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Wendy Kramer and the Donor Sibling Registry Part 1

Updated On: January 2, 2024

Join us as we welcome Wendy Kramer, the visionary co-founder of the Donor Sibling Registry. Wendy shares her poignant journey into the world of donor conception, offering unique insights into a realm many of us know little about. Her story is not just about creating a family but also about the complexities and unexpected challenges that come with donor conception.

Wendy Kramer and the Donor Sibling Registry Part 1

Summary of Episode Highlights:

  • The Inception of the Donor Sibling Registry: Wendy discusses how personal experiences led to the creation of this groundbreaking resource for donor-conceived individuals and their families.
  • Understanding Donor Conception: Delve into the initial steps and decisions involved in donor conception, as Wendy narrates her personal experience.
  • Conversations on Origin and Identity: The episode highlights crucial conversations between Wendy and her son about his origins, emphasizing the importance of honesty in donor-conceived families.
  • The Emotional Landscape of Donor Families: Explore the varied emotions and challenges that families face in navigating donor conception.
  • The Impact of DNA Testing and Social Media: Wendy talks about how advancements like DNA testing and social media platforms have revolutionized the way donor-conceived individuals connect with their biological relatives.
  • Ethical Issues in Donor Conception: Wendy sheds light on the lack of proper education and counseling in the sperm and egg donation process.

Our conversation with Wendy Kramer brings to light the nuanced and often hidden world of donor conception. Her insights challenge us to rethink our understanding of family and identity. If this episode has resonated with you or sparked your curiosity, please rate, follow, and review Family Twist. Your feedback is invaluable to us.

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Transcript

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: [00:00:00] Wendy, Thanks for joining us on family twist.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Thanks so much for having me.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So when Kendall and I started this podcast, we were definitely naive about the world of donor conception. And I would bet that most people are pretty naive about it. Is that a fair statement?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I think

you don't know until you know, right? So once it becomes a part of your life, then I think you just become an expert.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. So can you kind of just take us back a little bit? How did the donor conception, um, prospect enter your world?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Right. So let's see. The short version is, I was married and my ex husband had some infertility issues. So in late 1989, we went to a clinic in Denver and, I used an anonymous donor and my son was born in May of 1990 and the year after that, my [00:01:00] ex husband and I split up and from that point, I was raising my son as an only parent. And when he was two years old, he came home from preschool and said, so did my dad die or what?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Mm.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: okay,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: hmm.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I guess we're having this conversation now. And we had a very short, but very important conversation because it was the cornerstone conversation of, you know, to make a human being, you know, I wanted a baby and you have to have an egg from a mommy and a sperm from a daddy. We didn't have the sperm. I went to a nice doctor. It was like, a two year old forty second conversation. And then he asked me something about choo choo trains, and then we were on to different things, you know, but then as he grew up,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: stuff. Right.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: important stuff, and then he just became very curious by the time he was six years old, he was looking at me saying, I want to know who my biological father is. And at that point, I'm [00:02:00] thinking, Oh my God, what have I done? What do I do? Of course, you're curious, but nobody educated me because the clinics and the sperm banks and the egg clinics, nobody properly educates and counsels donors or prospective parents. So basically at that point, we had to wait for social media to be invented. And we waited, uh, till the year 2000 and Yahoo Groups came to be. That was like the first, you know, kind of a social media thing. And we started a little group thinking, well, maybe there are people that want to make mutual consent contact with each other, half siblings or donors, um, parents. And so we created the vehicle by which all these people could find each other and make connections that the sperm banks and the egg clinics were not allowing.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Cool. So let's go back to when you went to the clinic and you were looking at prospective donors, like what were you looking for?[00:03:00]

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: In my case, my ex husband and I went, we sat with the lady at the desk and we said, we want to match him, my ex husband, and she's at the desk going, well, I have 510 if you want the green eyes, if you want the Irish background, we're going to have to go to 509 and I could see my ex husband's leg was shaking nervously. He was not comfortable with the process. And I basically just said to her, this is what he looks like, find somebody that matches. And literally the next week I was pregnant with who knows what. I had no idea what the sperm was, where it came from. I knew absolutely nothing until my son was 3 years old and he's got this like really blonde hair and I'm wondering, like, what about his biological father, it's half of who he is, and I know nothing. And it was at that point that the clinic was like, oh, you didn't get the donor profile? No, [00:04:00] nobody gave me anything. And so when my son was three, then it was like, Oh. many of the missing pieces came into play into who my son was and the way his brain worked and his physical features like so much is genetic and from there, I could put at least some of the pieces together.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: It is wild. It seems like the more conversations that we have with people, it's like the people that they're dealing with at the clinics are like, it's their first day at Starbucks. It's like, Oh, hold on. I don't wait. Wait, I don't know, how to do a latte. You know, I mean, it's

