For example, a few weeks ago my mom was watching a rerun of How I Met Your Mother (that I had seen when it was first aired as well). It's one of my favorite shows, but unfortunately the episode that came on that evening was the one where Marshall and Lily were trying to get pregnant and when they discovered that the problem was not Lily, Marshall had to go and have his sperm count tested -- at the end of the episode it turns out that they're both okay, though sadly Marshall goes to call his dad to tell him the good news and learns that his dad had just passed away.
But it was the obscene jokes about sperm donors that really upset me even more than the issue at hand. The idea of infertility does not necessarily always equate to donor conception. However, I was sad to see that the producers at CBS [Edit] took the low blow and decided to crack the sperm donor joke, it made me really lose faith in network TV to NOT offend people.
Now, I suppose if this episode had come on during one of the points in my life where I did not feel emotionally strong enough to handle thinking about and dealing with donor conception, it would have been very distressing for sure. Luckily I was not in one of those times. But the end does not justify the mean. The idea that these jokes are made so blatantly and without regard for those whom they might offend is what concerns me. Minorities that have large lobbying groups are able to be heard when any racist/sexist/etc joke is made by the media. Often there are lengthy apologies to be made.
But when it comes to children......
Apparently there's nothing stopping them. Adult adoptees find themselves in a similar arena, with adoption jokes make frequently in movies and TV. There was a particularly crude adoption joke made on Rules of Engagement, around the same time that the sperm donor joke first aired on How I Met Your Mother.
Since we are eternally infantized, it's easy to crack these jokes. We have no lobbying power, at least in the USA, because we are in such small numbers, and we are up against such huge adversaries who have all the right numbers (in people and in money). The majority of Americans have never met an adult donor-conceived person - that they know of - and the prevailing attitudes are sympathetic to the infertile, since most Americans know of someone who has dealt or is dealing with infertility. Therefore, the jokes will continue.
So what made me decide to blog about this topic tonight was I was chatting online to a friend and he sent me this link to a website that has created stuffed animals of microbes (http://www.giantmicrobes.com/).....from one nerd to another. I was getting a huge kick out of the cute little cartoon recreations of everything from the pimple, to your general Staph infection, to the Black Death and Cholera, and nearly every STD known to man. They even had the "good guys" such as red and white blood cells, platelets, and stem cells.
They also have sperm and egg cells, which I have to say were quite adorable. However, when I clicked on them I realized that it was yet another joke....
Now, I'm sure some of you are like, get a grip, it's a website devoted to wise-cracking about microbiology. I get that. But what I fail to understand is why it is so funny to make jokes at the expense of another person. I was very amused until that point. Heck, I thought it would be entertaining to buy infectious diseases for my friends and relatives....hehe. But that did me in. I don't want to support a company that finds humor in infertility and in donated gametes. It's not funny. For anyone involved. I'm sure most people who have suffered from infertility wouldn't tell you it's all fun and games and hilarious. And those of us conceived from these technologies surely do not.
Our egg cell would love to be the newest member of your family -- or get donated to someone special!
But I guess I'm not a comical person........