By Ellie, age 10 and three-quarters
How many donor babies do you know in Britain? One? Two? Maybe even four? Well, I am one of them. I’ve known since I was too young to understand and too young to know my emotions about it. I grew up as a smiling, giggling, cheeky little girl as confident as any other child. And, from a very early age, I boasted to them about being a donor baby and how my mum informed me I was very s-p-e-c-i-a-l!!!
When I was almost two, my mum excitedly told me that she was having another child but a very sad thing happened, my mum’s appendix burst and the baby, known as Rosie, died and it was still inside mum’s tummy. For mum and dad, their world was shattered. For me, as I was at an early age in my life, I was not affected. Though I knew something was wrong and because mum and dad were upset, so was I.
As I grew older, I began to feel more alone and it wasn’t long until I started asking my mum if I did have any brothers and sisters in the world. Mum, of course, had told me that I might have 3 brothers and sisters maybe even 5…But she didn’t know where they were or who they were or even if they did exist. So we set out on a quest of sorts. A quest to see if I did have any siblings.
Most people’s stories end in a happy ending and, so did ours. For, a couple of weeks ago we found out the news I had been waiting my whole life to hear. I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters!!! So I am not an only one after all! When we found out, it was the most wonderful feeling, I felt I could leap up in the air or do a thousand cartwheels with joy! Although I do not know them, it was the best feeling just to know that I was not alone in this topsy-turvy world!
I wonder how many of you are thinking ‘…is this for our family..?’ I hope so, as until we match up our donor number with the other families out there, this is as far as we can go.
So why not get on to the Network Forum (www.dcnetwork.org) go to the SibLink section, read the precautionary notes, (be very sure it’s what you all, including your child want). If, like us, you have an only child, how wonderful would it be to unite your child with another with the same donor ?
First you need to contact the HFEA and ask if there are any siblings out there, what sex they are and the year or years they were born in.
Then it’s up to you to take the plunge and put all the info you have on to Siblink. After that, it's a waiting game to see if you get a match. I hope amongst our increasingly large membership we can manage at least one connection.
Tell me I am mad if you like but I think it is important for your child/children to meet their half-brothers or at least have some small contact with them. I understand there will be some opposition to my view and I would like to point out that this is a personal thing.
Editor's note at 2014: Ellie was born in 1996 and will be 18 this year. Since she and her mum wrote the above stories the HFEA have started a Sibling Link register for those conceived after August 1991 and who are now 18 to enable contact by mutual consent with half-siblings. If she chooses, Ellie will be able to put her name on this register this year. Ellie's family are very unusual in having a donor number. Most UK families do not have this information and the HFEA actually fobade clinics from giving it to patients and donors several years ago now. Ellie took part in the DCN film A Different Story when she was 7.