Saturday, March 15, 2008

All you need is...love??

Paul McCartney once said, “all you need is love”, however despite what many in the donor conception community wish to believe, it’s not true.  There seems to be an overwhelming majority of recipient mothers that truly believe that just so long as they love their child, that he or she won’t feel any loss of their biological father.  I would like to stand up and say that this is nonsense.

So many times I hear people tell me that their child is so loved and so wanted, more wanted than children conceived during normal sexual intercourse since the parents had to go through so much for that child to be alive.  My response is that first of all, as a couple (or a single woman) is going through treatments in order to get pregnant, they believe that this child is so loved and wanted only because THEY want a child so badly.  They also cannot love that child as an individual as he or she has not even been conceived yet!  This change in pretense from personal wants and needs for a child into a child that is so wanted and thus loved has occurred without little resistance.  We as donor conceived offspring could not have asked to be conceived and be loved, as we did not exist at this time.  And as David Velleman points out, no donor conceived child was ever wanted (in the individual sense), the parents only wanted A baby, ANY baby, regardless of who that child is or who they were from (The Gift of Life, 2007).  It’s ridiculous to say we were wanted as we were wanted merely as that miracle baby and not as who we are as an individual.

My second argument of the love is all you need theory (as opposed to being raised by two genetically connected parents), is that how can genetics be a double standard??  What I mean is that we are told that genetics should not matter and that it is the parents who raise us who matter, and that nature really has little role in our identity aside from trivialities, and it’s all about nurturing and who changed our diapers.  Yet at the same time these are same parents who HAD to have a child that was at least biologically related to one of them and that’s why they had to resort to donor conception instead of adoption.  So you want a biologically related child because it’s important to you, but we are not allowed to feel grief that one or both of our biological parents are not raising us?!  

“Adults who support the use of new technologies to bear children sometimes say that biology does not matter to children, that all children need is a loving family. Yet biology clearly matters to the adults who sometimes go to extreme lengths— undergoing high-risk medical procedures; procuring eggs, sperm, or wombs from strangers; and paying quite a lot of money—to create a child genetically related to at least one of them. In a striking contradiction, these same people will often insist that the child’s biological relationship to an absent donor father or mother should not really matter to the child” (Elizabeth Marquardt, The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Children’s Needs, 2006).

Parents need to realize that their feelings towards their infertility, no matter how painful they may be, are in no way shape or form any more important or more validated than the feelings of their child towards their deliberate severing of kinship.  We are not five years old and believe whatever we are told anymore, and “adults” cannot continue to make decisions for us in our ‘best interests’, when we are also adults and should be on equal footing as them.  I’m not saying I don’t love my mother unconditionally, because I do, but it doesn’t mean I cannot condemn her decision to use a sperm donor.  While she raised me as best she could, and loved me as much as she could, I still suffered from such a fundamental loss that no matter what she could have done it would not have soothed such grief.

15 comments:

Lindsay said...

To Katy, who just left a comment here - could you please repost it? My computer illeteracy caused me to accidentally delete this post and I had to repost it and lost your comment and would like to address your concerns! Thanks:o)

Anonymous said...

Lindsay,

Thanks for your note, I will try to convey the general gist of my post earlier. First it was to thank you for your blog. I find it extremely courageous to come out about all of these feelings that you have from the experience that you have. I basically find myself in a situation where I would love to have a child, to raise a child and experience having a family with my husband, who is infertile. We have been together for almost 8 years and I guess that for the past 5 we had been talking about eventually having children, and around that time I started researching DI. At that time I couldn't find much information that came from adults who had been conceived by DI. As it has come closer to the time when we would actually go through the procedure I have become increasingly concerned with the possible issues that a child born to us in this way would have to face. And frankly more concerned with the issues an adult born to us in this way would have. I guess that reading your blogs and a few others have definitely not assuaged my worries. Many of the topics that you have written about, as well as others, are topics I have thought about and felt that I would definitely have to be able to explain to a child born to me in this way. Most of it has concerned my soul searching about how I might face a child who would have every right to be angry that they weren't afforded the same kind of family life, (knowing all of their biological relatives) as I and my husband were. I am pained to hear that many people feel that they are "not whole" or don't feel totally accepted. I think often about how a child of mine might feel that it was unfair for me to bring them into the world in this way.

Even though I have considered these issues it is very difficult to just write the possibility of giving birth to a child that I would raise off. It is, I guess, unexplainable, and selfish, I know (and feel like I must face even more now). But it is hard to not want that when it is possible to do that. And I think that my husband and I want to believe that although we can't give the child everything that we had that we can give them other things that might be even better. Naive, maybe. It really hit home when I read something, I think in your blog, (I have been reading a few today so I am a bit confused) where it said that how can the parents act like biology isn't important when the whole donor sperm industry is created in fact because it is important. (ie at least the connection to the biological mother). Being a woman who is not single and also whose partner is a man, we have had mourned, in a way, the idea that we will never have a child who can be a mixture biologically of both of us. I realize in your blog that these comments made by me just feel like excuses. Excuses to go through this process instead of adoption.

Today has been a very educational day in terms of reading some very negative commentary about this process. And I guess my original post to you was asking very many questions but they really boiled down to this very one. Is this it? From your experience do most donor conceived adults wish that they had never been a part of this process? Or are there people that aren't as critical of it? Is being donor conceived so much a part of each dc persons identity that it could possibly ruin their lives? This is probably a crazy sounding question in the context of all of these blogs but is there anything positive about it? Does it make a difference if an open donor is used? Is it a lot better if the child knows her whole time growing up or would it still really suck? I know these questions sound dramatic and maybe too personal and if they are I'm sorry, please ignore. I guess lastly what kind of advice would you give to infertile couples about options, etc? Or do you think it is better at that point just not to have children. Even if someone does DI do you have advice that would make it better for the child?

