Angela, Wyatt, Cassidy, and Cody’s DNA Surprise

How do you define family? For so many of us, DNA surprises have made us reflect deeply on this question. For Wyatt, Cassidy, Cody, and Angela, the answer is different depending on who you ask.

Twenty-plus years ago when Wyatt, Cassidy, and Cody were born, fertility clinics didn’t advocate for disclosure. So when their mother and father asked Angela, a clinic employee who’d befriended their mom, to donate her eggs for their subsequent pregnancies, they opted to position Angela as more of a family friend.

Their families kept in touch over the years, until contact suddenly stopped. After many twists and turns, today, their family looks different to each of them. Wyatt lives with Angela, her husband, and their biological and adopted children. Cassidy views Angela more like a fun aunt. Meanwhile, Cody’s relationship is a little more distant. 

In this week’s episode, the four of them discuss their journeys from the beginning to where things are now. They also share what changes they’d like to see in the fertility industry. 

You’ll hear throughout the episode that each of the siblings has a different perspective on their stories, from when they found out to how they found out. I won’t get on my soapbox again, but I believe this highlights the importance for each of us to be entitled to our own feelings about our own stories.

Thank you to Angela, Wyatt, Cody, and Cassidy for sharing your stories.

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Episode Transcript

Transcripts are AI-generated and may not reflect the final published episodes.

[00:00:00] Angela: And I will say that as an industry, when I was an egg donor, like it was sold to them as if it was anonymous. And I get it. 23andMe didn’t exist, but you know what existed? And here’s what I always refer to when, when people talk to me about this. I have a 24 year old as well.

[00:00:21] Angela: So we have three 24 year olds right now. My 24 year old son ended up at the homecoming dance of the school that these three went to. So his girlfriend lived in the suburb that we all lived in and where I grew up. She moved to where the suburb where they all live and were growing up in and they all ended up at the same high school dance. So for me, that was my biggest fear and why I did not want to donate anonymously. So I didn’t want my son to end up at some event and meet his sister and bring his sister home like as a girl he liked. I was terrified of that, literally terrified of it, which is why I only did open donation. But nobody talked about that. And I was a coordinator of those cases. I cycled those girls. I know what was said to them. I know what is still said to them now. And what I will say is that there, at least as an industry, there’s discussions that are uncomfortable and that’s where it starts.

[00:01:25] Alexis: Hmm.

[00:01:25] Angela: With uncomfortable discussions.

[00:01:28] Angela: So my name is Angela and I’m 50 and I’m actually from San Diego, California, but I currently reside in the Phoenix area of Arizona.

[00:01:38] Wyatt: My name’s Wyatt. I’m also from San Diego, and I also currently reside in the Phoenix area. I’m 24.

[00:01:46] Cody: I’m Cody. I, you know, I’m from San Diego and I still currently live in San Diego area. I’m 21.

[00:01:54] Cassidy: Cody got his age wrong. We’re 22,

[00:01:57] Cassidy: but

[00:01:57] Cody: Uh,

[00:01:59] Cassidy: I’m Cassidy. I’m 22. Um, and I’m also in San Diego.

[00:02:03] Alexis: Angela, I would love to hear your story, kind of where it starts with what was happening in your life and why you decided to become an egg donor.

[00:02:15] Angela: So for me, I was working in the fertility industry already. I was actually a medical assistant in a fertility clinic. And at that, at this point in time of my life, I had already been a gestational carrier for someone. And I had a little girl who was about four years old at the time. And when I was working at the clinic, um, I was the one that would draw blood and put patients in the room and then chaperone the doctor in the room.

[00:02:41] Angela: And so my interaction with the patients was probably more than most people within the center. Yes. The doctor talks to them. Yes. You know, their coordinator may talk to them, but me, I’m kind of holding their hand the whole time they’re in each of their appointments. So some patients you develop. A relationship with and Wyatt and Cody and Cassidy’s mom.

[00:03:03] Angela: I had developed a close relationship with in her visits and she and I looked very similar. And so, you know, we were talking and we were the same of the same faith, uh, of the same background, kind of, and we kind of looked very similar and have the same similar colorings and facial structures. And she was just a very nice lady. And I one day was just asked if I would be willing to donate my eggs. And, and at first I was like, I, I don’t, I, can I go home and talk to my husband? I didn’t, I didn’t really know how to answer. So it wasn’t sure if that was something that I wanted to do or that I didn’t have any thought one way or the other.

[00:03:44] Angela: Cause nobody had ever really asked me that before, but I had been a gestational carrier and had carried a pregnancy for someone. So, uh, well, I mean, Let me think about it. And I did go home and I did spend, it was a day or two. I went in and said, sure, I would do it. And initially, you know, I, I told my, the people I worked with, obviously knew that I was going to be going through it. And I told my sibling, which, you know, he was, you know, Young at the time, in his early 20s, and he was like, okay, and I told my parents, and my mom was not very happy. So my mom was like, what?

[00:04:20] Alexis: Why not?

[00:04:20] Angela: She had this weird, I understand the thought process when people say it, I just don’t agree with it. So her initial response was, you’re just giving away my grandkids? And I was like, no. I’m donating my eggs, but okay. We talked very briefly about it and then I just went about my life and did it anyways, which is kind of par for the course with me.

[00:04:44] Angela: So I’m, I’m sure that my, my parents weren’t shocked when years later I go through and the donation was successful and it has like three really cool kids. And, and I was getting Christmas cards from their mom. She would send me yearly Christmas cards. And so I could see them growing. And then one year I got a Christmas card and I was like, Oh, wow.

[00:05:04] Angela: So they’re a little girl. This is like a Xerox copy of my face. If my mom sees this child out and about, she’s going to know. So I took my mom to dinner so she couldn’t yell at me in public. And I laid down the Christmas cards and I was like, so remember when you got really upset with me when I told you that I was going to probably donate my eggs?

[00:05:27] Angela: Well, I did it anyways. And here we are. So, uh, it was two donation cycles. There was actually technically three, cause there was a canceled cycle in there where I had made way too many. And then, went through and did a cycle and. Wyatt resulted. And then when they came back a couple years later, they wanted siblings.

[00:05:46] Angela: And at that point, I had had a baby between the donations. So I had, at that point, had a six year old and a six month old. And so, again, I just took a moment to think and then decided to do it. Because I thought, of course, like, I get why they want siblings and it makes sense. You know, this is kind of what my world is and has been still to this day still is, is a donor and surrogate type cases.

[00:06:12] Angela: And so I said, yes, again, and then we went through again and we, uh, significantly less eggs. So the first time I think there were 16 eggs and it resulted in one baby. And then the next time there was eight eggs and resulted in two babies. So technical technology had gotten much better in between the two timeframes. At that point, I just kind of went about my life. I’ve always told my children, I always have, it’s been very open in my life on this side and it was very simple when I did my egg donation, it’s not like it is now, nowadays there’s like agencies involved and contracts and screenings and things, it doesn’t really, it didn’t really work like that back then.

[00:06:52] Angela: There weren’t contracts.

[00:06:54] Alexis: What was that process?

[00:06:55] Angela: Yeah. I. Do you want to donate your eggs? Yeah. Okay. We’re donating your eggs. I mean like that’s literally how simple it really was. There was no legal representation on either side. There was no, uh, no counseling of me of any sorts of like, what does this mean?

