Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Getting Men to Attend Infertility Programs

Years ago when my wife and I were first starting to address our infertility issues we attended several all day seminars and multi-session seminars. As expected the attendance at the requisite insurance and female infertility sessions were packed but the male factor sessions were more sparsely attended (by the men anyways) and tended to be more focused on the highly technical issues instead of the emotional aspects of male factor infertility (MFI) issues.

I recently sent an email to a male counselor that works with the AFA who again confirmed that getting men to seminars is a tough sell but that he is part of an effort to put on a MFI seminar this coming May 6, 2006. Similarly Olivia Montuschi of the UK Donor Conception Network also asked for advice as to how to get men to attend more meetings.

Part of me wants to say the answer is actually simple but I don't think it is. Getting men to talk about their own infertility much less to get them to discuss donor conception appear to be impossible tasks. I think in the end for men to be active in addressing their infertility their desire for a child / family must be greater than their discomfort and the pain of acknowledging the issue.

My question to any men suffering from MFI reading this post is what would you want to see in the way of live programming that would enable you to proactively address these issues? To those wives reading this please ask your spouses this same questions and let me know their answers.

The Yahoo DI Dads groups appears to allow the men that are members the anonymity or remoteness of contact to allow them to participate openly regarding their feelings that perhaps in person some of them could not.

Monday, January 30, 2006

My Thank You to Our Donor

I realized the other day that I have not thanked our unknown donor.

I have read many online thank you’s but all have been from the mom's perspective. They all generally start by saying thank you for the gift of the children and how smart and cute the kids are. Most if not all thank the donor for their gift whether it was wholly based in altruism or only partially so.

While I do want to sincerely thank the donor for each of these thoughts I also want to thank the donor for believing that another man (1) could raise his offspring and genetic heir to the best of his recipient's ability and knowledge,(2) that the recipient father would give enough love to any number of children born with no decrease in quantity shown to each child and (3) allowing me to be a father in the truest sense of the word (beyond the obvious biological definitions).

I cannot say if the donor had any of these thoughts while he was providing his genetic material to the cryobank. I have listened to his taped voice on CD Rom so I do believe he fully understood what he was providing. What he thinks today is unknown. Some donors regret their decisions others still believe in the gifts they provided.

I also want to thank our donor prospectively for hopefully respecting any decisions we make to help our children understand their conception and to help them process this still extraordinary method in which for their lives to have begun. I want to thank the donor for the opportunity given to my wife and I to create a family and to share the love we have felt for these kids even before they were conceived. It will never be our intent to forget him, dismiss or marginalize his contribution or genetic role in our kids's growth or development but at the same time it is our intent to teach these children that being a family is part genetic and part love as demonstrated by our actions. I want to thank the donor for what I hope is his understanding of all these thoughts and wishes.

One additional statement that I believe I need to make is not so much a thank you as a promise. I have been extremely clear on this blog that I realize the use of DC whether it be DI or DE has created for some Donor Conceived Persons an irreparable loss regarding 1/2 of their histories. Our intent was never to bring harm or pain to our kids and as a dad it is my pledge to do everything I can to help my kids if they too find themselves in such pain. I believe I can help them while I recognize the use of DC created the issue and they themselves will ultimately have to come to terms with the issues surrounding their conception.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The ASRM Letter and It's Effects

The NY Times Letter to the Editor that I referred to in an earlier post has started a snowball heading downhill in parts of the DC community. Many individuals including Donor Conceived Persons and parents are grumbling about the letter written and want to respond.

My own views include that references to regulation are self serving as what regulations in their right mind would (1) not standardize testing / screening procedures and (2) allow donor specimens to be sold with the possibility of creating numerous unchecked half siblings, among other issues.

It will be interesting to see how many rebuttal letters end up at the NY Times and how many they will print. Stay Tuned...

