Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Pain of Not Knowing Your Biological Parent

After we wrote yesterday's post, we saw David Frum's blog in National Review (12-17-06). He links to this intriguing article in the Washington Post, by a young woman whose "father an was anonymous sperm donor."

Read it and weep. And think of all the children coming into the world this way to single women, or women with lesbian partners, or homosexual male couples paying for donor eggs and surrogate mother services.

There really should be a rethinking of the whole reproductive technology "industry". So much evil is rising to the surface now, including the abortion side of this coin: The embryonic stem cell debate has recently focused attention on all the "leftover" embryos. And "selective reduction" of multiple pregnancies resulting from IVF is another way of killing the smallest babies.

Excerpts from the Washington Post article:
...I was angry at the idea that where donor conception is concerned, everyone focuses on the "parents" -- the adults who can make choices about their own lives. The recipient gets sympathy for wanting to have a child. The donor gets a guarantee of anonymity and absolution from any responsibility for the offspring of his "donation." As long as these adults are happy, then donor conception is a success, right?

Not so. The children born of these transactions are people, too. Those of us in the first documented generation of donor babies -- conceived in the late 1980s and early '90s, when sperm banks became more common and donor insemination began to flourish -- are coming of age, and we have something to say.

I'm here to tell you that emotionally, many of us are not keeping up. We didn't ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion. It's hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won't matter to the "products" of the cryobanks' service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place.

... when I was small, I would daydream about a tall, lean man picking me up and swinging me around in the front yard, a manly man melting at a touch from his little girl. ... My daydreams always ended abruptly; I knew I would never have a dad. As a coping mechanism, I used to think that he was dead. That made it easier. . . .

My heart went out to those others [donor children], especially after I participated in a couple of online groups. When I read some of the mothers' thoughts about their choice for conception, it made me feel degraded to nothing more than a vial of frozen sperm. It seemed to me that most of the mothers and donors give little thought to the feelings of the children who would result from their actions. It's not so much that they're coldhearted as that they don't consider what the children might think once they grow up.

Those of us created with donated sperm won't stay bubbly babies forever. We're all going to grow into adults and form opinions about the decision to bring us into the world in a way that deprives us of the basic right to know where we came from, what our history is and who both our parents are. . . .