[00:07:14] Angela: What is this going to cause? Like, what does this look like? And then I signed a consent form and said like, hey, yeah. I’ll have a procedure to donate my eggs and, and yeah, I won’t, you know, try to take custody of kids or anything like that. And so I think about it now, that’s not how it’s done now. It’s a nothing

[00:07:31] Angela: like it’s

[00:07:31] Alexis: a, a medical history or medical

[00:07:34] Angela: Um, yeah, so there was a.

[00:07:35] Alexis: depth or

[00:07:36] Alexis: yeah.

[00:07:37] Angela: was, I filled out probably a 25 page questionnaire. It covered three generations of family. So my grandparents, my parents, and myself. At the time I had a daughter so I did include things about her. I turned over maybe 25 to 35 photos of me that range from birth to current, um, their mom had asked that I keep her up to date about my life.

[00:08:03] Angela: So every now and then I would, send letters of like, here’s what it is, or she called the office and I would say, this is what it is. Cause in that time I had, after donation, I I’d completed my bachelor’s degree. I had completed my master’s degree. I had adopted two more kids. So it was always just kind of nice to have that relationship. And then as they got older, there was less contact. Um, I think probably very much just because life happens. And the other part was that it was, I don’t want to say it was weird for me, but it was, I mean, you know, If you, if you saw the photographs of me and Cassie as small children, like it was really like looking at myself.

[00:08:43] Angela: It was very strange. It wasn’t like a bad weird it was just like a, you know, how do I. How do I go to birthday parties or how do I hang out? Like, what is the explanation? And the truth is nobody would probably ask nobody because nobody is thinking along these lines, but I knew

[00:08:58] Alexis: so you were a surrogate first or you had a child, so you were a surrogate

[00:09:04] Angela: no, no, I had a child. So I had a child at 19

[00:09:09] Alexis: Okay.

[00:09:09] Angela: then I was a surrogate for a couple who had. Many failures with another surrogate before me. And then they wanted, and then we got pregnant and miscarried and they wanted me to be, this is the weird part is they wanted me to be what’s called a traditional surrogate.

[00:09:26] Angela: So that’s where I use my egg and carry the pregnancy. And I actually said, no. Because for me, I couldn’t do that. That’s why when, like, six months later, I was asked to donate my eggs, I was like, Somehow this is different. And it is different. And I stand by the fact that it is different. Uh, it’s very different.

[00:09:47] Angela: I’m donating an egg. I’m not carrying a pregnancy that is genetically related to me. And then putting the baby up for adoption or giving the baby to somebody. It’s just different. I can’t really explain it.

[00:09:59] Alexis: Sure, so you had a child, then you were a gestational carrier, and for people who don’t know, is that a distinction within the fertility industry, the idea of a surrogate versus gestational carrier?

[00:10:14] Angela: So a surrogate is a gestational carrier. It’s just, I think, industry wise, we refer to them as gestational carriers, there’s traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy is, is that person’s egg in their uterus, so their child genetically and birthing.

[00:10:30] Alexis: So you birthed a child, then you were a gestational carrier, then you donated

[00:10:35] Angela: Yes.

[00:10:36] Alexis: which resulted in Wyatt, and then you had another child,

[00:10:40] Angela: Yep. I had a little boy. Six months after Wyatt was born. I had a baby.

[00:10:46] Alexis: okay, and then you donated again, which resulted in Cody and Cassidy, and then you adopted children?

[00:10:55] Angela: Yes. That was like simultaneously.

[00:10:58] Angela: I think I was donating at the same time we were going through the adoption. And so I adopted my cousin’s children who she could not care for. So I have to. Adopted children

[00:11:10] Alexis: okay. So you said that you decided to donate your eggs because you had a closeness with their mother. Um, and then over time that kind of drifted a little bit.

[00:11:24] Angela: Yeah, and part of that is life, and her life took a different turn, which the, the, the kids can choose to share if they would like, but their, her life took a different turn and, and my life became very busy with four kids. And so. It was just down to Christmas cards and then at all. And I wasn’t updating at all either.

[00:11:44] Angela: And, and I felt kind of bad cause I didn’t, I didn’t get a chance to tell her that I had finished grad school and, and kind of where my life was, I had started a company. I had written a book, like there were things that I had done in my life that I felt. You know, she should know. And so, um, I went to go write the letter like I usually do, maybe nine years ago?

[00:12:07] Angela: I went to go write like a recap letter, like what had happened over a few years, and then I mailed it to the usual address and it got returned to me. I was like, what? So I did what everybody does nowadays and just headed to Facebook, and found, uh, their dad and just reached out and kind of explained the situation and where their life was at. And it just kind of went from there.

[00:12:29] Alexis: So at that point. Do you contact, I’m calling you the kids, but you’re adults, but

[00:12:36] Alexis: do

[00:12:36] Alexis: you, do you contact your offspring, your genetic offspring, or what term, what

[00:12:43] Alexis: terminology do you all use? I guess I should ask first.

[00:12:46] Angela: They can speak to what, I mean, I call them hatchlings and they know that.

[00:12:51] Alexis: Hatchlings. Okay.

[00:12:52] Angela: They’re really just called your, your offspring, but I call them hatchlings. I don’t know guys, chime in.

[00:12:58] Cody: I just say that it’s an egg donor. I don’t say genetic. I mean, I guess it is, but I don’t say that. I just say it’s an egg donor parent. Or just an egg donor. Um, and that I was egg donated. I’m not sure.

[00:13:16] Cody: Hatchlings is pretty funny, but I had to say egg donated rather than, uh, genetic.

[00:13:22] Cassidy: Um, yeah, I just call her our donor, but

[00:13:26] Cassidy: for our siblings, I call them our siblings. I don’t really see them as any different.

[00:13:30] Alexis: Wyatt. What do you think?

[00:13:32] Wyatt: I think it’ll be, like, they’ve said two different things. I have a totally different aspect, considering I live in their house. And my girlfriend’s mom did a really good job of kind of summing up the way that their relationship is, at least with me. And I would argue that it extends to Cassidy and Cody as well as this idea of step in parents. We had a really broken home coming into it. So it was kind of refreshing, even though it seems like a really oddball kind of family style. If that makes sense.

[00:14:05] Alexis: Yeah, I mean, families are all different. That’s definitely what this podcast is all about. So totally get it. Okay. So, so Angela, you connect with their father.

[00:14:19] Angela: Yeah,

[00:14:19] Alexis: learn about circumstances that are happening,

[00:14:21] Angela: So their, their mom passed away and I believe Cassie, it’s been like nine years.

[00:14:26] Angela: Right. So the last few months of her life, she, she was, she had early onset Alzheimer’s. So the last few months of her life, I was able to spend a few times a month visiting her. And walking with her and just spending time with her. Not, and there were very few instances where she knew who I was, but there were definitely two.

[00:14:51] Angela: Unfortunately she did pass away and the kids were teenagers. I think Cody and Cassie, were you guys like 12 or 13?

[00:14:58] Cassidy: We were, I think, 13.

[00:15:01] Angela: And then why it was like 15, they were pretty young and I actually, their dad had asked me to attend the funeral. So I did. So I actually was the first time I had seen the kids physically in a very long time.

