Friday, September 30, 2005

Reactions to "He looks just like you!" and other statements.

This one statement has illicited varied emotions over the years. In the beginning it was a source of pain now it's more a source of amusement. People see what they want to see and generally this statement is made as people know parents love this kind of statement - true or not.

Tonight my wife and I were talking and as she occasionally does she referred to the donor as "the other guy". She never says this in front of the kids and then would only say the Donor if we were discussing a topic where "he" comes into the discussion. Generally the term results in no additional reaction. But occasionally, somehow, this term "the other guy" seems to bug me as if it makes the donor more real.

I told my wife that when she says this it makes me feel like she knew him. The emotion it occasionally raises in me is not so much a feeling that she had an affair with "the other man" but it does elevate the donor above what his sole role was (that his genetic material was needed to create our children and that alone).

Our discussion tonight actually involved her discussing who she thought the kids looked like. Our son looks more like her than the picture we have of the donor as a toddler and our daughter we think bears some resemblance to the donor.

So tomorrow in the playground when someone says that one of my kids looks like me, I'll just smile, be amused, and say thank you as I always do.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Telling MY Parents About the Half Sibling

Just before returning a call to parents I told my wife I intended to tell my parents about our children's half sibling. I think my wife was a bit surprised at the timing and why I was doing this over the phone. Her response was a muted OK.

My parent's reactions were interesting. One parent's response was essentially why would you complicate your life? I had just explained that contact had been made, that eventually the kids would be told, and further that the kids would also someday meet. I understand this parent's point as now in addition to addressing the concept of donor conception the child will have to process and eventually reconcile that they have half sibling that is not part of their base nuclear family. I think this parent was addressing more my life than the children but the reaction actually applies to both levels.

The other parent's reaction was how did I find this half-sibling, what level of contact was made, and where are they from. As a point of reference we are in NYC and the half sibling is several states away. The donor contributed to a cryobank located in a third state. I provide this info as this parent did not realize that the donor was from outside NYS or how these cryobanks operate. I actually stated that I know this cryobank has relationships with others here in the USA as well as Canada so its quite posible there are others half-siblings out there that did not receive the donor's sperm directly from their base facility. The discusson with the second parent then went to discuss the DSR and how we heard of the DSR from an episode of Oprah.

My wife's reaction to all this was that now she guesses we need to tell her parents. She also asked me why again did we join the DSR and seek out his half sibling. My reaction was that we had agreed when we started DI that there would be no secrets and that any all info available we would provide to the kids (at the apropriate age levels - still researching that one) and that they had a right to know of half siblings if the half sibling is looking as well. Granted contact was made between the parental units from our side and the half sibling's not the kids themselves.

In summary MY parents now know and I am happy about telling them. Not sure what their reaction is when they discuss it without my being there.

Friday, September 23, 2005

New Yahoo Discussion Group: DI_Dads

First off let me state I did not start this new group. It's stated description is as follows:

"This group is for dads whose children were conceived by donor insemination. It is not intended for the donors, but rather for the men who are actually raising or have raised children conceived by DI."

Sounds like a good place for Dads like me to gather and discuss our lives. I don't think I will be packing up my bags yet or shutting down this blog as I kind of like what I have begun. Hopefully others have as well. I think someone must have taken notice as I see this blog is one of the first links posted on the new group's links page. [Thank you for that!].

I wholeheartedly welcome any vehicle that will bring more Dads out in the open and take another step to bring Donor Insemination and Donor Conception out of the closet of the infertility field.

As an aside I hope folks looking at the Yahoo group's name "DI_Dads" don't become confused. For my own part I did rename this blog to try to cut down on misinterpretations of this blog's purpose.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Birth Certificate as (1) Social Contract to DI Kids or (2) Falsifying Records

Lately I seem to be trolling the Internet to see if there are any other blogs dealing with DI or related issues. Generally I find sites where mothers are blogging and no fathers. What I found late last week was a post regarding SSM which as part of the writer's argument referred to listing the non biological parent on a child's birth certificate as illegal. The site I found this on was Family It itself referenced the original blog Left2Right where the writer posted his views. My own view is that by listing my name as the father I am affirmatively stating my agreement to raise and care for the child. In effect entering into a contract with my spouse and the State. The position of the writer, a NYU professor, is that this violates the rights of the child. His position references a proposed UN resolution, that I must admit I have not yet read. The writer it should be noted was himself conceived via donor conception. I encourage all readers to view the exhange of views on the linked FamilyScholars page.

My own experience thus far has been that the majority of the adult community conceived via DI have had a negative experience as most grew up at a time when the stigma was much stroner and the info was withheld from the child and was usually only told when the child was older and the info taken as a surprise leading to shock and resentment.