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: No, that's so that's you're absolutely right. And I mean, because their whole goal there is to keep these people apart and to put as much anonymity as they can get in there, even when it's fake and if they're being deceptive, they pretend that anonymity is the best for everybody involved when we know through dozens of research studies and papers that we've published, yeah. Plus 23 years [00:05:00] of, You know, 88, 000 people and anecdotal stories. Anonymity is not in anybody's best interests and nor is it possible anymore.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Exactly. Exactly. So were you able to, at some point find the donor?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, so when my son was 14, this is before Ancestry, before 23andMe, there was one little company called Family Tree DNA, and they came to us and said, you know, our new commercial DNA services might be helpful to your community. People could find out like countries of origin, things like that. So they asked my son if he wanted to do it. He was 14. He was like, sure, maybe I'll find out a little bit more about my ancestry that I don't know about. So he swabbed his cheek and nine months later, he matched with two people, very distant relatives, both with the same last name, who had traced their common relative to the [00:06:00] 1600s, same last name, and they said, if your son is as related as we are to each other, which he is, you have that common ancestor, they all had the same last name, and it was at that point we went, Oh, my God, I think we know the last name of your donor. And it took us a few days to put it together, and my son was the very first donor conceived person to figure out who his biological father was through a dNA test.

We were stunned,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: impressive that his relatives were able to,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, when it's Y DNA, it goes from male to male to male to male, virtually unchanged. So when you're tracing your Y DNA through paternal lines, it's not really that hard because it's a very clear lineage.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Still quite impressive that his distant relatives were able to trace the family back to the 1600s, though, [00:07:00] before, you know, before we had all this technology, like ancestry and 23andMe.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Exactly, exactly. Well, since then, at the beginning of COVID as a project, I went back to see how far I could go with that one lineage that they got to the 1600s, and I went all the way back to BC.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Wow.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: it was crazy. I kept going male to male to male to male, and I would find his father, and then I would find his father, and his father, and because they were like, I don't know, one guy was like the king of Gaul, like there were kings and dukes and things like that where there were actual records.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Wow. That's

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah,

that is really cool.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: We knew a lot more about the donor's ancestry than the donor and his family knew.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Now, did you have any interest in genealogy before you got pregnant?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: You know, it's funny, when I was [00:08:00] pregnant, that's when all my family photos came out, because I think it was like this realization that I was creating a new generation and I wanted to tie to the generations that came before me. So it's funny, like pictures of my great grandmother and my grandmother and you know, all the pictures I had kind of came out on the mantle. And also knowing that I was creating a child that only would know one half of their ancestry. It therefore became probably a little bit more important for me. That he had an ancestry that he could link to. So, yeah, that's when it really became important, before that, not so much. I mean, before that, I didn't even know, if I wanted a baby. You know, if you put like a puppy and a baby in front of me, I would have definitely chosen the puppy, you know? But then it's like my biological clock. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, once, that came over me, whatever, then I wanted to create,[00:09:00] of course you're creating family for your child, but I wanted to create a family history for him as well.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: All right, so he was the first to find his biological father. How did that happen and what happened from there?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So the day that we kind of put all the pieces together, it was funny on the, uh, the mirror doors behind me, we had a great big piece of white paper with a line down the middle, everything we knew about donor 1058 from the donor profile, height and weight and his degrees and things like that we wrote on one side. And then on the other side, we wrote everything about what his potential biological father would be. We knew the last name, we knew his birth date from the donor profile, and the more that we found out about the donor, every time something matched between donor 1058, and this guy with this last name, we would highlight in yellow and the page just became more and [00:10:00] more and more yellow until my son, who is 15 at this point says to me, mom, it's the guy. And I'm like, you don't know when you're as old as I am, life throws you curve balls and, until you're 100 percent sure, and he's like rolling his eyes at me. Well, he was right. It was the guy. And then I was scared to death because my son at that point was so vulnerable, literally every birthday candle he had ever blown out was with the wish, I want to know who my biological father is. So now we know who the guy is and I'm scared to death for him. Oh my God. What if the guy says like, get the hell out of here. I didn't sign up for this. My son, however, was fine. He's like, mom, don't worry. If the guy doesn't want to know me now, when I'm 18, I'll go hop on a plane and I'll go shake his hand, you know? So he was okay, I was a nervous wreck, and I said, okay, okay, let's just sleep on it. Let's think about [00:11:00] it. Like whatever you want to do, I'm with you, we're a team, just like we had been through the whole doing the DSR and all of that. And, so I go to sleep and then at like one in the morning, Ryan wakes me up. Mom, Mom, I just sent him an email and I'm like, oh God, so much for collaboration, you know? And I'm just like, oh, geez, okay. I read the email, it was just beautiful, perfect. You know, my son was 15, but he also was a sophomore at university because he was advanced by four years. So he's 15, but in some ways he's much older than 15. So then the next 48 hours, like my mantra was, please be kind, please be kind, Like I thought, even if you don't want to know my son, that's okay, just be kind, and so it was 48 hours later again, like one in the morning cause nothing can happen in daytime, [00:12:00] my son comes into my room. Mom, mom, he just wrote me back. And all I remember is falling to my knees and saying, Was he kind? And my son, with tears coming down his cheeks, is shaking his head yes. And that was...