[00:15:13] Angela: I saw them each in the hospital when they were born, but I had not laid eyes on them in a very long time. So I saw them then. And then there were a few times that during that time window, that first year. Where I took them out a few times. I think ice skating, Wyatt came ice skating with us once. Cody and Cassia and I went bowling with my son who’s around their same age.

[00:15:37] Angela: We went to Dave and Buster’s once. There was contact, for a little bit. And then again, this isn’t, they’re, they’re kids. This is not the time to be like, oh, hey guys, you know, surprise. So years go by at this point, Wyatt is. What are you, 20 or 21?

[00:15:55] Wyatt: 21, because it was the October of 2020.

[00:15:58] Angela: So I see on Instagram that Wyatt is in town. And I said, Oh, wow. I said to my husband, one of the donor kids, one of the hatchlings is in town. We should try to see if he wants to get lunch. And we did, we went and had lunch with Wyatt and Kimberly, my oldest girl was there and we all had lunch and it was nice.

[00:16:17] Angela: And then the next day we were having a barbecue. So we said like, Oh, if you want to come over, come to barbecue. He came to the barbecue and then we were doing a breakfast the next day he came for the breakfast. And in this whole time, his car is not running very well. I asked him to stop by on Sunday, get breakfast and like, let’s make sure your car’s okay.

[00:16:34] Angela: His car’s okay. It makes it, but I say, okay, look, I have triple A no matter where you’re at in your car ride back. I have enough miles on AAA that we can get you home. So if you break down, you either come in here to me or you’re going to California, depending on where in the road trip that you are. And he was fairly early on maybe 40 miles.

[00:16:55] Angela: So I had no choice but to tell him back to our house and we told him back to our house. At that time, I don’t think that I had his dad’s current number, but I had texted a couple of times there and didn’t get a reply why it had called him and was talking to him, but he really needed help.

[00:17:09] Angela: Like he didn’t have a car. So I think that he stayed at our house. And the third night in, I think it was, is when I was upstairs and I was talking to my husband, like this, this kid’s been in our house for three days. And he’s been here total, like five days in a row or something like that, four or five days.

[00:17:27] Angela: And. I’m just feeling weird about I know something that he doesn’t know that I feel like is pretty big and I, my biggest fear was I had already done 23andMe and Ancestry. com before all of this stuff was coming out like this and I know for a fact that I, Didn’t consider that one of these kids would have this.

[00:17:48] Angela: Cause when I had my test, they, these kids were teenagers. I don’t even know if they were teenagers. They might’ve been still been young. Cause I had it when it first came out. That’s when I talked to my husband and asked what he thought about me. Just telling Wyatt kind of who I was. They knew, or at least Wyatt knew, that I had helped their parents become pregnant, but I think it was always kind of framed in a way of just helping them because I worked at the fertility clinic.

[00:18:14] Alexis: Right, so Wyatt, I have, I have a question for you. What was Angela or who was Angela to you at this point? Did you just consider her a family friend or what did you know about her?

[00:18:28] Wyatt: It was family, friend. That’s all my dad had explained it as and I think that comes to all of us That is the same view of where we were sitting.

[00:18:37] Cassidy: she was just our mom’s friend. That’s what I knew. And that’s it.

[00:18:41] Cody: yeah, I’m on the same boat. It was just like, A friend of our, our parents and specifically our mom and just her.

[00:18:47] Alexis: Okay.

[00:18:48] Angela: I mean, that, that, that’s not a dishonest answer. It truly is because that’s really where the relationship was really based, was between their mom and I. When the decision for me to donate was made was because it was her. Specifically,

[00:19:05] Cassidy: I know that I wasn’t aware that our parents had issues conceiving, so I, I didn’t even know that that was a possibility. Like, we weren’t, I know I wasn’t told, like, Oh, we went to a fertility to, like, have kids, but, like, they never said anything about that.

[00:19:21] Alexis: Okay. All right. So, so Angela, you then sit Wyatt down and start to have a conversation

[00:19:29] Alexis: and how did that go?

[00:19:31] Angela: For me, I didn’t think it was a story that I would have been telling him myself directly. I thought for sure what was going to happen is one of them would do 23 and me and then link with me and that’s how all this would come out. And I really, really in the moments where Wyatt had been in my house for three or four days.

[00:19:52] Angela: That’s actually specifically what I didn’t want to happen because now I’m part of and working in the industry that I do and working so closely with donor conceived people. I know that that’s what they get so upset about is that the amount of people that have to tell the lie. Right? And I, in that moment, I’m thinking like, this kid has trusted me, he’s in my house, his car’s broken down, I’m gonna have to help him get home, whatever that looks like, he’s clearly struggling, with life, it, things are hard, and, you know what, I, yeah, I, I’m just gonna tell him.

[00:20:33] Angela: And then whatever ramifications come of that, uh, I I’ll live with, there’s nothing legally there to stop me from saying anything. There’s like no NDA. There’s nothing like that. No contract, no, nothing. I just felt like I don’t want. I don’t want to be part of the group that didn’t help, so I just did, I just said, you know, hey, you think that people are broadening your life for a reason and I said this, this conversation right now for me started 23 years ago, 22 years ago, and I know that you know I helped your mom.

[00:21:10] Angela: Like I worked in the fertility clinic and I said, but I actually helped your mom by giving her my egg and you could just see why it’s brain like it’s all matriculating, like through what, what is it, what, what does that mean? And I remember him being clearly shocked and him just sitting there for a second.

[00:21:31] Angela: And all that was there was my husband, me and my daughter and Wyatt and Wyatt just looking down at the counter and watching him think and say, something to the effect of like my mom’s not here, but like my genetic parent or mom or parent or something along those lines is alive. And I was like, um, That’s not how, okay, yes, and then he turned to Kimmy and said, and you’re my sister, my daughter was like, yeah, and my husband, if you hear my husband tell this story he tells it significantly better than me or Wyatt, because he watched it all.

[00:22:12] Angela: And he was just like. This is like the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. And it took a while, like, and then he was still in the house for like two or three more days. And so then we did do 23 and me so that it could confirm them. Cause you know, I’m just like a person, like I could have been lying, I suppose.

[00:22:27] Angela: And then I left it on Wyatt if he wanted to tell his siblings, because for me, why it was. 21. The twins were 19. At least I told the one sitting in my house and who was going to be in my house and in the end he did. He ended up being with us I think for a week and now he was with us. So I, it was the right thing to do for me and at this point.

[00:22:51] Alexis: Okay, Wyatt, you have been in your family friend, is what, is what you think, in their home for a few days. And then Angela sits you down and tells you that she was your egg donor.

[00:23:05] Alexis: What was your reaction when you got that information?

[00:23:08] Wyatt: My my first reaction was I was sitting there she said it like I donated an egg to your parents I was like, okay, she was like you get what that means. I was like, I got it And I just kind of sitting there on the stool like it. I got it. I understood the super basic idea behind it and then it just kind of started to sink and I was like, oh, okay, but not knowing how to put it because

[00:23:40] Angela: Yeah,

[00:23:41] Wyatt: in today’s point, like, there is no word to describe the relationship between donors and donor conceived offspring. So, I think I explained it as the genetic, the genetic mom half.

