We’ve been doing the Creating a Family radio show since 2007, and one of the most interesting shows for me was an interview with a panel of donor-conceived adults. The real experts on donor conception and the experience of living as a donor conceived person are adult donor conceived people.
Adults conceived via donor egg, sperm or embryo, don’t speak with one voice. One of the panelist on the donor conceived adult show was not particularly interested in knowing much about her donor, while the other three were actively searching. Some of the panelists felt that finding out about their conception as an adult was “earth shattering” and “shocking”, while others were surprised but took it in stride.
The panelist talked about sensing as children that something was different. Two talked about noticing that they didn’t look like their family, one talked about sensing something different in the relationship with his father when compared with other children. Two of the panelist specifically asked pointed questions to their parents during their adolescense. They felt betrayed when they found out later that their parents had not told them the truth.
The Cover-up is Always Worse
None of the panelist were told as young children that they were donor conceived. Several panelists talked about feeling betrayed. The accumulation of a lifetime of lies, both big and small, took a toll.
When I found out it was life shattering not because my dad wasn’t my father… but because I was raised under this false reality. A family should be based on trust. When this trust is broken it changes the family dynamic. It affects relationships.
When I found out I felt betrayed because my parents had always been open with me and it wasn’t in their character to [lie]… it was earth shattering.
Parents Are Afraid
I think most parents who choose not to tell do so out of fear. They are afraid it will confuse their child; they are afraid it will complicate their life; they are afraid their child might be rejected by the grandparents; and deep down they are afraid that their child won’t love them as much.
I don’t have a crystal ball with the assurance that their fears are groundless, but I can share the voices of those who were not told as children. These voices are a good counter balance to this fear.
Children’s Books on Donor Conception
The very best way to start the telling is by stocking your kid’s library with books about third party conception. We can help. Check out our great list of books for kids about being conceived by donor sperm, donor egg, or donor embryo.
Other Creating a Family Resources You Will Enjoy
- Top Ten Tips for Telling Children About Donor Egg, Sperm, and Embryo
- Is it Harmful to Not Tell Donor Conceived Kids The Truth?
- Donor Conceived Family Publicly Embarrassed-What Would You Do
- Reflections of a Donor Conceived Child: The College Essay
First published in 2014; updated in 2017.
Add Your Comment
OK folks, I think we’ve come to the end of any fruitful discussion and have started to move into the area where people are getting hurt. Comments to this blog are officially closed. Thanks!
Here are some links that people might find interesting:
A blog by an Australian DC conceived child – it is pretty old. I included this post because it lists four different states that the blogger has gone through:
A discussion re *COMPARING THE RIGHTS OF ADOPTEES AND
DONOR-CONCEIVED OFFSPRING IN STATES
GRANTING ACCESS TO ORIGINAL BIRTH
CERTIFICATES AND ADOPTION RECORDS: AN
EQUAL PROTECTION ANALYSIS*
Blog by dad whose children were conceived by DI (he was diagnosed with “non-obstructive azoospermia”):
Dawn you are a professional and if you allow scientifically false information to be bandied about your site as if it’s true it is really irresponsible of you.
Some people its too late for they have been deeply snowed by the industry and are in over their heads believing that they conceived children with donor eggs or that they are biological mothers if they carried and delivered embryos they did not conceive themselves. It’s really scary that people convince themselves that they reproduced with a spouse who is not fertile. It’s terrifying actually. First they say reproduction does not matter to down play the importance of the absent bio parent, then they outright falsify it by saying they conceived or that they are biological mothers. The kids will go to school and figure out that your making up stories very quickly. How will it make you look if your playing word games with scientific terms about biological relatedness?
Scientific official medical definition from the society that makes the most money off your infertility treatments is still accurate on the topic of who is a bio mother.
I’ve even heard people try to split biology up into biological and genetic mother. Seriously what part of a person’s genes are not biological? What part of their biology has no genes?
A person has offspring or they don’t. If they don’t they are not a bio parent and if they do they are. It’s that simple. If they are not there to raise their offspring and be accountable the question is why not, and the people raising them can’t and don’t start raising them until after they are born.
I’m not saying that women who give birth to egg donor’s offspring adopt them before birth Mamma. They get the bio mother to agree in advance of her offspring’s birth not to raise them after they are born. When the bio mother keeps her promise there should be an adoption but there is not which makes it like any other black market adoption where someone is named parent on the birth record of another person’s offspring without court approval
Article from the Sydney Herald. March 2014
People from Oz going to Greece for egg donation.
”There are more and more patients from Australia â€¦ when I started dealing with patients from Australia six years ago there was an occasional patient but that has been changing,” Ms Pellow said.
“maybe I was just a bit sensitive after the constant accusations of interfering with your reproductive rights. All Iâ€™ve been trying to do is try to say that I believe anonymity is about the rights of the child not the adult â€“”
I do not know how to impress upon you that you are, indeed, promoting state interference into reproductive rights.
Many people agree with me. Including Justice Frankel and two other appeals judges in Canada.
You can argue with the ideas, but you cannot say that other people, like those three judges, don’t think that this would be undue state interference into the realm of reproductive rights.
In the USA issues of reproduction are seen as fundamental rights. The right to knowledge of biological origin is not a right that is recognized.
The Ave Maria case referenced Pratten v. British Columbia.
Your article is outdated. This case failed in Canada.
There is no “right to know your origins” at conception in Canada. The court ruled it would infringe upon the rights of procreation.
Money quote from the appeals case–
“what Ms. Pratten seeks is far more extensive than what is enjoyed by most people in Canada and would result in state intrusion into the lives of many. There are many non-donor offspring who do not know their family history or the identity of their biological father because of decisions taken by others,”
“these do not support the proposition that there is a fundamental legal right â€œto know oneâ€™s pastâ€. Indeed, as the Attorney General points out, what Ms. Pratten seeks is far more extensive than what is enjoyed by most people in Canada and would result in state intrusion into the lives of many. There are many non-donor offspring who do not know their family history or the identity of their biological father because of decisions taken by others, or because of the circumstances of their conception. For example, there is presently no law that compels a biological parent to share with a child whatever medical, social, or cultural information he or she may have concerning the other biological parent.
 It is significant that the right â€œto know oneâ€™s pastâ€ was found not to be a principle of fundamental justice within s. 7 of the Charter in Marchand v. Ontario, 2007 ONCA 787, 288 D.L.R. (4th) 762, affâ€™g (2006), 81 O.R. (3d) 172 (S.C.J.), leave refâ€™d  1 S.C.R. ix (sub nom. Infant Number 10968).
The decision cannot be read as providing support for the proposition that the right â€œto know oneâ€™s pastâ€ is generally accepted as being of fundamental importance.
 I do not read this provision as imposing on States Parties an obligation to provide mechanisms to enable donor offspring to obtain the personal information of third parties who are not their legal parents.
(Ont. S.C.J.) Madam Justice Frank opined that the provisions of the C.R.C. do not support the proposition that the right to â€œlibertyâ€ in s. 7 of the Charter includes â€œa right to unfettered access to the identifying personal information of third parties who are not the legal parents of the childâ€: para. 115.
 Not only is Rose based on wording that has no equivalent in the Charter, it is based on a legal instrument that has no application to Canada. It is a regional treaty, entered into by the member states of the Council of Europe. The decision cannot be read as providing support for the proposition that the right â€œto know oneâ€™s pastâ€ is generally accepted as being of fundamental importance.
In dismissing that f Appeal (at para. 12) agreed with the following statement by the judge that the denial of access did not engage a principle of fundamental justice…”
old adoptee here 🙂
There are some things I have studied for decades concerning nature/nurture and real parents…
The best and most peaceful answer I have seen for this nature/nurture paradox is:
Which side of a rectangle is more important to the rectangle?
When a person has more than one mother, or one father, allow that in truth.
This fearful paradox of real – this is the best and most peaceful answer I have seen so far to help deal when you have more than one mother or father:
I/They have more than one mother and/or more than one father – it’s pretty simple.
Some have MANY, what they are called by that individual is a different matter, the relationships they have together are individual.
The important part is helping that person with the issues that can come up with having more than one mother or one father.
Helping them decide which one is truly REAL, isn’t helping, it’s full of insecurities, it’s about what you want them to see (understandably), it’s projecting your opinion (understandably).
Helping the person with more than one mother and/or father to understand that all of their mothers and fathers are real and equally important to their existence, is helping to grow a secure whole person, in truth.
To do that, one must believe it, accept it themselves, not hide it behind confusing words to make it easier to swallow.
There is no security in non-truth, especially for the adult.
It’s taken me and mine decades to accept. I always hope that families understand this, sooner than later, for the sake of the entire family.
“maybe I was just a bit sensitive after the constant accusations of interfering with your reproductive rights.”
I apologize for referring to a political movement below. It’s not right for this blog.
But CB, you keep telling me that you’re not trying to limit my reproductive rights. Only you’re invoking stuff that is part of the “culture war” in the U.S. The US “culture war” about birth control and abortion and gay rights has been raging since the 1980s.
Just a gentle heads up, but I am guessing this is a cultural misunderstanding. Your link to the article on aborting babies to use their eggs, linking to an article something from Ave Maria.
I identify this stuff with the US reproductive culture wars. It’s a cultural difference most like. You keep saying that you don’t want to limit the reproductive rights of people.
Linking to Ave Maria articles won’t help you make that arguments with American feminists.
My parents, both feminists, would not let us kids ever buy Domino’s Pizza. We kids liked Domino’s. The founder was a big funder of politicians and group against the legalization of abortion and birth control.
There was a feminist boycott against him and Domino’s in the 1980s. Some feminists still boycott Domino’s.
The owner of Domino’s is the chairman of the board of governors to Ave Maria. He helped found it with his money. He’s also sued Obama over birth control.
If you want to convince people that you’re not interested in limiting our reproductive rights — Don’t link to things from Ave Maria!
“Ave Maria University — the much-troubled, uber-Catholic institution near Naples — is suing the Obama administration over its rule requiring health plans to cover free contraception.”
A heads-up. You linked to an article generated by people at Ave Maria Law.
You’re Australian, right? I get the impression that you haven’t lived in the USA.
Cultural differences can make it difficult to “get” the symbolism of schools and stuff in other countries.
Linking to Ave Maria is different from linking to Harvard or the University of Florida or to a great Catholic University like Georgetown.
This is a popular law gossip blog by Elie Mystal about Ave Maria. It’ll give you an idea of how mainstream lawyers see Ave Maria.
“And if you want to find new and exciting ways to mingle your religious beliefs with our secular laws, thatâ€™s fine too. I mean, Iâ€™ll do what I can to oppose you, but in America we must be comfortable with difference.”
“I was trying to create a connection with you where we could both agree on a practice that was shudder-worthy.”
If you link to articles containing horrifying practices and sentiments,
you need to be careful in how you frame your posts.
“I felt you perhaps might not have been taking it seriously”
If I told you
you did not take your family seriously
If i told you
you did not take your children seriously
….how would you feel about me?
“The best I could come up are: â€œbiofamilismâ€, â€œanti-interfilesâ€, and â€œgenetic-supremacistsâ€.
Can anyone on this group that is good with words help me find a better name? I believe naming the phenomena is a step toward identifying and fighting it better.”
What about bio-supremacy? People who believe in the ideology are bio-supremacists.
Bio-supremacy is an ideology that insists families should not deviate from the genetic purity of the familial line. Families which deviate from the norm are stigmatized and labeled as inferior to the genetic ideal.
Families who deviate from bio-normative standards are viewed as harmful to children.
Bio-supremacists shame and stigmatize non-normative families. They teach that children in these families are an oppressed group because they are raised in inferior and illegitimate family forms.
Bio-supremacists believe that parents are raising children in inferior life situations. Bio-supremacists view these families are seen as “second-class.” Genetic families are seen as “first class” families.
The parents of these “second class” families are targeted as “infertiles” or “adoptor-raptors.” Bio-supremacists want to shame these parents for their failure to conform to bio-normative standards.
Justin 111 & 112 – thank you for these articulate comments. Perhaps we can call them genophiles? bio-normativists? or just old fashion bigots?
Dawn – I can imagine the job of moderating such complex discussions is no easy task. However, we generally don’t allow hate speech in our society. It may be hard to discern, but in the words of the US Supreme Court, about a similarly hard to define concept, I know it when I see it.
That is how I feel about some of the terms thrown about in the comments by particular commentators – that I know what I am seeing and it poses a unnecessary threat to donor conception families.
“I have reread the entire comment thread on this blog, and I am distressed. I have read that parents who do not share genetic material with their children are not actually parents, or at least not â€œthe real parentsâ€. I have read that all people who suffer from infertility who seek to create a family through gamete donation are engaged in â€œblack market donationâ€. I have read that the families they created are â€œthe whack wayâ€, and that they should not exist (at least until all biological parent share custody).
We have names for many ideologies who denounce and demonize groups of people: anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, heterosexism, â€œwhite supremacyâ€. I do not think we have yet a name for the likes of marylinn and anonymous (96+97), who seem intent on devaluing infertile-created-families. The best I could come up are: â€œbiofamilismâ€, â€œanti-interfilesâ€, and â€œgenetic-supremacistsâ€.
Can anyone on this group that is good with words help me find a better name? I believe naming the phenomena is a step toward identifying and fighting it better”
Thank you so much for this comment. I understand the need for open discussion, but when some in the discussion (I won’t name names but they probably know who they are)are intent on dismissing and demonizing those of us who are infertile and condemning us for the ways in which we might one day become parents, IMO they don’t belong in the conversation at all, because they don’t add anything of use to it. I agree that it’s important to hear from others on the other side of these issues and to consider their point of view, but I don’t think it’s fair to have to accept their prejudices and bigotries as truth. I don’t know when people with IF became a minority group that it became okay for others to be abusive and derogatory to, but like you, I am tired of it. All other players in such issues (expectant parents, adoptees, DC offspring) are allowed to be complex and human, and have their bad behaviours-past and present-excused, but PWI (people with IF) are not allowed to be, at least online. Maybe it’s because to some of those folks, PWI (parenting while IF) is seen as a crime, or if it isn’t, it should be.
