Friday, June 6, 2008

More questions from inquiring wannabe moms

Several questions were brought up to me from an anonymous comment from a potential parent, and here are my responses.  I hope this answers your questions and feel free to respond.

1. “I would like to know why you think that DC is selfish?”

Many donor offspring, myself included, see donor conception as a selfish option for creating children, because being that it’s far from the ideal circumstance [to conceive this way], there must be some desperate and therefore selfish want/need for the woman to have a baby to use a donor.  In any case of donor conception, there was a more ideal which for some way shape or form could not happen – infertile husband (or wife), lack of a partner, or same-sex partner – all three of these scenarios force the couple to make a decision…live without children, adopt children who are already on this earth, or use a donor.

So no matter how you put it, donor conceived children are second best, which is why we are forced by our parents to feel so indebted to be alive, to be grateful to be created...because they are trying to hide the fact that we were not their "ideal child" - due to the reasons which brought them to donor conception.  Who really can tell me that their ideal is to have a child with a man who is not your husband, and whom you don't even know?  Because of this parents must rely on proving to the world that they made the right decision by having this child, and most of it is to overcome their own insecurities about having a second-rate child.  And for many offspring, we realize that we're not the ideal fathers are oftentimes distant and aloof towards their donor children, mainly because this child is a constant reminder of their own weakness.  Mothers try to compensate and love us to an extreme, almost to the point where it's unhealthy - and then become reactive if we don't agree with our conception or want to know our biological father.

Many women become selfish and only want a baby that is “theirs”, so they refuse to adopt…some have the idea that adoptees are ‘damaged goods’ and don’t want the extra baggage that goes along with that.  Sadly, no one wants to acknowledge that children of donor conception carry much of the same baggage, per say, as adoption, so instead they pretend like biology doesn’t matter (so much so that approximately 85-90% of children conceived by a donor are never told!).  However, that’s hypocritical, since they themselves wanted a baby biologically related to them so badly they had to use a donor!

After the child is born, and grows up, many offspring feel inclined to search for their missing biological relatives (whether it be the donor, half-siblings, etc), but many recipient moms become fearful…”what if their child loves the donor more?!” many of them cry.  Many offspring feel that they are too scared to start searching for fear of hurting their parents’ feelings.  However, it was the parents’ selfish behavior, which forces the offspring to feel this way.  It becomes a battle of whose rights are more important, and for most recipient parents their own rights – their desire to have a baby – that trump the adult/child’s need for his or her biological relatives.  Children and adults begin to feel existential debt, the weight that their parents placed on them to feel wanted and grateful to be alive.  This feeling of being indebted to their parents often keeps adults from searching until their parents have passed away, and in many cases it’s already too late.

2. “In a perfect world what would you rather an infertile couple use as an option?”

In a perfect world there would be no such thing as infertility, so that begs the question.  In a perfect world all children would also be raised by their biological parents in harmony.  In our not-so-perfect world, adoption is a better option since these children are already on this earth and need a family. 

If a donor must be used, do the fair thing for your child and choose an open-identity donor – The Sperm Bank of California has ID-release donors who are willing to be contacted when the child turns 18.  While there are many faults with the system, at least this attempts to fix some of them.  In the donor offspring group PCVAI, out of 200 adult offspring, there is almost an unanimous agreement that anonymity of donors should be banned, and most of the group agrees that open-identity donors are a must (many countries in Europe have already moved to this – UK, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, and several others – as well as the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia, and New Zealand)

For me at least, while I became curious around the age of 7 or 8 to know my biological father, it was not until I was a teenager that I began to really need to know him, and I didn’t start searching until I was 18 (I didn’t even know that I could be searching until then, when I discovered the DSR and the online community). 

Regardless, many offspring who have met their donors (after the age of 18) feel that this still is in no way good.  As Myfanwy Walker of Melbourne, Australia argues, she lost 20 years of knowing and being raised by her biological father [Michael], he missed 20 years of knowing her and raising her, and that time missing is irreparable.  Her and Michael have formed a very close relationship, but meeting him only further added to her anger towards being donor conceived, now realizing what she had missed and what donor conception denies from children, especially knowing that most offspring her age will never know their donor.

However, the bottom line is that identity-release donors are the closest thing to ideal when using donors, unless you want to use a family friend who would be known to the child from day one (however, this idea bears with it many other complicated issues when you get down to it).


Anonymous said...

In the instances of cystic fibrosis and blood disorders in children the two bio-parents must be on hand. So who are the adults involved trying to kid?

I think donor-conceived people are being ripped off emotionally too in what must be one of the myths of our time - that the "gift of life" serves as a reason for the adults involved to experience nine months gestation.

Yes, I think the adults involved are selfish. And considering the cost of the clinics they use, they are probably used to having things their way genarally.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for your answers to my questions Lynsay. I am 'digesting' them at the moment.

In reply to the previous coment......Ummmmmm maybe you should have a chat to an infertile and ask them how much they enjoy paying the clinics that money. No I am not used to having things my way. Infertilty is not fun to deal with and I don't consider myself a spoilt brat for at least trying?????