Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blogosphere orphans

[Update: Oops!! This post accidentally got published without a I've republished it]

So after reading an interesting post on Jenna's "Chronicles of Munchkin Land" yesterday about how as a birthmother she doesn't fit in with the mommy-bloggers but rather finds a safer home with the adoptees themselves - I realized that as donor-conceived adults and former donors we are in much the same boat.

Aside from a few heaven-sent recipient parents (you know who you are...) that actually "get it", most are ignorant if not spiteful toward those of adult offspring (and donors!) that are speaking out. Some wanna-be parents are trying to educate themselves, but the few that brave the potential criticisms are only a tiny spec of those using repro-tech to procure their children. I'm sure as hell that Sarah Jessica Parker did NOT look into how her engineered surrogate daughters may feel when they grow up, and Michael Jackson obviously did not think of it a decade ago.

Now, I understand that a decision that they made how many years ago may be being questioned, but as the parents, shouldn't they want what's best for their children - even if that may put them in a vulnerable place?!

So back to Jenna, and back to us. Why is it that the voices of those which whom create these miracle children (the birth-parents and the donors) as well as the children themselves end up pooled together in a world where our voices don't matter.

The majority of adopted parents and recipient parents (and infertility patients) have their fantasy and no one - and I mean NO ONE - is going to ruin it!! It's just so much easier to think that babies are always going to be cute and cuddly and complacent about their lives, and that birthmothers are always good-for-nothing individuals who would be bad parents and that's why the a-parents must step up and "save" their children, and that donors are just happy to jack off in a cup and get paid and want to "help infertile families". If someone tries to ruin that fantasy, well, they just won't have that!! It's their world, and just as they got the baby they wanted they get everything they want.

A world where donor-conceived and adoptees aren't happy?!? A world where birthmothers are good and stable loving human beings?! A world where donors may actually want to know about the children they created?! OMG!!! That just cannot be!!!

We're all adults here, but apparently due to the fact that adoptees and donor-conceived persons lack knowledge of their own genetic heritage and birthparents must be druggies and homeless and donors are poor frat boys that need beer money...........THIS MUST BE WHY WE'RE SECOND CLASS CITIZENS!!!

YES! So I have solved the puzzle - it has nothing to do with the fact that we have lost an inalienable right to know our biological families or that we are ripping at the sides of an established baby-making/marketing business and thus are a threat to's because we're bastards and homeless druggies and frat boys.


superchick said...

Still, I have yet to see such distress expressed by donor conceived adults who A. had access to their fathers' identities and B. knew about their conception from a very young age. In fact I've found barely any material by them at all. Is silence a good sign? Or perhaps you, lindsay, know some of of these people and could provide links?

My conclusions based on what I've read is that the deception, shock, and absence of roots are the prime sources of anguish amongst the donor conceived, all which can be avoided by openness, honesty, and ID release policy. Yet still the spectre haunts me enough that despite my conclusions I still hesitate to have myself inseminated.

Lindsay said...

Superchick, you make a very valid point.....I agree to an extent that if BOTH of your points A and B are fulfilled that donor-conceived children should theoretically not feel the pain and anger that many of us adult offspring do feel.

This is precisely why not only must parents disclose donor status to their children but also we must ban anonymous donors. I am a strong advocate for open donors (where from early on the donor has a presence in the child's life, or at least is available to answer questions. ID-release is not ideal, but at least a curious child is able to contact their biological parent upon turning 18.

The problem however, is that there are VERY FEW offspring that have both A and B. Adult offspring who have found their biological fathers usually did not learn of their conception until they were older - look up Myfanwy Walker and Katie Whitaker as examples. Offspring that have in fact known of their conception since early on are typically younger, but of the ones I know that are over 18 they were born of anonymous donors and have not found them.

There is little information out there about children born of ID-release donors, as the eldest have just recently turned 18, and there is virtually no information about children conceived from an open donor - and traditionally that is more popular in the LGBT and SMC communities.

The only downfall of ID-release that I can see is a) that there is 18 years of mystery and absence of the biological father, and b) that even after contact the donor may not want the type of relationship that the child may be hoping for and they could be devastated if they were set on having a "father-figure".

Feel free to contact me privately if you have any other questions.

damianhadams said...

while I do not fit component A, I have always known of my conception. I used to also be proud and happy about it until I had my own children whne my views changed 180 degrees. From how I see things now even having the identity of my father from that early time would still leave a gaping hole. Those components you mentioned do not even begin to cover the issue of kinship separation. One thing we have learnt from adoption is that even when these things are known and siclosed of from early age that there can still be life long trauma. Maybe not for everyone, but it will still exist. And I can guarantee that I would still be damaged by my conception.

superchick said...

Hi Damian,
I hope you do not take this as minimizing of your pain, but regarding your statement that even if you had known, you would still be damaged- it seems you are projecting, because how could you possibly know that with such certainty?

