Missed Conceptions

Missed Conceptions is a feature documentary about the search and ultimate discovery of my biological father and the psychological and ethical issues around donor conception. My mother had been artificially inseminated in the early 1960s. However, it remained a secret until I was about 30 years old when I learned that I had been donor conceived. Everything was kept anonymous as clinics and parents still attempt to do today. When I learned the truth, it confounded me but also validated a lot of what I had been feeling throughout my life; not only was my relationship with my father strained but I never felt like I fit in with my family and always had a sense there was something missing. In short, I was somehow a mystery to my parents and myself.

I was curious about my biological father but the only information I had was that he was Jewish and most likely a medical resident. After over 20 years of searching, I finally discovered his identity through a DNA test. I learned by way of a paternal cousin that my biological father had been a doctor, an artist, and a humanitarian. I was sad to find out that he had already passed but, at the same time, the more I learned about him, the more I wanted to know. I uncovered so many characteristics that we shared. In the film,
I interview his closest friends and, through these conversations I discover how loved he was, and how much he struggled emotionally. I’m told that he often wondered about his potential offspring, especially since he apparently grieved about never being able to have children of his own. Unfortunately, at the time, there was no way we could find each other since no records were kept.

Through the on-line DNA test, I also discovered four half-sisters and, through our conversations, I learn that they, too, grew up feeling different from their nuclear families. I learn that nature tops nurture in determining the dynamics of our personalities. I also discover that we all feel a sense of enduring loss never having been able to meet our genetic father. I interview advocates in the donor-conception community and learn that it is in fact an “innate human desire to want to know where we come from and who we come from.” I question why it is that all these years donor conceived people have been denied the knowledge of half their identity. In speaking with these experts, many interesting facts about the donor conception industry are brought to light.

This film has been my way of connecting with the father I never met but seemingly was always a part of me. At the same time, it provides a voice for the donor-conceived community who desire to know and/or have a relationship with their genetic parents. There’s a lot to consider when donating or accepting donor gametes but it seems the industry avoids educating people fearing that the truth may negatively impact revenue. My hope is that this film will raise awareness around donor conception and help advocate for the legal rights and emotional needs of donors and the donor-conceived.

Missed Conceptions yearns for this most deserved attention.

  • Donna L Marvin-Platt
  • Donna Marvin-Platt
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 35 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 15, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Donna L Marvin-Platt

Donna Marvin-Platt (Director/Producer): Donna has over 30 years creative direction experience in the field of medical communications. She has written and produced the one-person show, “Life in the Short Lane” at the 78th Street Street Theatre Lab in NYC. She also wrote and starred in the short film, “Mini Happy Returns” which was presented at The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. This is her first feature documentary.

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