Thursday, November 17, 2005

Emotional Blackmail....but I'll Pay.....

Within the last week or so, there were several posts to the DSR yahoo group where I learned that the cryobank we used is offering photo packages of the donors including infant photos up to grown up photos (the term adult photos caused email problems for some DSR members - what a world!). These photo packages are being offered for a modest amount (not cheap but when compared to what we paid over time for IVF etc....) when the photos are available for active donors. The costs jump if your donor is currently inactive. The amounts being asked come close to emotional blackmail or extortion but as we live in a consumer nation the amounts are asked for and they'll get it from others and most probably from me.

Now before I discuss the costs or my reasons that I''ll probably pay what they ask I wanted to say that I am confused why the donors would provide these photos. Don't get me wrong I am thrilled that they are doing so but my thoughts were if the donor wanted to chance some kid searching and locating him and then making contact why would you give out your picture to help in that search. And if you are so willing to provide the photo which could lead to you why donate to a cryobank that does not engage in a program that offers the opportunity to disclose hte donor's name when the kids turm 18. Very strange. Maybe they are offering this info now. I'll have to check.

OK, back to the amount being charged. It's a three part fee system. First there is a NON-REFUNABLE charge of $300 so even if they locate the inactive donor and he is not interested in providing lifetime photos the cryobank gets to keep the $300. The cost of the photo package itself for about 5 to 7 photos, near as I can tell, is another $500. On top of that is a $150 processing fee. Now before they'll try to locate the inactive donor they want the money up front. No checks just credit cards or actual currency (money orders, bank checks etc). Now granted if the donor is not interested they'll refund the $650 but you still paid $300 for the chance.

Lastly why I will ending up paying these fees. My wife put it this way. If we were our kids and they knew we had the chance to secure these photos would they be upset if we did not try. We both agreed they would. For al we know the kids will not even want to know any info about the donor but we think if they ask we should have whatever info we have. And for us that is why we'll end up paying despite the fact that it's emotional blackmail.

My wife figures next year we'll hear that the donor's address will be offered for $10Gs. My reaction to that was a pillow thrown at her.

16 comments:

Mary C. said...

Do you know of other families who used the same donor? Perhaps you can share the cost. Another DI mom and I have decided to do that. If they don't find our donor, we will discuss sending her son's DNA to a commercial genetic database that can provide a little more information on heritage, and possibly links to family members of the donor. There was a story in the Washington Post this week about a boy who located his donor this way. It doesn't work with girls as it requires a Y chromosome. That is why we would use her son's DNA and not my daughter's. Good luck in your search.

DI_Dad said...

Good luck with the DNA analysis! I may look into that as well with my son. As far as splitting costs with our children's half sibling we are all discussing it now.

I have a question for you. I only recently heard the term DI Mom. Can you define it for me? Without knowing your family makeup I can only guess you are part of a lesbian relationship where your partner gave birth to your kids. Or do Single Mothers by Choice also use the term? Just curious to learn more.

Ameliasmama2000 said...

Since this is a new service that the bank is offering this may not work....but when I wanted to find more samples from my retired donor the bank offered a $300 (nonrefundable) service to do a search among customer who may have some in stroage. With a little probing the woman I was speaking with at the bank revealed that they had done similar seraches in the past and didn't turn up any unused vials.

I bet the families of the 1/2 sibs would be willing to share the cost. If you put a posting on the DSR saying that you plan to try and get the photos you can ask if anyone else wants to chip in. You may find additional 1/2 sibs that way. Many lurk but don't post.

Julia, mama to 5 yrs daughter via DI

Mary C. said...

The mother of my daughter's brother, (they both independently rejected the "half" sib distinction), and I are both single mothers by choice. We found each other on DSR just as you did. I use "DI mom" because that is the method by which we became mothers. I reserve this term for when I'm communicating with others at the DSR or in forums such as this blog. I've seen the term "DE mom" used by mothers who used a donor egg to conceive. DI mom is also analogous to "adoptive mom". Saying "bio mom" has no meaning the way "bio dad" and "non bio dad" would.

