Choosing between anonymity and an open relationship is a difficult concept for both donating and adopting families to consider. Closed or ‘anonymous’ adoption means that neither side receives any contact information or personal details about the other. These types of adoptions are largely done through IVF clinics, and rarely through embryo adoption agencies, although some will allow it.

If you are thinking of receiving embryos that were donated anonymously, or if you already have, your child will more than likely have future curiosity about who their genetic family is. Maybe they have already asked you questions you are not sure how to answer. In these situations, your next step will likely be an attempt to find your child’s donor. The good news is that with the development of social media, online articles, record databases, and DNA testing companies, it is almost impossible for anyone to remain anonymous anymore. This is why most agencies now advocate for open or semi-open relationships between genetic and adoptive families.

The first step to take in this process is to find out, if you do not know already, whether your child was conceived using the genetics of the donating family, or if the donating family used the genetics of a third party egg or sperm donor.

Finding the genetic family of your child will be much easier if they were created using 100% of the genetics of the donating family. However, it is still possible to find anonymous egg and sperm donors with some extra effort.

Ways to find your child’s anonymous donor family include:

  1. A federal or state record search if the location is known. Try searching “adoption records Wisconsin” for example
  2. The Donor Sibling Registry, which allows individuals to register and add a post regarding their information and as much as they know about their genetic family
  3. DNA testing services such as 23 and Me and Ancestry have voluntary registries where participants can connect with close and distant genetic relatives. A related option could be hiring a genealogist to help narrow down your search
  4. Contacting your fertility clinic for information about your anonymous donor(s) could be an option if they have access to those records

Finding your child’s anonymous donor will take some effort, but it is worth it if the process will help your child find the closure they want and need from their genetic family. In the end, you are doing what is best for your child when you give them confidence in where they came from, while also validating that they are an important part of your family. You chose them, and they can feel secure in knowing that both their genetic and adoptive families love and care about them. Honesty goes a long way, and helping your child search for their genetic parents can be a wonderful and bonding experience to go through together.

To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.

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