On tonight, MTV will premiere Generation Cryo, a new reality show that follows 17-year-old Breeanna as she searches for the sperm donor her lesbian moms used to conceive her, meeting many newly discovered half-siblings along the way. Her search isn’t meant to replace either of her moms (who are now separated), but rather to fulfill Breanna’s personal curiosity about everything and everyone that’s part of her existence.
In most reality shows nowadays, it can be hard to discern how much “reality” is actually involved, but having watched the first two episodes of Generation Cryo, I can tell you that this one appears legit. Breeanna is genuine and funny (and a lesbian herself), and it’s not the invisible sperm donor that’s really the compelling part of the story, but the relationships she makes with her siblings, all of which are heartwarming and prompt discussion on what makes a family. Breeanna took a few minutes this week to chat with AfterEllen, making her exuberant personality known from the start.
Breeanna: I am so excited for this interview.
AE: [Laughs] I’m glad! I am too! Thanks for talking to me and to AfterEllen. I was just able to watch the first episode, and I am real pumped. Are you nervous for it to start airing? Or excited?
Breeanna: I’m definitely a lot of both. Because I think that the show is really going to do great, and I really do think it’s going to change a lot of people’s minds and hopefully open a lot of people’s minds. But I’m also scared and nervous, because I don’t know, it’s going to be so new to me. I don’t really like when people get up into my personal space and stuff.
AE: And it’s a very personal show. You’re kind of being vulnerable, so it’s definitely a scary thing. How long did it take you to research and find your half-siblings?
Breeanna: There’s a website called the Donor Sibling Registry, founded by Wendy Kramer. So I saw a documentary that I think her son Ryan was in, about trying to find his donor. And they used the Donor Sibling Registry site to find out about half-siblings. And I saw that when I was about 12 or 11 or something. And I was just like, “Oh my god, I never even thought of the fact that I have half-siblings from this dude.” So I was like, “Mom, register me, please, please, please.” And I found out about four or five half-siblings that I had. And there just became more and more throughout the years.
AE: On the first episode, the Georgia family you met was so welcoming. Were there any half-siblings that you contacted that weren’t as welcoming or didn’t want to be on the show?
Breeanna: We have 15 half-siblings, and you don’t get to see all 15. There are a few who are not in this country, or just have personal things going on and didn’t want to be in the show. But with that said, I feel like if the whole family is coming forward and putting themselves on the Donor Sibling Registry site, then they kind of want that. They want to see if there is anybody else out there in the same predicament. So everybody’s very open and very welcoming.
AE: So basically, is it possible that you could have more half-siblings that just aren’t registered on the site?
Breeanna: It is practically a fact. I will most likely never know how many siblings I actually have. I mean, any day, I can get a call or an email saying that there’s a new sibling added to the group. Which is exciting, but also kind of frustrating. Because I’d like to know all of my half-siblings, you know? Or at least know that they’re there, even if they don’t want any kind of relationship. I don’t know, it’s kind of frustrating.
AE: It’s like a never-ending mystery.
Breeanna: Exactly, yeah. Exactly.
AE: I also thought it was interesting that on the first episode, [your half-siblings] Jonah and Hilit had also already met a lot of their half-siblings. Is this a thing that’s happening now, especially with the website and the Internet in general, that kids of this new generation are finding all of their half-siblings? Because I had no idea that this even really happened.
Breeanna: Really? Yeah, totally. It’s been going on for a while now, really ever since the Donor Sibling Registry, and I’m sure before, but I don’t even know how you would get in contact with them. But it’s brought so many people together, so many family members, half-siblings, and even donors. Donors who are interested in knowing what became of their donation do have the opportunity to register on Donor Sibling Registry if they’re interested.
AE: Your moms seemed pretty open to this experience. How did they feel about the idea of the show, being so public with your journey?
Breeanna: Well, my biological mom, she goes up and down a lot with her decisions. So one day, she’d be totally for it, because that’s what I wanted. Then one day, she’s like, nope, I’m not going to sign this. Because I was 17, so I couldn’t sign it for myself. She’s like, I”’m not going to sign, and you’re going to thank me one day.” And I’m like, [sassy] “Mmm mmm, Mom, mm mmm.”
