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  • Independent Lens

Independent Lens | Donor Unknown | Trailer | PBS

Duration: 02:37
Program: Independent Lens #1302
Broadcast Date: Oct. 23, 2011

Premiering in October. Check local listings: www.pbs.org JoEllen, now 20, has always known her family "wasn't like other families." She grew up in Pennsylvania with two mothers, and a burning curiosity to know more about her anonymous donor father. When JoEllen discovers a unique online registry that connects donor-conceived children, she manages to track down a half-sister in New York. The New York Times picks up the story, and, over time 12 more half-siblings emerge across the United States. By chance, the article also falls into the hands of Jeffrey Harrison, living alone with four dogs and a pigeon in a broken-down RV in a Venice Beach parking lot. In the 1980s, Jeffrey had supplemented his meager income by donating sperm for cash at California cryobank. His donor number was 150. Donor Unknown is a uniquely 21st century story. The connections made between the children and their donor dad draw as much on modern technology as on old-fashioned coincidence. While the siblings seem to take their ever-expanding family in stride, Jeffrey is more apprehensive about meeting some of his biological children for the first time. Donor Unknown raises intriguing questions about our understanding of parenthood, and the strange power of our genetic connections. Learn more about "Independent Lens": www.pbs.org Watch "Independent Lens" films online: video.pbs.org

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Post Date: October 14, 2011