Woman said her ‘life collapsed’ when she learned she was conceived by donor sperm

A woman in the United Kingdom (UK) who found out she was conceived with donor sperm said the realization turned her life upside down, causing severe emotional upheaval.

Laura Bridgens said the Independent that he asked his mother for an Ancestry DNA test for a Christmas gift one year; after a few months, his mother became clean. The Bridgens were conceived through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), using donor sperm. “He gave me a pair of jeans as a gift and said the DNA kit wasn’t out yet,” Bridgens said. “We went to a difficult one [COVID-19] lockdown and I didn’t see him until February [2021]. He came up to me and handed me a letter and then told me what the letter said.”

The information caused Bridgens’ life to fall apart, which he likened to the collapse of a Jenga tower. “Everything looks a little different now that you know it,” he said. “It’s confusing. It really gets under your skin. It’s not something you get over. It’s a lifelong situation.”

Although she has met her biological father’s family and is getting to know them, she says it was a difficult and “dishonorable” search. He also explained that building a bond with them was not easy.

“Your existence is like a satellite in many ways,” he said. “You are linked to them but you are still part of it. Guess most relationships – you’re trying to be your best self, you’re still trying to get them to like you.”

READ: Intended donor individuals in the UK will soon be able to obtain information on biological parents

He added that the rights of donor-conceived children need to be better protected. “Learning you’re donor conceived creates a lot of unanswered questions that cause stress on mental health and well-being,” she says. “There is no finality to your experience – you tend to have relatives throughout your life.”

The UK is changing the law to allow donor-conceived children to know information about their biological parents on request, and by 2030, an estimated 11,427 adults will be able to request information about their parents. But Bridgens says the change doesn’t go far enough. Instead of waiting for a request, he argued that donor-conceived people should be told about their biological background from the start.

“It’s in the best interest of donor-conceived people to tell them, and then they choose what they choose to do with that. It’s about donor-conceived people holding the key to their own origins. It is understood that it is very important to know where you come from,” he said.

“It’s not good that the fertility industry and the government have decided that we don’t know. Too many people are living without that information right now. You can’t exercise a right if you don’t know you deserve it.”

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