My Last Post Was Number 100 and What This Blog Has Become (to me at least)

I started this blog on August 8, 2005. Per BlogTopSites (BTS) through today I have had 5237 hits with 2889 of those being unique hits since I registered the site in mid September (cumulatively measured on a weekly basis). I am unsure if the state of this blog is what I envisioned when I started this. It has turned out to be more than just my thoughts and experiences of the daily goings on of being a DI Dad which begs the question of what I think it has become.

My thoughts on this are three fold. I hope I am first doing what I first hoped for and portraying honestly my thoughts and feelings about being a DI Dad. Secondly I hope I am providing on this blog some sort of resource as to other Donor Conception related sites and news and my reactions to them. Third as a result of my beginning this blog I have become more involved in the DC community which is a result I did not expect. But one I sorely hope I am worthy of.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Two New Australian DC Blogs

Within the last few days I have discovered or been notified that each of the following Australian Donor Conception related blogs have been created:

Diaries of a Hopeful Dad To Be

This first blog is by an Australian who with his wife are DI to conceived their hoped for children. This is one of the very few DI Dad blogs I have found written and one that is reporting from the perspective of a husband going through DI with his spouse. The blogger goes by the name of Dynamodad or DD for short. To date DD has only made two posts so you can follow this blog from its beginning.

DADI- Donor Against Donor Insemination

The second blog was announced to me within the comments to one of my recent posts where the blogger was replying to my post of one hopeful dad's views on donor terminology . The sub-title of this new blog states:

"No, not a contradiction in terms. I am a former sperm donor who is now totally opposed to the practice of donor conception. This is my story...."

What is also unususual for some blogs is that the blogger discloses fully who he is by posting his actual name. As stated in his subtitle he has named his blog while playing on the spelling of the word daddy. The blog currently contains no posts so we will have to see if this former donor is looking to make contact with his biological offspring or not and his expanded views on this topic.

Revised Call for Donor Conception Blogs

In my post of two days ago calling for web addresses for all donor conception related blogs I forgot to ask if you can categorize your submissions by type. Suggested categories are below. If you think there shoud be additional catagories or if any I have suggested need to be altered please let me know. Blogs which otherwise are termed TTC (trying to conceived) I am suggested we categorize based on the bloggers overall category. These categories are just off the top of my head.

Suggested Catagories (alphabetically)

DI Dads
DI Moms
Donor Conceived Persons
Donor Egg
Donors For / Against DC
Married Hetero
Married / Partnered LGBT
Single Dads
Single Moms

NY Times Op-Ed Column Submitted & ASRM Letter to the Editor

I just submitted my Op-Ed column to the NY Times via e-mail. If I hear nothing from them within one week it means they are not using the column and I can publish it here. Should be interesting to see what happens. The column was again written as a result of Amy Harmon's January 20th article re Sperm Donors and the Cryobank industry.

It is possible my column will be seen as timely as today in the Letters to the Editor Section was a letter also in response to Ms. Harmon's article by Joseph S. Sanfilippo, M.D.President of American Society for Reproductive Medicine where he made two points that the (1) the medical specialty's position is not one advicating for anonymous donors (2) the industry is already regulated at the federal and state levels and by the industry itself, and (3) "There is no clear scientific evidence to tell us that being a known donor, or an anonymous one, is best for every donor, patient and child."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Did I Suffer a Heart Attack?

The simple answer is No. But was it a wake up call to get in better health? Yes.

Wednesday afternoon, January 25th, at work after walking up several flights of stairs fr the third time that day, which I generally do not do, I started exhibiting many of the classic symptons of a heart attack. While I felt some pain in my chest it was the confluence of feeling dizzy, naseous, and having a throbbing pain in my left arm which did radiate down to my hand that sent me to the emergency room.

Over the next 24 hours I went from the ER to a cardiac unit to having undergone a stress test complete with a nuclear isotope being injected into my system so they could take pictures after the my run on the tread mill and once my heart was at rest. At 41, the target heart rate I was to shoot for on the tread mill was 152. I exceeded that and got my rate up to 190 for the last two minutes which were hell. Nothing in my blood work indicated my heart had suffered an angina or scarring so they are unclear as to what happened other than my overexerting myself.