Breeanna: [Laughs] It was a battle sometimes with her. It’s understandable. But this is the kind of opportunity, it’s absolutely once in a lifetime. And I truly, truly do love what we’re trying to get across through this show. So hopefully the end product of every episode really is powerful, and gets across to a lot of people.
AE: I loved the conversation [in the first episode] with Jonah and Hilit’s dad, where he was talking about his different feelings about it. Because I feel like there’s no feelings that are right or wrong.
AE: Some kids do want to find their bio dad, and some don’t. It was just really interesting how no one seemed judgmental from either side, because there’s no right or wrong thing to do. It just made me think a lot about how we do define family. In your own words, how would you define family?
Breeanna: Oh man, it’s kind of a hard question to answer.
AE: It is a hard question to answer!
Breeanna: I think that, after this whole experience, people that I consider my family, genuinely my family, are the people in my life who just have unconditional love for me, and who want the best for me, no matter what, and will always be on my side. And that’s how I feel about my siblings and my parents and my whole family and my girlfriend. That’s my family, that’s my number one.
AE: So in your search for your siblings, did you find any other siblings that also had queer parents?
Breeanna: On the show, I’m the only kid. Everybody has different backgrounds. Literally, everybody has a different family, which makes this show so awesome. Because you see it from so many different views and so many different ways. And nobody particularly is alike. So it makes it totally awesome. But as for all the other kids I haven’t met yet, I guess I’m just going to have to find out.
AE: What’s been your favorite part of this whole experience that you’ve been on?
Breeanna: My favorite part has to be, first of all, the connection that I’ve made with my half-siblings, along with their parents. It’s just all like family, it really is. They’re so accepting with open arms, and we’ve all become so close through this whole experience. Because we really needed to lean on each other. We were all going through personal struggles and struggling as a group, trying to find things out. And we just really were there for each other, and it was awesome.
And then on the other side, I think that one of the most rewarding things I’ve personally gained from this show is it really helped me grow up a lot. Honestly, it really helped me grow up a lot. And I think that from beginning to end, just watching the beginning and knowing where I’m at right now, I’ve made such huge changes in my life for the better. I’m very proud of where I am in my life right now.
AE: You mentioned you had a girlfriend. Do we get to see her on the show at all?
Breeanna: So on MTV.com, after the first episode airs on November 25, the next day there’s going to be my kind of first date thing that I shot with my girlfriend.
Breeanna: It’s been great. I’ve been with her for almost a year now, like 10 months. And she’s been there for me through this whole thing, where I’m just traveling, I’m gone for so much. She was patient with me. And then at the end of the day when I was just so overwhelmed, she would just sit there and listen to me ramble on the phone and sometimes get really emotional. Because this is a really emotional process. And it was hard to be away from my loved ones and in different situations, let alone just pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
AE: I’m sure it was great having her there to kind of process all this stuff with.
Breeanna: Totally. It’s funny, though, because in the first episode, I’m such a stupid idiot. I’m sitting there, single girl Bree, talking with Jonah about these girls. And I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t like them too skinny.” And [my girlfriend] is tiny. She’s like, “Oh, you don’t like skinny girls, is that right?” It was really funny. [Laughs]
AE: That whole conversation with Jonah was hilarious. I loved it.
Breeanna: Oh my god. I was sitting there with my girlfriend [watching it], and I felt like such a douchebag. I was like, “Great, I have to relive this forever.”
AE: No excuses when you’re being recorded.
Breeanna: Exactly. So much changed just in between that Atlanta trip and then onto my next trip, and the start of this whole entire journey. It is insane how much that really genuinely helped me to start growing up. I took a closer look at my family, took a closer look at myself and what I really want out of life, and pretty much just got focused. Thank god I graduated [high school]. [Laughs]
AE: Is there anything else you want to tell AfterEllen readers?
Breeanna: No, I just love you guys so much. I hope that everybody goes into the show with an open mind. It’s as real as it gets. It was all going with the flow, wherever the journey took us.