Sunday, April 25, 2010

The 'donor/traditional surrogate conceived' HAVE been relinquished by a birth parent

I wanted to bring attention to a HIGHLY debatable comment made in the study ("Experiences of offspring searching for and contacting their donor siblings and donor" RBM Online, 18 April 2010 regarding the dissimilarities between adoption and 'donor conception'.

Quote of reference:

"Whilst some have argued that the adoption experience may shed light on donor-conceived individuals' experiences of searching, it is important to bear in mind that there are notable differences between the two groups.

Donor-conceived individuals are usually genetically related to one of their parents and have not been relinquished by a birth parent. Also, with adoption, parents are expected and encouraged to be honest and open with their child about his/her origins. This is not the case with donor conception. Whilst there is now greater openness within donor-conceived families, many parents, particularly those from families headed by heterosexual couples, still choose to keep this information secret from the child. Donor-conceived individuals are thus more likely to learn of their origins at a later age than adopted individuals, which could have important implications for their experiences of searching for their genetic relations."

Specific quote of contention: "...have not been relinquished by a birth parent."

This is just not true.

'Donors/gamete sellers/traditional surrogates' ARE genetic fathers/mothers who have INTENTIONALLY given away/sold their gametes to INTENTIONALLY create a child (children) that in most cases they:

A) INTENTIONALLY do not want to parent
B) INTENTIONALLY do not want to take responsibility for
C) INTENTIONALLY do not want to acknowledge as their offspring (their genetic children)

This IS INTENTIONAL (pre-conception) relinquishment by a birth parent. Which, personally, I think is MUCH more unethical than the non-intentional creation of a child that is relinquished for the child's best interests through adoption.

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Our Random Universe" by Lauren Burns - 'donor' conceived adult

Shared with Lauren Burns permission:

"Just wanted to report something very random that happened to me last month. I was out with my mum seeing at movie at a place called Cinema Nova in Carlton. The movie we wanted to see happened to be sold out, so we picked an alternative and sat down in the cafe near the box office to have a coffee.

While we waited, Ben (my biological father) came and sat down two tables away from us! It was all the more random because Ben doesn't even live in my home city of Melbourne, he just happened to be down there for an Obstetrics conference. My mum didn't believe me, but I went and said hello to him and mum came and sat down with us too. So I introduced them. Although I didn't say it out loud I was thinking, 'mother, meet father.' It was the first time my parents have ever met!!! Such a mind bending thought.

To be honest, although I hid my emotions behind light-hearted banter, my overwhelming feeling was awkwardness. On so many levels & for so many reasons, this scenario must have seemed surreal for everyone involved. It makes me realize just how bizarre & artificial donor conception truly is. Here I was, the child created by these two people that I had only moments earlier introduced. Had my mother and Ben divorced many years ago it might have been awkward and tense for all concerned. But, given the DC factor.... this was bizarre beyond the grasp of most mortals.

It also made me feel sad to witness the profound disconnection between my biological parents. If I was conceived from a brief relationship at least they might have danced together. I know some people will tell me that it is ridiculous to feel this way, and it shouldn't matter, but it does matter to me. Being conceived from two strangers feels like it erodes my sense of humanity.

I was glad that it was only 10 minutes before Ben's movie started. Poor mum, I think she was a bit spun out, but in retrospect it was probably a good introduction because A) she didn't have time to be nervous and B) it was a short meeting, so it didn't get too awkward.

Alternatively, if I hadn't already got in touch with and met Ben, there I would have been sitting, two tables away from my biological father, and not even known it. Just goes to prove that something wacky like this can happen. To all the other DC people on this forum, it shows that at some point in your life you could have been in the same room with your donor parent or close relatives.

I can't quite explain it, but I feel like this story illustrates some disturbing aspects of being donor conceived. There is a fundamental indignity of being in the same room as close biological relatives and not even knowing it. It is like being the main character from the movie The Truman Show and belonging to a world where truth has been disconnected from reality. Like Truman, our sense of reality is open to being manipulated by `higher powers' (e.g. parents, the fertility industry)."

'Donating' sperm (or egg) is NOT similar to being a blood or organ donor

A response by a 'donor' conceived woman to (

"Sperm donating is also for life

JOHN McBain is misleading men when he says donating sperm is similar to being a blood or organ donor ( The Age, 12/4). He has (or should have) heard from enough adult donor offspring to know that this is not how many of us view the men who played such a significant role in our creation. Sperm donors are fathers too. Simply because they may play no part in the upbringing of their biological children does not mean that they will be any less important to them.

TV shows such as Find My Family clearly illustrate the deep human need to seek out family members to feel whole and connected to kin. Children created via sperm donation share this need. John McBain and any man considering donating his sperm must remember that children with no voice grow up to be adults, who may not share the view that donating sperm is simply an altruistic gift.

Myfanwy Walker, Upwey"

This letter was published in The Age here:
http://www.theage. letters/trust- us-says-the- government- but-it-has- gone-too- far-20100412- s403.html


Another letter written by a 'donor' conceived adult, Kim, (shared with her permission) in response to (

"John McBain is not the expert in donor IVF, the donor offspring are the real experts.

Ask a donor conceived adult if they would have made the choice to be removed from their genetic Kin...I think not.

There is a great loss suffered when one is removed from their biological family. So in referring to sperm donation as giving a "gift" this relates to the needs of the prospective parents.

How is it just that the child's needs come last? The convention on the rights of the child clearly states a child's right to nationality and family ties. It also states that children should not be separated from their parents unless is is for THEIR own good.

Donor conception has and always will serve the rights of the parents, while the child remains voiceless."

Note: This letter was not published (that I am aware of)