Hi there.


I was calling for Dr.


Debravner, please. I'm speaking. Hi there. My name is Matt.


And I was given your number by women I met on Facebook whose mothers had you as their doctor some time ago. I just learned I was likely conceived in your office back in 1977. I'm just learning this now, 40 years old, and I would love to just chat with you for a couple of minutes to find out more. This was all new information to me, as you can imagine. I'm 40. I turned 40 in July.


Dr. Dubravner spoke to me graciously for about 40 minutes. He was no longer practicing medicine. He was in his 80s at this point, but he was keeping busy lecturing on bioethics. Here was a doctor who may have inseminated my mother with a donor's sperm without her full knowledge. Based on what my mom remembered, she had no idea I was not Warren's biological son. I laid all of this out to Dr. Dubravner, and he later agreed to a video interview with me to tell me what he knew on the record.


Does this face look familiar? Do you remember it from 42 years ago? I had a different view at that time.


You essentially created my life.


I mean, and for how many thousands of other people? Do you have any idea how many lives you helped to create?


No, I don't, but it's a fair number, considering, as I say, we used fresh semen from 1965 to 1986. All right? So that's right there. That's 30 years. Now, in 30 years of doing inseminations, figure whatever multiplier you have, it gets up to your fairly large number. If you're doing two inseminations a week or five a month or whatever you want to say, it's a lot of numbers. It's very gratifying.


Then we have children, and then that's also life's created. My two kids exist because of this technology that you employed at the time.


Yes, sir.


Of course, my kids also don't know who their grandfather is because of how this technique was shrouded in secrecy. The donors, the mothers, the mother's husbands, Dr. Dubrovner told me no one signed any paperwork at the time to indicate that they knew and agreed to what was happening. So no, he had no records and no idea who my father was, and that's exactly how it was intended. Where did you find the donors?


The donors were students that I had taught, medical students, or more often, residents in OB/GYN that I had worked with over the four years of their residency. I had an opportunity, one, to know them as people in terms of people that I was teaching, so to speak, and watching under the fire of various kinds of emergencies, things of that sort, and decide at that point, Well, that would be somebody I would like to be my father, so to speak. Those are the donors I would choose.


The doctor chose my father based in part on how he performed handling medical emergencies. So I knew my father was Irish, and now I knew he likely became a doctor who was apparently cool under pressure.


We would offer them the astounding compensation of $20 for a semen specimen, which was probably a lot of money at that point, but they very much appreciated it. Very much, they were very happy with the idea when we talked about it to help somebody, to help a couple, because that's why they were in medicine in the first place. It was a win-win situation as far as that's concerned.


Dr. Dubravner told me that the donors were matched to the blood type and physical characteristics of the husband.


Another criteria was physical appearance.


Tell me about that. What did you base that on?


Well, obviously, there were two situations. One, I was looking at any given time for a personal donor for a specific couple. One, I would have to like the physical characteristics of the husband. He did not be handsome, but he had to be relatively good-looking, let's say that.


I like this idea of having a good-looking father, I guess, but it was strange to hear him talk about this extraordinary power that he had, choosing a new human beings genes, altering generations to come, with the casualness of picking out well-ripened vegetables at the farmer's market.


I was very, very interested in matching as much as possible the physical characteristics of the donor to the characteristics of the husband whose semen he was going to be replacing. I was very anxious to have the hair color match, the eye color match, and the blood type match. Because at that particular point, my goal was to make the donor anonymous to the couple, but the husband anonymous to the world, unless the couple decided to make the fact that he was not the real father of the child public. At that particular point, a great percentage of the couples had decided that they weren't going to tell anybody, including the child.


Do you remember your thought about that at the time, that the husband would be as anonymous as possible to the world and therefore to his would-be child?


I think that the feeling was that there was a certain virility, a certain strength, a certain ability to accomplish this task of impregnating your wife and being the father of a child. That was a positive. The feeling was, perhaps even by myself, but certainly among the couples, that the father being known as unable to do so was a negative that they would wish to avoid. Therefore, they didn't want to know that the father of the child wasn't the biological father. I considered at that particular point, and maybe I was wrong, to an extent that the husband, the wife, and the donor were the three people that I was most interested in at that particular point. I was anxious to have a healthy child, but what the situation might be with the child as an adult was really not It's something I was perhaps factoring to the equation at that point.


Well, the situation with me as an adult was that I suddenly didn't know who my father is, and I wanted to, and I thought I had the right to know, but he couldn't tell me who he was, and that was by design.


It's four or five decades of hindsight, so a lot has happened, personally and globally and technologically and scientifically. How do you look back that idea of the child not knowing?