I like the words that you use to describe this bigotry, but I would like to add one that I have used to describe this phenomenon: Fertilism. I’m not sure if it is a real word, but I have heard others use it and I find it an apt one. Similar to racism, heterosexism, sexism, anti Semitism, and other forms of prejudice. Fertilism is at the root of the Family Preservation movement (because the people who are part of this movement don’t care a bit about preserving adoptive families or the families that might be created through ART or 3rd party reproduction-only bio families are worthy of being preserved in their eyes) And I don’t understand why people who hold this FP view are allowed to comment on sites like this, and have their blogs promoted on here as if they were filled with valuable information only, instead of hate and bigotry. As I have said once before, the name of this site is “Creating A Family” not “Seeking to shame and denigrate those who are seeking to create a family because it will never be as good or right as a naturally created biological family” I’m glad to know that there are others on here who are getting as frustrated with it as I am.
Dawn-I do not blame you for this, because I know that you have the best intentions and that you have the intention of helping those of us who need helpful information on how to build their families through alternate means. I’m just sorry that others have turned it into a platform to spread their biased and ignorant agenda. I actually listened to the show about the DC adults, and I found it informative and actually a relief to hear that for the most part, these adults weren’t anti infertile, just curious about their origins. Thank you for that.
Anonymous, I’m glad you actually listened to the show. I suspect that many others on this thread have not. It’s easy for us to get side tracked by a few folks, but when we get side tracked we run the risk of seeing the bigger picture that some donor conceived people want us to hear.
I should add that while I don’t think anyone on the panel was in the least anti-infertile (in fact some were very sympathetic), I do think at least two on the panel were anti anonymous donor conception.
“Greg, I donâ€™t think you are quoting me there.
Also, Greg, we might not always see eye to eye but I think we at least try to hear what each other says.”
You are correct, I was not quoting you there. I apologize for the confusion.
I have a mutual respect for you in these discussions despite us disagreeing with one another on certain issues. I hope that I’ve helped convey that to you.
“I also want to throw out there this thought: Donors who are â€œanonymousâ€ are not necessarily donors who WANTED to be anonymous. They didnâ€™t have a choice, no one asked them if they wanted a choice when they donated. Please keep that in the back of your mind â€“ the industry dictated anonymityâ€¦and now we are seeing the push back.”
Just because they weren’t asked doesn’t mean they would have selected to be an open ID donor if they were asked. This isn’t like adoption and open and closed adoptions where the biological mother gets pregnant and carries the baby inside of them for 9 months where an attachment could develop. I think you are making a big assumption here.
“Donors who are â€œanonymousâ€ are not necessarily donors who WANTED to be anonymous. They didnâ€™t have a choice, no one asked them if they wanted a choice when they donated.”
Donors have choices. They can donate at clinics where they are asked if they would be open to contact at 18. They can also be a known donor.
Donors who don’t want to be anonymous can chose to not donate.
“You donâ€™t seem to be hearing people. A parent may chose another donor due to health concerns, cost, other factors, or a combination.”
My answer was in reply to Justin’s hypothetical scenario where one of the main reasons was in regards to the hypothetical person feeling more safe and secure with anonymity.
Also, my screen name is cb not cj.
And I agree, there are many different opinions on eric’s blog. I said somewhere else that removing anonymity does not inconvenience those that don’t care whereas anonymity does inconvenience those that do care.
“Theyâ€™ll more likely ask why their bio mother would want to raise them but their bio father did not and they might ask why it is that their mother would not want their bio father to raise them, like what did they do wrong and why donâ€™t they deserve his attention as they do deserve hers.”
One of my good friends was raised by a single mom who used a sperm donor.
I talk to people about this in real life.
“Anna in reading your hypothetical conversation Iâ€™m reminded that people who legally adopt often take the strong stance that raising a child is what turns a person into a parent, not creating a child. â€
I don’t get it. Are you saying CJ’s adopted mom and dad are not parents?
“BTW, I think itâ€™s great that you shared Ericâ€™s blog in this thread. Eric is a great guy who provides great insight into being a DC parent. He also has a men only group on yahoo that was a great support resource for myself last year.”
I love Eric’s blog. He seems like a great guy and a great Dad.
btw if you read through his comments you’ll see multiple opinions from people conceived by DC. Wide range of opinions and experiences. Not surprising if we step back and think about it.
Some people want to universalize their experience. I don’t get it.
“The info on success rates being greater with frozen refers to transfer of frozen embryos, not frozen eggs,”
Yes, transferring an egg won’t cause a pregnancy.
I meant the success rates for cycles with frozen eggs at good clinics are now quite high. This is a recent development. Not the case 2 years ago.
â€œMy question is that if the egg/sperm donors are so irrelevant why is there such a fear in regards to the child having the possibility of ever meeting their progenitors? Whatâ€™s the big deal?â€
A lot of this is about availability of donors. People want to find healthy donors who match their ethnic family background.
You could cut down the number of people going to anonymous cycles in Greece or Thailand if you worked as a volunteer to advertise for altruistic known donors in Australia and matched people on a website.
You could do this if you wanted to lower the # of anonymous cycles.
People want to match ethnicities. People of Indian or Chinese or African or Greek background would like to find someone who matches. If more donors of a wide variety of ethnicities were available, the anonymous cycles would decrease.
“My question is that if the egg/sperm donors are so irrelevant why is there such a fear in regards to the child having the possibility of ever meeting their progenitors? Whatâ€™s the big deal?”
No one says donors are irrelevant. People are saying they need to make a careful choice about health, hormone levels, ethnicity, personality, availability, timing of the cycle, and cost.
No one posting on this thread is anti-open donor at 18.
You don’t seem to be hearing people. A parent may chose another donor due to health concerns, cost, other factors, or a combination.
Very few people would pass over a great healthy donor because they’re open ID at 18.
I just listened to the pod-cast on Genetics and DC under the Radio tab above that you reference in comment #106.
I hope you do a post on it, or a series of posts because it’s really important. I hope everyone who reads your blog listens to the pod-cast.
“A blog by an Australian DC conceived child â€“ it is pretty old. I included this post because it lists four different states that the blogger has gone through:”
Lindsey is from Cincinnati, not Australia. Now lives NYC. She wrote on her blog that her mother slapped her as an adult when she was talking about DC.
I would NEVER treat my child in that way. I would support my child in searching, pay for a detective, and would never slap my child.
“You are assuming how that conversation would go based upon the DC people you know that represent a minority of all DC people. The reality is everyone processes things differently. Chances are the hypothetical conversation you all are discussing may never happen or if it does it could be completely different than either side has outlined in this thread.
This is where the scare tactics, intimidation and demonization of parents or prospective parents of these families are used. Itâ€™s almost as if they are rooting for other families like this to fall a part and be damaged just to support their cause. Itâ€™s rather disturbing if you ask me”
Greg, I don’t think you are quoting me there.
Also, Greg, we might not always see eye to eye but I think we at least try to hear what each other says.
Thanks for the reminder on the show about genetics and family health history…I’ll grab a coffee and sit down to listen…
a) dad thought it was very important and always the first question he asked, then additional questions that answer sparked.
b) my own reality and knowing that if I had the history that occurred after I was relinquished, it may have changed the course of my life (not my disease but events).
I also want to throw out there this thought: Donors who are “anonymous” are not necessarily donors who WANTED to be anonymous. They didn’t have a choice, no one asked them if they wanted a choice when they donated. Please keep that in the back of your mind – the industry dictated anonymity…and now we are seeing the push back.
First of all, thank you for your willingness to use the term â€œprogenitorsâ€ instead of â€œparentsâ€ when referring to gamete donors. I am perhaps â€œhung upâ€ about the terms for â€œmommyâ€ and â€œdaddyâ€, but that is understandable as some people deny that my wife or I are indeed our childrenâ€™s parents.
For the main point, you raise the really good question as to why contact or the possibility of contact with genetically related persons should threaten adoptive- and donor-created- families. Although I feel the answer, I find it difficult to put it into words. I will try my best to introspect about it during the weekend and hopefully be able to write another, more accurate answer, on Monday.
The best I can say so far, and I realize it is not a good answer â€“ â€œIt feels wrongâ€. Maybe not for all families, maybe not for all parents and potential parents, but for some it does. It is instinctive. For some people, the idea of their child having multiple mothers and fathers appear natural or even beneficial. Others would prefer a more exclusive use of those terms.
We can think of it this way. Most of us believe some relationships should remain exclusive and some not. We would agree that our friends, for example, should have other friends besides us. On the other hand, many of us would not wish for our spouses to have a second husband or wife concurrently to us, no matter how great a contribution that other person may have to their lives. The question of whether a mother-child or father-child relationship falls into the category of relationships that should remain exclusive or not is a question that should be determined by the individual and cultural ethics and comfort, and there is no â€œone size fits allâ€.
I am happy for you that the openness in your family served you and your family well. I truly am. I am not sure this choice appeals to all, and I would love all parents who create families to be able to make that choice for themselves.
Thank you Greg (108). Your comment was very helpful and insightful.
Dawn (in continuation of my previous comment). I think that if a racist, anti-Semite or heterosexist would repeatedly use your blogâ€™s comments section to spread abhorrent beliefs, you would block the attempts by excluding these comments. Would you consider doing that as well to people who spread lies, misinformation and hate toward people who suffer from infertility and the families they create?
(And yes, I know. Controversy and open discussion are important. However, I think that at some point you will not publish comments stating that Jews or Blacks should not become parents, or that their children are not really their children. I believe some of the comments on this thread reached this level of offensiveness in their accusations against parents by gamete donation).
Justin, you raise a good point and one I’ve thought about before on this thread and others. I don’t have a perfect answer, nor am I sure I’m striking the balance correctly. It seems to me that by allowing a free range discussion, we are allowing people to see the whole of someone’s position, and I trust that people are able to decide for themselves if it is absurd, mean-spirited, or defamatory. If I shut it off too soon then one “side” feels they weren’t able to express themselves and people who are reading but not participating don’t get to see both sides for what they are. But I freely admit that the line between acceptable open discussion and “going too far” is hard to discern and my laissez-faire approach may not be best.
Another area I struggle with is if I should shut down discussion because we have reached the point of talking at each other and no one is getting anything out of it any more. I reach that point pretty quickly, but then I hear from others who are reading not participating that they find the discussion illuminating. I try to take the approach that it will die down naturally, but honestly I’m not sure I’m right.
I have reread the entire comment thread on this blog, and I am distressed. I have read that parents who do not share genetic material with their children are not actually parents, or at least not â€œthe real parentsâ€. I have read that all people who suffer from infertility who seek to create a family through gamete donation are engaged in â€œblack market donationâ€. I have read that the families they created are â€œthe whack wayâ€, and that they should not exist (at least until all biological parent share custody).
We have names for many ideologies who denounce and demonize groups of people: anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny, heterosexism, â€œwhite supremacyâ€. I do not think we have yet a name for the likes of marylinn and anonymous (96+97), who seem intent on devaluing infertile-created-families. The best I could come up are: â€œbiofamilismâ€, â€œanti-interfilesâ€, and â€œgenetic-supremacistsâ€.
Can anyone on this group that is good with words help me find a better name? I believe naming the phenomena is a step toward identifying and fighting it better.
Justin, I meant to say earlier that I respect your thoughtful responses to my question. My analysis of it wasn’t meant to attack you but just to give my opinion of it from an adoptee point of view.
The one thing I do see is how much you love your sons and want to do the best for them. I know that the hypothetical situation was not your situation but that of a hypoethetical person.
“You previously linked to an article suggesting that I
wanted to abort babies and use their eggs. Dawn shut the thread down at that point.”
I had to think about what you were talking about. I then realised that you must have misinterpreted something I said in a previuos thread:
“Just out of interest, what would you consider unethical practices? Perhaps we can agree on some of those? For example, I find the following rather horrifying:”
I included that article because I was pretty sure that WAS something you and I would AGREE on – I expected you to find as horrifying as I did – I was trying to create a connection with you where we could both agree on a practice that was shudder-worthy.
At no time have I ever considered you an infertile monster and have never said any such thing.
Most of my articles that I’ve link on this page here are addressed for all to read, they are not personal attacks on you. OK, I did feel a bit mocked by your conversation with hubby because I felt you perhaps might not have been taking it seriously – maybe I was just a bit sensitive after the constant accusations of interfering with your reproductive rights. All I’ve been trying to do is try to say that I believe anonymity is about the rights of the child not the adult – I’m not the only person in the world to believe this. I’ve linked to a DC person, a law review article and a donor dad who have their own perspectves on donor conceptions.
“Anna in reading your hypothetical conversation Iâ€™m reminded that people who legally adopt often take the strong stance that raising a child is what turns a person into a parent, not creating a child. ”
Why can’t both ways be recognized as what makes a person a parent of someone else? Why do we have to have either one definition of a parent or the other? Why can’t we accept that nature and nurture are what makes a person who and what they are?
Just as those who are parents in these families are accused of being insecure I think those people who conceived the children they are raising feel insecure being around families who are different as they need to believe their type of family needs to be superior to others. We talk about wanting to make things equal but in reality we want to diminish the value of the non biological family. Maybe the feeling is if we change the laws to diminish that value of the non bio family it will enhance the value of the biological family. That wouldn’t be equal, now would it? I didn’t think so either.
“My question is that if the egg/sperm donors are so irrelevant why is there such a fear in regards to the child having the possibility of ever meeting their progenitors? Whatâ€™s the big deal?”
I know you directed this at Justin but I’m going to give my thoughts. I don’t think Justin has ever said the donor is irrelevant to the child and who they are. I think what the thinking behind it is what they believe will work for the child. What you believe is the proper situation to parent a child in differs from his.