Marty, a frequent commenter to this site, as part of the discussion posits that by listing the non-bio parent as the father we are cutting off the child's true history:

But what exactly have we formalized here? In addition to the expected responsibilities of fatherhood, you have formalized that your son’s biological father will remain unknown and anonymous, that your son has no particular right or expectation to know his biological origins, that his biological father can sign away any and all responsibility for his anonymously created offspring, and that adults can contract for hire to enjoy legal parenthood without the bonds of biological kinship. That’s a heck of a legacy for a child to have to grow into.

Again as I stated on the continuing within the continuing FamilyScholars discusion that many DI families created today plan to inform the children of their true conception and share what bio info they know of the donor. It is possible that the donor will always remain unknown? It is quite likely but if the story is told early enough and continuously it is my understanding that it is but one facet of the child's life and he or she will not believe their rights were violated. I believe many DI homes are just as loving if not more so that naturally created family structures. I don't have the facts but this is what I see from the posts I see on the DSR yahoo groups.

So in summary my position is that I am the Dad to these kids and the donor Father is not so my listing on the Birth Cert is evidence of that love and committment and if it is believed to replace the donor as father so be it.

Monday, September 19, 2005


An international symposium for patients, parents, offspring & professionals featuring speakers from the USA, the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand & Australia, as well as Canada.
Oct 22-23, 2005. 9:00am-4:00pm (Registration 8:30am) Michener Institute, 222 Saint Patrick St. (University/Dundas) in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Click here or the post title above for the complete program pdf.

$75/person, $125/couple (Visa & Mastercard accepted) (A full refund, minus an administration fee of $25.00, will be made for registrations cancelled by Oct. 14/05. No refunds after that date.)

Due to a chronic lack of funds, the Infertility Network website is sadly out of date & cannot handle on-line registrations. Please register by:
* phone: 416-691-3611
* fax: 416-690-8015
* email: (send your credit card number & expiry date in separate emails if you prefer)
*download the registration form (pdf) here.

If your computer does not already have Adobe Acrobat Reader it can be downloaded for free via the below website:

This blog is not associated with the Infertility Network and is not responsible for the content of either the program or the brochure. This blog does however fully support the Infertility Network in all its endeavors and purpose. This post is provided as a public service announcement to all those interested in the infertility community and those interested in this topic.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Will Their Cousins Still Love Them?

I currently have two nieces by my only sister. These two girls are the only first cousins my kids currently have. My sister and her spouse are fully aware that my kids were conceived by donor insemination. I doubt my sister has ever mentioned the word donor to her kids and as they are also young (6 and under) I doubt that without explanation they could grasp the concept that their cousins were conceived via donor insemination. My concern is at the point when they are told and they actually understand will they treat my kids any differently?

I am already thinking ahead to some family gathering where a disagreement starts over some stupid toy and one of my nieces says something like "you are not my real cousin anyhow" or something cruel like that. How will my kids react to that?

The affects of disclosure are still to new to even guess at this point to us. We still haven't told our families about the half sibling yet. As a result they don't even know of this blog yet. We are still committed to continuing to inform our kids of their origins as we feel their right to know trumps any right we have to keep it private to avoid questions or negative comments from the outside at our, the parental level.

The issue of family is a tricky one. It's one thing for kids at the playground to learn, react and accept the next kids family structure or origin but how a kid reacts in the family itself I am guessing can have greater affects on the DI child's psyche. My son loves his cousins very very much. If they all of sudden, even innocently, if one of them commented that they were not real cousins it would hurt him very much. I think I want to start talking to my sister about this as maybe her kids need to start hearing the terms more frequently just as we tell our son so it just becomes a normal part of our lexicon and NOT something that comes as a surprise.

But just as I expect to someday hear my kids as struggling teenagers to answer me in anger that I am not their "real" father I guess my kids should expect the same from their cousins. Raising kids is going to be adventure enough without worrying about this stuff but what choice is there. At this point none.

Friday, September 16, 2005

New School - Concerns re Potty Training (A post that is not DI related)

We were notified today that my son, the 3 1/2 year old, got into a public school program here in the City that is close to us and supposedly very good. My first reaction was is he potty trained enough to get in. It's little events and thoughts like this that make you realize that raising kids whatever their method of creation is just that...raising kids.

If you love them and take care of them the issues surounding their birth are just parts of who they are, not defining characteristics (despite the title of this blog). The real issues are how you raise them and whether they'll grow to be good people. And if he has an accident or two in those first days of school, so be it. It's part of his life and ours.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Blog Name Changed : I am the Dad not the Donor of my DI Kids

There I did it. I changed the name of this blog. I liked the sound of the old name "Life as a Donor Insemination (DI) Dad" but the fact is that I am the Dad not the Donor. Hopefully this does not screw up some links but I think I made the right choice.

