Family Law

Sperm Donor Meets the Kids


For years, Thomas Anthony Donahoe, a 50-year-old Massachusetts family therapist, has wondered about his children. He has never married. But, when he was recovering from a leg injury and needed the money, he donated sperm about 30 or 40 times in the late 1980s.

Now the phone is starting to ring, with Donahoe’s permission, as some of the children he fathered seek to contact him, reports the London Times in a column authored by Donahoe himself (and reprinted from a subscription New York Times site).

Release forms and, in some states, statutory law or adoptions are supposed to protect sperm donors—and the families who raise the children conceived in this manner—from unwanted legal complications. However, Donahoe admits he’s been a bit “worried about possible financial liabilities that could come out of this largely uncharted legal territory.” Nonetheless, he and two of his children, so far, agreed to meet.

As he headed to see his son for the first time, at a Cambridge, Mass., restaurant, “I felt a little paranoid … wondering if there might be a camera to take photos of me to account for some potential child support,” Donahoe writes. “Of course, he also could just have been a child wanting to meet his biological father.”

In fact, meeting his dad was indeed what the teenager wanted, and the two have begun a tentative, somewhat awkward relationship. “I felt a sense of relief that I had finally met one of my offspring,” Donahoe says.

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