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: hmm.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: And from there, they got to know each other through email and my son got to ask all the crucial questions like, do you ride mountain bikes? Do you like Led Zeppelin? You know, all like the life and death questions.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: important stuff. Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, but for teenagers, that's

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: ha. Absolutely.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: asked them, you know, are you married yet? And after like six weeks, the emails. You know, this guy, my son is an engineer, his biological father is an engineer. And you know, sometimes they're just not the best at communicating, you know? So you got two engineers there, right? So it's kind of petering out a little. And then [00:13:00] about six weeks in, my son gets an email from the donor that says, Do you want to come to California to meet me and your grandparents?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Wow. Ooh.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: and off we went, off we went, and it was a profound and life changing weekend for my son and therefore for me. I got to watch a sense of peace that came over him. It was like all the other missing puzzle pieces clicked into place. He kept looking at me the whole weekend with these like deer in the headlights eyes saying, I know who my biological father is. You know, and yes, Ryan, you do. And then on the airplane on the way home, he looks at me, he's just sitting there, his eyes still, like you could tell he was like in shock, but there was this sense of peace thathe was filled with that I had never seen before. And he says, if I never see those people again, I'll be okay because I know where I come from. [00:14:00] It was really important for him to know that he came from good people. And it was also really important for him, and so many people think donor conceived people are like have to find the donors and track down the donor and know who the donor is. But I think for a lot of donor conceived people, including my son, it's more about being known. I want to be known. I want this person to know that I exist. And that I'm somebody to be proud of. So when my son got that, they knew he existed and that he was somebody to be proud of that, you know, it was like just icing on the cake, all of it. And, and that was 18 years ago. And now, you know, we're all family to each other.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: that's

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: if we, we've kind of lived what's possible, you know, when you make decisions coming from a place of love, instead of coming from a place of fear, there's so many more possibilities for expanding your family and having more love [00:15:00] and more people to love your kid. There's just so many good things once you kind of clear up what the fears and the hesitations are.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Wendy, can you share the moment that Ryan and his father first saw each other and locked eyes.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Oh my gosh, yeah. So, we're waiting in hotel lobby for him to come in, you know, and we're both, you know, my son, we had been up in the hotel room, when I say bouncing off the walls. I mean, like, literally bouncing off the walls. He's bouncing bed to bed to bed to bed to floor to bed to bed. He is so excited. Like, I just thought he was going to like explode. So finally, it's time to go downstairs and we practice getting off the elevator looking cool, calm, and collected.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Ha ha ha. Ha