Janice, I know you voted for simply "I am the Dad" but I decided I wanted the name to be close as possible to the old name and also clearly indicate the main topic of this blog to be my relationship to my kids and referencing their creation. I want to hear from men who like me made this decision with their spouses or partners to be the Dad (or one of the two Dads) and not the biologically connected Donor.

This was a big switch for me folks as it seemed to me that the old title that I was more connected to my kids (no I do not imagine myself as the donor) but this title indicates as it should that I am the Dad by decision (and action) but not the physical action that we hoped would bring these kids into the world when I envisioned as a young man to becomming a father and dad (and I do believe these terms mean different things).

I love my kids and I know they love me.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Searching for the Donor When the Children Haven't Asked

A continuing topic on the Donor Sibling Registry Yahoo Discussion Group has been whether to begin a search for the donor before the kids even indicate they are interested or when they are too small to even ask. The reasons for such a search include not losing any time before is too late and the donor may be lost, die or whatever to that of in case of an emergency. These discussions indicate that actual contact would not be made but just that the donor would be found and tracked for future reference.

I am not sure yet how I feel about this. My wife like others has very definitely announced her interest to me. I mentioned in an earlier post (Carrying on the Family Name) that my skills as an amateur genealogist might prove handy in any search. But I am not yet ready for this.

Do I consider the donor a threat to my position as father? Perhaps. Am I scared that the donor would want any continued role in my kid’s lives? Probably. Correction, that does bother me.

Another matter is if contact was made would I be disclosing the existence of the half-sibling we found where I have no right to do so? Then again when we (the half siblings) registered on the DSR we knew we were opening ourselves up to the donor finding us although our joint goals were (as I am guessing) to only find other half-sibs not so much the donor.

As I stated above I am not yet ready to entertain this question. Not yet but it’s a topic on continuing discussion on the DSR Discussion Group.

September 11th – Then and Now

Four years ago like many New Yorkers I was living that day in a case of shock and just trying to get to my wife and get home. My wife was at that date approximately 2 to 3 months pregnant with our first child. Our home is in Manhattan and we used to have a view of the Twin Towers before they fell from our windows. Last night as on each anniversary since that date the City of New York as part of its commemoration lights up twin beams of blue lights directed towards the heavens.

Yesterday evening we watched the Discovery Channel documentary of Flight 93, the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania that fateful day. It was an amazing piece and through their re-creations brought you right back to that tragedy and the triumph of those heroes. I certainly recommend it being watched if you can catch it.

Last night I stood at what is now the window in my children’s room while they slept and I gazed out at those beams of light amazed how the world has changed hoping they see the world improve not take a step back to barbarism.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Conservative Judaism and Donor Insemination

Before my wife and I started down the road of agreeing to use DI to create our kids I was concerned how my kids would be recognized under Jewish law. I was concerned whether the kids would be considered illegitimate and not have rights as Jews. This post links via it's title to a position paper titled "Artificial Insemination, Egg Donation, and Adoption" as originally published in The United Synagogue Review/Fall 1994 issue.

It basically states that under Jewish Law it is a commandment to create children and that where biologically that is not possible but where science can provide a method, including DI, the child is fully recognized as legitimate. As opposed to the law of the State of New York where I am the legal father, Jewish Law only certifies me as the agent for the donor who is deemed the father. Not exactly the result I wanted but my main concern of legitimacy was addressed positively.

The paper does not address naming traditions nor does it address whether the children would also be considered Kohanim or Leviim based on the social or biological father's heritage but I will leave that for another day.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Where are the Dads of Donor Insemination Conceived Kids?

I am beginning to wonder where are the other dads like me? They must exist. I am curious how to find them. Do they wonder the same thoughts as me? Do they wrangle with thoughts of the donor? Why aren't they looking for others as well? Are they internalizing their thoughts? Are they reading books and do they have comments on them?

Here in the USA there appear to be few groups that address the social fathers of donor insemination conceived kids. I need to explore the UK Donor Conception Network site more to see what percentage of active members are the fathers. The same goes for the Australian Donor Support Group.

Is it perhaps the stigma that a donor was needed to create their children that keeps them from speaking up? I wonder.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Renaming This Blog? Current Name Misleading?

I have realized over the past few weeks that perhaps I misnamed this blog. As I surf websites related to this topic it is clear that the actual donor is the individual referred to as the donor dad and I am the social dad. I must admit I like the sound of the current blog name.

Perhaps a new name should be "Life as the Father of Donor Insemination (DI) Kids" or something like that. Do you / I think the current name is confusing or misleading? Perhaps. I thought the sub title explained it clear enough but who knows maybe nobody reads the sub-title.

Any comments?