Cheryl Piddock’s story of her conception is different than some. But that’s what makes her special, she says. In this Q & A, Cheryl helps to answer some questions about growing up as a donor adoptee.
What is the story of your beginnings?
I will be turning 30 this year in July. When my Mom was 18 she had a son. Years later she met my Dad, who also had children from a previous relationship. He had three daughters. My Dad didn’t think he wanted any more children, so he had had a vasectomy. When my parents decided they wanted to have a baby together, their only thought was artificial insemination. I have four half siblings. A brother from my Mom (eight years older than me) and three sisters from my Dad (the youngest of whom is 15 years older than me).
When did you first understand that your biological father was a sperm donor?
My Mom told my when I was six years old. I don’t remember feeling anything about it. It’s just how it was. My Dad didn’t help make me, but that didn’t mean anything to me. It was something that made me special, and that is how my family made me feel.
Was there openness? I mean, did your parents talk about it often or not? Did you have any information about your biological parent?
It is an open topic for me, but I don’t discuss it with my Dad. I think he prefers to think I don’t know. I was his baby, so he may have some reservations about talking about it. My Mom and I used to joke about making sure my boyfriend’s Dad never donated sperm. Joking aside, that is something I did have to be conscious about. Not that it is likely that I would ever meet and have children with a child of my donor (or another child of the same donor), but you just never know!
Do you have any contact or information about your biological father? Do you wish to?
I have no idea who the donor was. My parents just said they wanted someone with dark hair and green eyes (like my Dad). I don’t have any curiosity beyond perhaps some medical information.
How is a donor conception like adoption for the child? For the family?
Well, of course, there is a similarity because your parent does not have the same DNA as you, but it is very different because at least one of your parents does. Just another way to build a family.
How do you feel about the Olivia Pratten case (a donor-conceived woman who is fighting to have records about birth parents opened)?
I have to honestly say I don’t agree with that. Not that I don’t sympathize with her, but these men who donate sperm do/did so with the understanding of anonymity. I think there should be a registry similar to adoption. If the donor wants to be found, he can sign up. Medical information is important, and I can see that should be available.
Any tips for parents of donor-conceived children? Any tips for the children?
Honesty is a must! This is just a part of your childs story. It is something interesting that most people don’t know about me, and it makes for great conversation. It’s just who I am, and it wouldn’t make any difference if my Dad made up my biology or not. However, this was meant to happen, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.