[00:23:56] Wyatt: And when I did, when I did look at Kimmy, Kimmy was my half sister. And it was just a super weird complex. Little shock and awe, but I was like, Still not entirely sure, but then I remember also sitting there after it sunk in a little bit, and I was like, you know, a lot of, a lot of the little things in my life make sense.

[00:24:20] Wyatt: One of them is I’m colorblind. Nobody on my mom’s side of the family is colorblind. But it’s one of those things is, that’s an ex related trait. That is a trait that you can only get from your mom’s half. And my mom’s family, nobody was colorblind. That was the first one. That, and we have an older brother. His name’s Wade and we look alike, but we don’t look enough alike that you would’ve assumed that we were all from the same parents. So always used to make the joke where Wade’s from the milkman well, in fact, we’re in, we’re from the milk lady and it’s, he’s actually the love child kind of thing. Not saying that our parents don’t love us. They loved us enough to pay for us, kind of thing.

[00:25:08] Alexis: Sure. Okay. So at this point, does it register for you? Like you are not biologically related to your mother who has passed away? Is there any gravity around that? Or were you in just complete shock?

[00:25:25] Wyatt: I think it’s, you know, you’re gonna get different answers from the three of us. To me, it wasn’t a huge difference, because at the, at that point in my life, I had realized already that, like, family is not determined solely by blood, and I may not have been genetically related to my Mom, but that that’s my mom.

[00:25:46] Wyatt: There was no I mean, there was no getting around it and that answer will stay the same between the three of us is our mom still our mom regardless of who we’re genetically related to

[00:26:02] Angela: And that is actually something that is super important to me. And anytime someone hears about us or this, they have a mom. She is no longer here, but that is their mother. And like, I have a wall of old pictures in my house that’s The older generations, like older photos, and there is a family photo of theirs with all of their kids.

[00:26:28] Angela: That was one of the Christmas cards that we got. Actually, I think there’s two up there because that’s important to me because one, I wouldn’t have donated if it was anyone else. I don’t think it was specifically the relationship that I had with their mom. And two, she’s their mom. She did all the work. I, I like, I get to enjoy these like really cool adults.

[00:26:50] Angela: People ask me frequently, like, well, it’s not motherly. That’s not the emotion I can’t. A big sister is probably the closest that comes to it. Maybe like an aunt. I don’t know, but it’s definitely not a parent.

[00:27:02] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:27:03] Angela: I mean, a step in parent would be kind of, Wyatt’s girlfriend’s mom, when I met her, I was just like, I don’t know, I’m their egg donor, like, I don’t, like, what do you say? She was like, step in parent. I was like, okay, but he does live with us and it is different and he’s part of, we have a very full house right now.

[00:27:21] Angela: We have three. Three generations, three generations under one home, three familial generations for societal generations under one home.

[00:27:30] Alexis: Wow. Okay. So Wyatt, then you are given the power to tell your siblings. The responsibility to tell your siblings and everyone is laughing right now

[00:27:45] Angela: She did not do

[00:27:46] Alexis: listening here.

[00:27:47] Cassidy: No.

[00:27:48] Wyatt: And we

[00:27:49] Alexis: just, just like we got the side of Angela telling you, and then you received it. Now I want to hear how you told them and how they received it.

[00:27:57] Alexis: So how did you tell your siblings?

[00:27:58] Wyatt: so I got like I got home and Cassidy was you weren’t living in the house at that point. No She had already

[00:28:06] Wyatt: moved out with her boyfriend.

[00:28:08] Cassidy: Yeah.

[00:28:09] Wyatt: So Cody was home. I told Cody and it wasn’t out of the blue. It’s a pretty normal

[00:28:14] Wyatt: thing to go get McDonald’s.

[00:28:16] Cody: it was, no, no, no, it was, um, I was coming home from Arizona as well. I, I was already out there with my, uh,

[00:28:25] Wyatt: Cody, you didn’t

[00:28:26] Wyatt: drive with me back.

[00:28:27] Cody: no, no, no. You picked me up from the airport

[00:28:29] Wyatt: Oh, no,

[00:28:30] Cody: you told me,

[00:28:30] Wyatt: no. No,

[00:28:31] Cody: yeah, I was, I was getting picked up from the airport. You know, I I’m with my brother in the car and he is white as a ghost.

[00:28:39] Cody: He is pale. And I’m like, Oh my, because he, he’s, he’s just like, you know, really nervous. Like he wants. to maybe tell me something and I was just confused. And then like, this is where you can pick up why I’ve been like, again, I’m getting the airport. I’m like, what’s up, man. It’s like 8 p. m. It’s like late. And why just like, like, what’s,

[00:29:01] Cody: what’s going on? Um,

[00:29:03] Alexis: and so what did you say, Wyatt?

[00:29:06] Wyatt: I gave a basic rundown of it in a broken fashion. And then Cody and I, and Cassidy is going to swear on her life that it was all my choice, but Cody also agreed to. Hold off on telling Cassidy because Cassidy would have lost her mind and she definitely would have lost her mind had she found out through 23andMe or Ancestry. com any other genetic testing sites. So I think it was like two weeks later. We were all going to McDonald’s Again, not out of the ordinary. We were all going to McDonald’s and Cody and I were joking like, yeah, what if we were the milkmen? And then

[00:29:49] Cody: Imagine that

[00:29:50] Cody: like,

[00:29:51] Wyatt: we dropped the bomb.

[00:29:52] Alexis: Oh, okay. So you guys were joking

[00:29:54] Cassidy: Two day span. The first day, we went to McDonald’s, and we were joking around. The second day, we went to McDonald’s, and you were like, oh, you know Angela. You know, she was like, in the medical field or whatever, and I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re fine. And he’s like, well, she’s our donor, and I was like, you’re crazy. You’re crazy. Like, there’s

[00:30:16] Cassidy: no possible way.

[00:30:18] Angela: And then I get a text like, Oh, Cody knows. And I was like, what? I thought we were waiting for 23andMe so that you could show, but, but in the end, then when they told me Cassie knew, then I just started texting. I think Cassie and I texted for several hours that first

[00:30:35] Alexis: Okay. So Cody, when you found out you sat with that for two weeks about how are you feeling as you were kind of processing all this?

[00:30:45] Cody: um, well, one of my brother told me, I was in a really weird spot, like, like flying back from Arizona. I like, I more or less just like just broke up with my girlfriend. So I was just already like emotionally kind of weird, uh, kind of gray, like very meek. Uh, but when I like found out, And I still think even to this day, I would think it didn’t really change a lot for me. I think I was

[00:31:08] Cody: even cracking jokes. I was like, I was like, Oh, does that not mean we’re like, we’re not like Swiss? Like, can we

[00:31:14] Cody: not enjoy like chocolate as

[00:31:17] Cody: much or something? And truly like I, I, I have this belief that it didn’t really for me. And I know this is not for every, uh, egg donor. I think we all have, you know, Three, you know, from why Cassidy and I, we have very three different opinions about how we feel about this. Um, for me, it, it changed not a lot. It was just kind of, I treat them as almost like a third cousin, like a very distant relationship, but like, I guess we’re technically family. So for me, when I was sitting in that car with that kind of like, I was just like, Oh, Interesting. Sure. I had a few clicks right there, like in my head. I’m like, Oh, doesn’t that make, uh, Ian, which was Angela’s son, uh, who I’ve hung out with in real life. We were, Kind of friends online. Sometimes played some video games. I was like, Oh, well, does that make that, you know, our, our brother. And they’re like, yeah, I’m like, Oh, cool.