I do not regret making it possible for the couple to make that decision for themselves. I really thought at that point that we were doing absolutely the right thing. It was not until ancestry. Com and 23 and me, that there became another way of identifying the fact, other than hair color, eye color, and blood type, that there was another way of identifying parentage that didn't exist 25, 30, 40 years ago when we were doing these things. I still marvel at perhaps how important the need to know one's exact ancestry actually is. I think that the single biological event is important, but far more important is what your known to be father, who raised you and supported you and taught you and did everything that a good father should do was far more important than whoever was who contributed the sperm.


I agree with that. My dad, Richard, who is not related to me biologically, was more important to me personally than whoever this Irish medical student might have been. But I hate the fact that the baby was never taken into account. The baby who would one day want to know the truth about where they came from, the truth about whether their father had significant health issues that they needed to know about, the truth about whether, let me just put it this way, the girl they liked at school was really their half sister. But Dr. De Brovner said one reason why the donor was to remain anonymous forever, the reason why the whole thing was designed this way was to protect the reputation of the donor who may have not wanted his family to know that he had fathered a child outside of marriage and to protect the donor's financial interests in case the child wanted money in future years. The child, me, was never a consideration.


The donor would produce a specimen at the hospital, drop it in my mailbox at the hospital. I would go over from the office and pick up the semen specimen, bringing it back to the wife so that the wife and husband would never have any contact at all with the donor who I wanted to be anonymous, and then do the insemination. We would start out at that point by taking the semen, husband's semen, and put it into the cervix When that didn't work, we went further and put the semen into the uterus. We also, interestingly, requested that the husband and wife have intercourse on every night that we did insemination.


My mother remembers that. She She, unfortunately, told me that was one of her memories. Yes.


Well, obviously, there was always the possibility that you have the semen from the donor and the semen from the husband. We expected that the semen from the husband was not going to produce a pregnancy because it hadn't up until now, but it's always possible. There was always that element of doubt who the real fellow was at that particular point, at least in the couple's minds.


An element of doubt. Dr. De Brovner says, My mother definitely would have known that she was being inseminated with donor sperm, and her husband would have also known. But the doctor acknowledged, given the fact that the couple was under doctor's orders to go home and have sex after the procedure, there was an element of doubt.


My mother does not remember agreeing to a donor insemination. She remembers being inseminated. She says she thought she was getting pregnant with her husband's sperm.


I wonder if that element of doubt, this idea that possibly, maybe a small percentage, but possibly her husband could be the father, became the reality over the course of the pregnancy and in the ensuing years.


Is that possible?


Well, there is interesting in our current political situation where the truth is not always the case. They have various things called cognizant dissidence and things of that sort, where people sometimes believe believe what they want to believe as far as that's concerned. And that might be an aspect of these things. It becomes the truth, let's put it that way. But we took great pains to inform the couples of exactly what we were doing and why we were doing and what the chances would be in terms of success. We, again, did talk about the fact that we couldn't guarantee that if they both had in the course that it was either one, but we did tell them that it was certainly more likely that it was not going to be. If they didn't accept that premise, they shouldn't be having donor insemination. We did tell the couples that we're going to inseminate you on three o'clock on Tuesday, and we'd like it to arrange it that your husband will be available so that you could have intercourse that evening on Tuesday night. Certainly, there was that possibility, and maybe that's the possibility that she or they fixated on, but there's no way that they should have known otherwise.


Back then, Dr. Dubravner explained how would-be mothers track their menstrual cycle so the insemination would occur 48 hours before and again after ovulation. He said before donor insemination happened, the woman would have been inseminated with her husband's sperm, with techniques like putting a cervical cap over the cervix to hold the husband's semen in place. It was only when that approach didn't work that donor semen was introduced. This, of course, is the critical moment that my mother doesn't remember. Regardless of what happened in that office, regardless of what was said, secrecy was embedded into all of this. In most cases, the parents were aware that their child was conceived with donor sperm, but they followed the prevailing medical advice at the time and never told their kids. Deceit was built into the process. Even the whole part about having sex after the procedure, Dr. De Brovner said that was to increase the naturalness of the whole deal, to make it seem to the couple that they were having their own fully biological child. It's the same reason doctors would mix the husband's sperm, which had proven to not work with donor sperm, and inseminated women with that mixture.


Dr. Dabravner said he did do this mixing procedure, but that it wouldn't have happened in my case. He said, By 1977, when I was conceived, His office had stopped mixing. Still, I had questions.


When would this process have been done? Why was it to further protect the father from the burden knowing he might not be the father? Was that why?


That's right. Exactly. Same reason.