Just as I believe parents need to let their children learn how to do things on their own and experience failures to prepare them for being an adult. But there are many parents in the “everyone wins” parenting group that disagree with my philosophy. They would rather their child be happy all the time, be their friend and always have a need for their parents.
But I get where you are coming from and why you disagree with Justin’s approach. Given your situation it makes sense that you’d have a strong disagreement.
BTW, I think it’s great that you shared Eric’s blog in this thread. Eric is a great guy who provides great insight into being a DC parent. He also has a men only group on yahoo that was a great support resource for myself last year.
“Anna since you are working on a hypothetical with your husband try the conversation asked with sentences that are more to the point of what youâ€™d here â€“ they likely wonâ€™t ask why â€œHe did not use an Open ID donorâ€ Theyâ€™ll more likely ask why their bio mother would want to raise them but their bio father did not and they might ask why it is that their mother would not want their bio father to raise them, like what did they do wrong and why donâ€™t they deserve his attention as they do deserve hers. Youâ€™ve phrased the question as if the people raising the kid created the kid together and â€œusedâ€ various tools to make the kid and your conversation is going like why did you use this tool and not that tool â€“ that makes no actual sense.”
You are assuming how that conversation would go based upon the DC people you know that represent a minority of all DC people. The reality is everyone processes things differently. Chances are the hypothetical conversation you all are discussing may never happen or if it does it could be completely different than either side has outlined in this thread.
This is where the scare tactics, intimidation and demonization of parents or prospective parents of these families are used. It’s almost as if they are rooting for other families like this to fall a part and be damaged just to support their cause. It’s rather disturbing if you ask me.
â€œWhen people chose not to â€œdonateâ€ gametes they are just exercising their reproductive judgement deciding not to have any bio children that they wonâ€™t raise personally.â€
Unless you have testimonials from potential donors who before they donated decided not to this is just an assumption on your part.”
What are you talking about Greg I’m referring to the contracts, the agreements that they sign. The content of the agreement and the terms that they agree to comply with. That is a testimonial for Pete sake they sign the agreements and then most of them follow through with the terms once the kids are born. How is the terms of a contract my opinion of what they do I did not write the agreement. I think the agreements objectify their children cause obviously custody of their kids is the objective.
Anna since you are working on a hypothetical with your husband try the conversation asked with sentences that are more to the point of what you’d here – they likely won’t ask why “He did not use an Open ID donor” They’ll more likely ask why their bio mother would want to raise them but their bio father did not and they might ask why it is that their mother would not want their bio father to raise them, like what did they do wrong and why don’t they deserve his attention as they do deserve hers. You’ve phrased the question as if the people raising the kid created the kid together and “used” various tools to make the kid and your conversation is going like why did you use this tool and not that tool – that makes no actual sense.
They will have the world around them to see that with the exception of them and people like them, no other guy can go out and have offspring without having to take care of them and that will in and of it self seem just as unequal and unfair as it is. The real question to the people raising them is why would they have supported their bio fathers in such a reckless and irresponsible act as to not take care of them? Why not cut some other agreement with their bio father where he took responsibility and so did their bio mother and everyone lived happily ever after?
It sounds like the hypothetical infertile husband is talking like he actually caused the kid to exist and he’s no different than any other father causing a kid to exist…but he is absolutely different when a person gains parental rights of another person’s offspring there is a whole loss thing to grapple with and a whole ethics thing to strive to align with.
Would your husband feel bad that he had not obtained a child in a way that cost the child nothing.
HK: â€œDad, why didnâ€™t you use a open ID donor. I want to meet my donor and Iâ€™m really sad I donâ€™t know his relatives.â€
DH: â€œThese were are reasons: We went to an in-house donor, which was less expensive. Donor Aâ€™s grandmother had ovarian cancer, and Donor B liked journalism. Her grandparents lived longer and were healthy. We judged it to be too expensive to do a more extensive search. Instead we put the 10K we could have spent on a donor search consultant into a college fund. Itâ€™s been increasing at 5% with compound interest for the last 15 years.â€
HK: â€œIâ€™d rather have the information then the college fund. I wish you had chosen the other donor.â€
Dad: â€œIâ€™m very sorry you are feeling pain because of this situation. Please let me know if we can help you in any way.â€
I asked him if h
Am I the only person that finds the menu of prices for obtaining custody and control of another woman’s offspring slightly off putting? How will their offspring process reading such a menu for literally purchasing parental responsibilities from their bio mother? And how its cheaper if their bio mothers really never wants to meet them than if they do want to meet them. It’s unsettling.
Anonymous – please take clear note that the ASRM does not presume to use the terms mother or parent (as you have done) in their explanation of egg donor conception. No where does the term biological mother get mentioned. In fact, it never mentions motherhood at all. No where on that page does it use the words gestation carrier either. So stop conflating your personal opinions and personal definitions of terms with snipets of info removed from it’s original context.
Please go to a fertility board and tell all the pregnant women there that they are not mothers yet. Them wait for the epic uproar. Motherhood is not medical term and every woman in my life has counted themselves a mother from the moment they got a positive pregnancy test. Maybe you didn’t bond with, take care of, or make plans for your child in utereo? But I highly doubt that.
First of all, Justin, you do seem like a nice man.
However, I will go to the end first
“I think in your question you accentuated the reason to seek anonymous donations. When you asked â€œIs it fair for a child to have untraceable parents because of their parentsâ€™ own insecurities?â€ you regarded the gamete donors as the childâ€™s parents, even though they are not. I am pretty sure you are not the only one doing so, and having multiple parents is exactly the thing a potential parent might wish to avoid”
First of all, there are many definitions of “parents”, one being “An organism that produces or generates offspring” – thus the child will have genetic parents and they will have their parents who are raising them. Their “self” will be shaped by a combination of all 4 whether they ever know anything about the progenitors or not. When using parents, I was using that above definition, I wasn’t envisagining “mummy and daddy”. In fact, you seem more hung up on those definitions than I am. In future, I’ll use “progenitors” to make you feel better.
In regards to your hypothetical person:
*In less than favorable circumstances your mother and I did our best to create our family. We believe that families are comprised of father, mother and child(ren). It is our sincere belief that opening these boundaries, and regarding people who are not part of this family as part of it, would have made our family bonds weaker.*
First of all, we are talking about the possibility of the child being able to have contact at 18. How would that make the family bonds weaker when growing up? It is similar to being in a closed adoption and having the option of contact at 18. As an adoptee, I am in contact with my bfamily and it hasn’t weakened the family bonds. My APs have always been encouraging of us contacting our bparents. In fact, one might even say that strengthened the bonds because there was TRUST.
As for family, do you not also consider your extended family to be your family? Your parents, siblings, cousins etc. Does their existence threaten your immediate family unit?
*We understand your curiosity and empathize with it, but we believe that given the choice between growing up in a strong and cohesive family and growing up knowing about some genetic roots, the former option is better.*
Why can’t one have both? Why one or the other? You say yourself that there is the possibility of contact for your sons when older – is that affecting the strength of your family? It sounds like you can see for yourself that it is possible to have a strong and cohesive family and for your children to know about their genetic roots. If the parents feel that the possibility of contact at 18 will negatively affect the structure of their family, perhaps they need to ask themselves why?
In fact, openness can make a family stronger – I think it has to do with trust.
*We know the genetics might seem very important to you at this point, but we would wish you to remember that people become who they are out of their experiences and relationships, and even though genetics are important, the effect of genes is ultimately shaped by the environment. You are who you are because you grew up in this family, not because of some genetics.*
You are telling your child how to feel. You also apparently are an expert on nature/nurture.
*We love you, and we believe we have made the best choice for you.*
No, they’ve made the best choice for themselves.
My question is that if the egg/sperm donors are so irrelevant why is there such a fear in regards to the child having the possibility of ever meeting their progenitors? What’s the big deal?
right. For some reason my posts aren’t being approved.
the tl;dr version:
hey, judgy article links suggesting I’m a bad parent don’t help.
Helpful information would be a list of open-ID frozen donor banks and clinics with cost price comparisons.
Why is CJ allowed to post those articles about me, and I’m not allowed to respond? Like CJ, do you also think I’m an infertile monster who will harm and hate my child?
Dear Anna and others: everyones’ posts are being approved.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine explains in no uncertain terms that a woman who has offspring is the biological mother of her children regardless whether or not she carried and delivered them. They say that when an egg donor is involved she will be the biological mother and the carrier will be the birth mother of record.
Having a biological pregnancy experience is not the same as having a biological child.
Please all women interested in this topic visit the ASRM website for clarification. Also just use your brains. Motherhood of any sort is determined after a child is born and biological relatedness as someone’s parent is established after they are born after they exist and there will always be two people a person is related to biologically and their maternal and paternal relatives.
A woman who gives birth to another woman’s offspring is not biologically related to that child they don’t share biology with her. Whatever biological relationship they may have had ended prior to their very existence as a living breathing person.
I don’t need to live science to treat it as fact. Lots of the doctors who belong to the ASRM are males and have never lived pregnancy but know the difference between a biological mother and a gestational carrier.
“First, they owe an immense measure of gratitude to their parents. To their mother, who went through two pregnancies not knowing a thing about the man behind the genes she carried within her. To their father, who had to swallow god knows how much in order to raise other men’s biological children as his own.”
From that article.
Anyone who expects children to be grateful to their parents is stupid. Children, quite rightly, are never grateful. Anybody who expects gratitude is a fool. I’ve said this in another post.
My husband says you’re processing your anger about something on this blog. and I’m your target because I don’t agree with you 100%.
“Sounds like youâ€™re mocking your unborn child already.”
“I suspect you might sympathise with this author:”
It’s not kind to suggest I would mock my child. It’s not kind of you to assume I hold the horrible, inappropriate, insensitive attitudes in that article.
You previously linked to an article suggesting that I wanted to abort babies and use their eggs. Dawn shut the thread down at that point.
I’m not an appropriate target for your anger. Please cease negative personal comments.
“I have heard that some clinics in-house donor pools have higher fees for open versus anonymous donors. But there are options if an open donor is a parents priority.”
For the in-house pools they might ask if the donor is open to contact. There’s no cost differences in the clinics I’ve looked at.
In all of the cases I’ve seen it’s more expensive to add on the agency fee to the cost of the donor cycle then to go with an in-house donor. Was it not like this with your clinic?
Anna in reading your hypothetical conversation I’m reminded that people who legally adopt often take the strong stance that raising a child is what turns a person into a parent, not creating a child. While that can be argued to an extent at least they can be really consistent about that stance. People who have reproduced with gamete donors have a tough sell because they show the kid that one of their bio parents loved them and wanted to raise them while the other one did not want to raise them and the question really is why not? If they deserve one bio parent’s support and attention why not both? Other people get both by law, why not them?
And then when the rearing bio parent is married to someone who they would have liked to have had a bio child with, the conversation gets even harder because they are saying that some people have an obligation to their bio children while others don’t. They also say that it’s not biology that creates parental obligation but rather intent and being there when they are growing up.
So they’ll say how creating a child does not make a person a parent to prove the absent bio parent is not the kid’s parent. Then they’ll turn around and tell the kid a ‘birth story’ that makes it sound as if the people raising them created them saying things about how ‘they chose a beautiful donor’ when they were creating them or saying stuff about the process of giving birth to them or breast feeding them so that they will seem more like they actually created the kid together. So it’s like pick a side, is creating a kid the thing that creates parental obligation or not? If it’s not for the donating parent then why make it sound like they created the kid together when they really did not?
They call it donor conception for a reason the donor conceives.
“And you definitely right that most foreign countries donâ€™t do identified donors. Not sure Iâ€™d trust that they would be able to track the donor down even if they did release the ID.”
Greece requires a piece of biological material to be saved and put on record in case of serious illness in the child. Not sure if they require saving any other information from the donor.
But Greece bans identification. Open-ID cycles are illegal in Greece and Spain.
Countries are wacko with the regulations. Some criminalize anonymity. Some criminalize non-anonymity. The States and Mexico are freedom of choice countries.
How would a piece of biological material help a child in case of serious illness? I guess it would provide genetic info on the donor, which might be helpful, especially as science evolves, but as we talked about on the Creating a Family show yesterday, family history is more helpful at identifying potential diseases with multifactoral genetics causes. That show was really interesting and will be uploaded to the site in a couple of hours. I’ll try to remember to post a link here.
“TOmama, I havenâ€™t heard of the significant cost difference that Anna mentioned either. Clinics often have fewer choices, but there are plenty of agencies and they donâ€™t have to be located near you and they cost about the same as a clinic.”
Could you please share this information?
It would be most helpful to hear about an agency and a clinic where the total cost plus medicines does not exceed 25K. Many parents would like to include the open ID at 18 option.
Likewise, if any frozen donor egg banks include open-ID options, that would be helpful information. Frozen egg is increasingly popular and success rates in some clinics exceed the rates of implantation for fresh cycles.
Publicity is increasing with frozen eggs. Here’s a news reporter who used a bank: http://ktla.com/2014/07/11/ktlas-wendy-burch-announces-her-pregnancy/
More and more people use frozen donor eggs. New freezing techniques changed everything a few years ago. Cost differences are dramatic.
It would be good to know with the big banks if open-ID is an option. New freeze techniques transformed the DE situation in North America. My Egg Bank is has affiliates all over US and Canada. Don’t think they have open-ID options, but could be wrong.
If these options do exist at reasonable cost, it’d be great to spread that information.
Most people are pragmatic. 15K ain’t nothing. It’s a downpayment for a house.
The info on success rates being greater with frozen refers to transfer of frozen embryos, not frozen eggs, but you are right that frozen egg banks are becoming increasingly popular and more successful. I think that frozen egg banking will “revolutionize” (OK, that may be too strong, but at least significantly change) how we practice egg donation in this country. We have a show planned on egg banking sometime in the fourth quarter 2014, but it hasn’t been booked.
As far as I know, egg banks do not now offer the option of open ID, but I’d love for someone to correct me.
Marilynn 84 – “Now that a woman can actually be pregnant with an adopted child all bets are off.”