I do no exercise whatsoever other than playing with my kids. My weight of 145 is reasonable for my height 5'6". I don't have high blood pressure but my cholesterol is just over the desired range. In short to look at me I am not a candidate but to know how I eat, my family history, and that I don't exercise I am a prime candidate to leaving my kids fatherless and my wife a widow.

My warning is simply this, re-examine what you do, check yourself out (without my radical method of scheduling a stress test) otherwise these kids we all have and want will not have you there for them. If not for you do it for them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Searching for Donor Conception Blogs or Websites

Do you know of a website or blog maintained by an individual or couple (any permutation) attempting to use DC to start a family? Or perhaps a family already started where a child or an adult is a donor conceived individual? I know but a few and they are linked in the sidebar on this blog's index page. I am also interested in finding as many bulletin boards that have existing discussion threads that deal with donor concepton be it donor sperm or donor egg.

I ask this as I see many many infertility blog rolls but finding the DC related ones is tougher to see and I feel a central list should be started to allow for one more avenue of contact within this community.

Please contact me via this blog post which will have its own permanent link shortly on the sidebar.


Draft Op-Ed Column & Lack of Discussion re NYT Article

I am currently writing an op-ed column I plan on submitting to the New York Times. I was spurred on by the article published this past Friday on DI and the cryobanks. It is draft and I have asked a couple of individuals to look at it. I can't post it here first as the Times will not print previously published articles.

While I was overall pleased with Amy Harmon's article I and others have been very disppointed with the lack of responses or commentary in the DC community, be it on the Yahoo discussion groups or on other infertility boards. I also realized that after a week the free access to that article will cease so I need to post the text where folks can access it later. If anyone saw commentary regarding the article outside the yahoo discussion groups please let me know.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Donor Terminology: One Man's Definitions

Many of the topics discussed on the DI Dads yahoo group repeat when new members join and existing members give advice or reply to "new" questions. A few days ago one new member ( a hopeful dad-to-be) gave his definitions and comments in response to another member's thoughts on using the term "biological father" as opposed to "donor".

In order to respect the privacy of the members of the DI Dads group I generally don't quote comments made there but I thought it worthwhile to share in this instance (with the new member's permission) as they represent many (not all but many) DI Dad's views and my own.

"To me a donor is someone who is willing to give something which is only a part of themselves whether it be money, an organ, time or sperm. But a (good) father is someone who devotes himself entirely to raise a child, takes the good with the bad, gives guidance etc..

Personally I do not like the term "biological" if somebody mentioned that word the first thing that would come to my mind would be "warfare"...it almost sounds like a disease ;)

I agree with you the word "Donor" would seem more appropriate at least until kids come to an age of being able to understand more. Plus when you look around you, I think that getting someone pregnant is truly the easy part, the hard part comes with dealing with the pregnancy and the child once it is born and beyond. There are plenty of so called"fathers" out there that are no more than just donors in reality when you look at how little they share with their kids."

If my posting of these comments offends any of the DI Dads I apologize and I will refrain from doing so in the future and limit myself here to my own responses to general discussions.

Monday, January 23, 2006

DI Mom vs. NECC continues...

The subtitle on this DI Mom's website / blog reads "Why sperm banks need more morals than second hand car salesmen". The buzz is beginning to pick up regarding this blog and its battle to warn or expose NECC for false advertising at least in regards to the donor sperm she bought from NECC.

Readers posting their comments over at Yahoo's DSR_Discussion group are wondering what set off this expose and where is it going. A couple of readers are supporting DI Mom's right to this battle others believe she is disgruntled but without a reason why they are unsure as to the veracity of her statements. Again I am captivated to see what she writes next. He last post on Jan. 23rd indicates that she will soon divulge info regarding the progeny of her donor which should offer more than a clue as to what occurred to warrant her risking protracted legal troubles regarding more than just her using NECC's name as her web domain.