Or are you aware of concrete experiences of others that lead you to make this assumption? If so could you share those with me?

damianhadams said...

I would still be damaged because I have missed out on my kinship. I have missed out on shared life experiences with my father, siblings, gardparents. These can never be replaced. I know that this does occur with those offspring that have subsequently formed a relationship with their donor father. It is the same thing that many adoptees deal with and also those of the stolen generation here in Australia. So there is hard evidence that just knowing the identity of your father/mother is not enough and that it can lead to psychological trauma. There are some offspring that also feel that they have been abondoned by their "donor" or even sold and commodified by their "vendors" that just knowing their identity cannot possibly cover up these emotional scars.

Anonymous said...

So many kids grow up today away from their fathers. Yes, it causes them pain but many of them are doing quite well, some better than I who grew up with two parents and nine siblings, (many of which I did not maintain a close relationship with). That is why I do not relate to the issue of shared experiences etc. with such gravity.

From my experience, shared experiences can produce a lot of baggage than one would do better without.

damianhadams said...

while I can appreciate that you had a childhood that had many shared experiences that you would rather forget. However, those shared experiences with your kin ARE a part of who you are. They help form your identity and your relationship (good or bad) with those kin, which are your family, heritage and culture.
To wish away those experiences and to trivialise the importance of such things that we know are important to humans (see previous comments about adoptees etc that are missing them) is something that is easy for anyone to do when it is something that you already have.
Most people who would look at me would be under the impression that I am doing quite well. Good job, good home, good health, great family. But they still don't fill the void and pain left by not "knowing" my father.

whosedaughter said...

Superchick and anonymous,
There is an upcoming study which will be released in 2010 that will prove/show that openness/honesty, while beneficial, is not enough. There are serious ethical/emotional issues which our culture of political correctness does not adequately address.

"My Daddy’s Name is Donor:

Adult Rights, Children’s Needs, and the Future of Parenthood (Harcourt, 2010)

By Elizabeth Marquardt

Egg donors from Eastern Europe, sperm donors from Denmark , surrogates from India – today’s babies can be global citizens in ways previous generations never dreamed. The brave new world of parenthood emphasizes the adult right to a child anytime, anywhere. But how do children feel about this new world? Does how they feel matter?

In this book, Elizabeth Marquardt releases brand-new results from by far the largest and only randomly-drawn sample in the world of 560 young adults who are offspring of sperm donors. (The survey also includes comparison groups of 560 adults adopted as infants and 560 adults raised by their biological parents). Based in part on the experience of donor offspring, she shows how extraordinary changes in law, medicine, and culture now underway in the U.S. and around the world will impact the next generation of children – and childhood itself.

Do children care where they come from? Do mothers and fathers matter to children? When children born of reproductive technologies grow up, how do they make sense of their identities? Where do they see themselves in the larger web of the human family? How does their well-being compare with others who are not donor conceived? And what role should their voices have in national and international debates on family change? In this book Elizabeth Marquardt asks – and answers – these questions."

whosedaughter said...

"There are serious ethical/emotional and SOCIOLOGICAL issues which our culture of political correctness does not adequately address."

Anonymous said...

I suppose the issue of our childhoods seems like a case of the grass always being greener on the other side.

I look forward to seeing the study when it comes out.

damianhadams said...

It is not at all about the grass being greener on the other side. You have completely missed the ethical, moral and academic arguements that have been posted on this blog and elsewhere (many of which are linked on this blog).
For myself it would not matter if my biological father was in jail for a horrendous crime - I still deserve the dignity of knowing the truth. I do not fantasize about what should have or could be. It is all about what is best for a child.

kisarita said...

Ethical, Academic arguments are just that: theory and speculation, which mean little on their own. That is exactly why I am asking for real life experiences.

whosedaughter said...

kisarita wrote:
"Ethical, Academic arguments are just that: theory and speculation, which mean little on their own. That is exactly why I am asking for real life experiences."

Not wanting to repeat myself, but there is an upcoming study (see my previous comment re: "My Daddy's Name is Donor") that will provide those real life experiences, opinions, perspectives.

Lindsay said...


Your comment about all the children that grow up today away from their fathers and how you growing up with your parents and 9 sibs don't feel close to them.....I find this insulting and degrading to those of us donor-conceived and adoptees who are fighting for the same basic rights you are tossing to the wind.

The difference between you (and kids who grow up with their fathers not around) is that those situations are unintentional. Kids grow up without their dads because of divorce and death, etc. Yes, it's a tragedy, and yes it's not fair. But they were NOT intentionally created to be abandoned. Maybe their dad abandoned them because they were born, but it was not intentional.

Donor-conceived individuals however, we have to carry the burden or proof. We were intentionally created to be forever severed from our biological parent.

You say that shared experiences causes baggage - yes, I'm sure it can. We're human beings of course, and growing up with other people can be difficult.

But that does NOT mean that every person does not deserve the RIGHT to know those connections!!