For many donor half-siblings, seeing physical features mirrored in another person invoke a feeling of having expanded their family or social circle. At the same time, the experience can be overwhelming. It is not a given that you - whether you are donor-conceived or a parent - will feel an immediate connection just because your families have received help from the same donor.
Your feelings or your child's feelings about these new relationships may also fluctuate over time. If you choose to seek out your child's donor half-siblings, take it one step at a time. Children’s imaginations can be strong, and their expectations might be far from reality. As a parent, make sure you are ready for such situations and support your child if the first meeting with a half-sibling does not go as expected. Remember that your child gets the most out of the experience in the long run. Also, it is not a given that your child is interested in this kind of relationship.
Finding out the identities of donor half-siblings is just the beginning. The experience might spark a lot of questions from your child about conception, why you used a donor, who that person is and a range of other big questions.
It is also good to prepare for the event that other donor-conceived families might be curious about your child and your family. If a potential donor half-sibling or the parent of a donor half-sibling reaches out to you, give both yourself and your child time to figure out how you feel about it. There is no right or wrong. It's perfectly okay to decline contact.
The same advice applies on a general level when determining whether to seek out donor half-siblings.
Give yourself time, consider the pros and cons. What is best for your child and your family? There is no clear-cut way to go about this and choosing not to look for donor half-siblings can be just as sensible as going ahead. Also, your decision need not be final. If in doubt, wait.
As Henriette Cranil puts it:
“Good arguments can be made for both choices, and it is not a black and white matter. I think you should be conscious of your motives, regardless of what you decide. Seeking out donor siblings requires time, care, and the form must be in place. You can’t simply do it out of sporadic curiosity. We owe it to our children to be aware of what we are setting in motion. Ethics must be the guiding force.”