Wendy Kramer is Co-Founder and Director of the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR). The DSR was founded in 2000 by Wendy and her donor-conceived son Ryan to assist individuals conceived as a result of sperm, egg, or embryo donation who are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties. With almost 70,000 members in 105 countries, the DSR has helped to connect more than 18,500 of them with their half-siblings and/or their biological parents. Wendy and Ryan have pioneered an international discussion about the donor conception industry and the families, with research, speaking engagements (Medical schools, law schools, LGBTQ, Single Mother’s by Choice, Infertility, Reproductive Medicine, Adoption, and Universities), books, articles, media appearances, and interviews.
Wendy has co-authored 26 papers on donor-conception in journals like Social Science and Medicine, Human Reproduction, Reproductive BioMedicine & Society, Facts, Views & Vision in OB/GYN, Reproductive BioMedicine Online (RBM Online), Advances in Reproductive Sciences, Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Fertility and Sterility, The Journal of Family Issues, Children and Society, and The Journal of Law and the Biosciences.
She has reviewed abstracts for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and has been a peer reviewer for the journals Human Reproduction and RBM Online. She was an Associate Producer on the 2011 Emmy nominated documentary Sperm Donor and on the 2013 MTV News & Docs, 6-part docu-series, Generation Cryo. Wendy and Ryan have appeared on 60 Minutes, Oprah, GMA, The Today Show, CNN NPR, CBS Sunday Morning. The DSR has been highlighted in the NY Times, The Washington Post, the Harvard Law Review, and hundreds of other news shows and publications around the world. Wendy wrote the book Finding our Families: A first-of-a-kind Book for Donor-Conceived People and Their Families and author of the children’s book Your Family: A Donor Kid’s Story.
Background: In 1989 Wendy Kramer found herself as one half of an infertile couple and subsequently chose donor insemination to have Ryan in May of 1990. She divorced when Ryan was a year old and has raised him as an only parent since then. Honoring her son’s curiosities about his donor and “invisible family” she has always been honest with him since he first inquired at age 2 about his “dad”. When Ryan was age 10 the sperm bank inadvertently told them that Ryan had “many” half-siblings, they turned to the internet after getting nowhere with their clinic and sperm bank in the facilitation of the mutual consent contact that Ryan desired with these half-siblings.
Since posting the first Donor Sibling Registry message in Sept of 2000, the site has become a hub for donor families and Wendy the connecting factor between these families. She has dialogued with thousands of donor-conceived people, parents, donors, family members, researchers, lawyers, bioethicists, scientists, educators, health professionals, and media entities. Wendy and Ryan both have become the public faces and voices of donor conception, bringing their stories, as well as stories of others on the DSR to the public arena. Making the connections can be a profound experience, but also, figuring out what to do with these connections is the forward-moving purpose of the DSR. For Wendy, it is all about redefining family, openness, honesty, and discovery.