Seriously…How. Dare. You.
First, what you wrote is a contradiction in terms and literally an impossibility. The definition of adoption is: A two-step judicial process in conformance to state statutory provisions in which the legal obligations and rights of a child toward the biological parents are terminated and new rights and obligations are created between the child and the adoptive parents.
It is impossible for one woman to be pregnant with an adopted child because by it’s very definition, a child can not be adopted prior to existing. Also, the woman who carries a child, regardless of the genetic origins of the egg/sperm, IS the biological mother in the case of donor egg conception.
Please see definition of “biological”: adjective
: of or relating to biology or to life and living things
: related through birth
Second, you have proven my point about how you seek to undermine and demonized DC parents. You seek to tell the children they are adopted and you seek to confuse, scare and muddle them up into they are twisted into knots.
And finally, if you are going to use pseudo-legalese to make your points, please reference dictionary definitions (legal or otherwise) before presenting your arguments as facts rather than as your personal opinions – your personal opinions I could tolerate and respond to more respectfully. We could (strongly) agree to disagree. However, I cannot let slide your presentation of personal bias through absolutely ZERO lived experience of your own as absolute fact.
“Most people are happy to have open ID at 18. Itâ€™s a bonus feature. The big selection reasons are hormone levels, health history, donor profile, and cost.
You seem to think anonymity or non-anonymity at 18 is the central thing parents think about when making a donor choice. Itâ€™s not.
For donor conceived parents, open ID at 18 is a nice bonus option. But itâ€™s not the first think they worry about.
For many parents a grandmother with ovarian cancer is a lot more important then open or closed ID.”
You bring up a great point about what intended parents look at when choosing a donor. Most critics unfairly attack intended parents for putting looks above all when in reality there are other factors that have greater importance for intended parents.
For me when my wife and I were considering using a sperm donor (ultimately we decided not to) last year I thought about how I would rank the different factors into selecting a donor. At the time these how I ranked them:
1) Health history of the donor
2) Prior success of the donor
3) Similar ethnic background as me
5) Educational background
If using a sperm donor was still an option for us today here is how I would rank them:
1) Open ID being available
2) Health of donor
3) Prior success of donor
5) Similar ethnic background as me
The change for me is a result of the research I’ve done in addition to my infertility healing and comfort level with an open donor being available. I wouldn’t feel as threatened by a donor diminishing my role as the dad to the child. The health of the donor hasn’t changed in terms of it’s importance any rational person would have that high up on their list. The prior success of the donor is important as well. There is no use in attempting to use a donor if they haven’t had prior success.
But this is just me and I know for others it’s different and I don’t judge anyone for that.
Here is an article by a donor conceived adult:
and a quote:
“*Acknowledging the complications*
However, there are other differences for the donor-conceived adult as compared to the adoptee. Westwood (1995, p. 53) explains that it is important for adoptees to know the reasons for their relinquishment, and that this is often helpful to them. In the case of donation,
the reasons are often either financial (for the donors) or to help alleviate the pain of infertility.
For many adoptees, the wanting of a child by the adoptive parents was not a deciding factor in their separation from their biological family, but a separate issue. Our losses, on the other hand, are intertwined with the parents who raise us. Recognition and support from those
parents can therefore be complicated, as can the abilities of donor-conceived adults to receive this support. For the donor- conceived adult must face the bitter-sweet reality that these are the very people whose own familial continuity appeared to benefit from our losses.Indeed, they were involved in constructing these losses, even if this is now understood and regretted. However, it is likely that such complications need to be acknowledged before they can begin to be surmounted by the family members.”
As a searchers we are getting prepared for the influx of people from the secretive overseas agreements mentioned above and the commenter is correct it will be hard. The hope is that we could get many of the mothers and fathers who signed these donation agreements into the FTDNA database so that their children will be able to locate them.
I think it is becoming fairly common for people raised by parents who were over 35 when they were born to have a cheap DNA test just to see what comes up because people can’t be sure that they are really the child of the woman who gave birth to them anymore. There was always a margin of error with being sure who someone’s father was because a black market adoption is so much easier to get away with for male spouses than it is for females who were never pregnant. Now that a woman can actually be pregnant with an adopted child all bets are off.
Luckily many relatives of people who donate feel passionately about finding their missing relatives and don’t care what contracts were signed because it does not change the fact that they are siblings or that the person is their grandchild.
Agree these overseas clinics frequented by Australians and people from Europe are going to make reuniting these families very difficult. There will also be bids for citizenship I’m sure once they start connecting. It would be great to just blow the lid off the whole sham and say wait everyone go back and write your names down, no hiding.
Anna when you are talking about procreating and control, you know I agree the government should not control people and who they reproduce with or under what circumstances.
So when you talk about women reproducing you don’t mean women who are raising donor offspring do you? It gets confusing to talk about reproductive rights sometimes. There can be the right to do something and the physical inability to do it ones self no matter how much help is offered, so a woman who is pregnant with another woman’s embryo would not be exercising her reproductive rights since it’s not her who is reproducing, she’s exercising her bodily autonomy by choosing to gestate and deliver a baby but the choice to actually reproduce was not hers but rather the woman who will be the one with offspring in the end of it.
In any event each person must be in control of their own body and make their own choices. Right up until they have offspring which is when it’s no longer a matter of choice you just are a parent if you have offspring, there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it. There is a certain obligation that comes with that and it’s impossible to completely escape from because you’re no longer first when you have offspring your wants are second.
So when you talk about reproductive freedom in donor reproduction you mean the donor and whoever is reproducing with them is that correct? Or do you mean like a philosophical emotional kind of social thing for whoever raises the kid?
I want to thank you and your husband for taking the time to go through that exercise together of responding to hypo-kid’s questions. No you did not arrive at the answers I or many of the people I’m helping would want you to arrive at – but you just did a heck of a lot more than many people are willing to do which is contemplate the possibility of these comments and questions rather than dismiss them as illogical or impossible.
I think it’s really great that you both took the time to do that and that you took the time to write it down. Sure I hope that over time you’ll start to see that people who have offspring owe their offspring accountability in a big way. But for now the fact you even bothered to act the whole conversation out is just blowing me away.
Whether you hate me or not I really love you guys for trying.
“CB I appreciate what you said very much and understand that people may not always agree but I am not demonizing anyone.”
I never said you were.
You might be misunderstand my reply to Anna where I said this:
*She never says you are evil â€“ in fact, she says that on this very page. *
It should read:
*She never says you are evil â€“ in fact, she says specifically that she said that she didn’t think you wee evil on this very page. *
The two preceding sentences in inverted commas were part of a quote by someone else.
“Me: â€œWouldnâ€™t you feel guilty? What if your child was upset and sad for the rest of his adult life?â€
Dad: â€œIâ€™d think he was doing a very bad job figuring out what he needed to do to make himself happy.â€
Sounds like you’re mocking your unborn child already.
It will be just like good adoptees and bad adoptees. There will be good DC children and bad DC children.
I suspect you might sympathise with this author:
Dawn – I think it really depends. There are agencies like ours where their is no cost difference. The only time costs are increased are if the donor has had a previously succesful cycle and is therefore “proven”. Then you would pay more.
I have heard that some clinics in-house donor pools have higher fees for open versus anonymous donors. But there are options if an open donor is a parents priority.
TOmama, I haven’t heard of the significant cost difference that Anna mentioned either. Clinics often have fewer choices, but there are plenty of agencies and they don’t have to be located near you and they cost about the same as a clinic.
“Does anyone have reliable #s on the cost difference between using a donor that agrees to release identifying info and a donor that refuses?”
Sperm is easier to get the open-ID.
In house clinics, fresh and frozen donations are the same. The problem: not many choices for open-id. 22-40K. Cost dependent on location. Idaho Alabama less expensive then LA.
Frozen egg banks in US. I haven’t seen open ID options. Could be wrong. Frozen egg banks are 1/2 cost of fresh cycles. 15K
Donor agencies: Can find you an open-ID. Add on a donor agency cost of 8-10K to the fresh cycle of 22-35K. Add in cost to test the donor. Clinics pre-test their in-house donors at their own cost. Total 32-47K
Donor agencies are the best way to get the open ID. Agency fee is not small.
It does come down to a question of serious extra money. Frozen egg donation for 15K versus 32K upwards for a open id at 18.
5000 – 10,000 Euros
Anna, you’re right that an egg donor agency is that best bet for open ID. Costs are “in the ballpark” to clinic donation programs. Right now you are right about egg banks, I think, although I suspect that will change. And you definitely right that most foreign countries don’t do identified donors. Not sure I’d trust that they would be able to track the donor down even if they did release the ID.
Thank you for your comments, CB (69). You asked a good question, and I will try to answer it. You asked what I would tell a child conceived of an anonymous donation and is now asking difficult questions, and whether I would repeat my reasoning from comment 55.
I will not talk with the child about the difference between â€˜rightâ€™ and â€˜best choiceâ€™. You and others on this forum used a legal term, and so I answered the legality of the situation. I will also not go into the benefit to the child through secure parenting in the terms I used on this forum. Rather, I might say to the child I something like this:
â€œIn less than favorable circumstances your mother and I did our best to create our family. We believe that families are comprised of father, mother and child(ren). It is our sincere belief that opening these boundaries, and regarding people who are not part of this family as part of it, would have made our family bonds weaker. We understand your curiosity and empathize with it, but we believe that given the choice between growing up in a strong and cohesive family and growing up knowing about some genetic roots, the former option is better. We know the genetics might seem very important to you at this point, but we would wish you to remember that people become who they are out of their experiences and relationships, and even though genetics are important, the effect of genes is ultimately shaped by the environment. You are who you are because you grew up in this family, not because of some genetics. We love you, and we believe we have made the best choice for you.â€
Or else, in other circumstances, I might say: â€œWe did not want to ask our hairdresser for her eggs, or the neighbor next door. We wanted to find the very best person we can to give you your genes. We have found an amazing person, who appeared smarter, more beautiful, and healthier, than anyone else we could find, but that donor wished to remain anonymous. Given the choice between giving you knowledge of your genetic origin and giving you the best genetic makeup I could find, we chose the latter. We love you, and we believe we have made the best choice for you.â€
(Please remember, I personally did not choose an anonymous donation for my children, but do support parentsâ€™ option for doing so. Therefore, I am trying my best to provide a hypothetical answer, although an actual parent who chose an â€˜untraceable eggâ€™ might answer differently.)
I think in your question you accentuated the reason to seek anonymous donations. When you asked â€œIs it fair for a child to have untraceable parents because of their parentsâ€™ own insecurities?â€ you regarded the gamete donors as the childâ€™s parents, even though they are not. I am pretty sure you are not the only one doing so, and having multiple parents is exactly the thing a potential parent might wish to avoid.
Links to Mary Coustas. Publicity means more Aussies and Kiwis will fly to Greece.
“You may feel comfortable giving those answers to anonymous annoying me 🙂 but are those answers as easy to give when it is to someone one loves dearly, i.e. their child?”
I asked my husband last night. How would you feel? What would you say?
DH: “I’d lay out the reasons we made the choice to hypothetical kid (HK)”
HK: “Dad, why didn’t you use a open ID donor. I want to meet my donor and I’m really sad I don’t know his relatives.”
DH: “These were are reasons: We went to an in-house donor, which was less expensive. Donor A’s grandmother had ovarian cancer, and Donor B liked journalism. Her grandparents lived longer and were healthy. We judged it to be too expensive to do a more extensive search. Instead we put the 10K we could have spent on a donor search consultant into a college fund. It’s been increasing at 5% with compound interest for the last 15 years.”
HK: “I’d rather have the information then the college fund. I wish you had chosen the other donor.”
Dad: “I’m very sorry you are feeling pain because of this situation. Please let me know if we can help you in any way.”
I asked him if he’d feel guilty. He said no.
Me: “But why not? Wouldn’t you feel sad your child was in pain?”
DH: “Yes, I’d feel sad for our child. But the conception choices of the parents are our choices. We look at all the factors and make the decision we think is the best of all options. It’s the parent’s responsibility to decide what is best for the child.”
Me: “Wouldn’t you feel guilty? What if your child was upset and sad for the rest of his adult life?”
Dad: “I’d think he was doing a very bad job figuring out what he needed to do to make himself happy.”
You can see how difficult it is to give my husband a guilt trip. Frustrating for me!
We’d pay for a private detective and genomic analysis.
“Is it fair for a child to have untraceable parents because of their parentsâ€™ own insecurities?”
Most people are happy to have open ID at 18. It’s a bonus feature. The big selection reasons are hormone levels, health history, donor profile, and cost.
You seem to think anonymity or non-anonymity at 18 is the central thing parents think about when making a donor choice. It’s not.
For donor conceived parents, open ID at 18 is a nice bonus option. But it’s not the first think they worry about.
For many parents a grandmother with ovarian cancer is a lot more important then open or closed ID.
Does anyone have reliable #s on the cost difference between using a donor that agrees to release identifying info and a donor that refuses?
I think it comes down to what is age appropriate for a child and when disclosing too much at too young of an age complicates things for a child. Is a child at the age of 4 really able to comprehend donor conception, birth certificates and other things opponents of donor conception have thrown out there in this thread? If they aren’t then at what age is it appropriate or is it a matter of parents being able to recognize that for themselves?
For me parental security and stability is something that is important more so for the child than for the parents. It’s when a child gets confused and things get complicated too quickly when they start to question who is what in their lives when they suffer. Divorces complicate things for children, I don’t think we should outlaw that. Yes, adults need to consider all possibilities prior to having children but all the preparation in the world can’t prepare a couple for real life parenting situations. It’s up to parents to use their best judgment and consider what they disclose to their children. You hope that long term the child benefits from that best judgment.
“There is something to say sorry for if a person is raising someone and does not want that person to have access to information about their family ever or for 18 years. Maybe some people will change their minds and say they are sorry they felt that way in the past but they did not know all the things they now know. Maybe they have an opportunity to show some love by being humble and saying sorry if they had a hand in causing any of the losses another person has to live with. I said say sorry, I did not say itâ€™s unforgivable or insurmountable if there is love and sincere empathy and a desire to make things right.”
