During MTV’s presentation at the Summer 2013 TCA Press Tour on Friday (July 26), the venerable cable network made a handful of announcements while introducing a few key new shows set to debut this fall. Among them is “Generation Cryo,” a docu-drama that follows the journey of a group of half-siblings all fathered by a sperm donor they’ve never known as they find each other and embark to find the man responsible for half of their DNA.
During the series’ press panel, the show faced a serious grilling on whether or not the show was trampling on the privacy of the sperm donor who had no idea he’d be drawn into this ordeal when he made his donation. Wendy Kramer, the Director of the Donor Sibling Registry who was on hand during the panel, took on naysayers.
“The Donor Sibling Registry is a mutual consent contact registry, so we don’t want to out anybody, we don’t want to invade anybody’s life, but we wanted to make a forum where those who want to be found can find each other, like these guys,” she says. “So if their donor doesn’t come to the DSR because he’s hesitant, he has concerns, he doesn’t know about it, other children on the DSR, including my son, have taken further measure to find their donor…They just want to give these donors the opportunity to know them.”
When pressed again about whether it’s fair to pursue a man who might not want to be found, Kramer stresses, “Again, we’re not uncovering anyone. We have thousands of donors on our website who say, ‘We’re just as curious at the kids are.’ … It’s all very positive.”
While it may seem like hedging, the panel made it clear that the father hadn’t been found yet (the show is still in the process of filming). Though Kramer made it clear that when (or if, really) he is found, he won’t be on camera unless he consents.
As for worries over just how real this show is, in light of the revelations that “Catfish” may not be as authentic as it portrays itself, Kramer explains how the show came to be: “We have 40,00 people on our website that are like these kids, that are looking to find out where they came from. MTV came to us, interested in doing a show like this and showing real life what happens with these kids when they’re searching and finding and while they search. We came up with this great group of kids that are really a showcase for the other 40,000 people on our website that are searching… These kids were great and willing to do it … So we all embarked on our journey together.”
As for whether the show is an invasion of privacy or not, that will be a verdict left for the audience.
“Generation Cryo” premieres on MTV this November.