Friday, February 27, 2009

Documentary: "Bio-Dad"

Last night, I watched a riveting two-hour documentary on the CBC. "Bio-Dad" covered the journey (over several years) of Barry Stevens, a Toronto man conceived in the early 1950s through donor sperm, to learn the identity of his biological father. His journey involved many ups & downs & surprises -- including the discovery that he has a biological daughter himself. Along the way, he visits other children born of donors, a single gay dad & some lesbian mothers who have used donor gametes and/or surrogates to conceive their children. He also explores the ethics, implications and future direction that ARTs might take (for better & for worse). Stevens did an earlier documentary on the same subject (which I have not seen), called "Offspring."

I was dead tired (dh was long asleep by the time I made it up to bed at 10), but I was glad I stayed awake to watch the whole thing. Although donor gametes were not part of my infertility journey, I am nevertheless fascinated by the subject, and by the enduring tug of the biological tie. (Also, as I have written before, I am a sucker for a great reunion story of just about any kind.) I thought he struck a nice balance between the need for a fuller knowledge of one's biological identity and yet sympathy for those, like his parents -- and his bio-dad -- who desire secrecy and anonymity.

There is a link on the CBC's "Bio-Dad" site to the film, so you can actually watch it on your computer! (And it's only about 90 minutes without the commercials!). Lots of interesting links expanding on the story on the right-hand side of the page too.


  1. You beat me to it, Loribeth! I've been meaning to blog about this since watching it the other night. It was truly an excellent documentary. I had seen "Offspring" before, and this one recaps a lot of it. But it also answers a lot of questions and continues the story, and also goes into more of the issues of ART and third party reproduction. Although there are some critical voices in the film, it is very balanced and compassionate, and I found it very moving.

    Thanks for posting all the links and for getting the word out on this great film!

  2. Ooh. Thanks for posting this link. I've been wanting to see this.

    Also, thanks for stopping by my blog eariler : )


  3. You've got to read the The Genius Factory by David Plotz -- it's a book that, among other things, chronicles people who were conceived using donor sperm. It's equally fascinating.