Other questions. How come the mother of my sister, Helena, went to a different doctor? How did the sperm get to that office? And why was my other half Sister Tara, born within three weeks of me. The doctor said he may have used the same donor for multiple pregnancies, but given the large population of New York, he wasn't concerned that the kids would meet down the line and not realize they were siblings. And while the doctor told me he matched physical traits of the donor and husband and would match religion upon request, how come my father apparently had a different ethnicity from my mom's husband at the time? I had more research to do. Dr. Dubravner was helpful, but something felt off. These pieces were not fitting together.


I never was a lawyer, but I was always interested in the combination of what's right and wrong and what's truth and how it can best be handled.


Did you ever imagine that you'd be having these kinds of conversations, that there'd be a website where you basically spit into a cup and ship it away to Utah, and then it's put into a machine, and then a website pops up and tells you who your father is and who your half-sisters are?


I mean, could you have ever conceived of anything like this in 1977?


The answer is absolutely not. If I had conceived of it, I would have had to disclose this situation to the couple, et cetera, et cetera. We might have acted differently, but no, I never even considered it. Never even considered it.


Well, thank you. Thank you very much. First of all, thank you for helping my mom in 1977. We all would not be here having this conversation if you had not. I appreciate you being open and honest and talking through some of these issues and some of these the conflicts in my mind about how things went down. Really appreciate it. Bye. Bye-bye now.




And that's where the doctor and I left things for now. Was he remembering everything correctly? Was he being completely truthful? Why did his version of what happened differ from my mom's? Because now I knew that my biological father was not, never was, Warren. And my father was actual stranger to me. So I had to find him. I'd spent decades trying to connect with a man who often seemed to want little to do with me. But I'd been banging my head on the wrong wall the whole time. Now I had an opportunity to put Warren in my past and figure out who had dropped off his genetic material in Dr. Dubrovner's mailbox on a fall day in 1977 to finally find my father for real. So let the search begin for Irish men who would have been in medical school in the '70s, living in New York, and are maybe now recently retired gynecologists. Helena and I googled last names of distant cousins we found on ancestry. Com and put doctor next to that name. Like, is there a Dr. Lynch anywhere in America? Is he the right age? Did he go to medical school in New York?


We did this for hours, days, months. I called New York University where Dr. De Brovner was affiliated and spoke to someone there, asking for a registry of all medical students in the '70s. She was nice. She said she couldn't help. Then we wonder the other half-sister, Tara, has an Irish last name. And Helena said, I looked like Tara's father. So could her father be the donor, our father? We wrote him a letter. We didn't hear back. And February 2019, I sent Helena a note. The dark feeling I've had is we may never know. We may never be able to figure out what happens, but not given up. Months went on. Finally, Helena and I crafted a letter and sent it via a certified mail to our half-sister, Tara, in California. She could be the key to finding our father. Dear Tara, we writing to you because we both connected with you on ancestry. Com. Matt already tried to contact you on Ancestry on your website and on Instagram. Since we didn't hear back, we looked up your address in order to write this letter. We hope we're not being too intrusive inclusive, but we don't think you received Matt's previous notes.


So that's why we figured we'd try you this way. I hope you're open to hearing our story. According to ancestry. Com, we're all half siblings. Helena and Matt only connected with each other this past September and have since begun to piece together how we could be so closely related. Matt is 40. Helena is 41. Neither of us had any idea until recently that we would have had half siblings. But based on this DNA evidence and based on our conversations with our mothers, it appears that we were both conceived by sperm donors in New York City in 1977. We don't know how much of this information you may be aware If it is shocking to you, we hope that you're able to receive it as well as possible. We certainly know it's difficult. We're happy to tell you everything we've figured out so far, if you're willing to hear it. We gave Tara our email addresses and waited to hear it back. Next time on Inconceivable Truth.


Keep going over the road and the first road on the dicht. First road on the left. And you would find them there.


This is the house. Okay.


I got it.


This carries a few people.


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 intern. Special thanks to Lulu Miller and Pat Walters of Radiolab. Our executive producers are Jason Hoke at Waveland and John Perotti and Jessica Alpert at Rococo Punch. For photos and more details on the series, follow at Waveland Media on Instagram, X, or Facebook, and you can reach out via email at podcast@waveland. Media. That's Waveland, W-A-V-L-A-N-D. If you like the series, please leave us a review. As always, don't forget to tell a friend or a relative. I'm Matt Katz. Thanks for listening. Say something. What did you have for lunch?


I don't think I had lunch. No, me neither. That might be the problem.


What problem? Too tired to dig into my past?


No, I'm always happy to dig into your past.