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Meet the Family: Sperm Donor Meets Daughter

Aired July 21, 2003 - 19:41   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: In 1984, a woman named Mary decided she wanted to have another baby. With no husband or significant other at the time, she went to a sperm bank in California. Mary wanted a biracial child that would look like her other two children from a previous marriage.
Eventually she gave birth to a daughter named Christina.

Fast-forward 18 years. Christina wants to meet her biological dad. It would be a meeting that most families could not even imagine.

We are going meet them right now. Joining us from San Francisco are Mary, Christina, and the donor, Phillip. They've asked us only to use their first names.

Welcome to all of you. Appreciate you joining us.

Mary, let me start off with you. I know you were very honest with Christina really since the beginning about how she came to be. What did you tell her?

MARY, MOTHER: Well, I just gave her the basic facts at first. She was very young when she started asking about where babies came from. And then the next step was to tell her that she came a little different. When we she wanted to know who her daddy was, I told her about the sperm bank. And she was very young when I told her, so I don't know if she quite got it.

But she kind of knew all along that she came differently.


MARY: And then pretty soon, she started to understand what it really was.

COOPER: Well, Christina, once you started to understand what it really was, I mean, did you, from a young age, make the decision, I want to find out who the donor was?

CHRISTINA, OFFSPRING OF SPERM DONOR: Yes, I did. From a very young age, I did.

COOPER: Why was that so important to you?

CHRISTINA: Well, I'm not too sure why. It was just like -- because I wanted to see somebody else who looked like me, who had my same, you know, personality traits and things of that matter.

COOPER: Now, this is actually unique. I think it's the first time this has happened in a national program, because most -- very few programs actually have the option, I guess it's called the identity release program, where the sperm donor can check off saying, at age, you know, 18, it is OK to have the person find out my information.

Christina, when you went about tracking down Phillip, or the man you would soon learn to be Phillip, how nervous -- I mean, you must have been really nervous.

CHRISTINA: Yes, I was very nervous at first. In fact, I made -- the first, first phone call I made to him, I hung up on his voicemail. I said, Hi, this is Christina, click. I couldn't say any more.

COOPER: Well, that wasn't, that wasn't all that helpful.

Phillip, when you heard that message, what did you think, a prank call or something?

PHILLIP, SPERM DONOR: Well, Anderson, that was one of the things I thought about, was this a prank caller? Then I also thought about the women I've seen throughout my life, and trying to match the voice with a face. And I came up a blank.

COOPER: Finally, I think it was actually the third phone call, Christina actually talked to you. What was that conversation like? What did she say, and what went through your mind?

PHILLIP: Well, when Christina and I finally -- we finally got to talk, I -- she -- the question she asked me was kind of sounding robotic. So I asked her, I said, Is it -- are you reading from a piece of paper in front of you? She said yes. I told her, Push it to the side, and ask me anything you wanted to know. First question was about my feet.


PHILLIP: The second was -- About my feet. Did I have big feet as she does?


PHILLIP: But she's cute, too. Yes. The second question was our sense of humor. We're extremely sarcastic, and it put -- I think it put her at ease that she met someone whose sense of humor is the same.

COOPER: Christina, what has this been like for you? I mean, all of a sudden discovering this man, Phillip, who you share, I guess, not only feet size with, but a sense of humor with.

CHRISTINA: It has been very, very exciting. It has been a long journey, but it has been worth it, definitely.

COOPER: Are you going to stay in touch?

CHRISTINA: Oh, most definitely.

PHILLIP: Definitely.

CHRISTINA: Yes. Yes, definitely.

PHILLIP: Definitely.

COOPER: And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Christina, also, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) my final question, I understand you want to be a forensic scientist. Does it have anything to do with the fact that, you know, DNA and this whole process has played such an important part in your life?

CHRISTINA: Actually, no, it doesn't. I hadn't thought about that until a lady brought it up to me. So I hadn't connected that in any way. It was just kind of weird that that turned out like that.

COOPER: Well, it has all turned out for the best. Mary, Christina, and Phillip, appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much. It's just a remarkable story.

PHILLIP: Thank you, Anderson.

CHRISTINA: Thank you.

COOPER: Great to meet you all.


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