[00:32:14] Alexis: Cassidy, how did you feel when you found out and you’re the last to know and, and how did that hit you?,

[00:32:21] Cassidy: I was a little upset that they had waited like two weeks to tell me because I feel like that’s kind of a big thing. I should have known as soon as Cody knew. Um, and it was also just the way they dropped it on me was just so confusing because we literally just talked the night before like as a joke.

[00:32:37] Cassidy: I thought it was just a joke, but I was definitely tripping out for like a week straight because like I, everything kind of felt like a lie essentially. Like I felt like I was lied to in some ways. Like, I still love my mom and dad, like, they’re my parents through and through, but like, It’s still hurt to know that they had kept that for so long.

[00:32:57] Cassidy: Cause like at that point I’m like 19, like, I’ve lived a whole life and gone through so many things. And like, didn’t have a mother figure for so long. So like, to know that I sort of have a mother figure now. It’s like, I don’t know, I was tripping out. Like, I don’t really see her as a mom. Necessarily I see her as like a cool aunt.

[00:33:14] Cassidy: I was very shocked. I was like, you know, cause I live with my boyfriend. So I like, for like the whole week, I was just talking to my boyfriend about it. And it was like, this is crazy. Like, this is absolutely insane. Like I would have never expected it. But at the same time, it kind of was like a relief because, Our mom’s disease is genetic, early onset is genetic, and for me, as like the only girl in the family, I always felt like I was going to get it, so I was kind of trying to fast track my life a little bit, and like, get everything I want to do out of the way while I’m young. So knowing that I don’t have that gene, like, immediately was like, okay, I can relax a little, like, I know I’m not gonna get it, you know,

[00:34:02] Cassidy: and I took the 23andMe as well, and like, it’s not fair, so, for me, that was like a big part of it,

[00:34:09] Alexis: Okay. And so what happens next? I mean, you all seem to have different relationships with Angela now. Cassidy, you said she’s like a, a cool aunt. How did, how did your relationship grow to that point?

[00:34:22] Cassidy: Um, at first I was a little nervous to talk to her about it, because I honestly had no clue. where to start. Like, I had questions, but like, I didn’t even know where to begin with those questions. So I think Wyatt actually told her that I wanted to talk to

[00:34:38] Cassidy: her, and she reached out to me instead

[00:34:40] Angela: yeah. And the first question was funny. It was like, am I, am I still German?

[00:34:45] Cassidy: yes,

[00:34:46] Cassidy: we, we, we all cared very much if we

[00:34:49] Cassidy: were Germans

[00:34:50] Angela: much like, were they still

[00:34:52] Cody: this was the most important part

[00:34:53] Cody: clearly for us was,

[00:34:55] Angela: it was.

[00:34:56] Alexis: And what’s the answer? Are you? Okay. Very good.

[00:35:01] Wyatt: I don’t know why they’re saying us. I couldn’t have cared less if we were German or not. This is not an us thing. This is a

[00:35:07] Wyatt: Cassidy and Cody thing.

[00:35:09] Angela: Well, it was very important. It was very important. And I think for, um, Cassie, our first sets of conversations were kind of, so Cassie, my, my children that I birthed did not get any musical or artistic talent. Not, I, Did not. I have none. My father though, um, learned how to play something like crazy, seven instruments on his own.

[00:35:39] Angela: He can play the piano, the saxophone, harmonica, the guitar, the all kinds of things. But Cassie can, play the ukulele and she is. Sculpts and does all kinds of like artistic things. And I’m an anthropologist. So the conversation really was like showing her carvings that my grandpa did and paintings that my aunt did and talk about those type of things. And that’s just where it started. And my oldest daughter and Cassie hit that, hit it off pretty, pretty instantly. And so I think that kind of helped. And then I just, um, I’m an easy adult to call and ask things that they, I mean, I hope they know, like there’s literally nothing they couldn’t ask that I wouldn’t answer that whether it has to do with me, family, Life, it’s hard.

[00:36:26] Angela: Life’s hard at 50. Can’t even imagine how hard it is at 21 or 22 or 24. Sometimes you just don’t even know what you’re supposed to do. And I tend to, I tend to feel, I feel, not so much for Cody. Um, our relationship, for me and Cody, and for my stance, is very casual and I like to give him a hard time.

[00:36:47] Angela: He’s funny. He

[00:36:47] Angela: reminds me of, he has like

[00:36:49] Alexis: where I was going to go next is like, yeah, Cody, for you, you said not a lot changed and you don’t necessarily feel as close to Angela as your siblings do.

[00:37:00] Alexis: What would you define your relationship like now? And were you curious to like build any more of a relationship after you learned the truth?

[00:37:08] Cody: In the beginning, I was not really like, I, you know, again, I was at a weird time where I was just like, you know, I got to focus on myself for a second. And so I would like it. I didn’t have that, that want to explore that relationship. I was really thinking more for myself at the time, but, and like now it’s kind of extended to like, it’s more, cause you know, like we’re here, we’re doing this podcast.

[00:37:32] Cody: Uh, and, I think I guess I have a vaguely similar stance of like, Oh, well, they’re like a cool uncle or, uh, you know, I almost treat them in, in like the best way I defined it is almost like, Since I don’t have a girlfriend anymore, I used to do everything like all these family events with them, I’ve just now switched it over to their schedule. So now I’m just like, oh, and now they do every now and then they’ll do, uh, something for Christmas or something for Halloween, or like some kind of in between holiday or just, just, you know. Some kind of general weekend party, uh, and I’ll go out there, and I’m all okay with that. Like, you know, like all their family, like the, the, you know, like the, a sister, half sister, we have, uh, they’re, they’re cool. All the little young kids that are just. little terrorists that come get me when I’m there. Um, but

[00:38:27] Alexis: you’re a little, a little more involved now.

[00:38:29] Cody: uh, slightly more involved.

[00:38:31] Angela: We’re gonna love Cody to death. Like, we’re gonna love Cody to death if it’s the last thing that we do. And so no, it’s a lot of teasing and a lot of like, going back and forth. Um, for

[00:38:43] Alexis: But I love how you, you kind of are, you meet everyone where they are

[00:38:48] Alexis: and you have different relationships and that’s okay. So

[00:38:50] Alexis: Wyatt you live with Angela. So how did your relationship with her grow to the point of where you now live there?

[00:38:58] Wyatt: Well, I think the first big thing is I was visiting GCU when I first met them. GCU at the time. And I can confirm the right choice to what school I wanted to go to, where I wanted to be. At that point, that goal of getting to GCU was way too far out of the price range. And after finding everything out and coming down for Thanksgiving a month later or so, It was definitely a really cool thing when she had opened the invitation to stay with them while I was at school.

 So I knew he wanted to go to the school. I knew that it was out of the price point. I wanted to know what he needed to get where he wanted to be. And so I was like, well, just live here. You can live rent free if that’s what you want. But I offered it like, just, we had like one night, I think we stayed up to like two in the morning talking just about life.

