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I’ve just started watching a doco series on MTV (Foxtel) called Generation Cryo. It’s about a young woman called Bree from Reno Nevada who goes in search of her 14 half siblings and her sperm donor father.  Best quote so far, “my mom blames my lesbian mom for why I’m gay…” (yes her mums were in a gay relationship when they conceived her.)

In the first episode, Bree visits her first set of siblings in Georgia who are Jewish and she has Shabbat with them. The family is really lovely and welcoming and open. Their father is really honest about how he felt about his own infertility and his hesitations with Bree’s quest to find the donor – that he feels threatened by it. It was very moving. Bree forms a bond with her two half siblings and her half brother agrees to give her his DNA so she can search databases to locate their father. (They do get a match and a few of the half siblings send an email but it’s a dead end.)

In the second episode, Bree travels to Boston and California to meet several other siblings. And we learn that many of them have already met each other and their parents have kept in touch with each other over the years. Not something I knew was possible with anonymous sperm banks. In a sense, I think Bree realises she’s missed out a bit by her mothers never being curious about the idea of other people out there related to Bree and that maybe she would have liked to have had some siblings or at least know of them. Some of them take a visit to the Cryo Bank where they learn that they can write letters, when they are 18, to the donor and the bank will pass them along. He may choose to ignore the letters entirely or may communicate back to the bank. Several of her siblings are 18 and so write letters. Afterwards, she learns her half brother Julian had written his own letter more than 8 months ago and had no reply, and she feels a little disappointed. It seems that the donor wishes to remain anonymous. She then recruits one of her other half brothers to help her further in her quest.

There were some really crunchy discussions in the first two episodes – Bree has lesbian mothers who have since split, one family is a single mother, one is where the father was infertile, and another where the father was originally infertile but later on was able to father a child so those two siblings are half siblings and thus related the same was as the donor sperm kid to Bree. And these bring up such interesting discussions about how the men feel. So interesting to see how open and inclusive all the parents seem to be, both with welcoming Bree in to their fold and also with how comfortable the other half siblings feel in some of the other homes. And what constitutes being a parent.

Not all the kids feel the same way either – some want to meet their father, some just want to know who is and some still have no connection at all and want nothing to do with it. Julian, who himself had already gone on an expedition to find this guy, argued that it was immoral for Bree to try and find him – that the conditions that these men donated sperm under was that it was anonymous and that it’s not ok to now try and find them. Bree doesn’t see it that way – it seems incomprehensible to her that someone would donate sperm to create people and then never ever think about it again or never want to know who they are (I wonder how anyone would feel if 16 people suddenly showed up and said, “hi we’re your children”. So many interesting sides to the situation. I’m assuming that they find him because it doesn’t make an interesting arc if not. Though watching Bree be awkward and yet feel kinship with basically strangers is fascinating.


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