Sunday, March 9, 2008

All the world's a long as the offspring follow the script

“Mummy and Daddy were very sad when no baby began to grow. Then the doctor said there was a way for them to have a baby. Some very kind men give their sperm so people like Mummy and Daddy can have a baby. At last Mummy and Daddy had a baby and that was me!” (Donor Conception Support Group, 2004)

“One day I said 'Have I got a dad?' Then Mum told me all about how a hospital helped her to have a baby, even though she hadn't met the right person to be my dad. I am really proud my Mum could do this and I am proud of us and our family.” (Donor Conception Support Group, 2004)

Reading these two quotes one would think these are two small children telling the stories of their conception, but in reality these are stories written by adults [most likely the infertility industry] to tell small children about their ‘unique’ conception and just how ‘special’ they are!  I don’t think there is anything wrong with writing books to help parents disclose this information, but what I cannot digest is the direction and point of view that the story centers around!  It’s all about mom and dad (or just mom) and their struggles with infertility or being single and how this small child is the cure for these disabilities and therefore are so wanted and loved.

We are now children created specifically as a cure for someone else’s infertility or inability to find a good mate.  It's bad enough that we were created for this purpose, but to top it off we are instructed to feel the anguish our parents felt and thus validate our conception because it was in our parents’ best interests, instead of our own!!

As these children grow older they continue to view their donor conception and their subsequent genetic loss as a service done for their parents to save them from the pain of infertility.  They continually refer to their donor as a generous man who helped their parents have a baby and they themselves are grateful for this anonymous man for giving them life and bringing such joy to their parents.  The problem is not that these children feel this way (god help the happy-happy-joy-joy kids!!), but that they are simply parroting what their parents have ingrained in them from an early age, and that’s that the pain of infertility is paramount and that the parents feelings are more important then their own.  Take for example these two quotes from offspring in the documentary “A different story” by the Donor Conception Network UK.   

“I am glad I have my parents and I am glad I exist I suppose and so it was what they, they wanted a child so I am happy I can provide that service” (quoted in Rose, J. Mediation of Kinship and Identity, 2004)

I’d rather be here than not here and I am actually, I am very grateful to the person who gave me life and made it possible for my parents to have children” (quoted in Rose, J. Mediation of Kinship and Identity, 2004)

It is obvious in these two examples that these children were told from a young age of their parents infertility and struggle to have a baby, and the subsequent use of a donor’s sperm to conceive them, but for this to be their rationale as to why it is okay for them to be denied the right to know their biological father is simply outrageous.  These are the same children who later announce that they do not want to search for their biological fathers for fear of hurting their parents, like this offspring who was also featured on the documentary “A different story”.

“If I was my Dad, especially, I would kind of feel a bit upset that I didn’t have my own children, if you know what I mean, like biological children. I don’t want to say that I really want to find my biological father because he might get a bit hurt…I think he knows that I would quite like to see my real father but I don’t want to talk about it too much” (quoted in Rose, J. Mediation of Kinship and Identity, 2004)

The fear of hurting their parents, usually their dads, is one of the primary reasons offspring don’t search for their biological fathers, sometimes until after their parents have passed away.  This is not a new phenomenon as it was seen for years in the adoption community.  Some offspring and adoptees wish to protect their parents, and therefore either don’t discuss their true feelings or continue to spout that biology means nothing to them and they are perfectly happy with their situation. 

“Alice Kirkman was 12 when her mother told her the story of her unconventional origins: she was conceived with eggs from her infertile mother and donor sperm. Then her aunt acted as a surrogate for the gestation. Now 16, Alice is completely comfortable with how she came to be and is in contact with her biological father. She believes a person's biological background has little bearing on their identity, but she would have been upset had her mother not divulged the truth.” (Why donor offspring need to know the truth, The Age, August 9, 2004)

In the example above, Alice says that she doesn’t think biology matters and she’s perfectly content with her conception (she was born of her genetic/social mother's eggs, a gestational surrogate – her aunt - and donor sperm), however you also see that she is now in contact with her biological father, so the looks as if what she is saying is either not true or has been deemed irrelevant.

The habit of brainwashing donor children as fuel to defend the righteousness of donor conception is out-rightly wrong and unethical.  Not only does is discredit those of us adults who have spoken out, using the socially conditioned donor children as a yard stick to base how well-adjusted a child is.  Time and time again adult offspring are told they must be unbalanced and that is why they feel the way they do.  No one every brings up the thought that biology is important, that these blood ties are something so vital that throughout the past millennia human beings have kept records of ancestry which people are able to trace their lineage back hundreds of years.  It is a integral aspect of human nature to want and need this genetic connectedness.  Therefore, I proclaim that those of us who feel wronged by this loss are in fact that most emotionally well adjusted as we acknowledge that such a loss is indeed significant.


Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic blog Lindsay. I can't tell you how good it feels to have someone voice exactly what I am feeling. The way you describe the guilt is spot on. From a very young age, I knew there was something "wrong" with me. I knew I was a "mistake." My first thoughts of suicide came at the age of 7. My social father has always been abusive, emotionally. He has always been distant and annoyed at my presence. He has always fought with me for my mother's attention. I am outraged and so very angry. All I want is to get over this and I believe that finding my siblings will help. I am tired of hiding this fact from my friends because I was told "never to tell." Hmmm, the same thing my uncle told me after he touched me "down there." Donor offspring such as us need to advocate the reality of this method of conception. I am appalled at how the infertility clinic in my city only caters to the parents. There is no place on the site to give support to the children. We are but mere pawns in the lives of our parents. Like you say, meant to serve a purpose in their lives while we struggle to find purpose in ours. It is unjust. I even sent the clinic an email explaining my situation. The clinic moved from the hospital in the late 90's so I can't find info on how it used to function before. A kind doctor responded with empathy and explained that the donor was most likely the doctor who was performing the procedure. I was born in 1980. As you now, this kind of conception was still very young. Well, here in Canada anyway.
I just want to say thanks for giving a voice to those who feel ripped of their.
Bless you darling x0x

Lindsay said...

I'm glad I can give a voice to those of us who have been hurt and hopefully the industry and society as a whole will begin to listen. We cannot let people tell us we don't matter, because we do - and no matter what it takes to validate our feelings it will be done. Thanks for your comment, it continually reminds me why I am doing this and who I am doing this for.

Panic Away said...

When a child start asking questions, if it is answered with a lie, and the kid finds out the truth, the effects are emotional upheaval. It is common practice to keep such matter secret. What is in a person's best interest is for them to know the truth.

Minority of One said...

Other family members are also expected to follow the script. When my sister had donor conceived twins and did not tell me the truth, I was very upset. My feelings were totally invalidated and I was expected to 'drink the Kool-Aid' and parrot that I was 'delighted by the miracle' etc etc. My concerns were harshly stamped on. I am now estranged from my family because I won't allow them to dictate how I must think and feel. I have rejected the social control.
From the point of view of the people created, donor conception is cruel, hurtful, and a burden. It is unethical, immoral and a crime against the child.
In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. More of us need to tell the truth, tell it loud, tell it clearly, and resist the social pressure to follow the "wanted child of the infertile" claptrap. I really appreciate your blog Lindsay. You guys really helped me when my family were applying pressure to convince me there was something wrong with the way I think about donor conception.