Donor Unknown: Adventures In The Sperm Trade

Donor Unknown: Adventures In The Sperm Trade

Static Mass Rating: 4/5

Release date: June 3rd, 2011
Certificate (UK): 12A
Running time: 80 minutes

Director: Jerry Rothwell
Producer: Al Morrow, Hilary Durman

Cast: Jeffrey Harrison, Jo Ellen Marsh, Rachelle Longest, Danielle Pajano, Fletcher Norris

Official Film Site

It near impossible for teenagers to connect with their parents. When I was that age it was all about bad moods, stomping around and being embarrassed by them. Just think back to Kevin the Teenager, the character played by Harry Enfield on the Harry Enfield and Chums TV show…but what if you’re a donor-conceived child who actually wants to connect?

Donor Unknown is a fascinating documentary that follows 20-year-old JoEllen Marsh as she tries to find her anonymous donor father. Raised by two mothers in Pennsylvania, she always knew her family ‘wasn’t like other families’.

Donor Unknown

After discovering a unique online registry which connects donor-conceived children, JoEllen found out her father was Donor 150.

We then meet Jeffrey Harrison (aka Donor 150). He lives in Venice Beach in a broken down RV with his four dogs and a pigeon. The former model supplemented his low earning back in the 1980’s by becoming a regular sperm donor and one morning he saw JoEllen’s search for Donor 150 on the front page of the New York Times and knew it was him. Deciding to come forward, he was also surprised to learn just how many children he fathered across the country.

Donor Unknown

As JoEllen meets her half siblings and they learn more about Jeffrey, not everybody is so thrilled about him. It doesn’t deter JoEllen though, she’s just as anxious to meet him as he is to meet her and we anticipate all the way through how they’re going to receive each other when it finally happens.

It’s very interesting to see the siblings connecting and finding out they share similar features and traits; the way their tuck their hair behind their ears or how their eyebrows grow.

Donor Unknown

Some of them are keen to know what they’ve inherited from Jeffrey as well. His free-spiritedness, philosophies on life and conspiracy theories are all things that surprise them about their new-found dad.

Donor Unknown, at the same time, also highlights issues surrounding the secrecy and shame of being a donor and the need for donor-conceived children to know who their fathers are. In the past it has always been terribly difficult to get information on who donors were but a documentary and story like this one shows it’s not impossible. You just have to be ready for what you might find!

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