Monday, May 31, 2010

15 Major Findings from "My Daddy's Name is Donor"

For those who do not want to read through this report (although I HIGHLY suggest it -- especially because yours truly is quoted several times throughout the study!!!), these 15 findings alongside the executive summary in the post below will provide you with the basic information discussed in the report.

A more in-depth description and the statistics involved in each of these findings can be found at: under "15 Major Findings"

15 Major Findings:

1. Young adults conceived through sperm donation (or “donor offspring”) experience profound struggles with their origins and identities.

2. Family relationships for donor offspring are more often characterized by confusion, tension, and loss.

3. Donor offspring often worry about the implications of interacting with and possibly forming intimate relationships with – unknown, blood-related family members.

4. Donor offspring are more likely to have experienced divorce or multiple family transitions in their families of origin.

5. Donor offspring are significantly more likely than those raised by their biological parents to struggle with serious, negative outcomes such as delinquency, substance abuse, and depression, even when controlling for socio-economic and other factors.

6. Donor offspring born to heterosexual married couples, single mothers, or lesbian couples share many similarities.

7. At the same time, there appear to be notable differences between donor offspring born to heterosexual married couples, single mothers, and lesbian couples.

8. Regarding troubling outcomes, even with controls, the offspring of single mothers who used a sperm donor to conceive are almost 2.5 times as likely as those raised by biological parents to report problems with the law before age 25.

9. About half of donor offspring have concerns about or serious objections to donor conception itself, even when parents tell the children the truth about their origins.

10. Openness alone does not appear to resolve the complex risks that are associated with being conceived through sperm donation.

11. While a majority of donor offspring support a right to know the truth about their origins, significant majorities also support, at least in the abstract, a strikingly libertarian approach to reproductive technologies in general.

12. Adults conceived through sperm donation are far more likely than others to become sperm or egg donors or surrogates themselves.

13. Those donor offspring who do not support the practice of donor conception are more than three times as likely to say they do not feel they can express their views in public.

14. Donor conception is not “just like” adoption.

15. Today’s grown donor offspring present a striking portrait of racial, ethnic, and religious diversity.

I personally am most shocked by finding #12 - that 20% of donor offspring revealed that they themselves have been donors or surrogates!!

While I don't doubt the validity of these results, I wonder why that statistic is so high - compared to near 0% for both adoptees and those raised by their biological parents.

My hunch is that due to existential debt, many offspring have been force-fed the ideology that sperm/egg donation is good, and that we must be grateful to be alive, and that sperm and egg are nothing more than biological materials (like blood or organs) and can be given away or sold as such without any thought to what is created, and that love - not biological ties - makes a family, etc. It is this ideology that we are dictated from day one, that it is those who raise us and not "the nice man that helped me/us have you" that is is this ideology and that we are guilted into believing that such procedures are good and that helping infertile people have children is something is this that I believe attracts donor-conceived individuals to donating their sperm/eggs or their bodies (in surrogacy) to "help" others have children.

Elizabeth does acknowledge existential debt and how donor-conceived children (and adults) are brainwashed from early on in how to view their own artificial conception.....however she does not infer the staggering statistics related to finding #12 to this phenomenon as well. However, in my dealings with adult offspring over the years, I've met many a number of offspring who have either donated or contemplated donating for this very reason --- all have chosen not to and are relieved they did not go through with it, or are very regretful for doing it later on in life. Again, donor-conceived adults are not immune to the same lures that bring others to, helping people, etc.

Many of the offspring who have donated did so before they even learned they were donor-conceived!!! To me, I find this to be a very intriguing if there must be some sort of subliminal messages being sent from the parents to the child/adult even before disclosure to make them see sperm/egg donation as a noble thing!!!

Finding #11 did not shock me near as much as #12, but I think it goes back to the fact that we as donor-conceived persons, are instructed from a very young age that assisted reproductive technologies and sperm/egg donation are a good thing, and that without them we would not be alive, and therefore we must be grateful to these technologies. As opposed to adoptees and those raised by their biological parents, who have not had this conditioning as such - they are much more apprehensive with ART and the laissez-faire attitudes of the infertility industry.


kisarita said...

I suppose this is a side point, but I'm surprised the sperm banks are accepting specimens from donor offspring- aren't the donors required to furnish the medical history of both parents, and even grandparents?

I am also sorry to see that in the summary, the difference between open donors and and anonymous is not discussed. I hope it is addressed in the body of the research.

Single parenting is tough. I'm not surprised at this result. But, does the research compare single mothers who'se former partners are somewhere out there, and donors?

damianhadams said...

It is easy enough to make up a medical and family history for offspring that choose to donate.

Lindsay said...

Highly unethical - but yes I agree, it's very easy to make things up on a donor medical history form. In all honesty, I don't think they would even care that you just don't answer anything for your paternal side. I know many adoptees who donated and simply put adopted - no medical history. The laissez-faire philosophy seems to dominate every that aspect of the infertility industry!!

Kisarita - I think while it was not directly discussed, the idea that most offspring disagree with anonymous donors speaks for itself.....the acceptable method IS open donors for the majority of offspring.

As for the single mothers - I think while both are raised many offspring it's the intentionality of being conceived with the intention of being fatherless that bothers most.

Val said...

Great post Lindsay - another one to tuck away in my file...