[00:40:03] Angela: And that’s what I said. And kind of, I try to live my life. What, what does that saying? I don’t even know who said it, who said like, you know, when you go be what you needed as a kid. And I didn’t have a lot of direction. I had really a really great mom, but not a lot of direction. And so I’m, I really do meet all of them wherever it is.

[00:40:25] Angela: They need me to be whatever that looks like. In his case, I knew that if I let him live here, rent free, he could go to the school that he needed to go to, to complete the dreams that he wanted. And I know that his mom would want me to help him like that. Like, I don’t have to ask. I don’t have to think about it.

[00:40:43] Angela: Like she. Would have been okay with that offer. I just really believe that. And I probably would make that offer to my best friend’s kid. It’s just kind of who I am, but that’s, that’s how he got there. And I don’t think you came like, it was still a while.

[00:40:56] Wyatt: No, I didn’t. I didn’t end up moving in until about, shoot, seven or eight months later.

[00:41:03] Cassidy: Yeah,

[00:41:03] Cassidy: it was in, like, July. Well,

[00:41:05] Wyatt: was, yeah, it was. It was the weekend before their annual poker party.

[00:41:10] Angela: Yeah. We have a poker party every year, which is actually this year. So they’re all coming out here this weekend. So we’ll all be together Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

[00:41:18] Alexis: Awesome.

[00:41:19] Angela: And so that’s where that started, but go ahead. Sorry. I just wanted to like, I, I know it might seem weird that I offered to allow him to stay there, but that’s kind of where my thought process was as to why did I make that offer?

[00:41:33] Angela: Was it my place to

[00:41:34] Angela: make

[00:41:34] Alexis: no, no, no, yeah, there’s no judgment. I’m I’m because I think Like we talked about, families are so unique and the relationships that we form and,

[00:41:44] Angela: Family’s

[00:41:45] Alexis: nobody gets to decide exactly

[00:41:47] Alexis: and, and nobody gets to decide what your relationship has to be and I think it’s so interesting how all three of you are kind of in these different positions and so I was just curious how you got to a point of, you know, moving in and, and so how would you define your relationship with Angela Wyatt?

[00:42:04] Wyatt: Well, I definitely came in on rough footing. My background with my dad was not phenomenal. I love him. He’s still my dad, but we had our rough spots and I know Cassie and Cody got front row tickets to watching mine and my dad’s relationship. I don’t know, take place. So when I came here, it was a lot of cold shoulder, keep to myself, people don’t need to know what I’m doing.

[00:42:34] Wyatt: Cause. It’s not going to matter in the long run, and it’s a totally different family style in this house. necessarily Angela that had sat me down and been like, Hey, this is what we do here. It was Rob at work because I worked with him and he sat me down and he goes like, Like you’re, you’re living in our house.

[00:43:01] Wyatt: Like, You’re part of this family and like you need to act like it slowly, but surely I got into the gears of I just let them know where i’m at at this point and it’s To me the way my girlfriend’s mom had explained it as a step in parent. That’s where that relationship comes in Because they’re not

[00:43:22] Wyatt: step parents. They’re not my they’re not my parents but they are a Like they’re just parental figures that have guided me You To where I am now, and I can tell you that is a thousand times further than I ever would have gotten if I would have stayed in San Diego.

[00:43:40] Alexis: That’s amazing. That’s really amazing.

[00:43:42] Angela: And Rob is

[00:43:43] Angela: my husband,

[00:43:44] Alexis: And he worked with my husband, and so that’s who that is.

[00:43:48] Alexis: Now I don’t mean to switch gears to like a somber tone, but I’m curious how the three of you felt about the fact that your parents didn’t disclose this information to you? Because I know Cassidy, you, you touched on something that I think a lot of people in the DNA surprise community talk about, which is that feeling of everything is a lie.

[00:44:12] Alexis: People knew something about me that I didn’t know. And that’s kind of its own unique experience. How did you all feel about that piece of it? Cody and Wyatt.

[00:44:24] Wyatt: I to me, I felt it was important to know. Me knowing at 21 versus me knowing at 16 really didn’t make a difference. So, in my eyes, nothing changed. The only difference is Now, when I talk about medical background, I have the correct one. I don’t feel like I was in a rush to know, Oh, well, they should have told me sooner. They should have done this. My mom didn’t have a choice. She had no clue. And my dad feared her name was going to be tarnished because of this idea that we’re not genetically hers. And it’s like that that’s never been the issue.

[00:45:06] Cassidy: A big part of that was our family was very Catholic at one point, and anything unnatural in the Catholic Church is frowned upon. Um, so none of our family knows. Our aunts, our uncles, cousins, nobody knew. Our oldest brother doesn’t know. Her best friends didn’t know. Like, nobody knew. So, our dad didn’t want anybody to know because he felt like not only would it ruin, like, Our idea of our mom, but like, it would also ruin our relationship with our family because we were all very Catholic at some point.

[00:45:38] Alexis: And so do people still not know in your family?

[00:45:41] Cassidy: Yeah. I I’ve only told, um, like my mom’s best friend because I felt like maybe she would have known, but she didn’t. And I also had told our nanny cause we had a nanny when we were little. But I don’t think any of us have talked to our aunts or uncles because I think part of us are still kind of scared that they might react negatively to it. Although I feel like nowadays it’s, we’re not nearly as religious as we used to be. And that goes for all of them. I don’t think any of us are really as religious. So I feel like if they knew now, it might not be that bad.

[00:46:17] Alexis: Okay. And Cody, what about for you? Was the lie an issue for you? Or was, I mean, you seem to have taken it in stride, ,

[00:46:25] Cody: I’m kind of similar between, I’m like the kind of in between opinion between my brother Wyatt and my sister Cassidy, um, it didn’t change a lot. Uh, like I said, like I didn’t, I didn’t care. Um, did I, I mean, should I know? Yeah, eventually. Like I, again, like with my brother’s opinion, I, I didn’t care if I learned this at age six or like 13 or some, you know, whatever age I could have found out, I wouldn’t care. Um, but you know, I do partially care that like, if there was some kind of health issue, uh, yeah, it’s probably more, you should definitely tell, your kids, something like that. Like my sister trying to fast track life with Alzheimer’s, can definitely put a burn it on. And it’s like by something you should mention, like, ah, you don’t have to worry about that.

[00:47:17] Cody: And I know it’s kind of hard for a parent to be like, Well, Cassie, don’t worry about it. And then Cassie’s like, well, what do you mean? Like my mom has it and he’s like,

[00:47:25] Cassidy: Our

[00:47:25] Cassidy: dad didn’t cry. He didn’t say, oh, it’s not genetic, it’s not genetic, but like, I knew it was genetic. He just wouldn’t tell us exactly why it wasn’t genetic for us.

[00:47:38] Cody: yeah. So it’s, it’s definitely a tough in between for a parent to explain to a kid. So I’m, I’m very in between. It’s like, you know, you should maybe try to tell your kid if there’s any serious. Health issues that like, that’s something they should know, but like, honestly, you can tell your kid whenever, never, I mean, like nowadays it’s like, we, we have, ancestry.

[00:48:01] Cody: com where you just find out this information and it’s, it’s pretty open nowadays.

