By Jennifer Lahl and Matthew Eppinette

As we approach the Father’s Day holiday, we can’t help but think of those who do not know their fathers. Some don’t know their fathers because they are adopted, because their fathers walked away, or because their fathers have died. But others do not know their fathers because their families have been intentionally structured so that they cannot know him—they were conceived through anonymous sperm donation.

It’s easy to think of sperm donation as nothing more than a way to help infertile couples have a baby. It can be difficult for those of us who were not conceived this way to understand what it’s like, and how Father’s Day is a time of mixed emotions.

Hundreds of thousands of donor-conceived people have been born, all around the world, in the two hundred plus years that sperm donor conception has been going on. Only recently have the ethics and the effects of donor conception begun receiving close scrutiny. Often the questions are being raised by those who know they were donor conceived.

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