Where I have seen other donor recipients take notice with the actions of their cryobanks I have not seen any other action like this one where the blogger is simultaneously issuing notices to the public regarding what she sees as un-business like and unethical practices directly challenging the cryobank in question. I wonder how much more attention would have resulted if Amy Harmon, of the NY Times, knew of this blog before her January 20th donor conception was published.

One DI Mom's Battle with her Cryobank

The title of the blog is "NECC and Sperm Bank Accountability". The domain name the blogger has taken is the fully written out name of the New England Cryogenic Center which if used by a potential customer of NECC would lead the viewer to the website in question. The title to this post links you directly to this DI Mom's blog.

Without commenting on the content of the blog I will post the opening statements posted on January 16, 2006, letting the blogger's own words describe the site she has created:

This site is dedicated to one woman’s experience of using the New England Cryogenic Center’s Sperm Bank. Who is the woman? Well, at the time she was a single, professional, hard-working, optimistic, honest and decent person. She’d reached her mid-thirties childless and had made the agonizingly difficult decision to become a single mother via donor. That woman is me, and the reason I established this site is because I believe that choosing a donor through the NECC Sperm Bank was unarguably the very worst decision I made in my life! My huge regret over using the NECC has led me to set up this website to warn other women who are considering using the NECC.

As this blog is only a week old the buzz about it is only beginning to reach the DC related discussion groups and so far the few posts suggest awe as to what this mom has undertaken. She is apparently not looking to defame NECC but rather to warn other families of her experience and to not use NECC. It will be an interesting blog to watch and see what happens. Any family created using NECC or donor who worked with NECC should undoubtedly want to read this blog.

Pending Donor Conception Related Nationwide Press Coverage

In addition to the NYTimes article of this past Friday, January 20th, there are currently two other pending press pieces in the works regarding donor conception issues:

1) An upcoming USNews and World Report article on the cryobank industry is expected (it was thought to be in either the 1/16 or 1/23 issues but so far no trace).

2) In February the long running and venerated CBS news magazine "60 Minutes" will be running a segment that will refer to the Donor Sibling Registry and related topics.

3 & 4) Additionally look for the DSR in the March Issue of Teen Vogue as well as the June/July issue of Child magazine.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Dad's Worries About a Sick Child

My son has been sick for two days with a fever and ear ache. I do not look at him as someone else's son as it is me that is holding him and comforting him and trying to convince him to drink more fluids.

This cold will pass as will many others but when I read about diseases that pass from donors to other donor conceived children that could have been prevented by increased screening techniques I worry about what could be out genetically waiting for my kids that I can do nothing about. I can only wait and pray that the donor was truthful in his bio and that the cryobank did all they could to ensure all possible diseases markers were screened out before offering this donor onto the market.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Are You My Sperm Donor? Few Clinics Will Say

Today's New York Times On Line (Fri., Jan. 20, 2005) features on page one (at least at midnight it did ) a new article by Amy Harmon with the above hyper-linked title. The article focuses on the cryobanks and donor anonymity issues and features interviews with recipients (a genetic mom and social dad), donors, donor conceived adults, scholars, social workers and industry representatives. The article also addresses all the related topics discussing screening issues, donor-recipient contact, donor-donor conceived contact, industry fears of decreasing available donors as well as sperm bank regulation among others. Considering the breadth of possible focuses and issues she, Ms. Harmon, managed well to hit most if not all the issues surrounding DC that start from the cryobanks on outward.

This article is the third of Ms. Harmon's in effect now series of articles addressing the issues surrounding donor conception. The first, published Oct. 13, 2005, was titled "First Comes the Baby Carriage" which focused on SMCs and same sex couples looking to have children. The second on Nov. 20, 2005 was titled "Hello I'm Your Sister Our Father is Donor #150" and focused on DC persons looking to make mutually agreed contact with half-siblings or their donors with an emphasis on the Donor Sibling Registry.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

DI Dads Yahoo Discussion Group

I am a member of the Yahoo DI Dads discussion group. In its short existence to date I believe it has become a valuable resource to men considering DI as part of their family planning or for men who have already begun using DI or those who are dads via DI like myself. As a matter of disclosure I will admit I am one of the two moderators of the group. I am finding that the men who have joined to date really are interested in not only getting answers to their own concerns and using the group as a platform to vent but are generally interested in helping their fellow group members with their issues as well.