[00:48:05] Alexis: Right. Right. Now, Angela, you’ve been working in the fertility industry for a long time. At the time when they were conceived, was the advice, tell your kids or don’t, or

[00:48:20] Angela: No, it was actually quite the opposite. So what I will say that the industry that I have, have worked in for so long, they, they would encourage intended parents not to tell. That was the actual conversation. So I will say, luckily, uh, that, that, that tide is changing, probably not as fast as I would like it to.

[00:48:41] Angela: And I do a lot of advocacy work with the Society of Ethics and Aid Donation and Surrogacy and I also do a lot of advocacy work with donor conceived people. So that is something for me that I always knew of them, but knowing them and interacting with them and I mean, Cassie fast tracking her life is insane, but I would venture to guess that that happens more often than we, people would like to talk about.

[00:49:10] Angela: It’s a difficult conversation for parents, and, but you have so many difficult conversations with your kids. The least complicated is to explain a sperm or egg donor, especially once you let go of any religious hang up you may have or, or ethical hang up that you might have. And I do believe that with them, their, their mom kept in contact for a long time.

[00:49:32] Angela: Like she knew for a long time. What I didn’t know is that she did have early onset Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know that her mind was slipping. The letters and cards just stopped and I was in a place in life where that was okay. I was 27 years old raising four children. I was really busy. I would do it all over again.

[00:49:53] Angela: That’s for sure. I don’t think I would do it any sooner. Like, I, they’re all, they were all over 18 and, I think that if I didn’t see Wyatt’s struggle that was happening at the time that I may not have been as, because what Wyatt was really struggling, knew what the right thing to do was. And so, and I know this sounds nuts because not everybody believes in this type of thing, but for me there was a huge push. from the connection that I have with their mom. Does that make

[00:50:23] Alexis: hmm. Yeah. So what is next for all of you? You mentioned a poker game that you have

[00:50:31] Alexis: this weekend at all.

[00:50:32] Angela: we do a princess and poker party. This is the sixth annual, and I think this is the third that all of them have attended.

[00:50:39] Cassidy: Yeah.

[00:50:39] Angela: So it’s always a lot of fun. It’s always our friends. It’s always our family.

[00:50:44] Angela: And my family is very much what I have built. So yes, I have a mother that I am close to and I adore, and I have a brother the same way. I have a half sister and I have a stepsister that I grew up with. But I’ve also built my family with my husband and our very, very Very blended, very unusual family that yes, we probably, probably could have a podcast on our family.

[00:51:07] Alexis: Yeah. You really could. I’m curious to hear from, let’s start with Cassidy, I asked this of everyone who is a donor conceived person on the podcast, because I think it’s really important to center your voices and your opinions on donor conception.

[00:51:24] Alexis: So I’m curious to know, what are your thoughts overall? Like on, on the donor conception industry, the fertility industry. And are there any changes that you think that should take place within the industry?

[00:51:40] Cassidy: think that There’s definitely a lot to work on in the ethics part of, like, kids knowing and not knowing and, like, where the boundaries are, um, because there still really isn’t any clear boundaries necessarily. Like, is she allowed to reach out to us when we turn 18? Is she not? Like, should she be allowed to?

[00:52:00] Cassidy: Like, I don’t know. And I think, The anonymous stuff needs to just go away because, like, realistically, it’s not gonna happen anymore. It’s way too easy to take a DNA test at the end of the day. Like, I was planning to at some point, and I would have found out and been very confused if I didn’t know.

[00:52:19] Alexis: Yeah.

[00:52:19] Cassidy: I think that we should have known or at least been given correct medical background um because now there’s things that I know that I wouldn’t have like developing allergies like Angela developed allergies at my age and now i’m starting to show symptoms of developing allergies and like I would have never known If I never talked to her

[00:52:39] Alexis: Hmm.

[00:52:40] Cassidy: Tell us, but at the same time, like, I love my parents very much.

[00:52:44] Cassidy: They’re still my parents. I just wish there was more honesty around it. And I think that’s kind of where things need to change in the industry is just, I think they need to look more at the kid’s point of view rather than just the donor and the parents. Cause I feel like that’s where the focus has been for so long. But now like all of us, our kids are growing up. Yeah. And we, like, care, like,

[00:53:09] Alexis: yeah, absolutely. Wyatt, do you have any opinions on the fertility industry largely? And it’s okay if you don’t, but just want to ask.

[00:53:18] Wyatt: I agree with the, like, ending the anonymous donation kind of thing. I also do believe in the idea of parental rights, at least until we turn 18, of whether or not to choose whether you’re going to tell your kid or not before they turn 18. Only, just a legality thing, and I do believe in parental rights for a number of reasons, but I would have liked the proper medical history. And I think that was the biggest thing, is not having that. When we’re putting down our medical history from our mom’s side and that’s not it That’s where I feel like I was faulted. But other than that like Yeah, anonymous donation should be gone. But the choice of parents to tell before 18 I think that that’s it still up in the air because there’s

[00:54:13] Wyatt: just so much going on in the world. Think

[00:54:16] Alexis: you have an opinion on all this stuff?

[00:54:19] Cody: um, yeah, a common occurrence, a middle opinion. I definitely believe that the animatity of some of this kind of detail for like genetics should be exposed, and whether that be at like, maybe An age before 18, 16 or something, 16 is almost like a pretty good age, but I definitely know that there’s, that’s a, you know, that’s for smarter people in politics to kind of go into that dynamic and maybe a little bit more research.

[00:54:50] Cody: And. Talk to, you know, like the donors later in a deadline, like definitely having an open conversation to see what we can like do for the politics of this kind of stuff would be cool to see in, uh, this field. And I guess there’s like one thing specifically, I study social media marketing and, uh, I’ve definitely seen a couple, like, you know, you’ll just see a couple of advertisements, whether that be on YouTube or like, like take talk that they’re saying the egg donation is this like a free way to get the back almost like they’re like, you know, there’s one specific ad. I was like, ah, get your freeze, Tessie, your Tessie, you know, a Tesla.

[00:55:33] Cody: And I thought that was. A little gross, uh, in that the targeted ad was towards maybe somebody that’s like just about to turn 18. Like this is like a very quick and it’s like the quick and easy way to make money, which it definitely shouldn’t be like that.

[00:55:50] Cody: It definitely should be promoted as something that, you know, you really have to think about and that it’s not something as easy as just, ah, get the bag, get that 50 K bag. Ah, just drop a couple of eggs. I mean, nothing serious. Clearly, but I would definitely like to see some change in some advertisements like it’s, it’s something that’s a very weird thing to advertise, but they definitely should not advertise the at a certain way to kind of kids being like it being a quick way to get money kind of scheme.

[00:56:24] Alexis: a really good call out because even when I was in college many years ago, it was something that was targeted towards young female students. And then now with social media being even more prominent than it was when I was in college, there are a lot of really wild ads out there targeting women, for egg donation.

[00:56:45] Alexis: So that’s a really good point that there probably should be some regulation around that.

[00:56:50] Alexis: You mentioned that you’re involved in advocacy now around that. So what are you, what are you doing?

[00:56:56] Angela: So, um, Wyatt and I have actually sat on a panel at the Society of Ethics in Egg Donation and Surrogacy about a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago at this point was the very first panel that had happened where it was the donor and the donor conceived person were on the panel. So that was the first step into it and Wyatt can to attest the, The, the craziness that that brought to us for two days when we were at the conference.