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: And we get down there and the guy's not there. We're like, oh shoot, we go back, we do it again. So we get out of the elevator looking cool, calm, and collected. He's still not there. We're like, okay, we can't do this [00:16:00] again. Then we go, we hide behind the bar right by the front lobby, cause we're going to come out like this whole thing, it was like a comedy, but I was trying to make it fun for my son also, cause I knew how nervous he was. So I was like, let's put some laughter and fun in here. So he doesn't like completely have a meltdown. Cause he's so nervous. You know what I mean? So. We finally see the guy come in. I'm like, okay, there's my son's face walking in the door. He smiles. I'm like, oh my God, those are Ryan's teeth and he comes walking up and he puts his hand out and Ryan shakes his hand. And it's surreal. Absolutely surreal. We go outside. We're going to walk down the block to get something to eat. And I let them walk ahead of me. Just let them do their bonding thing. I stay a little bit behind. We go into the restaurant and sit down and this must be a guy thing because I've heard [00:17:00] other people tell me this too. The first thing they did when they sat down was go hand to hand. and it's a really familiar thing, a really common thing with guys meeting their biological fathers and it must be like a, it's a bonding thing, measuring hands. Then they did their feet. It's like, like for girls, they would just hug and maybe for guys, they just can't do that or something. So this is like, it's something, but it is, it's making a connection, right. In the way that they could make their very first connection. And it was sweet. It was very very sweet. And, um, yeah, I mean, my son was 15 then and now he's 33 and, he just got his 28th half sibling two weeks ago, so his sibling group, keeps growing and growing. So yeah, it's like a, it's a, the never ending story, you

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Sure. Now, is the donor [00:18:00] father, is he open to meeting his other children?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. So we have a little Facebook page just for, you know, donor 1058 and we welcome each new member. My son's biological father, Lance, is in the group and he welcomes everybody. And a couple of years ago. I actually wrote it, I put the whole thing in this book, Donor Family Matters. In 2019, one of the half siblings got married and she invited all the half siblings to come to her wedding. So, I rented a big house in Portland, Oregon, and Lance came and I was in the house. So we had like, I don't know, seven or eight half siblings who are meeting each other for the first time and also meeting their biological father for the first time. And it was another really profound experience where everybody walked in as strangers, sort of, you know, that looked alike. And by the end of the weekend, [00:19:00] everybody was hugging and crying. And, it was incredible that I got to see, you know, I facilitate that on the donor sibling registry every day we match people, but to actually with my own eyes and experience a group meeting like that was, um, yeah, it was just stunning, really, uh, a wonderful, amazing experience that I'm so thankful for.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Wow. So I would imagine for, you know, for some folks, once they'd had that weekend and met their biological father and grandparents, that might be sort of the end of that journey, but you and Ryan have gone on to help a lot of other people. Can you talk a little bit about how that happened?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. It's so funny, when we first found Lance, I think at that point the donor sibling registry maybe had 15, 000 people or something. And several people said to me, Oh, well, now [00:20:00] that you found Ryan's biological father is at the end of the donor sibling registry? Like they thought like mission accomplished. And I was like, Oh God, no. Now that we've experienced it, I'm like 10 times more committed. I want everybody to have this opportunity, you know, so, um, yeah, it became, I mean, had a full time job that I worked up until 2009, along with the DSR, which is a full time job. And then when I wrote that last check for Ryan's master's degree, that's the day I quit my job. And since 2009, the DSR is my full time job, and we have now connected almost 25, 000 people with their half siblings and or their biological mothers and fathers. So the egg donor families as well. We have 88, 000 members. We connect people every day between three and 10 people connect with a half sibling or [00:21:00] a donor. So it's not like, Oh, occasionally we match people. It's like, no, it's every day.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Very cool.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So I just feel like privileged that that's my job, like it's just amazing. So that's like the good part of it, are the connections but through the connections we all came to realize that the industry is pretty unethical and irresponsible, so that's kind of like the underbelly of all the good is like, wait a minute, they lied to my donor, they lied to donors even now about limiting the number of kids. We have many groups over 100 half siblings, even over 200 because they don't keep records, so any commitment to keeping a low number for one donor is a complete lie because you can't set limits until you have accurate records, which they don't. They don't update medical records. They don't share medical information, even when it's urgent medical information. Sometimes they keep selling the [00:22:00] sperm of a donor who has died, this blows my mind, without telling the parents. At the beginning, I think many of us thought this is the medical industry, right? So HIPAA, first do no harm, and like medical ethics, but what many of us have come to realize is that this isn't the medical industry, these are sperm sellers. That's it. Go on their website, it's all marketing materials. The goal here is to sell sperm. So it's not about accurate record keeping or doing the right thing or being ethical or being responsible, it is just about selling sperm. And nobody's watching. There's no oversight. There's no regulation. And it's a multi billion dollar industry. So, you know, what could possibly go wrong?