The group was set up as a membership required group to allow the members a format and location where they can go and be assured that only men like themselves are in attendance and able to respond from common experiences.

If any man is interested in joining this dialogue please link to the discussion group via the title of this blog post or from the link provided in the side bar.

Virginia’s Attempt to Limit DC to Married Heterosexuals

The post title links to a Jan. 13, 2006 post (on a blog named the “Gay Opinion Blog”) regarding specific Virginia legislator's blatant attempt to limit via legislation the SMC, gay and lesbian communities’ access to DC and ART procedures. Once again the conservative right is trying to define who and what makes up a family. I can’t imagine the disgust this parent must feel knowing that if this bill was already law they would not have the children they have just because some legislator wanted to discriminate against the gay and lesbian community. At least DC Persons who are against DC are straight forward that all DC should be stopped. This topic has been discussed heavily in the past two weeks or so on the Yahoo DSR_Discussion group.

Views of DC from Outside the Community Regarding the Well-Being of Donor-Conceived Children

The title of this post links to a December 2005 post titled “Donor-Conceived Children and Well-Being of Children”. The post itself is posted on a blog titled “Alas”. The post references separate posts made on the Family Scholars Blog and one writer’s focus on the negative effects of DC. Reference is made to various studies of DC children of single mothers. What makes checking out the post worth while are the currently 72 comments posted and the cross discussion posted by the readers. Granted the individuals posting comments go off topic quite often and I found many of the comments posted to be quite conservative but some give DC a fair shake as not being perhaps the sole reasons behind negative issues various DC Persons might have. It’s worth checking out just to learn more what some of those think-tank type folks outside the DC community believe.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Whose Kid Is This & Can I Give Him Back?

Sometimes when your kid is being somewhat bad you wonder whether the donor was like this when he was a kid. I've read books where for some dads like me this feeling at times can become so strong that you want to say let the donor deal with this kid. I am not at that point today, other days perhaps, but you wonder what fun the donor put his own parents through.

What prompted this was my son deliberately ripping a page in a new book I just gave him and that I just read to him out of. He has done this before. It was titled "Curious George and Friends" (ISBN: 0618226109) which we had borrowed from the school library and read so often that we bought a new copy off of Ebay. What probably happened was his wanting attention and being upset that I stopped reading and had gotten up to shower and shave to start the day. Still I took the book away and let him know how disappointed I was by this behavior. My response was unfortunately a bit more dramatic as for me this is a big deal as books are very important in our home (and as I said above he has done this before).

Anyhow I don't want to make this child the donor's problem (at least not today - and I do love him dearly) but you wonder what he, the donor, was like as a child and how much is nature vs nuture. In the words of the great philosopher Charles Brown: "Aauughh !!!". Just another fun morning as a DC parent.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yet Another "Telling" Conversation & Discussion

This past Saturday night we spoke with the mom of our kids' half sibling. Just basically a catching up conversation. We spoke briefly regarding the "telling" conversation mostly in regards to what is being discussed on the discussion groups out there on the topic. Currently the discussion groups are not focused on this topic

I forgot to mention to her that the UK DC Network has a number of pages devoted to "How to Tell". The DC Network has actually been developing such a project for a while now supported by UK Government funding. The link is to the project description as I cannot find the actual how to tell pages at the moment.

We actually reached a sort of semi agreement although we did not formally term it a decision as such and like anything it could change. When any such meeting occurs between the kids they would be introduced as having a common donor who helped both mommies in bringing the kids into this world. That will be our definition of half siblings in effect. It is unclear if we will even use the term half-siblings although I think the term should be introduced as well in some form. We definitely agreed that terminology like sister / brother is not applicable as the kids have no social relationship warranting such terms

Over time as the kids get a better understanding of the birds and the bees they will discover the connection as to what half siblings means in more depth we figure. Knowing my son his daily routine of randomly picking a word out of the dictionary will by freak chance be sibling and that throw this idea for a loop.