[00:57:19] Angela: And then so I also speak and do that type of thing at those conferences and then with the donor conceived people, their, their counsel that they have. I am currently working on doing some egg donor education. Items and also recipient education items, because the truth is, is as much like what Cassie said, we don’t really talk about that.

[00:57:42] Angela: The donor conceived people, but not that I make excuses for that. But what I will tell you is that when I started in this industry, I remember the office being given a pizza party because we reached a 10 percent pregnancy rate. So 90 percent of the time you were telling people they were not pregnant, no matter what we were doing.

[00:58:00] Angela: That’s not the case. And it’s really not the case when you’re talking about donor donor donor egg donor sperm or anything like that. Most of the time they become pregnant. So now we have to change the conversation, but we have some catch up to do. And I’m hoping that anonymous egg donation eventually will be gone completely because I think it’s wrong.

[00:58:19] Angela: And that we really just do better for the kids. But what I know is that I’m gonna do better for the kids that I help create. And I want to make sure they have a safe space to talk about it or not talk about it. They can be a part of it or not be a part of it. I want them to know that they have a voice.

[00:58:32] Angela: And this story is weird. It’s weird. Like, there’s no way around it. Our story is weird. But if our story is what brings forth change, and it saves a whole section of people from being lied to, or a donor doing something she’s like, didn’t think about because she wanted to buy a Tesla. You know what I mean? That’s why I don’t mind sharing the story

[00:58:51] Alexis: yeah, what advice do you have for parents?

[00:58:55] Alexis: Who are keeping a DNA surprise from their child or children. Let’s start with Wyatt.

[00:59:03] Wyatt: It’s important to understand that although your fears are valid, they’re not, they’re more than likely not to come true, like the idea of parents names being tarnished, and There was a doctor on that panel that spoke and argued that fear is not an issue for the parents that have to tell the kids. And of course I had something to say because I am the example that he didn’t want. I am the example where the parent was scared That we were going to tarnish our mom’s name. So to understand and emphasize to your kids, when you choose to tell them that, although they’re not necessarily related to whichever parent it is, that it doesn’t make them any less of your parent.

[00:59:58] Alexis: Cody.

[00:59:59] Cody: Um, I don’t know if I have something as nearly introspective as why it’s approached to it. Again, it’s a tough conversation and, you know, it also goes like there’s a lot of different kind of spectrums where you can like, is the parent like, a young parent and like this is a much harder conversation or are they old and traditional and is that the reason that’s hard? But you know, like maybe I, I think it’s something, something you should be honest about. And that, um, yes, it’s going to be a hard conversation, a weird conversation, a kind of confusing one too. Um, but definitely, you know, come into the conversation, you know, being open and being honest and that, it’s not something that you’re trying to lie about.

[01:00:41] Cody: It’s just that there could be like a lot of other circumstances, but here I am today. And. I hope you can understand my reasoning. Um, and we can come to like a conclusion. That’s hopefully a good one.

[01:00:52] Alexis: Cassidy, what advice do you have?

[01:00:55] Cassidy: I think obviously like you should just be honest and because I feel like the longer you the longer you wait and the more information you withhold, the more upset they’re going to be when they find out. Like just explain why it wasn’t told and like, don’t get mad when they have questions and want to know more about the other person.

[01:01:17] Cassidy: Like for us, like as the donor kids, like, you know, we should be allowed to ask questions and feel like it’s okay to ask questions and like, I feel like parents should just listen and have a conversation and like, respect the Like our opinions on it as well as like we can respect their opinions on it and just come to a mutual understanding of why it’s happened and where you want to go from there instead of making it like a topic you can’t talk about because I was our dad.

[01:01:47] Cassidy: It’s still something we can’t talk about. He doesn’t want us to talk about it. He doesn’t want to talk about it. It’s just something we don’t talk about, but there’s still so many questions that I’d like to ask, you know, so I

[01:01:58] Cassidy: feel like parents should just be comfortable with the fact that the kids are gonna have questions and just be ready for those questions to come.

[01:02:06] Alexis: Yeah. Angela, do you have any advice for parents?

[01:02:11] Angela: My advice is don’t lie. So my advice is don’t lie, tell them from the very beginning and tell them in appropriate ways. The best example I can give for this is I remember when I had, I was mid egg donation and I was drawing a patient’s blood and I was telling them that I was doing a cycle and I was like day five or six of shots or something like that.

[01:02:31] Angela: And she had her two year old there. And she. Was like, Oh my God, what a gift that you’re giving this family. And I, I did, it didn’t register that way to my 25 year old brain. I don’t, I don’t know why didn’t register as a gift. I D I don’t know what it registered as, but it wasn’t like a gift. And she sat there and talked to her two year old.

[01:02:54] Angela: She was like, yeah, she’s going to be an angel, like your angel, like the angel that helped mommy have you. And I was. stunned at the time you never saw that and she was telling this kid from the beginning there was no There was no nothing. Of course, obviously, like the kid doesn’t know what she’s saying right then.

[01:03:15] Angela: Just no idea. So that is my advice because you are their parents and they love you no matter what. If these three would have found out when they were teenagers from their dad or really young with their mom, it would make zero impact on their relationship with their parents that I do believe.

 That’s the only advice I have is tell them. Tell them, because it’s a, it’s like a secret you’re carrying that’s not good for you.

[01:03:38] Alexis: And then this one is for the, the three. We’ll start with Cassidy. What advice do you have for someone who just found out that their donor conceived?,

[01:03:50] Cassidy: I know it’s kind of trippy at first, because everything just doesn’t, like, everything’s starting to make sense and not make sense at the same time. So you’re going to be confused, but like. If you do have access to talking to the donor, I would take advantage of it and like communicate and ask those questions that you have and ask your parents, like they might not be happy that you know, or maybe they are happy, you know, either way, just ask whatever comes up and don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t like close yourself off from everyone after finding out, like do your thing. Like if you got questions, ask them.

[01:04:30] Alexis: Cody, what advice do you have?

[01:04:32] Cody: It’s interesting. It’s a weird feeling. Like my sister said, it’s, it’s, a lot of things don’t make sense and all the things that do make sense. And, uh, that’s a very real feeling that, It’s a, it’s something that you definitely for yourself have to go through.

[01:04:48] Cody: be conscious of yourself. Uh, don’t pull away from friends, family. Um, you know, have that conversation with someone. And if you are lucky enough to have that conversation with your parents, a chance to reach out to your donor parents, if that’s something you would like to do and Have available, you should go ahead and take those. Don’t be afraid for help. Don’t be afraid to ask and have an open discussion about this. Because it’s definitely something that’s very hard depending on how old or young you are, or it really doesn’t matter the age. It’s definitely something that’s hard. To do by yourself. And it’s something you should definitely, um, talk about. Uh, so don’t be closed off, be good, uh, with yourself. And you know, ask, it’s okay to ask for help.

[01:05:36] Alexis: Wyatt, what advice do you have for someone who just found out that their donor conceived?

[01:05:41] Wyatt: Be afraid to ask questions. And again, it’d be the same thing as I would have told the parents is understand that your parents are still your parents and it’s not the donor is your parent.

[01:05:52] Alexis: Angela, Cassidy, Cody, Wyatt, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your story. I really appreciate your openness in discussing this still somewhat taboo conversation. And, um, I just wish you the best and have fun at poker night.


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