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Right. The more people we talk to, it's just shocking, what we hear about this industry. And it does sound like things are starting to slowly move in the right direction as far as legislation goes, but how involved are you in that and making change? [00:23:00]

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Nothing has changed. Nothing, like the legislation that has gone through doesn't really change anything because the reason it went through is because it doesn't change anything. If there's any legislation that's put forward about setting limits, keeping accurate records, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the ASRM, they have lobbyists and they squelch it before it even happens. So these little legislation pieces that have gone through here or there haven't changed a thing. Nothing's changed. Absolutely nothing. They're doing today what they did 10 years ago, what they did 20 years

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Ugh.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So, the best we can do is in light of that, just keep doing what we're doing, because when you can connect with these people, then you can share medical information directly with each other, you know, so if the industry, if they're not going to do their job, then [00:24:00] our facilitating these matches helps people kind of monitor themselves. Like people can come to our website, they're promised that a donor now has no more than 20 kids or 20 families, they can come to the DSR and see all the postings and go, Oh, I guess there's actually 75 kids. All of our records are open. Anybody can see them. And, medical information is being shared and that's the best we can do to make sense of a really nonsensical industry.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Do you know whether Lance knows whether his sperm is still being distributed or?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: No, it's not on California Cryobanks, you can't order it.But there were several families in the 90s who wanted a second child who went back and then he re donated. I don't know why he would have to re donate. Here's a something that people think each [00:25:00] donation is like a potential child. Right? But actually, each donation can create between 4 and 24 potential children. Each donor makes a year long commitment to donate two to three times a week. My donor donated five years. So if you take that to the max, three times a week, 75 potential children a week, that's a potential 19, 000 sellable vials of sperm so why they had to have him come back and donate more is beyond me

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: right.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: You know,

yeah,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Wow.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: like why would you let a donor donate five years when you're telling him you'll have no more than ten kids

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: right. Right. Well, because they, they were just lying to him and, you know, and I and I get it. I mean, a lot of these donors are, you know, college students who are like, [00:26:00] man, I'm broke. I, could use the money and, you know, and Hey, and if it gives a family a baby then great.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah. No, we've done the research on donors. Why did you donate? And the number one reason is the money, a close second is to help families. And usually it's those two together. It's also number three, which was very close. and I can't remember the exact words we use, but something like, if one of me is awesome, many of me would be awesomer, know, like, Yeah, spreading my seed. and again, I think it's a guy thing back from caveman times or something, you know, just wanting to get yourself out there everywhere. So was number three reason. so it's up there.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: And I've always had a savior complex, so I can completely relate to that mentality. I. really have. I can, especially at that point in my life, I would have thought exactly that third thing as well. [00:27:00]

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, when you were in college, did you ever see the advertisement? So the advertisements are like, come make 1, 400 a month for doing what you would do for free anyway.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Right. Yes. Yeah. And the only thing that stopped me from doing it because I wanted to, was that I was married to my ex wife at a ridiculously young age, and she was opposed to it. And I think if she hadn't been, I could have, you know, 19, 000 children out there. Because I was very interested in the money part of it, Sure. I mean,

