As a donor, when you sign the consent form to say your donation can be used, there’s also a section where you can write a pen portrait of yourself. This is something that the donor-conceived person can read, as an adult, if they’re interested in finding out more about you.
Donors often find this hard to write – why are donor-conceived people interested in this information and what do they want to know?
Donor-conceived people have a range of reasons for wanting to know about you, their donor. Some have no interest at all, others are curious about why their donor donated, others want to know where their physical and emotional characteristics might come from. For some it is crucial to their own sense of who they are.
The questions donor-conceived people tend to ask are about what their donor is like as a person – they have all the factual details such as hair colour and height from other parts of the consent form.
When asked, donor-conceived people said they would like to know what sort of a person you are – what you were good at (or bad at!) at school, whether you’re religious or not, what your hobbies and interests are, whether you are sporty, your temperament, eating habits and preferences, and anything else that’s important to you. One said that they were keen to find out:
‘The kind of person my donor is; how he relates to others; and to see something he’s written, which is more personal.’
Many donor-conceived people would like to know whether their donor has a family and children of their own, so if they have any half brothers or sisters around their own age.
Although it can be hard to find the words to describe yourself to an adult person you may never meet, most donor-conceived people care very much about the effort their donor puts in to writing a pen portrait.
If you didn’t write a pen portrait when you donated, you can update your details on the HFEA Register if you wish. Contact the HFEA to find out more.