Sperm Donor Unknown
Anna’s Quest to Find Her Father

A film by Valentin Thurn
WDR “Menschen hautnah”, Length: 45 minutes, Executive Producer: Enno Hungerland
Broadcast: WDR TV, 7 May 2008, 10:30 p.m.
Rerun: 9 May 2008, 2:15 p.m.

When Anna (28) learns from her mother that she was conceived via a sperm donor, the shock lames her at first. For weeks she gazes at family photo albums, constantly comparing her face in the mirror with those of her father and sisters.
Anna’s parents separated 8 years ago. Since then Anna has had only rare contact with her figurative father. Her two younger sisters were born naturally, though at the time a doctor had told the father that he was sterile. That was the reason why the parents made use of a sperm bank in Boston/USA to assist them back then.
' Anna travels to Boston to look for her genetic father. To put it more accurately, she goes there to find the ‘donor’, because she avoids using the word ‘father’ in this context: “I already have a father!” The quest proves to be difficult because Pauline, her mother, destroyed all of the documents at the time. After all, no one was supposed to find out about the sperm donation. Once she realises just how important ‘finding the donor’ is to her daughter and Anna actually finds a possible donor via an internet forum, Pauline resolves to travel to Boston, too. They visit Randy, the man who had donated at the time when Pauline was in treatment. Following a highly emotional talk in his flat, they take a saliva sample on a Q-tip. When they return home to Munich they have the sample tested at a genetic lab. On her quest for her true identity, Anna hears the test results from the director of the lab...

Video (approx. 10 min., German)

Camera: Axel Weber
Sound: Uwe Hanisch
Editor: Susanne Schweinheim
Music: Harald Schwender

Supplementary links:
WDR Podcast
WDR “Menschen hautnah”
German meeting point for former sperm donors and children originating from donors
Account of a ‘donor child’s experiences’
Index of German sperm banks
German institute for paternity tests with experience in seeking out donors
German psychologist, specialised in creating families using donor sperm
Magazine section of the newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung”
ZDF Frontal 21
Sites in English:
American forum for seeking out sperm donors
American gene database for seeking out members of a family
British self-help network


As full-length video podcast