yeah. It's, I mean,

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Hey, 1400 a month for a college student, you know,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: right. Yep. Yeah. exactly. boy.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: it's a great business model, right? Because then they're paying you, you know, whatever, 100 a donation and women are paying 1000 for one vial, your donation could be [00:28:00] 24 of those vials, 24, 000 they're earning and they paid you a hundred bucks,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. Yep.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: So it's a, it's money making machine with lobbyists in Washington and that's the problem.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Mm-Hmm.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: That's why none of the issues can be fixed.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Well, I mean, if Oprah can talk about it and things haven't changed, then I don't know who can.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: know, what, in the beginning when we first started getting all that media when we did Oprah, we did Oprah twice, you know, we were like, okay, this is great. We did 60 Minutes. We did everything. And we thought this is going to bring it into the public. And then something will be done. Nope. They just ignored it and they ignored it. And then there were a few lawsuits and we're like, oh, this is what we need a lawsuit, that'll get things to change. Nope, they just pay off the people, then there's a gag order and nothing [00:29:00] changes. So if media didn't do it, public humiliation didn't do it, lawsuits didn't do it, then, you know, it's like, I just keep turning my attention back to, okay, what can I do? And running the donor sibling registry, it's like, okay, at least I'm making a difference for the families, right? I can't change the industry. It's been 23 years. Maybe somebody will do it at some point, but it hasn't happened yet. At least I have a place where I can put my focus that is actually doing something and helping families and, you know, sharing medical information and kids that get to grow up knowing all of their parents biological, and otherwise, and, educating people and putting articles and books and research together so that people can make informed decisions. I didn't, I didn't have that ability to make a fully informed decision and [00:30:00] choices about what would affect my son for the rest of his life. Now, parents can make fully informed choices about what will affect not only them, but their kids for decades, and I think that's the right of a parent to make those choices fully informed. The sperm banks are not going to inform them because if sperm banks adequately counseled and informed donors, most of the donors wouldn't donate. Like, if they were honest and said, look, with DNA testing, anybody can find you, we have no accurate records and you're probably going to have like 150 kids out there. A lot of the donors are going to be like, uh, no thanks. But they don't, educate the donors and the donors, they get them in a place of when they're like really wanting money and then they get the parents. Who are in a place of desperation, I remember it - I was there, just give me the baby and I'll figure everything else out you know, cuz people will say to me doing what I do like well, didn't you think you'd have a curious child, you know, and my [00:31:00] honest reply is nope never even crossed my mind because I was so singly focused on give me the baby, everything else later, later, just give. When you're told by a doctor, you'll never have kids together and this is your only way, whether you're a heterosexual couple, whether you're LGBT, whether you're a single mother by choice, you're still in that place of desperation of like, this is the only way that we can have the baby, so make it happen, and you're just in a place of desperation where you're not as likely to put on your research hat and do your due diligence.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Sure. Absolutely. Yeah, no judgment there.

Just to go back to something, you said earlier. It kind of cracks me up that two year old Ryan came home and said is my dad dead or like that's where his brain went to the worst possible.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: well, he was. at preschool. He saw moms and dads picking up kids, [00:32:00] right? So in his mind, I don't know, maybe he had just watched Lion King Or,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: I don't know.

or or what's the, or Bambi, where the mother died or something, you know what I mean? Like, so he knew in his mind. that that would be one

possibility, you

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Mm-Hmm?

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: and then after that, because he learned at such a young age, basically before he would ever remember, then it was never a big deal for him. He's like, my name's Ryan Kramer, I play piano, I'm good at math, I'm a donor baby and I live in Nederland, Colorado. You know, it was just like a part of who he was and his identity and even when he was about six or seven, it was such a part of his identity that he would meet new people, like new adults, and he'd stick his hand out to shake their hand, and he'd say, Hi, I'm Ryan and I'm a donor baby. And the adults like, would be all embarrassed and not know where to look. And Ryan was just like [00:33:00] that was his identity at that point, and I just let him, I wanted him to be proud of every part of himself, including that part. And at that moment in time, at six or seven, he was integrating that into his identity and you know, at some point, obviously he doesn't do that anymore, but it was a necessary step for him to just integrate that into his identity. He did that and then it was never a big deal. There's a small, but very vocal group of angry donor conceived people who I think never had the proper parental support, so with disclosure and then afterwards, or being curious, and they just haven't processed through the anger yet,

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: Yeah.

wendy_kramer-3vycqixmm_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: and I didn't want that for my son.

kendall_austin_stulce___corey_stulce-32_raw-audio_wendy-kramer---donorsiblingregistry_2023-oct-21-0330pm_family_twist podcas: No, in the short amount of time that we've spent with you, I know we can both say that you are an awesome mom and that's the way it should happen.I think that's a lot of the anger there and not just with, [00:34:00] you know, donor conceived people, but you know, anybody that's gets a, a, a secret, a shock, you know,

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