I know you didn’t write this but wanted to show you what I meant by others demonizing couples/people who have either adopted or utilized third party reproduction to become parents. In this case it’s a passive aggressive way of doing it. It’s almost as if to say that this is what a parent(s) should do and if they don’t they are awful people. It’s completely unnecessary when talking about ethics.
I hope you’re able to see where we are coming from and why others react to this rhetoric the way we do.
“And to say that women *need* eggs is not true â€“ they *want* eggs.”
Procreation is a “want.” So is sex is also a “want.”
They are also fundamental human impulses. A critical aspect of the human experience.
Because they are fundamental aspects of human experience, laws do a very very very very bad job of controlling this type of “want.” People are going to have sex. People are going to procreate.
Other people will get upset about it. Some people won’t like other people’s choices. Some people will try to control other people’s choices. This is a old old old story.
“Thanks Anna for the link to the articles/forums â€“ they help confirm that Australia is doing the right thing â€“ they are carefully trying to balance what is in everyoneâ€™s best interest.
I canâ€™t really feel too much sympathy for women who go overseas because (to quote the SMH):”
The Aussies I know love international travel. Travel much more overseas then middle-class Americans.
Australian children born from these overseas clinics are SOT compared to American donor conceived kids.
Australian parents will get little information from Greece, Spain or the Czech Republic. State mandates anonymity. Blood type, hair, weight, height is shared. No donor number for tracking siblings.
The information in Europe is what you’d get in the States 25 years ago.
American clinics and egg donor companies provide extensive information.
In the US: donor numbers, extensive information, adult or childhood pictures, ethnic heritage broken down by grandparents, schooling information, clubs and sports, GPA, extra-curricular activities, SAT score, medical history back to grandparents, sibling information, the health information of siblings, the weight, height, health information of the siblings of the donor.
A halfway decent searcher can track down a donor and siblings with adult pictures and extensive information. donor number means you can find people on registries.
Americans parents don’t need to fly overseas. They are not making up the bulk of these cycles. Australian parents are making up 25% of donor cycles in her Greek and Spanish clinics.
Australia has started to import frozen American donor eggs. Those people will be difficult to track. They aren’t invested in your system and they live overseas.
Your medical clinics have direct ties with foreign coordinators and clinics that they recommend for donor cycles. Your clinics routinely send people overseas. Australian TV personality Mary Coustas went to Greece, wrote a book. She’s been talking about it on your TV with her adorable Greek infant.
“Justin, by your definition of â€œrightâ€ the parents donâ€™t have the right to anonymity any more than the child does. The only real beef I have with the second part of your argument is that some parents assume they will feel less safe and secure, but in reality few actually feel that way once they get into it. Although there are definite distinctions between donor conception and adoption, an analogy can be made between openness in adoption and information on donors in donor conception. There has been much research on openness in adoption, and in fact, openness increases adoptive parent satisfaction.
Keep in mind that knowing the donorâ€™s ID mean simply possessing this information to give to your hild when they are of age if they want to know it.”
Well said, Dawn.
Just a question, Justin – if one of these women from the SMH that I mentioned in my previous post:
â€œMany women also make the trip because in Australia they are unable to receive donated eggs that cannot be traced.â€
has a child that then asks difficult questions – do you think they should use your answers in response?:
“1. On the semantic level â€“ knowing oneâ€™s biological origins is not a right, as it is not recognized as a right by any legal authority. It is your belief that children fare better when they know their biological origins, but that does not mean that they have a right to it, and therefore it remains their parentsâ€™ choice. (It may not be the best choice for the child, but it is their legitimate choice.)
2. And more substantial â€“ By my understanding, children grow better when their parents are happy and secure. Although lack of anonymity might be better for the child, if that lack of anonymity comes at the price of reducing parental sense of safety and stability, I am not sure the children would benefit this exchange.”
You may feel comfortable giving those answers to anonymous annoying me 🙂 but are those answers as easy to give when it is to someone one loves dearly, i.e. their child?
In response to no. 2), especially this bit:
“if that lack of anonymity comes at the price of reducing parental sense of safety and stability”
Is that not an issue that the donor parents should think about before undergoing DC? Why is that the child’s problem? Is it fair for a child to have untraceable parents because of their parents’ own insecurities?
As Dawn has pointed out re adoption, a lot of today’s APs may feel that way before adopting but don’t feel that way afterwards. Also, I’ve known of people who have deliberately adopted from overseas because of no biological parents being in the picture but when their child gets older, they wish they had that knowledge.
Thanks Anna for the link to the articles/forums – they help confirm that Australia is doing the right thing – they are carefully trying to balance what is in everyone’s best interest.
I can’t really feel too much sympathy for women who go overseas because (to quote the SMH):
“Many women also make the trip because in Australia they are unable to receive donated eggs that cannot be traced.”
And to say that women *need* eggs is not true – they *want* eggs.
“Sydney reproductive scientist Denyse Asher, who works exclusively with women who need eggs”
You know what? Millions of people adopt or foster or serve as guardians and they do it as absolutely ethically as they possibly can in order to respect that the person they will be raising is an individual who has their own family in addition to the one that they will be raised in. There are plenty of people just like that who visit this blog and comment who are examples of ethical adoption who don’t mind talking about possibly changing laws that treat their adopted kids unequally because they love those kids and want them to have the same thing other kids have like accurate medical records and they want them to know and be known to their relatives like the rest of the population.
I have plenty to learn from people like that and plenty of good technical information to give them about the legal losses of the kids they are raising and they want to know about it so they can let the kids they adopted know that they don’t think it’s fair and tell them they would change the laws that treat them unfairly in a heartbeat – and that support means the world to people who can’t get their records, knowing that the people who adopted them are on their side completely.
There is something to say sorry for if a person is raising someone and does not want that person to have access to information about their family ever or for 18 years. Maybe some people will change their minds and say they are sorry they felt that way in the past but they did not know all the things they now know. Maybe they have an opportunity to show some love by being humble and saying sorry if they had a hand in causing any of the losses another person has to live with. I said say sorry, I did not say it’s unforgivable or insurmountable if there is love and sincere empathy and a desire to make things right.
Anna”we didnâ€™t want to ask strangers for a donation (we were told to ask our hairdresser â€“ do people really get donors that way?); ”
So you went overseas and did not ask a stranger but a friend if you could raise her offspring? So the reason you went over sees is because you personally knew someone who was willing to do that, is that correct?
CB I appreciate what you said very much and understand that people may not always agree but I am not demonizing anyone. I don’t believe in demons. I believe that unfair treatment is unfair and that the only way to correct it is to be fair to everyone all the time. It is everyone’s business to stop unfair treatment of people whatever the topic, indifference to unfair treatment is sad. I know people don’t always know all the unfair things that are happening around them and can’t fight every battle but when unfair treatment is within a persons ability to limit or stop and they choose not to because they get some benefit out of the unfair treatment – that would be the very definition of selfish. Wanting something for yourself is fine so long as nobody else has their rights or freedoms compromised for it.
Want a child fine but get a child in a way that does not compromise the rights or freedom of the person throughout their life as a child or as an adult.
I agree with Anna. I think its fine for people to reproduce anonymously. They just should not be anonymous to their offspring or to the government once they have offspring. No other bio parents get that exemption from identification as having offspring and neither should they. If they want to hide let them hide and leave it be a crime the way it is for other bio parents who want to hide and not support their offspring. There should not be different rules for them just because they agreed not to raise their kids before their kids were even born. Who cares what they agreed to before their kids were born? Once their kids are born what they want or wanted or did not want is irrelevant because their wants needs and desires come second to the needs of their child. That’s the rules for everyone else and should be for them as well.
Reproduce anonymously all you want so long as you don’t expect to be anonymous from your offspring or the government once your offspring are born – expect to follow the same rules the rest of the population does so your offspring have equal rights.
I don’t get how people can call me a troll when I am trying to get people to treat adopted people and donor offspring or anyone with a false or incomplete birth record – equal and fair by holding their bio parents responsible for them the on the record same as the rest of the population.
Trolls are monsters that hide and kidnap kids in story books. This is real life, I’m not hiding from anyone and I’m not trying to steal any kids
Justin in 54 you made a common misnomer statement that people don’t have a right to know their biological parents and relatives and that is not accurate.
It is the law that people with offspring be accountable as parents for their offspring by being named on their offspring’s birth records. It’s not their choice to opt out of being named, it’s a requirement and if you try to hide from being named the government has the right to require your relatives to submit to dna testing against your suspected child in order to establish whether or not you are the parent of a particular child.
Since some minors have the governments help in identifying their bio parents all should. Also the government encourages people to inform themselves about their family health histories by going out and getting copies of their relatives vital records. The CDC has a whole section of its website devoted to how to go about collecting the vital records of relatives. It’s everyone’s right to know the identity of their biological relatives so they can avoid reproducing with them and so they can keep track of problems they may have had at birth and what they died of and how many times they were married and how many kids they have. You can’t prevent your relatives from accessing your vital records or the vital records of your minor child, it’s their right to know if they are someone’s aunt or grandparent. The system works beautifully so long as everyone complies with the law and is named on their offspring’s birth records. When there is abandonment or fraud or concealment such as with amended records, it winds up compromising the right to vital health information for every member of the family. We need the imbalance in the law to be corrected so that everyone has a right to exactly the same level of information on their bio relatives and if its not available due to fraud or abandonment or error – don’t go taking away the right to have the information if it ever becomes available…leave people’s rights intact so they have some recourse to show that their rights were violated by the act of fraud or abandonment or by innocent mistake.
Justin what’s best for someone and what’s fair to everyone are often not the same thing. The law is not suppose to concern itself with what’s best for anyone but rather what’s fair to everyone so that we all have the same expectations. The problem with best interests of the child when it comes to the law is that it creates imbalance and results in lots of others being treated unfairly. Look at situations where a judge might think its best for a man to keep paying support for a child that is not his rather than going after the actual father for support because the actual father is out of work and the guy who was suckered in paternity fraud has a stable job. Best for the child financially is not fair to the step father and it’s not fair to the child to be assigned to a different family because his is poor and it’s not fair to the relatives because they are still his siblings or grandparents and have no legal kinship to him.
So what may be best for the people raising a minor as far as keeping secrets is not fair to the person they are raising or to that person’s relatives. Your also just speculating on what would happen if they raised the child with the truth out and documented; you have no idea if having everyone live truthfully might make the kid more secure.
And why are we concerned with accommodating people who are uncomfortable with the truth? Isn’t that their problem to work through? Should their insecurities be balanced on the backs of others? Should their desire to pretend to be something they are not cause the person they raise to have fewer legal rights than everyone else? Do they own the person? Nobody else gets to play games with reality this way and have it backed up with legal documents. Let them lie at home all they want but record the truth and let them deal with the fallout of having lied.
Dawn you said in 55 “Keep in mind that knowing the donorâ€™s ID mean simply possessing this information to give to your hild when they are of age if they want to know it.”
Do you realize how incredibly imbalanced and unequal what you just said is compared to how the rest of the population operates? Regular old parents of regular old bio kids don’t have the authority to stop themselves from being named bio parents on their offspring’s birth records nor do they have the authority to opt out of supporting them just because they did not intend to have them either. Regular old parents of regular old bio children don’t have the option of concealing their child’s existence from their relatives either – any relative has a right to the vital records of their child without their permission, because they have a right to know the identity of people they are related to because it impacts them if they are someone’s cousin, aunt, uncle, grandparent or sibling.
Why should a person whose parent signed a dumb donor conception agreement wind up stuck with a birth record that is medically false? Why should they have to wait until they are 18 for information everyone else has their whole lives? Why would it be up to them if they want to know who their bio parents, when nobody asked me if I wanted to know mine? Why do you think it’s adequate to tell them when they are 18 but not correct the records to reflect the truth? People who say that the birth record reflects the people who are doing the work of a parent are incorrect because obviously people loose custody all the time without the court taking their name off the birth cert as a parent. But if what they suggest were true then at 18 when nobody is responsible for their care anymore surely there would be no reason to leave the record in a medically inaccurate state, especially since they are being told.
Being told at 18 is a bunch of hooey! What’s the point if it’s not actually put on their official records? They have to live a lie and now know the truth? Does everyone really just think their records reflect a certificate of title by who wanted them the most or who did the most work? Come on! The truth is the truth and there is no reason they should have to wait even a day for the truth to be written on their records.
“Justin, by your definition of â€œrightâ€ the parents donâ€™t have the right to anonymity any more than the child does.”
If the “right to know” was a universally recognized right, it would be a criminal act to conceive anonymously.
Women, who travel out of town, and get pregnant with a stranger, would be criminals unless they could track down the identifying information of the man.
If the “right to know” outweighed the right to procreate, the state could force that woman to abort the child. The state could jail the woman for infringing upon the rights of the child. It would be a “unidentified criminal birth.”
“Although lack of anonymity might be better for the child, if that lack of anonymity comes at the price of reducing parental sense of safety and stability, I am not sure the children would benefit this exchange.”
I’ve wondered about this point, and I am inclined to agree with Justin.
Just an aside — in most cases parents are comfortable with the option of open ID at 18. Increased options in this area would be a good thing. Due to supply issues, many Australian clinics are not able to offer this option.
I want to underline something. There has been quite a bit of analogies of adoption with 3PR. I see people asking: “Why aren’t people doing the most logical, rational thing? Clearly this would be “better” for the child.”
Conceptions are irrational, romantic acts. 3PR is different from adoption because of the body. Conception is an intimate bodily act.
People who adopt are removed from the conception and pregnancy. You do not interacting with the bodily processes of your own conception. You are not engaging in the act of conception. You are not allowing things to be placed into intimate, private bodily spaces.
Both partners need to go into conception with a sense of joy. A feeling that the donor and the conception and pregnancy is second choice but not second best.
