A recent discussion on PCVAI was in response to the posting of a supposed story on Fairfax’s website from mother about her child’s view on being donor-conceived (ironically the ONLY story posted on their section entitled ‘Children of DI’, and it’s not even from an offspring!!).
They also add this for offspring: "As a child or adult conceived with the use of donor sperm, you may have many questions. We would like to help you answer some of them by sharing some of the details about how our sperm banks selects donors, offers donor sperm to women and couples, and handles requests for information about donors."
This could not be more of an insult - I don't give a rat's ass about how they select donors or sell sperm, and god only knows if all they can tell me is that they will never give any information to offspring, what kind of "help" is that?!?! That doesn't answer a single goddamn question I have!!! Fairfax, you are so irresponsible and reckless that you should never sell a vial of sperm ever again out of your complete disdain for the children created by your company!
The College Essay
My daughter, Monica, is applying to colleges. Like her older brother, she will soon be going out into the world. Where has the time gone? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we received a diagnosis of severe male factor infertility and we were faced with making the decision as to how our family would be built?
When we began our infertility journey and joined RESOLVE in 1983, our focus was on pregnancy and babies. We couldn’t even imagine this far ahead in time, when our children would be making decisions about college. But we did have fears about the future.
We choose donor insemination (DI) to build our family, and much later continued our family building efforts through donor egg and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Although a support group helped ease some of the isolation we felt, we didn’t know anyone who had taken this same route to parenthood. We had no idea what the future might hold. What if our child someday resented how s/he had been conceived? What if s/he grew into an unhappy adult with psychological issues?
‘Mom, can you proofread my college essay before I send it out?” Monica asked me, bringing me back to reality. “The application said to write 250 words or less on the theme, tell us about the world you come from,” she continued, offering me her seat in front of the computer. With her standing beside me, I began reading:
“The world I come from is ordinary, comfortable and stable. I have two normal parents and I’m cushioned between two brothers, one younger, one older. On the outside we are a traditional American family. When I talk about family, I always refer to them as normal, loving people who are always there for me. I often forget, however, that we are not ordinary.
Our family is different because both our parents had infertility issues. My brothers and I were all conceived with the use of donor gametes. Although my brothers and I were born with the aid of donors, it doesn’t matter. In fact I rarely think about it and it always seems to slip my mind.
While others may be solely dependent on external validation, I have learned that life is not just about how you appear on the outside and how people view you. I have grown up open-minded. I believe that I am less critical and judgmental than other people because I know that things on the outside are not always what they seem. I understand that things that are different should not be feared and deserve acceptance that ordinary situations receive."
“What do you think?” she asked eagerly.
“It’s fabulous. It’s wonderful how open and positive you are,” I said, blinking back tears.
“Why shouldn’t I be?” she asked.
“Some individuals conceived using donor gametes have issues,” I told her.
“Why would they have issues?” she wanted to know.
When we began our journey to create a family over two decades ago, we were told by the medical community not to reveal the method of conception to any resulting children. This advice was accepted by 95% of couples utilizing DI at the time. I found this recommendation odd, considering the history of disclosure in the adoption community and the negative consequences of withholding information. But DI was way behind the social advances and acceptance of adoption, and still is. There was never any doubt that we would tell our children from the beginning, though we proceeded with some trepidation. There was no one to guide us. We felt like trailblazers.
As our children grew, stories began cropping up in newspapers, magazines and online bulletin boards featuring troubled donor-conceived individuals. Monica knew nothing of these negative views of donor conception, because I had tried to shield her, cutting out and disposing of these articles so she and her brothers wouldn’t read them. I hoped that those stories represented a vocal minority and assumed that individuals who didn’t have an issue with how they were conceived would have no need to talk to the media. Even if they did, well-adjusted and content individuals wouldn’t make for very dramatic or sensational journalism.
Now that I read Monica’s essay, I finally realized that I could let go of the fears. There was nothing to shield her from anymore.
“Why would someone have issues because of how they were conceived?” Monica asked me again.
“Some people don’t view things the way you do, honey,” I said.
Monica looked puzzled, and then shrugged her shoulders.
I now understand that her perception of her conception history was a mirror of how I viewed my infertility experience. We both saw it as something that enriched our lives.
Our children are a gift, created from a gift, and as they venture away from home, they are our gift to the world.
The author is a RESOLVE member and volunteer.
After reading this story several points come to mind that make me (and many others in PCVAI) believe that Fairfax’s PR department wrote this story and Monica and her mother do not exist. This story was simply written to counter the growing number of adult offspring who are voicing opinions which do not agree with the current status quo.
First off, Monica says in her essay that the idea of being donor conceived is something she rarely thinks about and it often slips her mind, however she makes it the focus of her college essay. An offspring who was truly ‘content’ with his or her conception I would doubt to bring the subject up. On the flip side, I know I’ve used being donor-conceived on graduate program personal statements and cover letters since I’m in the field of genetics – it’s an interesting anecdote about why I’m interested in genetics (and people definitely remember me!); but I use it because being donor-conceived IS something that I think about and it HAS affected me in numerous ways.
Secondly, the claim that the section is specifically for the views of donor offspring but this is the only story presented also lends to the fact that Fairfax is discounting and insulting those of us who feel the way we do simply to validate clients to continue to use donated gametes with the pretension that offspring are happy and content.
Thirdly, there is the insinuation that we are the “vocal minority” and that we must have psychological issues because of how we feel, going as far as calling us troubled, and that the only reason why our stories are featured are because it’s more for the sensationalism of journalism than the truth.
The final thought was that “well-adjusted” offspring should view their conception exactly as their parents view their infertility, and thus condone the process because it was “cure” for their parents’ infertility and it “enriched” their lives and therefore must enrich the offspring’s life as well.
I’m sorry; I just don’t buy it at all. It’s complete and utter bullshit coming straight from the infertility industry bastards who continue to ruin our lives.
Fairfax has never been my “favorite sperm bank” for it’s antiquated policies and complete disregard for the children they create, but this brainwashing has gone too far. They are dirty liars who don’t care about the children, and probably don’t even care about the recipient parents, since they aren’t doing them the decency to give them at least both sides of the story.
I am in the process of writing a formal complaint letter to Fairfax on behalf of PCVAI. Anyone who would also like to add his or her name/organization to this letter please email me.