Perhaps most interesting are some of the moral questions raised by the film. Some of these will be available for discussion on the Independent Lens website for the show. What are the implications of reproductive services sold for profit? The sperm bank shown in the film for all its seeming professionalism seems just a mite sleazy with its "wink wink" masturbatoriums" larded with a range of audio¬-visual stimulants. Should sperm donors remain anonymous? What rights do the children of donors have? What, if any, are the obligations of the donor to the children? As far as secrecy is concerned, what are the obligations of the sperm bank to the donor, to the children? As Wendy Kramer, Executive Director of the Donor Sibling Registry, and the mother of a child fathered by a sperm donor, says in the film "secrecy implies shame." Clearly these are questions that have no easy answers.
Directed by Jerry Rothwell, Donor Unknown is a sensitive exploration of some growing social issues as they plays out for one young woman as she searches for her ancestry and her family. When the director of the California sperm bank glibly announces that his organization has probably been responsible for at least 60,000 births since its inception and in ten years it will probably be responsible for 60,000 more, the size and importance of the issues are clear. While Rothwell's film doesn't provide answers, it does highlight the issues, and this it does very effectively.