The next evening I again asked my son who helped mommy and daddy make him and he said "the donor" in a way that evoked "dad I know this and I know you know I know so why are you asking me again?". I then expanded the session by stating that the same donor may have helped other families to which he brought up Fred, Fud, Ted and Tud again (see my Dec 11th post). Although this time the list of kids was expanded to include Did and Dud (actually Did was discussed apparently back on Dec 11th). Not being thrilled with a half sibling being named Dud I stated that he should recall that Dud's full name is Dudley to which he laughed and we ended this telling session.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Power of Oprah - "Night" by Elie Wiesel

This afternoon Oprah Winfrey announced the 57th book title in her Book Club, Night by Elie Wiesel. Yesterday, it was ranked # 34,424 on Amazon's best selling titles. This evening it is #1.

I first read this book when I was either in junior high or high school and I now recall the raw shock at what I was reading. Tonight I read it again in full as its only about 110 pages including the introductions in my copy. The power of the narrative is still amazing to me. My wife, who at first was amazed how fast I read this, asked me if I was shocked by the horrors described within. My answer is yes and no.

Yes as I am amazed how one individual could recall the level of detail he put to paper. No due to my involvement as a amateur genealogist and my work arranging for the translation of a Yizkor Book of my grandfather's village in Moldova where I read many many accounts of death marches and killings equal to that described in Night.

Oprah has called for "Night" to be required reading in every high school and it should be as there is no better synopsis of the horrors that humans can bring upon other humans. Oprah's essay contest asks if the book has relevance today. To that I offer one word: Darfna.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Donor Baby: A Sperm Donor Journey

Tonight I found a new DC related blog written by a 29 year old single woman detailing her personal journey into the world of sperm donation and parenthood. The blog started in November 2005 is less than 15 posts old. The woman refers to herself as “Donor Mom To Be”.

In her November 8, 2005 post titled “Interviews Abound” Donor Mom describes the complex process of finding the “right” donor. Apparently she went through a lengthy interview process of known donors. and selected a married man who has kids who is actually the closest to her distance wise of those she was considering. One of her farthest interviewees was interested in becoming a lifelong co-parent which she had no interest in. Her post closes by indicating her pleasure at her selection as well as her observation that the chosen donor’s kids are gorgeous.

I wish Donor Mom good luck and I look forward to following her journey.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Terminology: Substituting “Biological Father” for “Donor” = Feeling Threatened

Tonight I received an e-mail from a woman I met while posting on the DonorMisconception yahoo discussion group. The sender thought the information important enough that any potential US based national DC support group would want to highlight it. Within her e-mail in addition to a paragraph header labeled "God Bless Mummy and Donor" was text that referred to a member of Tangled Webs’ call, herself a donor conceived person (DCP), for replacement of the term “donor” with the term “biological parent” in an Australian set of laws currently undergoing reform. Putting aside the reasons espoused by this DCP (valid they may be and discussed below) was my own immediate threat level being elevated. It was actually amazing how fast I found this threatening. Even though this was a call to change a statute that would likely never affect my kids or me or our “donor” I found it threatening. Amazing.

The e-mail referred to an Australian blog of woman who attended on November 16, 2005 an event hosted by a group called the Rationalist Society of Australia, where a Professor Marcia Neave, Chair of the Australian Victorian Law Reform Commission, spoke about the regulation of artificial reproductive technology (ART) in Australia. The e-mail refers to the DCP’s outcry that to leave the term as donor is insulting to the children conceived via DC. The writer (and I guess the TW DCP) felt that to leave the term as donor it promoted the withholding of information from the children and protected the interests of the donor when the focus should be on the child’s or donor conceived adult’s rights.