One other thing, I know that it sounds crazy when people talk about the child like it is a specific baby and I can totally see that clearly there is no specific baby so there is just a need for a general child. It's just that when you start to think about having a baby, a lot, you do in a way feel like you can feel that soul out there. It isn't that it is real, in fact, I am sure it is probably totally fantasy, but you just feel it (you just want to feel it). Just reading your blog has begun to give me great insight into how someone could feel that the people who are seeking out this process are fairly selfishly fulfilling their own needs but I just wanted to mention the above thought as something that might help to explain that pretense.

I appreciate any input that you have. And I thank you in advance as I think that it will be very helpful to me to hear your opinion with the experience that you have.

Katy

Lindsay said...

Hi Katy, thanks for posting again, I appreciate it. I actually found in my email trash the notification of your comment and your original comment as well. You raise so many good questions that I'm sure many couples/women looking to use DI/DC are thinking. I am going to turn your comment(s) into a post - next week probably as I'll be at my parents' house for the weekend - and address your questions (at least with my own personal opinion).

I understand that hearing some of the negative comments said by myself and others who are speaking out in regards to donor conception must be very difficult to hear, but I want to commend you for taking the first step to listen to what we have to say and from there make an even more informed decision - because listening to us is the only way to know what's really going on (I promise you the industry won't tell you how we feel, they deny how we feel).

But trust me from the bottom of my heart...this knowledge (if you chose to conceive this way) will prepare you for supporting your child regardless of what he or she might eventually feel. The worst travesty are parents who do not support dissent, even though it was a decision they made which is affecting the child and that child has the right to express his or her feelings.


Lindsay

Anonymous said...

Lindsay,
Thank you very much for getting back to my comment and I will really look forward to your post. It is difficult to hear the critical perspectives on DI but it is not a surprise to me. I guess it is just that it isn't what I *wish* it would be. But that is OK. I really do want to make an informed decision about whether or not to have children in my particular situation and how to do that if I decide to. It is very important to me to hear opinions of adults who have this experience so that I can know how you feel frankly about it and about the DI industry.
Thanks so much,
Katy

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon
I am a recipient parent who received donor eggs and now have a 5 year old son.
I am now aware how much his biological being is such an important part of who he is and how important this will be to him. I have taken step to make sure that he is and always will be aware of his history and have contact. It is not how I would "like" things to be - but for my son's own personal emotional health and to "know" himself - it is far more important than how I would have "liked" things to be. I think one of the biggest issues in all this lies in the secrecy, lack of tranparency for all involved and deceit.
I'm so glad people like Lindsay can educate people like you and me - very smart of you to be looking for these answers "before" rather than "later".
Cheers
Sue

jsm said...

I am not a donor recipient or a DI child. I am just a woman who rushed into marriage later in life to have children. Now divorced, I see the pain I caused in being so hasty, thinking of my clock, before the future of my children. I'm sorry, but I find these people who insist on doing this, even though they are being told to accept that their children might be happy about it and allow them to speak, just don't get it. I can say from experience, being a mother has taught me a lot, but I also believe that not being able to be a parent would have taught me just as much, about learning that we can't always have it our way: This is a life lesson that everyone should learn in one form or another in order to become a more complete human being. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

oops edit:

Meant to say "their children 'might' not be happy"

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay,
I am from Augusta and was a Donor in the late 80"s. I do know several others who were donors, but not as ealy as 84. You might try going through birth announcement in the Augusta Chronicle Archives. I would guess that would be 1960-61.
You are making me consider how to act if I am ever contacted.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay,
I am from Augusta and was a Donor in the late 80"s. I do know several others who were donors, but not as ealy as 84. You might try going through birth announcement in the Augusta Chronicle Archives. I would guess that would be 1960-61.
You are making me consider how to act if I am ever contacted.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay,
I am from Augusta and was a Donor in the late 80"s. I do know several others who were donors, but not as ealy as 84. You might try going through birth announcement in the Augusta Chronicle Archives. I would guess that would be 1960-61.
You are making me consider how to act if I am ever contacted.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay,
I am from Augusta and was a Donor in the late 80"s. I do know several others who were donors, but not as ealy as 84. You might try going through birth announcement in the Augusta Chronicle Archives. I would guess that would be 1960-61.
You are making me consider how to act if I am ever contacted.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay,
I am from Augusta and was a Donor in the late 80"s. I do know several others who were donors, but not as ealy as 84. You might try going through birth announcement in the Augusta Chronicle Archives. I would guess that would be 1960-61.
You are making me consider how to act if I am ever contacted.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay,
I am from Augusta and was a Donor in the late 80"s. I do know several others who were donors, but not as ealy as 84. You might try going through birth announcement in the Augusta Chronicle Archives. I would guess that would be 1960-61.
You are making me consider how to act if I am ever contacted.

Good Luck

Panic Away said...

What you said is very true, "recipient mothers that truly believe that just so long as they love their child, that he or she won’t feel any loss of their biological father". When a child becomes sociable, other kids will ask them questions about the father. It is but normal to search for a biological parent, no matter how loving the present ones are.

Ian Tayao said...

It is rather overwhelming and quite sad. I hope that you succeed in your goals. Thank you for sharing, it touches my heart.