Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hello, I am still here

It's been a while since I have posted. I don't have anything new or profound to say. But let's ramble and see where I go. 

Yesterday at work a colleague and I got into a conversation where I stated my kids are donor conceived. I can't remember now what we were talking about. All I know now is that stating this feels as normal as anything. They are still my kids with all the pluses and minuses a parent feels about their kids. It's just a part of our story as crazy wild as any family's story is. 

I miss seeing my kids everyday but that's a divorce story and that pain, although I have accepted that, never leaves. I did learn this week of another DI Dad who is going down this road. I had wondered what the statistics on this are. I will say of the DI Dads who have divorced it appears the reasons are generally not DI related. It seems we are just part of the same statistical percentage as the rest of the married population who end up down this path.

But as dad of DI kids I do worry about their psyches as they already had enough to process with their DI stories to add being a child of divorce. Which has the greater impact only time will tell. I am sure it varies with each and every individual.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My 2007 Father's Day Post

This post was originally published in 2007.  It has been my sporadic tradition to repost it on Father's Day.
With Father's Day on the horizon my thoughts stray to the man whose gift allowed my children to come into being. This man is not the doctor or mid wife that delivered them. This man is their sperm donor. My children were conceived via Donor Insemination.

Without this man's gift, these children would never have come into being and into my and my wife's life. I am occasionally asked if I resent that this man could do what I could not. I can comfortably say I do not. On the contrary I want to thank him.

When I was diagnosed with non-obstructive azoospermia 12 years ago I was told that I should expect to never have children of my own. The fact that my children are not biologically linked to me has never lessened my love for them nor my belief that they are indeed my children. At the same time I am cognizant that there is another man whose role cannot be nor should be minimized.

To me he is and is not simply their donor. For now to my children he is in effect non-existent as they don't fully understand the concept of donor insemination. They have been told of their conception story and that a donor was used but this is still too much for them to truly comprehend as they are both less than six years old. Someday soon this will change and I wonder how that will play out. For now the knowledge of his existence rests with my wife and me and as I see it I have a responsibility to not let the truth of him fade away.

The lives of my children are as much connected to him as they are to me. I do not pretend to argue nurture is greater than nature but rather together play a role in these children's lives. I have his bios, medical, social, and educational. I have a toddler picture of him and a recording of his voice. All of this info is being saved for them as it is part of who they are.

Everyday I see articles addressing infertility and the use of donor conception from the side of the couples going through infertility, women choosing single motherhood, or lesbian or gay couples looking to start families. There are court cases around the country redefining what is family and who has the right to be legally defined as a parent or not. Under New York State law I am considered the legal father to my children. But despite that fact I know that someday my children will wonder about the man that is one half of their genetic make up.

Most heterosexual families of donor conceived children choose to never tell their children of the conception story fearing the child will turn against the social parent or for fear or shame of the perceived stigmas of using another person’s sperm or eggs to create their children. In my opinion these parents do so for their own reasons and not for the benefit of the children who have a right to the truth. I recently contributed an essay to a book series titled “Voices of Donor Conception” and have been increasingly involved in the discussions of these topics on the Internet.

The central issues surrounding donor conception, including donor anonymity, regulation and reform, have been or are being addressed in several countries around the world including Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada among others. The United States has not yet entered that discussion and currently there are no federal laws directly regulating the sale of gametes 
[i] nor are there any regulations imposed on the administration of the various cryobanks and clinics that solicit gamete donations and sell these gametes to the public. I am in favor of reforming the practices of this industry but I am not here today for that purpose.

I no longer fear the donor’s shadow but rather acknowledge his presence and if my children ask that his contribution be honored this or on a future Father’s Day I must honor their wishes if I am half the father I believe myself to be to them. So on their behalf I wish him a Happy Father’s Day and I say to him thank you for allowing me to do the same.

[i] “Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies” The President's Council on Bioethics, Washington, D.C., March 2004, Chapter 6

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

It's a Guy Thing Infertility Telesummit

More later but am pre recording tomorrow a session addressing family creation using donor conception. Should be interesting. 

Donor Conception Postcard Project - Update

The facebook based project has been mildly successful so far. Cards and images trickle in. No major deluge. Positive feedback. 

Not sure how to effectively promote it. Twitter adds something but not a string feeder. Posting updates on other facebook groups has helped. I do like seeing varied messages be submitted and posted. Will let it grow organically. 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

A Child's Announcement via a Lawn Sign

How Public is Public

The guest columnist writing the Motherlode column for the NY Times today writes about how open should her family be about their religion in a secular world and conversely how liberal can she be in her religious world. The two worlds colliding when her child comes homes from religious school with a lawn sign that reads Jesus Lives.

In the end she trusts in the faith that her neighbors are tolerant of all views and the knowledge who their family is that no prejudice would ensue. 

Made me think on some levels how some couples decide not to tell their children they are donor conceived. Once the child knows it might as well at times be a sign on their front lawn.  To do so might add a stigma to the couple's lives that one parent could not procreate as easily as all their neighbors or that the child may grow up with that stigma attached much as adoptees sometimes did a bit when I was a child in the 1970s. 

This post is not addressing whether DC should be used due to issues of identity, medical or abandonment that some donor conceived have experienced.  

This post is simply looking at the issue from a perspective of who
Telling or Not Telling is serving. Clearly in the world some parents might be embarrassed for their neighbors to know as opposed to the honesty of sharing the info with the child so they have that knowledge and can process it as they will as they grow up. 

The analogy to the NYT column is not perfect but with the facts of my world it is part of what I saw and how I reacted. 

(As an aside I did recently see a cartoon or something about Jesus being Donor Conceived. But that would be a whole other post to address that analogy).

Post # 572

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Donor Conception Postcard Project: Update 1

Well I have created a facebook page for the Project. The link is below. I have also created a Twitter account for the Project to announce the publishing of new cards received. Interest is definitely out there. 

I have spoken with many people offering support from Olivia Montuschi of the Donor Conception Network  to Alana Newman of the AnonymousUS project. 

Just waiting for cards to start arriving. Here is the contact and link info:

Donor                PO Box 6728
Conception     FDR Station
PostCard        New York, NY
Project             10150-6728

Twitter @PostcardsDC

Sample postcard submissions:  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kids Say the Darndest Things

On parenting:

As I have stated in the past my 11 and 9 year olds are very much aware they are donor conceived. This morning daughter, the 9yo, and I were looking at pics of their half sibling sister on facebook and discussing its a shame we live so far away. 

This afternoon while kidding around they were busting on me. Their comment referring to their own good looks: "It's a good thing for the (sperm) donor". 

Took me a moment to get it. I countered with starting a pillow fight. I know they were kidding. They know I know. Doesn't mean the pillow swings were any lighter for it. :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Donor Conception Post Card Project

I posted a message to the DI Dads Yahoo Discussion group tonight about soliciting anonymous post cards on the topic of donor insemination. Submissions could be anything they wanted to say about the topic. Concerns, fears, messages of support, anything. The single theme must be about DI. 

I wrote about the single Post Secret card I saw re Donor Conception on their site back in 2008. The responses to the card from donor conceived that I read were usually dismissive of the message written conveyed on the card. 

I am curious what cards I would receive if I opened up the topic to all donor conception issues. Would men and women , donors, donor conceived, parents submit post cards?

Would you?

If you would the address would be as follows.  Maybe this is a crazy idea. Maybe I have no concept what could happen but here goes:

Donor Conception Post Card Project
c/o Eric
PO Box 6728
FDR Station
New York NY 10150-6728