Again I don’t have an issue in theory with the position of the woman who sent me the e-mail or the DCP member of Tangled Webs but I was just struck by how fast I felt threatened by the use of terminology. Perhaps it’s a silly response considering I read much of this stuff everyday but there it was.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Cryobank Regulation Wish List - Part 1

To date my children have but one known half sibling. It is unknown how many more may be out there. We know the donor was active for several years so it is possible many many vials were sold by the cryobank. Their site to date, I believe, only reports one pregnancy depite my reporting two.

While it is highly unlikely my kids would ever unknowingly meet and become involved with a half sibling (whether this half sibling was told of the DC conception or not) the possibility alone seems to cry out for regulation especially since there is nothing, regarding this donor, to prevent multiple live offspring.

My own kids are thankfully healthy but other than a donor's health bio stating he was screened for several diseases what proof do I have of these screenings.

These are both questions any potential DI recipient woman or family should ask themselves and their cryobank. The answers are not easy to determine or put into place.

My own views are that the number of live births must be tracked, reported, and subject to audit verification by an agency set up to do so and to protect the privacy of the info reported. With repect to screening of diseases I would wish that the donor be tested under their donor number and that image copies of the test results be available to the recipient if they wish to buy vials from the applicable donor.

Again these are but only two issues surrounding the cryobank industry operations that I believe I would want regulated if I were to be looking to find a new donor today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Having Another Donor Conceived Child?

My wife and I would very much want to have more children. Our decision not to is not DC related but a financial one. Living with two kids in NYC is not cheap and to add another would not help. And this does not even address the cost of a DI cycle here in NYC which could run between $1500-$2000.

I have wondered what solace if any donor conceived persons get from their full siblings that aids them in their times of identitiy crisis. Of the DCPersons I have met a few had siblings but I have heard little of whether this is a help or a neutral factor. When we had our son we purchased enough vials to ensure that we would be able to conceive at least one sibling as we knew we wanted to ensure he had at least one full sibling in the world who shared his genes, history (albeit part through Mom, part adopted through me, and then part missing) and a common point of reference, us, their parents.

Again as there are far to few studies out there of the mental affects of DC there are far less dealing with the benefits to the DCPersons of having at least one full or half sibling out there.
We still toy with the idea of a third child but like any normal family it first comes down to money which is sad but perhaps for the best as there are too many unanswered questions that are far more important than money (or even just our desire to have more kids.)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Which Tribe of Israel is our Donor?

I mentioned in my December 22nd post that my children's Jewish priestly / tribal class follows that of the donor under the views of the Conservative Jewish Movement (under which my immediate family practices). Well this past Friday I asked our cryobank to ask the donor if they find him (due to our lifetime photo request) which tribe he descends from if he knows.

This is important to me because before my wife became pregnant with our son I made a promise to go to morning prayers, Shacarit, everyday if she became pregnant. Once she did become pregnant I started and for about a year I kept this promise. During that year my own connection to my religion strengthened.

Originally there were 12 tribes of Israel. Of these 12 only the Levites were called upon to become G-d's servants among the Israelites. Of the Leviim only Aaron (the brother of Moses) and his children were called upon to act as the priests or Kohenim. The remaining Leviim became servants to G-d in the Temple. Not subservient to the Kohanim but posessing different roles in the Temple. As time went on the remaining tribes disappeared (a simple and inexact explanation) and came to be jointly referred to as Israel or Yisroel. The word Jews by the way is derived from the tribe of Judah.

In the present day the distinction between the tribal designations is nominal outside an individuals participation in actual services or prayers. But as I have stated in my prior post I want to try to get the correct info before a time comes that my children are active participants in their religion.

The cryobank stated, upon confirming that they received this new request, that if they make contact with our inactive donor they will ask my question but as of yet he has not responded to their inquiries.


