A South African expat, living in Australia, has spoken this week about how shocked she was at 51 to discover she was not only donor conceived, but that her mom’s gynaecologist (who was also her Godfather) was actually the donor and therefore her biological father.
In an interview with SBS in Australia, Fiona Darroch reveals that she discovered the Durban doctor – Dr Norman ‘Tony’ Walker – was the donor for at least 100 families for approximately 14 years. Fiona has been in touch with some of her siblings and other relatives (after her daughter did a DNA ancestry test), and believes she has about 200, even 300, half-brothers and -sisters.
Fiona says the first inkling she had that Dr Walker was actually her biological father was in 2014 after someone joked in the tearoom at work about some children not looking like their parents, which turned into a heated debate about genetics and eye colour. After work, Fiona “googled the likelihood of two dark-eyed parents having a blond, blue-eyed child like me – sure it was rare, but it could happen. I then noticed that there was even less chance of them having a green-eyed child, and thought about my sister’s green eyes. Something shifted deep down in my subconscious and I immediately started to picture Tony’s piercing blue eyes. I think I knew the truth at that moment.”
Later that evening she saw a comment on a page selling one of Dr Walker’s books, in which a woman from Ireland – Anne Crossey – revealed that Dr Walker was her mom’s sperm donor and biological father. Anne later told Fiona that after Dr Walker died, her mother had contacted the clinic to try and locate the sperm donor in order to have another child… and had been told by staff that Dr Walker was the sperm donor, and had assisted others too.
Fiona admits she struggled in the beginning, but that now she feels lucky to “have had two wonderful dads”.
Many of her half-siblings are angry with the late Dr Walker for the fertility fraud, but Fiona says she has been able to help them piece together who he was, since she knew him well.
Fiona says she also looks forward to meeting her siblings… many of whom are also now SA expats living in the US, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, as well as South Africa.