Explaining our family dynamic to acquaintences or even strangers is a common occurance. It's important for teachers, doctors, caregivers, etc to know that there is no dad in the picture. You'ld be amazed at how accepting although curious people are when you are open and treat it as no big deal. I have never encountered any sort of stigmatization. I use the term "single mother by choice" in these conditions. If I think they need to know, I tell people my daughter was a sperm bank baby. That seems to suffice.

Marty said...

Amazing how a "single mom by choice" with a child "who has no father -- cause mom didn't want me to" is brushed off as "no big deal".

You want stigmatization? How about cutting your kid off from fully one half of his family. You have no right to do such a thing to a child! What the heck were you thinking, lady?

Mary C. said...

Well, Marty, I said that I hadn't encountered stigmatization before so you are the first. I will tell you what I was thinking.

1. I had an awful lot of love to share with a child. 2. I have a HUGE family, 200+, all of which love her and accept her with all of their hearts. 3. I had no intention of using the first Y chromosome that came along just to get a child. 4. My child would never be beaten by her father (as I was). She would never feel abandoned or worthless. 5. She would know that I never lied to her about how she came to be. 6. She would know that there are lots and lots of others just like her. SHE IS NORMAL! 7. But there are jerks in this world who want her to feel like a freak. 8. Do you know who your father or grandfather is? Are you really sure? There's a large percentage of the world's population who think they know these answers, but guess what, they're wrong and they will never know it! And lastly, 9. My daughter would know that it takes all kinds of people to make a world, even incredibly rude ones.

That's what I was thinking.

Marty said...

So you daughter has no father simply because you didn't want her to have one? How cruel.

What you have done here is not much different than if you had actually killed the man that made you pregnant. At least from your daughter's perspective, he's just as dead.

Mary C. said...

I truly feel very sorry for you. How terrible it must be to be perfect and have to live in a world filled with the rest of us.

Marty said...

I'm just trying to understand what makes you so special that your daughter doesnt need, deserve, or have any particular right to a father of her very own.

I mean -- it's not like he died or anything...

Mary C. said...

No, you obviously don't show any desire to "understand" anything. You just want everyone to live a perfect life just like you do. Let's end this discussion now. It's not leading anywhere.

Marty said...

Help me understand -- please don't "end the discussion" just when we get to the good part! I really do want to understand how you managed to justify something i find so completely unethical.

DI_Dad said...

Marty, having just read this whole exchange you have proven again that if you are trying to make a point you CAN NOT harrass or badger the person you are trying to engage. Again you have proven you can't be taken seriously based on your actions. Any truth or real concern that might have existed in your arguments becomes lost. I would suggest if you truly believe in yourposition you join an organization that shares your views and become an advocate for that position. The more you continue to act in the fashion demonstrated here in and in previous comments to this blog only earn you disrespect.

Janice said...

Mary,
Those are wonderful reasons to have a child. (Loved # 9!) You don't have to "justify" anything. There are all kinds of people in the world and until they've walked in your shoes, they should mind their own business. None of us have the right to judge the other. It sounds like you have a wonderful, suuportive family and that your daughter is loved very much.
Janice

Janice said...

Marty,
Be nice! There's enough heartache and hurt in the world. Don't try and create a problem where there isn't one.
Not everyone can have the "perfect couple with 2.5 children."
That's why there are many different kinds of families.
Janice

Janice said...

di_dad,
I wanted to say how appalled I am by the "emotional blackmail" from the sperm banks. I am very annoyed that they are an unregulated, and unethical big business. I cannot believe the huge amount of money they are asking for. They have the parents over a barrel, because they know that the only way you are going to get information from them is to pay for it.....and of course you will. Every parent wants what is best for their child. I think what they are doing is beyond disgusting.

Marty said...

Thanks, di_dad, your advice is always welcome.

Janice, dear, don't tell me to mind my own business when i see an injustice being committed against a child. Sure not everyone can have the perfect 2.5 family, but you shouldn't go out of your way to create a broken home for your kid.

Mary C, forgive me for being appalled -- i didn't mean to put us off on the wrong foot. Am still interested in your story, if you care to offer an explanation.