A woman might like the profile of an anonymous donor, but not be comfortable with the available profiles of non-anonymous donors. Same with her partner. There are fewer non-anonymous donors. No one should feel “wrong” about the conception.
One donor might be “right” for a couple, and fit in the romantic story of their relationship. Flying to South Africa or Spain might be a part of their conception story.
Feeling good about the conception makes the process into a joy. The parents are conceiving with this genomic line.
This sense of joy and happiness with the conception is critical for familial happiness. All of this is important for the child’s upbringing.
It’s not healthy to go into a conception with a sense of “yuck – I don’t really like that donor and I’m not comfortable but he/she’s the only choice in Australia. I can’t afford to fly to the States or South Africa to get a wider selection of donors.”
Marilynn – Please STOP with the comments about bio parents…it is an inaccurate and inappropriate term….donors are not “parents”…if we want to be very clear and correct and accurate can we agree to call them “genetic contributors” or “genetic progenitors” because that is what it is. Having a cell of your body removed or ejaculated out does NOT make someone a bio “parent”.
When it comes to referring to bio parents — and I know I leave out DI dads in this one and I’m sorry, I can only speak from my own perspective — woman who use egg donors ARE partly biological parents. Any child that is the result of 3P reproduction does in some way have 3 parents…it is the miracle of modern science whether through surrogacy or egg donation. The is because of epigenetics and there is tons of research to support it even though our detailed understand of how and why is still being discovered. Essentially, epigenetics proves that women are not just empty vessels for gestating. Our wombs are not interchangeable such that a child born through egg donation would absolutely NOT have been the same person regardless of who carried them. Our genes are a script but how closely we follow that script is influenced greatly by the environment in which we develop…and this is true beyond just the 9 months of gestation so DI dads can play a huge role in the people their children will become – by the food they feed them, by the way the hold and interact with them, by the smells they hear and know. When children are born, it is not their genetic contributors they recognize and attach to at birth – it is the smell and sounds of the woman who carried them and in short order, the sounds and smells of the person who is to be the second parent (male or female or trans person, whoever) because they may already recognize the cadence of his/her voice.
So when we tell children conceived through donor conception that they are the same as children who have been adopted we not only belittle the pain of the primal wound we muddle the facts of their story. The ONLY thing I agree with that DC parents can learn from adoption lessons is that secrets hurt families. But I also think this is a universal truth that goes well beyond method of conception. Secrets hurt. Period. So yes, I strongly believe children should be told how they were conceived (do I think it’s a right? No, I don’t go that far. We often conflate the term “rights” with the concepts of “morality” and “ethics”.) And I don’t personally believe anonymity should be made illegal such that it isn’t available to anyone. All parents make decisions for their children all the time – some of them with life long consequences. Do we say a child’s “rights” have been violated if they are forced to move to a foreign country where they don’t speak the language and have no friends? No. We say that sometimes life is tough and grown ups make decisions that aren’t always fair. And there are sometimes mothers who decide they will not ever tell the child who the biological/genetic male who help create them is. There is no right to this. To my knowledge, no court has ever commanded a mother to identify her male sexual partner so that the child may know. Women have the right to be single mothers by choice and to have no father identified on the birth certificate. So on that front, donor conceived children do have the same rights as non-donor conceived people. Not every one is allowed to know who their genetic contributors are.
That being said, my personal choice for my child is an non-anonymous donor so that they have a a way to contact the donor IF they wish to. And I will support that. I expect to raise a curious child (as my husband and I are both curious people) and therefore it seems natural they may have questions at some point.
Dawn – in your last post it sounds like you are joining the idea of anonymous donation with also not telling the child. I agree that not telling the child about being donor conceived in order to feel more secure can indeed have a paradoxical effect of making people less secure. However, there is a difference between this and telling the child they were conceived using an anonymous donor. Most clinics not give you 15-20 page medical and social histories of the donors which is information you can give to your child regardless of whether or not the person is identified.
Justin – Thank you for your encouragement. I realize that there is a lot of baiting happening and I try my best not to respond to it. Where I run into trouble is when I imagine a curious donor conceived person, possibly an impressionable teenager, looking for information on the internet and finding post after post after post on forums telling them in no uncertain terms that their “real” “bio parent” was paid and contracted into abandoning them and their obligations. And that their kinships rights have been violated when in fact they have kinship rights to two parents and their extended families just like any other person. What might that do to otherwise stable and healthy bonds they have with their parents? Surely a healthy family can survive and thrive such suggestions, but why put a DC child/teenager through that turmoil? It seems cruel and very much treating DC children unequally. No one seeks to destabilize other children in this manner.
TOMama, epigenetics is such a fascinating topic. I love reading about the research.
You are right that the issues of telling kids and using anonymous donors are 2 separate issues.
CB (44) –
I agree with Anna. My impression of you is as a decent, kind and thoughtful person. Therefore, I do not like disagreeing with you, but here it is:
You said: “I think the problem we are having in communicating is that you believe anonymity to be a â€œprocreation choiceâ€ and I believe it to have nothing to do with being a procreation choice but instead to be against the rights of the future human who will be born.”
1. On the semantic level – knowing one’s biological origins is not a right, as it is not recognized as a right by any legal authority. It is your belief that children fare better when they know their biological origins, but that does not mean that they have a right to it, and therefore it remains their parents’ choice. (It may not be the best choice for the child, but it is their legitimate choice.)
2. And more substantial – By my understanding, children grow better when their parents are happy and secure. Although lack of anonymity might be better for the child, if that lack of anonymity comes at the price of reducing parental sense of safety and stability, I am not sure the children would benefit this exchange.
Justin, by your definition of “right” the parents don’t have the right to anonymity any more than the child does. The only real beef I have with the second part of your argument is that some parents assume they will feel less safe and secure, but in reality few actually feel that way once they get into it. Although there are definite distinctions between donor conception and adoption, an analogy can be made between openness in adoption and information on donors in donor conception. There has been much research on openness in adoption, and in fact, openness increases adoptive parent satisfaction.
Keep in mind that knowing the donor’s ID mean simply possessing this information to give to your hild when they are of age if they want to know it.
I am sorry that intolerant and hostile persons like marilynn are pushing you away from these forums. I believe she is mostly trolling. Please remember – most of the posters here are pretty reasonable people, and marilynn is easily avoided. Whenever I don’t feel ready to read her lies and hatred, I simply skip her posts.
“Even if you donâ€™t agree with what she says, you can surely see that there is no malice in what she says and to imply that is wrong. She is saying what she feels.”
I disagree with you about the intent. When the approach and message is to help children and recognize certain aspects of adoption/donor conception from the child’s point of view, I agree about there being no malice in the intent. However, when the approach/message is to demonize the adults by referring to them as “selfish, entitled and unsupportive of others” there is nothing but malice behind that intent. The intent is to utilize scare tactics to potential parents and to break up the formed families of those that are existing.
I’ve interacted with it on too many forums to be convinced otherwise. I’m more than fair. You and I got off on the wrong foot but in time I’ve come to understand that you have a good heart and have nothing but good intentions. I’ve been just as fair with others and have been fooled too many times to believe there is anything but malice behind the intent.
Those who stick to being about the children only make a better case about their true intentions than those who utilize other unnecessary tactics. I wish more people followed your lead and took your approach.
If you want to encourage open ID donation in Australia, you need to understand why women are going overseas.
“Most of what I’ve read in the blogs has been on egg donation here in Australia. What I’m curious about is if there is anyone who has gone overseas for egg donation and what were their reasons?
Our reasons were: we had no relatives here that were able or willing to donate; we wanted to choose our donor, rather than the other way around; we didn’t want to ask strangers for a donation (we were told to ask our hairdresser – do people really get donors that way?); the price was comparable to Australia for us (and we ended up with a holiday on top); and it was done quite quickly – within 3 months of the initial inquiry, we were back in Australia and I was pregnant! I would have done it years ago rather than waste my time and money over and over with cycles that never stood a chance of working!
For those who are doing it in Australia, what are your reasons? Are they financial? Ethical?
Here’s Australians talking on a public fertility forum about going to Greece for donor egg.
You can see their reasons. Much less expensive. Unable to find a donor in OZ. Faster.
A great way to reduce anonymity would be to organize an altruistic donor egg list.
15 years in prison. Isn’t that a little intense for unregulated reproduction with donor eggs?
Many Americans would not understand this law. We generally don’t think the state should criminalize sex and procreation.
What other type of crimes in OZ would the books recommend 15 years?
“Stephen Page, a leading Australian surrogacy lawyer with Harrington Family Lawyers said per capita, Australians are the leading users of international IVF. This is despite costs reaching as much as $60,000 including travel and accommodation.”
â€œThere are just too many roadblocks in Australia,â€ he said.”
“IVF clinics in Australia and New Zealand accounted for just 4 per cent of all cycles.
More than a third of all egg donation cycles occurred in Europe while in Africa and South America, they accounted for a quarter of all IVF business.”
â€œThere are no de-identified lists of available donors in Australia,â€ said Denyse Asher, a reproductive biologist with Donor Eggs Australia.
â€œThe amount looking for eggs far exceeds the number willing to give.â€
â€œThere is a possibility of 15 years imprisonment, but no one has been prosecuted in Australia,â€ said Stephen Page from Harrington Family Lawyers.
The Family Law Council has submitted a review of federal legislation including egg donation law to the Attorney-General, George Brandis.”
“The point of the above is that I have at no time judged oneâ€™s actual methods of conceiving â€“ I am judging the anonymity because in the end, anonymity isnâ€™t about you but about the future human â€“ it is depriing a future human of part of who they are. ”
You are condemning anonymous conception. That is a method of conception.
We’ve got a basic difference in our conception of natural rights. It would be a Constitutional error for the state to criminalize any woman’s right to engage in anonymous conceptions or sex.
You come from a different hemisphere a different country. We disagree. Oz, a nice sounding small country of 20 million people is not the USA. 320 million people
Australia does not have a Constitution, correct? I believe in the 90s Oz rejected the separation of church and state? We come to 3PR from different understanding of natural rights.
“To accuse me of demonising IF sufferers for having this opinion is wrong.”
Not sure I’d describe it as demonizing. I’d describe it as futile, buttinsky and inappropriate interference into other people’s personal choices about sex and conception.
I think the state criminalization of “unregulated conceptions” is creepy. You have every right to disagree with me. I see it as a scary use of state power.
Most Americans will agree with me. It speaks to our concept of rights.
I’ve noticed that some Aussies are posting. We all speak English, so it’s easy to forget we’re come to this subject from different traditions. We’re different cultures.
Not only that, but fertility treatments in both counties are real different. Many Aussies must travel to Spain and the Czech Republic because they can’t get service for 3PR in Australia. All of the DC is anonymous in Europe. Sad they don’t have more choice to get a open ID at 18 donor in their home country.
There’s a specific clinic in Greece that specializes in Aussie clients. The clinic in Oz refers them to that clinic.
You also should check out the frozen donor egg situation in Oz. Frozen eggs are imported from the USA. They are nominally open-ID, but who’s going to track them down 18 years from now? The legal situation in OZ forces women into situations where they chose anonymous conception in Europe or frozen eggs.
Sad. Many would like to get open-ID donors in Oz. But the wait is too long. Finding the donors is too hard. Even criminal laws cannot control the urge to reproduce.
Anna you said you have no qualms with discussions about anonymity vs non-anonymity but what about bio parent accountability for care and support of their children vs non-accountability for some members of the same group? What if they could donate anonymously but would have to follow the same rules as any other bio parent once their children were born and could of course not be anonymous to them because nobody else is allowed anonymity. I guess I want to forget about the anonymity issue and focus on just having equal obligations so their kids would have equal rights.
Non-anonymous gamete donation creates unequal obligations for bio parents and unequal rights for their children just the same as anonymous donation so open donation does not solve the core problem which is that they should never be exempted from responsibility in an effort to encourage them to make their kids to give away to other people. It’s not fair to their kids.
Here here! FINALLY someone else besides Greg calling out marilynn for the dangerous, damaging and incorrect information she posts on every single internet blog and forum about donor conception.
I am sorry CB, I appreciate your more balanced approach, but marilynn does accuse women like Anna and myself of being evil. She may not have used that word, but what else is to be concluded when she labels DC parents as “black market adopters” who have deliberately separated children from their real parents? She also stated above that DC parents have a lot to apologize for..that certainly alludes to us being evil and at the very least wrong!
Also, I will not be fooled by the insincere way I have seen her pretend to be curious about other people’s views. I have yet to read a single reply on this blog or others where there is even the slightest validation of a DC parent. That is why I have shut down so much if my involvement online. I feel demonized and alienated. Every time I try to find a safe space to participate, I find extremist posters who drive me away.
I felt the need to pipe up today. Marilynn is by no means the only one (and sorry if it seems like I am singling her out but she is certainly the most prolific and omnipresent responder). It’s time for more balanced voices in these forums.
There are several misunderstanding that exist.
I will briefly attempt to clarify. After which I strongly suggest we cease personal dialogue. Communication between us is resulting in more, not less confusion.
1) “She never says you are evil â€“ in fact, she says that on this very page.”
I referred to her rhetoric of abandonment and separation. I was not dialoguing with Marilynn. She never called me evil. Not sure where you’re reading this.
2) “I donâ€™t even know what the heck you are talking about here and when Iâ€™ve asked you, youâ€™ve not given me any answers.”
I was a lurker until you morally judged a woman considering donor conception. You told her something to the effect of “sorry, you can’t do xyz.”
First time I’ve commented on this blog was in response to your comment.
More recently you’ve recently offered your opinion about my child in another thread. It’s silly. You know nothing about me.
Judg-y personal interactions are not constructive. In fact, they are toxic from an interpersonal point of view.
Moral judgements personally directed at strangers do not result in productive communication. It shuts down dialogue.
It is easy to speak about issues such as donor conception or adoption without making personal judgements about the specific people with whom one is dialoguing.
