Just Keep Swimming: Delivery Man and 15 More Donor Dad Stories

A commercial for the new donor sperm comedy, Delivery Man, has been playing every morning this week during the AM news program I watch. The commercial features a top 40 song that my son loooooooves. As soon as he hears the commercial he slides into my room to see what’s what. It’s a surreal moment. Very surreal.

My son exists thanks to medical intervention, my determination and hope, and the contribution of an anonymous sperm donor. According to a recent report on ABC News, more than 2 million children have been born in the U.S. thanks to donor sperm.

Hollywood has been weaving donor stories into TV shows and movies for as long as I can remember. Very rarely has the storyline been anything less than titillating. It’s never really bothered me until I became a mom and I worried how these shows and movies might impact my son’s life. Would people view our life as a punchline?

I have yet to see a movie that truly captured an authentic donor sperm story: no lab mistakes, no donor swap outs, no bumping into a hot guy as you leave the fertility clinic…life. I guess that would be pretty boring.

Movies and TV shows with sperm donor story lines
and how real families feel about them:

  • Movies and TV Shows With Donor Sperm Stories 1 of 25
    Movies and TV Shows about Donor Sperm

    A few years ago I remember laughing at entertainment magazine headlines that seemed to be sighing with, "yet ANOTHER movie about sperm." I can imagine to the rest of the world THREE films in one year was an epic ton of alternative family building plot lines happening at the megaplex. 

  • Real families 2 of 25
  • Delivery Man 3 of 25

    I will be seeing Delivery Man this weekend, so I will refrain from commenting on it until then. All I know about the plot thus far is that it is about a sperm donor, a mix up at the sperm bank, and children created by donor sperm. Oh! And it's a comedy?


    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • Generation Cryo 4 of 25

    You can watch the first episode of MTV's Generation Cryo on their app. The cable network made the episode available a week early. I love this as it makes me hope teens are "screening" the episode and will then introduce it to their parents next week after Thanksgiving. As explained by  The Hollywood Reporter, Generation Cryo is "a six-episode, one-hour docu-series, follows the journey of 17-year-old Breeanna, who recently learned that she and at least 15 half-siblings were fathered by the same sperm donor."


    Image Credit: MTV

  • Not very realistic 5 of 25
  • Drop Dead Diva 6 of 25

    I am a HUGE fan of Drop Dead Diva and was completely shocked when the writers introduced a single-mom-by-choice storyline this year. Jane's best friend is Stacy, a model turned entrepreneur, who decides she is ready to become a mother. I thought the show did a fair portrayal of her emotions and quest to find a perfect sperm donor. The shift of the donor going from known donor to possible romance donor was disappointing.


    Image Credit: YouTube

  • First Comes Love 7 of 25

    The HBO documentary, First Comes Love, tells the story of filmmaker Nina Davenport as she becomes a single mother. She asks one of her close friends to be a sperm donor and he agrees, but he's very clear that he does not want to be a parent. After Nina welcomes her son, it is interesting to see how the relationship with her donor shifted. 


    Image Credit: Nina Davenport

  • Hollywood is making sperm banks relatable 8 of 25

    Louise Sloan, Founder and Content Director of

  • The Back-Up Plan 9 of 25

    The Back-Up Plan made me yell at the screen. I believe it went a little something like this, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" I loved that Hollywood had created a single-mom-by-choice film, but they only let her be single for about 1 minute. 


    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • Brothers and Sisters 10 of 25

    My mother had to explain the complicated twists and turns of the known donor story on Brothers and Sisters and even now I am not entirely sure I understand. I like that a network TV show introduced the concept of a known donor to its viewers as well as fertility issues/problems.


    Image Credit: Amazon

  • Cringing! 11 of 25

    Casey Carey-Brown from

  • The Kids Are All Right 12 of 25

    I will start off by saying I applaud The Kids Are All Right for existing because it started a LOT of conversations about sperm, known donors, and donor children. I had friends watch this movie and then email me wanting to know if and when I was going to allow my son to contact his sperm donor. I had friends who readily had advice on when and if such a meeting should ever take place. The unfortunate aspect of this film is that it brought in these odd elements of having a sexual relationship with the donor. That generated a lot of conversation as well.


    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • Not exactly insemination parties 13 of 25
  • The Switch 14 of 25

    There is a lot that bothered be about The Switch, but there were also many parts of this film that I thought really captured what it meant to decide to be a single parent, to decide to use a known donor, and then to actually parent as a single person. 


    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • Baby Mama 15 of 25

    While donor sperm is only very briefly brought up in Baby Mama, it is indeed there. I thought this film did a pretty decent job showing a woman deciding to become a mom on her own. 


    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • Trivializes the process 16 of 25

    Leah Klungness, Ph.D., is a psychologist and recognized authority on single parenting and relationship issues.

  • The Babymakers 17 of 25

    Let's see...this is a film about a bank robbery. A sperm bank robbery. We should probably go on to the next slide...

    (and yes! That is Sloan from The Newsroom!)


    Image Credit: Amazon

  • E.R. 18 of 25

    I was really annoyed when the writers introduced the sperm donor story line on E.R. Towards the end of a pretty serious episode we catch a glimpse of a dozen or so red-headed children of various ages, sizes, and ethnicities. Dr. Archie Morris learns these children were created from donations he made to a sperm bank while he was in medical school. Eventually the storyline calmed down and even became a bit sweet, but the gimmicky red-headed kids bit was a punchline, and I am not a fan of moves like that.


    Image Credit: YouTube

  • Not Hollywood’s goal to educate 19 of 25
  • Made in America 20 of 25

    As we head into the early '90s, the sperm donor movies start to get pretty zany. Made in America had the double punchline of sperm donor and a daughter who did not know she was 1/2 white. From IMDB: "A young black woman discovers that her father was a sperm donor, and if that weren't bad enough, he's white." All I truly remember about this movie is that Whoopi and Ted were a real-life couple.


    Image Credit: Amazon

  • Gross 21 of 25
  • Frozen Assets 22 of 25

    Roger Ebert wrote of Frozen Assets, "If I were more of a hero, I would spend the next couple of weeks breaking into theaters where this movie is being shown, and leading the audience to safety." He called it the worst sperm bank movie he had ever seen. I have never seen this film and oddly now I really want to!


    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • We are not a parody 23 of 25
  • Look Who’s Talking 24 of 25

    The interesting sperm donor plot point in Look Who's Talking is that the character played by Kirstie Alley tells her parents she is pregnant thanks to a visit to the sperm bank and an anonymous donor. She tells this story to avoid having to tell the truth, which is that she had an affair with her boss. 


    Image Credit: Wikipedia

  • The Big Chill 25 of 25

    The very first film I remember with a donor sperm story is The Big Chill. It's one of the quieter subplots with Mary Kay Place's character wanting to have a baby and Glenn Close's character asking her husband in the film, played by Kevin Kline, to be the donor. I think the naturalness and openness of that storyline was something that always stayed with me. 


    Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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