One thing I have not talked a lot about is how these attitudes change over the course of ones life. Most young DC children will tell you they are happily content with who they are, and show little regard for their donor. For some individuals this continues on for decades - for others it changes early on - and for yet another group (presumably) it never changes.
As I have mentioned many times, I have known all my life that I was donor conceived, and early on it didn't phase me much...not really understanding the concept, or realizing what a father really was (my mom was single), I lived in happy ignorant bliss. After my mother married and I suddenly had a "dad", I began questioning the fact that I was denied the ability to know my real father.
My "dad" legally adopting me was the spark that ignited the confusion, anger, and loss associated with being donor conceived. It took several more years, and finally interactions with other donor conceived adults to understand that I was not alone in my feelings.
For others it's being in a committed relationship or getting married, for some it's after the birth of their first child, for others its the death of a parent, often its after their parents divorce...in each of these cases there is a turning point.
The idea of existential debt is often the primary reason that offspring are hesitant or even aggressive towards the position that myself and many others take to our conception. This need to be grateful for our lives is in direct conflict with the losses involved in donor conception, and they cannot be felt simultaneously. These offspring, while they may seem "well-adjusted" to most parents (who believe that their lack of interest is good), simply have not been able to distinguish this vital aspect of their livelihood and separate their loss and their identity from their parents infertility and pain and need for a child.
During recent discussion with Damian Adams, he brought up a four stage process of donor conception comprehension. He permitted me to post his comments here.
To understand the following we probably have to see that there were many stages that I have been through (probably about 4). Those being:1. A naive child2. Mild curiosity - wanting some non-identifying information, but happy with DC3. Increased curiosity - wanting identifying information, the first stages of mild loss (repressed), but still grateful to be alive4. Acknowledgment of loss and the profound effects that it has1. I used to be proud about being DC. I was grateful, because otherwise I wouldn't have existed. Even though I would have liked to have had some non-identifying information, it did not affect me greatly. Perhaps I was preventing myself from feeling loss about that - I don't know (a self-defence mechanism perhaps). I had my dad who to me at the time was my "father".2. There was no sense of loss otherwise there would have been no way I would have even contemplated donating myself which I was pretty close to doing. By being happy with my mode of conception (proud and grateful), there is no way that that position could coexist with a sense of loss.3. For a period of time when I wanted to find out non-identifying info and also identifying info (prior to the birth of -------), I had to accept that I would not even find out that info as a consequence of being alive. So while there may have been some mild loss at that stage it was repressed because I still had to feel gratitude to the procedure that created me.4. It was only when I realized the true nature of my loss could I see that I did not have to be grateful and happy about being DC, and that in-fact that the losses forcibly imposed on me should be treated with contempt and anger.I think some people may have another stages between 3 and 4 above, but for me it was a monumental leap from mild loss that was repressed to full blow loss and anguish.Cliches follow:But for me and I think that it would have to apply to most others is that if you feel grateful and therefore happy that you parents who wanted you so much were given this wonderful gift by a truly altruistic man, then how can you feel loss.To feel any kind of loss is an acknowledgement that something is wrong with the process and that the process has caused some form of harm which does not coincide with the cliche above. Any form of loss is a form of suffering, suffering is not the goal of altruism.