New Son, Maybe

Submitted on: February 27, 2018

Around thirty years ago, while my wife was pregnant with our second child, I saw an ad for donors at our local hospital, in Baltimore. My wife and I knew people that had problems with fertility, in various ways, and I thought it would be a positive thing to get involved. I asked my wife, and with her permission I signed up. There was money too, but it was negligible, and hardly worth the 20 mile drive from my house.

Over the next 2.5 years, and two pregnancies, I remained in the program. The rules were that I had no rights, but I could provide contact information in case the children wanted to meet me later. I agreed. However, a few years after my involvement the hospital discontinued the program, and I moved several times, so even if someone was interested, they could not have found me.

Two years ago, I bought the AncestryDNA deal. It was interesting and I found a lot of cousins that I didn’t know. My father did it too, and I administered his account. In mid-January, I signed on to his account and noticed a new first cousin of his. I asked Dad about it, and he said, “I know all of my first cousins, and most of them are dead (Dad is 90).” I then wrote to the person in an effort to track down the connection. The next day, I got a reply expressing interest in connecting on the issue. While answering, I opened my account and found that Dad’s first cousin was actually his grandson, and my son. I was stunned, and I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t know if he had been told, or if he found out the way I had. If he didn’t know, I didn’t feel it would be right for me to go into details on the matter. We traded a couple of short emails, with the promise of more discussion the next day. At this point, a month and a half has passed with no contact. I wrote twice. Once to provide all of my contact information, and once to let him know I was available any time he wants to discuss the issue. Still nothing. His Dad died about 5 years ago, and I suspect that has something to do with it, but I am trying to stay positive. I have been able to glean a fair amount of information about him, including what he looks like, and he is clearly my son. My thoughts are that he knew and figured he’d find a cousin or two, and could reconnoiter discreetly. I doubt he expected to hit a bullseye the instant he set up his account, which accounts for the fact that he knew for a month and a half and never tried to contact me.

I have given the situation a lot of thought. When I didn’t know any of my progeny existed, it was easier. When I wondered about them, I could tell myself that they likely didn’t use any of mine. Clearly self-deception as they would not have kept me in the program for nearly three years if they were not going to use it. Also, I have recently found out that my characteristics are desirable, on paper at least, from a commodity perspective, tall, healthy, northern European, generic coloring that could be from Ireland to Russia, etc. That is because most of the people in the market for donors don’t want short kids, and most are northern European decent. Now that I know that one exists, I expect many others might be out there too. In truth, I was happier not knowing, although I am delighted to know. The problem is I am delighted to know, and I ache to meet, see, and talk to my new son. I didn’t anticipate this all those years ago. Now I am trying to cope and it is more difficult than I ever thought it would be.