Many people will react with anger to negative personal comments from strangers about their bodies, family, children. You should keep the conversation non-personal if you wish to engage in constructive dialogue.
“I have no problem with a discussion of the possible harms or advantages of anonymity versus non-anonymity.”
I think the problem we are having in communicating is that you believe anonymity to be a “procreation choice” and I believe it to have nothing to do with being a procreation choice but instead to be against the rights of the future human who will be born. When I tried to point out to you that anonymity was not in the best interest of a human being, you accused me of demonising you:
“No. You donâ€™t get to tell women how to procreate. Itâ€™s my constitutional right to decide when, how, and with whom I procreate or conceive. I can chose to procreate anonymously if I wish.
Who is most affected by conception? The pregnant woman. Thatâ€™s why a woman has the right to make the decisions.”
You have the choice to procreate anonymously but you are also need to be aware that you will be affecting another human. Again, the child is the one most affected by conception as they are the one being conceived. Yes, I know you stated that you don’t believe them to be people before they are born but they definitely are once they are born.
The point of the above is that I have at no time judged one’s actual methods of conceiving – I am judging the anonymity because in the end, anonymity isn’t about you but about the future human – it is depriing a future human of part of who they are. To accuse me of demonising IF sufferers for having this opinion is wrong.
I do want to say that my perception of you is that you are a kind person. You have good intentions. Many of your posts are thoughtful and perceptive.
I can tell you’re not intentionally triggering traumatic reactions. In the last few threads you may have misunderstood why certain phrases cause injured reactions.
It is unjust, as Greg puts it, to demonize people who are suffering from infertility. You may think you are only talking about “some” people, but you can never label someone in that way and “only” talk about certain individuals. It hurts the group as a whole. It hurts the group as a whole.
Can you understand this? Just as it is not acceptable to write some “Jewish people” or “African American people” are not entitled to other people’s children,” it is inappropriate to say some “infertile people” feel entitled to other people’s children.
It hurts the group as a whole to spread negative stereotypes and prejudice. That is the point I have attempted to communicate. These statements alienate people in the group, because they will assume you are prejudiced against the group.
Aside from the phrases about infertility, I support freedom in the arena of sexuality, identity, and control of one’s body. My personal actions may be conservative, but I do not react well to statements that communicate moral judgement of the bodily choices of individuals. But this is a common reaction, no?
I have no problem with a discussion of the possible harms or advantages of anonymity versus non-anonymity.
Link or post my words please. I do not know what you are talking about.
It may have been Anonymous/aspiring AP who actually used the word discriminatory but you have accused me of morally judging you:
“You didnâ€™t just speak in terms of â€œIâ€™d worry that a kid would feelâ€¦â€. You spoke in terms of morally judging people.
My body is not your issue. What you wrote gave me the impression you thought you had the right to control my body.
You can judge me for what I do with my reproductive system. But Iâ€™ll come back at you fighting. Itâ€™s my vagina and my uterus. Not yours.
Donâ€™t be surprised if people get insulted. Youâ€™re morally judging what people do with their private parts.”
I don’t even know what the heck you are talking about here and when I’ve asked you, you’ve not given me any answers.
“You asked if anyone is actually saying that.
Marilynn says it here on this thread. Also says it elsewhere. Google her if you want.”
She never says you are evil – in fact, she says that on this very page.
Marilynn is entitled to her views – I find her views interest, sometimes I agree, sometimes I don’t, but whatever the case, she always gives me pause for thought :). Even if you don’t agree with what she says, you can surely see that there is no malice in what she says and to imply that is wrong. She is saying what she feels.
“â€œhowever, if an IF sufferer in their grief inadvertantly encroaches on another personâ€™s rights, then it is not wrong for others to kindly point that out.â€
You are seeing the condition of infertility as the cause of depraved behaviour. You are stating that IF is a CAUSE of BAD BEHAVIOUR. That is outrageous.”
No, I am saying that sometimes people who are grieving because of their IF may inadvertantly encroach on others rights – that is not being depraved but just being human – people in general often do encroach on others rights without realising it.
Again, I will say this:
â€œIn the end, the best advice I can give you Anna is to try not to read stuff into things that arenâ€™t there.â€
You asked if anyone is actually saying that.
Marilynn says it here on this thread. Also says it elsewhere. Google her if you want.
“Also, people disagreeing with you are not discriminating against you.”
Link or post my words please. I do not know what you are talking about.
“In the end, the best advice I can give you Anna is to try not to read stuff into things that arenâ€™t there.”
I don’t agree with your analysis of the situation.
“however, if an IF sufferer in their grief inadvertantly encroaches on another personâ€™s rights, then it is not wrong for others to kindly point that out.”
You are seeing the condition of infertility as the cause of depraved behaviour. You are stating that IF is a CAUSE of BAD BEHAVIOUR. That is outrageous.
People who are ethically challenged are ethically challenged. People who are thoughtful and sensitive to others do not become depraved individuals as a result of infertility.
To attribute their unethical behaviour to their infertility is not just.
I do not appreciate this perpetuation of negative and prejudicial stereotypes.
So address those peole directly.
As for people on other forums/blogs, those are other forums and blogs. The internet is so vast that there will always be people who disagree with you. My personal opinion is that no-one should attack anyone for the state being infertile, however, if an IF sufferer in their grief inadvertantly encroaches on another person’s rights, then it is not wrong for others to kindly point that out.
Also, people disagreeing with you are not discriminating against you.
The truth is that there is a lot of stuff out there that is hard for people to read. In the end, one has to ignore them. If I took to heart everything negative said about adoptees, I’d go mad. The personal attacks are bad enough (and I’ve had those in the past as well – not for any actions but just for being adopted).
In the end, the best advice I can give you Anna is to try not to read stuff into things that aren’t there.
Justin @23. Thanks for your reply. It seems to me that you are open to your children making contact and accept that there is the possibility that your children may have questions. Hopefully, you realise that all I’ve been trying to say is that your children deserve to at least have the option (which in your case seems like there is at least the opportunity). It is the deliberate choosing of having an anonymous donor that I have issues with because it is saying “Sorry child, your genetic origins will be closed to you because of my choice and my reasons”.
“This is about the birth mom/Jenâ€™s desperation to have a childâ€¦. not about the child. Thus the issue we donor conceived have with the practice.”
How do you know she was “desperate?”
Is she also “entitled”? As in, “desperate, entitled infertile?” Noted your use of the term “birth mom.”
Sans article or noun, of course.
While I respect where you are coming from, what you need to recognize that the place Jen and other parents are coming from is a lot more complex than “desperation”. Because so much time, energy and emotions are put into having a child, it’s very easy to forget that the baby that comes to be will grow up just as you did. That still doesn’t defend behavior that results in people getting hurt but the best way to prevent future generations from being hurt is for voices like yours being heard and for parents and prospective parents to be educated and supported so their actions don’t hurt their children.
Jen said: “…I should apologize to my child for going to the ends of the earth to have him or her?”
This is about the birth mom/Jen’s desperation to have a child…. not about the child. Thus the issue we donor conceived have with the practice.
By the way, Michele was one of the panelist on the show. If you haven’t listened to the show, stop right now and go do that! (just click on the play button on the blog, or go to the radio page and download it to your phone.)
“what Iâ€™m saying is that the reality is they could have their rights reinstated in some fluke change to the law and it would not kill anyone .”
What it would do though is complicate that kids life even further and diminish the role that Justin and more specifically Justin’s wife has in their sons life. Their sons could turn around and say that his wife was not their “real mom” and legally they would be right. It would devastate Justin and his wife creating a sad situation that would damage that family beyond repair. While that situation wouldn’t literally kill anyone it wouldn’t accomplish anything other than damage a stable situation for those children.
â€œTherefore, the fantasy that they would have grown up with their biological family without our â€œevil interventionâ€ to separate them from it is purely nonsensical.â€
“Is anyone actually saying that?”
“You could be married to anyone and they could still exist same bio mom, same bio dad. I mean maybe you two never would have gotten together to consent to reproduce together, or maybe you would have. You could have been married to a different woman with the same fertility difficulties and have chosen the same woman to conceive your children. You could conceivably have had a different woman gestate them and theyâ€™d still be who they are albeit with different experiences behind them, but the same people. What you and your wife are doing is shaping the lives that you and the woman who conceived with you created.”
I don’t think Justin in any way has ever denied the role of the egg donor in their child’s life. I didn’t get the impression at all that they were going to hide this from their children. But I also think what you are suggesting they tell their children will only result in resentment, confusion toward their parents. It’s dangerous and IMO serves no purpose.
I also don’t think that the research to date supports the idea that children through egg or sperm donor are more resentful or confused that other children, although I plan on asking that exact question (plus many more) on an upcoming Creating a Family show with two leading researchers in this area.
cb (17) –
Since you are curious about the donor arrangement, I am happy to share it.
Our donor was a very intelligent and thoughtful young woman (which was why we chose her). She was unsure about her attitude toward contact at the time of donation, and stipulated she has even less idea how she would feel about it 20 or 30 years ahead. She did not want to commit herself either to anonymity or to transparency without knowing the circumstances of such commitment. Therefore, she allowed the clinic to keep her details and contact information. She agreed to be contacted and provide all personal and familial medical information if the children born through her donation ever required it. For none medical contact, my children (or their parents) may reach out to her through the clinic at any time in the future, and at that point she would decide whether to allow such contact or not. I hope and believe she would agree to such contact, if my children wish for it, but that is her prerogative.
As for your final question – Yes. I believe marylynn (2) asked why the children were abandoned by their biological mother, and why we’re not sharing custody with her.
Anonymous (18) – In some ways you are right, and in some ways, I think, absolutely wrong.
Of course my children’s genetic makeup was partly created by the egg donor. Denying it would be believing in storks and magic cabbages. However, since my wife (together with me) reached the decision to seek egg donation, since she (together with me) chose this specific egg donor, or in other words – since the creation of my boys was due to her initiative, thought and care – I would say that she gave them life. My boys do not owe her their genetic makeup, but do owe her their very existence.
(And no, before anyone jumps on me, I use the verb “owe” in its causal meaning, not in a sense of debt that has to be repaid in some form).
Dawn (16) –
That is great! I have been following Dr. Golombok’s research for several years now, and her articles were important to my decision to create my family through gamete donation. Thank you for inviting her to your show.
Justin, I’m kind of like a fan-girl of her myself! She’s doing some of the best research out there right now.
“Therefore, the fantasy that they would have grown up with their biological family without our â€œevil interventionâ€ to separate them from it is purely nonsensical.”
I never said you were evil. I get what you are saying, its just you and your wife are the one’s who wanted to raise a baby together and if it were not for you two wanting to do that you never would have wanted to go out and make a baby with some other woman so in your mind its impossible that your kids with that woman could exist if it were not for your wife. So say that’s true, say that is the only way you can see yourself ever getting together and having a baby with their bio mother….so what who cares why you reproduced with her and what your reasoning is? Your kids were born and she did not have to keep up her end of the bargain she could have flipped out changed her mind and said she could not go through with it and be fighting you in court or her siblings or parents could hunt you down and enroll your kid’s cousins at their same school and…what I’m saying is that the reality is they could have their rights reinstated in some fluke change to the law and it would not kill anyone . I know you think that is just too strange to think about but sit quietly and realize that what I’m suggesting should not sound crazy cause I’m just suggesting that people not only tell the truth to donor offspring but write it down and allow them to live it as well. What we have going on currently is people telling the truth, not writing it down and expecting them to live a lie on paper and then say that knowing the truth early is quite satisfying enough for them. It’s the lying way that is the whack way.
I am the father of two wonderful boys who were conceived through the help of an egg-donor.
conceived through the help of an egg donor? If the egg donor has offspring it means she her body reproduced and she conceived a child. That is true of any person with offspring — they conceived a child and they are a biological parent either maternal or paternal.
More technically true would be that they were gestated and delivered through the help of your wife. Now that is not saying nothing there its the hard part that your wife did. I’ve been pregnant and its no cake walk. But it’s not the conception that the donor helped your wife with, its the gestation that your wife helped the donor with.
I’m not splitting hairs to be a brat i’m focusing on terms and things that you feel are significant because I want us both to at least agree on what topic we have conflicting views. Right now it’s not clear that we even agree on who is responsible for the conception of your two boys. You are a very devoted husband and I wish I had someone who was so sensitive to my feelings as you are to hers. It’s great. I’m trying to get clear on what you actually believe and would feel comfortable saying as part of a dialogue on the “truth” with someone who was a donor’s offspring. Would you feel comfortable giving credit for conception to a person who had not conceived? Say it’s not your wife or your kids just theoretically, let’s take the personal aspect out of it.
“Without the donation in all its intricacies they would not exist.” Sure that is correct, were it not for the existence of this woman who was willing to have but not raise offspring with you, your’re correct, they would not exist. You are not interchangeable and neither is she. Other people the doctor, your wife, your friends, they were not essential to the existence of your two boys although they are all probably critical to making them the wonderful people they’ve become. I’m just talking about the brass tacks of it not the emotion. I know it feels like you conceived a child with your spouse but in reality your just raising one with her and she obviously carried and delivered – again not saying that is not a big deal.
Therefore, the fantasy that they would have grown up with their biological family without our â€œevil interventionâ€ to separate them from it is purely nonsensical.
It is fair to challenge causation when someone tries to say that donor offspring are more likely than their peers to be morbidly depressed or ax murderers, I just don’t think that people can really prove causation or a correlation between something like bad grades or doing pot and having an estranged parent who was a donor. There are just too many other variables at play. I mean throw an alcoholic uncle in there or a learning disability and your results can’t be reliable anymore. It’s hooey. Research on psychological outcomes and well adjusted happiness are pointless. The only thing that someone can prove 100 percent no arguments is that there is differential treatment legally and obviously that is not fair and has a ripple effect. It’s just a fact. People can react harshly or not at all they can have a complete nervous breakdown or throw a party to celebrate, does not matter, they still are being treated unfairly and that alone is justification for changing the law to eliminate the discrepancy.
