This is the final draft of the letter to Fairfax on behalf of PCVAI in regards to their website. Please read and endorse it if you agree. I understand that not every opinion and every point could be made, but if you wish to support this letter please let me know ASAP!!
To Whom This May Concern:
On behalf of the group ‘People Conceived Via Artificial Insemination’ I would like to make a retort against the one and only story published on your page for children of DI, entitled The College Essay. With over 200 adult donor offspring members across the globe, we believe that it is biased and irresponsible to publish only a one-sided essay; and furthermore one that is insulting and demeaning towards the donor-conceived/adoptees who do feel a loss in not being allowed to know their biological roots.
Our first criticism of this story is how the mother worried that her daughter would become a resentful, unhappy adult with psychological issues, as if people who criticize any social problem must not be content. I would rather my future children be activists who are socially aware and recognize social ills and do something about it than be complacent. If everyone were less critical and judgmental we wouldn’t have such “troubled” people who changed the world, such as Rosa Parks, willing to submit themselves to the deviant labeling from “normal” society in order to act against injustice.
Our second issue with this page is the assumption that offspring should view their conception the same as their parents’ view their infertility, and subsequently that their conception is justified because it gave their parents the “gift” of having a child. By surrendering our most basic right (to know our roots) to the wants and needs of our parents we have essentially lost any aspect of an autonomous personhood. Our disgust is that the focus of the page dedicated to answering the questions of the children created through donated gametes sounds more like an advertisement to potential recipients, spotlighting the donor recruitment and screening process and policies, and then flat-out inform any offspring that you will never contact a donor on his or her behalf. You have completely eradicated the opinion of many offspring, and have corralled donor-conceived offspring into a single self-validating opinion, which implies that anyone who feels otherwise is psychologically troubled.
In the story, Monica’s mother even acknowledges the views of the “vocal minority”, but simply writes them off as troubled and the means of dramatic and sensational journalism. These instances have been disposed of so Monica has no idea of the “negative views” from many offspring. It’s as if Monica’s mother is not protecting her children from these views because they won’t need them, but more so because she fears that if they are exposed to these views they might see them as acceptable. What is essentially being said in this paragraph of the story is that Mom is so fearful that her children might have other feelings, that she must keep her children ignorant of the world in order to justify her own decision, and assuring herself that those who are dissenting must be in the minority and are surely not “well-adjusted and content”.
Our final reaction to this story is that it sounds very sugar-coated, maybe even a piece written on behalf of your PR department as a defensive move to counter the growing voices of dissent from DI adults. For instance, 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 doubt would bring the subject up at all. On the flip side, as a graduate student studying genetics, I have personally used being donor conceived on many graduate program personal statements as it’s an interesting anecdote about how I became interested in the field; however I used it because being donor conceived IS something I think about and it HAS affected me in numerous ways.
As donor-conceived adults we feel that even if this truly is how Monica sees her conception, it is only perpetuating the status quo established by the infertility industry and negating the legitimate criticisms many of us have been trying to voice. It also only shows one person’s reaction towards his or her infertility, one that describes using donor gametes as a “cure” without acknowledging that only masks the symptoms, leaving behind it life-long consequences for everyone involved: the offspring who has lost his or her biological father, half-siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, the social father who often sees this child as a constant reminder of his weakness, the donor who has no opportunity to even know of the children he creates, and the mother who may feel threatened by a child who has their own opinions. While we are not trying to downscale the impact of infertility on a person, we feel that alternatives to using donor gametes should also be discussed in order to give potential clients the most accurate and unbiased education, including but not limited to pre-conception counseling and testimonies which encompass all viewpoints.
Many of the members of PCVAI have their own children and even grandchildren, and while each of us are happy and productive members of society, many of us feel that if we could go back in time, we would tell our mother to not use a sperm donor to become pregnant. Many of us have contemplated or even dealt with infertility ourselves, but we would not choose to use a donor if such a circumstance should arise. As the individuals who are affected the most by assisted reproduction, we understand the impact and loss associated with these endeavors and above anyone else our views should be the most important in recipient parents as well as the infertility industry’s decisions.
As a group we feel that it is of paramount importance that the differing viewpoints of adult donor-conceived persons be represented, and that no one side be legitimatized simply because it validates your product. It is very peculiar that as a page that is supposedly focused to the donor offspring that the only story published is one that discounts the views of other offspring, and is not even written by an offspring. The current information and story only serve to embarrass and chastise a donor-conceived person who feels anything less than happy and grateful, humiliating us into silence.
Lindsay ---------- , Donor-Conceived