When donor offspring say that they feel they have been treated unfairly – that is a reasonable statement that is grounded in fact, not conjecture. That guy whose explaining how he feels might be super upset and another guy not mind at all, the thing that is not really up for dispute though is whether or not something was taken from or withheld from them which is not withheld from others. I think it is real important to at least get to the point where people understand that yes there was a loss experienced by them and that such a loss is apt to make many people upset – though not all. But something was taken from them and you can’t just tell someone that something of theirs was stolen or taken or hidden and expect them to be satisfied with simply knowing that the teller took something from them….why can’t they give it back?
Stephanie blessing is a personal friend of mine and she was told as an adult but her step/social-father was not dying when she was told. She was very very close to both him and her mother she was so so sad when he passed he is the only person to play the roll of father to her ever. They were quite close even after she was told. This is all in a nutshell as it was described to me by her over the years. Their feelings for one another were not altered by the disclosure its was just like everything else that she did not know about that was obviously a big deal. Obviously any upsetness is not about the family they were raised by its about the one they were raised without.
“I am the father of two wonderful boys who were conceived through the help of an egg-donor.
I did not separate my boys from their family â€“
“My wife and I gave them life.” I know in your heart that it feels like that and it’s very respectful of you to say it in that way. If the woman you conceived those boy’s with had never been born, then they would not exist as themselves. Same goes for you too.
You could be married to anyone and they could still exist same bio mom, same bio dad. I mean maybe you two never would have gotten together to consent to reproduce together, or maybe you would have. You could have been married to a different woman with the same fertility difficulties and have chosen the same woman to conceive your children. You could conceivably have had a different woman gestate them and they’d still be who they are albeit with different experiences behind them, but the same people. What you and your wife are doing is shaping the lives that you and the woman who conceived with you created.
I’m not being squishy or emotional there at all. I think that is a good place to stop and check in with you to see if we are on the same page. This is not at all meant to be an insult, I’m checking in with you that you concur that technically if you or a science teacher were to discuss this with your boys that the life giving part came from you and the person you conceived with and then the beautiful life shaping part life developing part, respectfully the hard work day in day out sacrifice part, that’s your wife and you too, not the woman who you conceived with. But the boys exist because you and a woman reproduced. So you and the donating party gave them life, she and you are biologically related to them. Your wife is not biologically related no matter how biological pregnancy was, its over now and they don’t share her biology even if she may have flipped some genetic switches its not her cellular biology in their bodies it’s yours and the woman you conceived with.
Please please please don’t take it all like an insult, I’m just trying to get to the point where people recognize that what they say when they tell the truth should be true like stand up in the outside world hopefully. Unless its just a toothfairy step toward truth and then later you explain that their bio mother is someone else. Everyone is guilty of telling the little fantasy stuff when they are little but one of the things I think is critical is that people understand that the kid is going to understand the facts differently at some point, your wife nurtured their lives but did not give them life, not the way you did, not the way their biological mother did.
Please note that I have not said or implied that they would give a rats ass about their bio mother, I’m just trying to get to the point where people tell the truth with words that are true.
First of all, Justin, good to see you will be honest and relaxed about the donation.
As for this:
“I am the father of two wonderful boys who were conceived through the help of an egg-donor.
I did not separate my boys from their family â€“ My wife and I gave them life. Without the donation in all its intricacies they would not exist. Therefore, the fantasy that they would have grown up with their biological family without our â€œevil interventionâ€ to separate them from it is purely nonsensical.”
Was the egg donation anonymous and confidential? Will they ever have the ability to ask the egg donor questions if they so wish when they turn 18 (not saying they will wish but just wondering whether that is an option)?
Of course your sons are your children 🙂 They do still have the genes of an unknown person thus there will be things that they won’t know the answer to. Maybe they won’t want to know the answer but that’s not the point.
“Therefore, the fantasy that they would have grown up with their biological family without our â€œevil interventionâ€ to separate them from it is purely nonsensical.”
Is anyone actually saying that?
I fully agree with the point of this article. The gamete donation should not be a surprise or a secret, but rather a fact of life donor-conceived children should be told of from an early age and grow up with. As long as my wife and I are open, honest and relaxed about it, I believe my two boys will be fine.
marylynn (2) –
I am the father of two wonderful boys who were conceived through the help of an egg-donor.
I did not separate my boys from their family – My wife and I gave them life. Without the donation in all its intricacies they would not exist. Therefore, the fantasy that they would have grown up with their biological family without our “evil intervention” to separate them from it is purely nonsensical.
More to your point, there is not one research finding stating there is any “abandonment issue” with donor-conceived children. Zero. None. Zilch. They may be curious about their bio-family, but no abandonment issue. (If you think I am mistaken on this, please give me the peer-reviewed journal reference).
For that matter, there are no findings whatsoever stating that donor-conceived children have more mental health or life problems than there peers. They are not disadvantaged. (Again, if you think I am mistaken, please provide the research citation, and I will look it up).
Through a great struggle I created a wonderful family. Unlike your statement, I have nothing to apologize about.
Justin, we will have one of the leading researchers in the world on the issue of mental health and adjustment of donor conceived kids and families on an upcoming Creating a Family show (in early Fall)–Dr. Golombok.
“When people chose not to â€œdonateâ€ gametes they are just exercising their reproductive judgement deciding not to have any bio children that they wonâ€™t raise personally.”
Unless you have testimonials from potential donors who before they donated decided not to this is just an assumption on your part.
“The world would work it out somehow they did before gamete donation,”
See I don’t think this is going away. Even if it was outlawed I think you’d see a rise in unreported donations, which is even more dangerous than the current system. In my opinion education and more regulation of the practice is what will benefit all parties involved and most importantly future generations of kids that grow up in these families.
“Itâ€™s difficult for me to separate out causes of distress where there are multiple traumatic elements surrounding the discovery of conception.”
I agree Anna, the donor conception appears to be on top of everything else. Even if they weren’t donor conceived there are issues. Chances are they would still be hurting.
Tragically, she doesn’t have a present relationship with her social father as he has passed.
She was not told of her conception until her father was in the process of dying. Unfortunately, it did not sound as if she and her father had a chance to discuss her conception before his death.
It’s difficult for me to separate out causes of distress where there are multiple traumatic elements surrounding the discovery of conception.
When people worry that changing the law to treat donor offspring equally would cause people not to “donate” I think they are viewing donation like being a kidney donor or something. When people chose not to “donate” gametes they are just exercising their reproductive judgement deciding not to have any bio children that they won’t raise personally. Normally being careful not to cause any unwanted pregnancies is considered a thoughtful and responsible thing to do – and it is and will be. It’s really not tragic if fewer people create children they don’t want to raise. The world would work it out somehow they did before gamete donation,
Is everyone understanding that ‘telling them how they were conceived’ has NOTHING to do with conception and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that one or possibly both their bio parents was not held accountable as a parent for them the way that everyone else’s bio parents are? The telling conversation, regardless of what words are used, communicates tremendous loss for the person being told. Why would one bio parent care so much about them and the other care so little? That stark contrast highlights the absence of one of them whether they care about them or ever want to meet them or not. They are absent rather than present = loss. Their bio relatives are absent rather than present = loss. They may get to know who their bio parent is at 18 but nobody else has to wait and so there is loss for all that time. They may never know who all their siblings are and so again real loss.
They are not going to mourn the absence of “genetic connection” to the spouse of their rearing parent. Their feelings for that person just will be what they are based on how well they get along. That person could have been there for them even if their bio parent and relatives were not cut out of their life-millions of people have step parents and they survive just fine and loose no parents or relatives in the process. Custody agreements work fantastically for parents who are not married to one another and there will be examples all around them growing up and they’ll wonder why they had to be cut off from their bio family when their bio parents just could have shared joint custody.
Don’t say that well that means they never would have existed. If your kid was born and suddenly the law changed and all the books were audited and made open and all the birth records were corrected and all the bio parents were held accountable no different than any other bio parent…the world would not fall apart, it would not kill anyone to treat them fairly. They would not be abandoned by nonbio parents or the spouses of their bio parents who’d been raising them. Sounds so crazy no it would never happen rapid fire like that, its way too inconvenient for all the people who paid for a particular exclusive experience it would just be to jarring for the bio parents who thought they could produce 100 or 200 children without any accountability for it. But it’s not like it’s impossible to envision a world where donor offspring both exist and are treated fairly. They are not mutually exclusive. We did not have to take a group of people give them fewer rights so they’d exist. We act like changing the law to treat them fairly would cost them their very existence and that’s malarkey. It’s just too inconvenient and they would not exist in the way people imagined they’d exist (all exclusively theirs with no sharing). The only reason why they don’t have equal rights currently is because the adults footing the bill don’t want them to and that is worth apologizing for.
“Let is suffice to say, that I donâ€™t think that parents using donor egg or donor sperm or donor embryo need to apologize for anything. I do think they need to be prepared for non genetic parenting. It is more than doable!”
Parents who use donor sperm/egg/embryo have nothing to apologize for as long as they prepare themselves for the parenting a child conceived from these methods of reproduction, are honest with their child at an early age and provide unconditional support to them always. Now it doesn’t mean that the person will grow up with no issues but more times than not they won’t have the pain that children who don’t grow up this way do.
Those who say that these parents need to apologize comes from a place whose objective is to demonize and guilt parents and scare prospective parents. All this does is encourage insecure behaviors that end up damaging children. It accomplishes nothing Instead the objective should be to educate prospective parents to prepare them for parenting and to educate current parents as you are trying to do Dawn.
The interviews were interesting. But no one had a present, close relationship to their dad.
Finding out as an adult, death, family disconnect and divorce contributed to fraught situations with the social parent. Listening to the interviews, I found it difficult to separate those issues from donor conception.
Donor connect network or Olivia Montuschi might be able to connect you to more interviewees.
Anna, Stephanie, one of the panelist, was very close to her dad and loved him deeply.
Marilyn, I don’t even understand what you are trying to say. I should apologize to my child for going to the ends of the earth to have him or her?
Jen, as I said on the show, I know that some (many?) people conceived after many years of trying feel very loved and some feel special. I wished we had been able to find some adults who had been told of their donor conception as they were growing up. It is not clear to me how many of the issues raised by our panel about donor conception were from the feelings of “betrayal” at having had this information withheld vs. the actual use of a donor to conceive. I’m not sure whether the panelist would even be able to tease out the feelings about one from the other.
Would also be interesting to hear from an adult who was conceived via egg donation. Social relationships with mothers versus fathers.
Anna, I would to. If anyone knows of young adults (over 18) who were conceived via egg donation, pleae let us know and we’ll reach out to them for the next panel like this. We had the possibility of having a woman from traditional surrogacy (surrogate’s own egg is used) on the panel, but we felt that introducing the potential issues of surrogacy would detract from the value of a panel solely focused on donor conception. Most children of egg donors without surrogacy are not old enough yet for these type panels. These panels, I might add, are a bear to book!
I know a whole lot of people who have estranged parents who were absent in compliance with terms of donor agreements and I am finding that the big misnomer is that being told early is not the panacea that it’s touted as. Yes of course a person should never be deceived into believing that they are being raised by their bio parents when that is not the case. If a person is raising donor offspring they absolutely should tell them as early as possible and remind them so they don’t forget and so they have a full understanding of what it means to be the offspring of a gamete donor. But I’m saying that people raising donor offspring should not expect that telling the truth will make everything OK between them and the person they are raising – It’s not like in a legal adoption where the separation from bio family has nothing to do with the adoptive parent. With the exception of traditional surrogacy, rarely does a bio parent give a child up for adoption in order to provide someone else with a child to raise – generally the reason for relinquishing or abandoning has nothing to do with providing a child to other people to raise. So when legal adoptive parents tell the truth they are not implicating themselves as party to the separation from the bio family.
People raising donor offspring need to be prepared to answer questions about why it is that they wanted to separate the person they are raising from the bio parent and bio relatives. They need to be prepared to answer questions like why would they not just work it out the way other separated bio parents do with custody arrangements and the spouses being step parents and each bio parent taking full responsibility in a custody arrangement 50/50 – millions of other separated bio parents do that so why did the child they are raising have to loose half their family in the process? Other questions like why would they want to have a child with someone who would not want to raise their child with them – things like that. They should be prepared to answer questions not about how much they or their spouse want them but about why it is that their other bio parent does not want them. It’s a lot of tough questions that people who Adopt legally don’t have to face. Don’t assume that there is no abandonment issues with donor offspring; remember that a donor contract requires abandonment of parental responsibility and the person will ultimately grow up and read standard donor contracts that validate their feelings of abandonment by reading the words abandonment in those contracts and agreements donors typically sign. The reality is their contracts don’t talk about them giving up their sperm or eggs – the contracts talk about them giving up their children so don’t try to tell the person they’re raising that all their bio parent did was give up an egg or sperm or embryo because the contract language will prove them to be liars later on down the line.
Being honest with donor offspring is hard for good reason – there is a lot to apologize for if they wanted to have a person separated from their bio family. There are wonderful people raising donor offspring who have found a way to navigate these difficult topics respectfully and they blog and should be sought out for advice by others.
Marilynn, I kind of knew you were going to have a heyday with this blog. 🙂 Let is suffice to say, that I don’t think that parents using donor egg or donor sperm or donor embryo need to apologize for anything. I do think they need to be prepared for non genetic parenting. It is more than doable!
Thank you! Show was interesting and informative.
In a future show, would be interesting to hear from an adult who was told from a young age and had a existing close relationship with a social parent.
Would also be great to hear from a panelist not raised by a heterosexual couple. 50% or 60% of sperm is now bought by single women or lesbian couples.
Anna, good point, but most egg donors are being used by heterosexual couples. And one thing I hear from them is that the concerned raised by sperm donor conceived adults is not relevant to their situation because they will be raising their children with both a mom and a dad, while sperm donor conceived kids will be raised with just a mom or moms.