Lately I have been reading the posts on the Yahoo Group DonorMisconception. I was invited into the group after I attended the Toronto DC Symposium. I don't neccessarily agree with all that is stated in the posts but I find the views and comments required reading in my DC education. The group’s title page states :
"Our bias is towards supporting and extending the legal rights of the people born via such procedures as well as addressing the rights of former donors. The founders of this group believe that, ultimately, gamete donation in all its forms should be legislated against or, at least - in the interim - more stringent regulations should be enacted."

I have found the group to be full of impassioned people including and formed by but not limited to donor conceived persons (DCP). The group was started by DCPs as a forum that they felt was not being provided on other platforms where they could discuss and put forward their views that DC should be replaced by something less painful to the offspring' or 'donor conception should be banned altogether' or 'donor conception has created a great sense of loss' etc. These persons felt their views were relegated to the back burner as opposed to infertile couples who desire to have children resulted in decisions to use DC.

One DC affected class of persons I learned about here are Donor Wives whose husbands either donated before their marriages or during. In these families the donor wife may have to come to terms with a family the donor is now part of (via their dc conceived bio / natural offspring if contact is made and accepted) which the donor wife has no blood or marital connection to other than through their spouse. This may be especially complicated if the donor was a known donor.

Again I don’t necessarily agree with the views of DonorMisconception and I still believe our decision to use DC was a good one. The question is how good a decision will it be for our kids.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

DC Adults and any future US based Donor Conception Support Group

I should start out by stating the following are my own views and not that of anyone else or that of any group I am part of....

The creation of any US based donor conception support group must at its inception find a balance not only between support and any advocacy positions but also a balance between serving the traditional constituency of the parent(s) of donor conceived children and that of donor conceived adults.

Providing support and recognizing the issues of concern to the donor conceived adult community is vital to the success of any support function for a number of reasons. One of the foremost in my view is that it shows the younger donor conceived generation that the generation before is not forgotten and that by the point they will be at that stage of life, whether they feel the losses associated with DI or not, that the support is there and has been there for some time.

Making such support available in greater percentages also serves to further legitamize that their pain is real in the minds of the public and will help lessen the associated stigmas that still exist in our society. That is not to say that without such recognition that the pain is not real. It is just that if the public does not see the donor conception community taking care of its own people the public will continue to state that no problems exist and not feel or believe anything needs changing which which only strengthen the positions of those who want no further regulation of the donor conception industry.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Today I thought I lost my little girl................(blog post # 75)

She's ok but this is what happened....

My son woke me up at around 615am and after getting him juice I went into their room to get his yellow blanket. His version of a woobie. After finding his blanket I turned to my daughter's crib and my life almost ended. My 18 month daughter's favorite blanket was wrapped around her head and face. I pulled the blanket from her face but it looked like she wasn't moving. After a millisecond I saw and felt her breath and her body moving but I was already trembling. We had let her sleep with this blanket for the last few months and had never seem it wrapped around her face so we continued to let her sleep with it.

I went back to the living room and held my son and started to cry and I explained why I was upset and that he and his sister must never cover their faces when they are going to sleep. He told me he did not like me talking like that. I told him I was better and that I loved him and his sister very much.

She awoke a few minutes later and appears fine but for now on after she falls asleep I am taking that blanket out of her bed. I don't want to risk ker live or be scared like that again ever.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Friend’s Comments Regarding When to Tell the Kids of DI

On New Year’s Eve we had friends over with their 5 year old daughter for dinner and an early rendition of the ball dropping and bringing in the New Year. We turned the clocks ahead so that 7pm became “midnight” to allow the kids to get the experience of counting down the clock, throwing confetti and singing Auld Lang Syne.

These friends are close friends who we have known for a number of years and who are quite familiar with our infertility issues and the conception history of our kids. At one point the conversation turned to donor conception issues regarding what I know of the donor and the existence of a half sibling. We got into a brief discussion of the terminology and the husband’s thought that the term “half sibling” ought to include the term biological as his feeling was that to leave it out was to imply an existing social connection. I think those who are involved in the DC community take it as a given that the term is “bio only” as it is stated and that the term does not indicate if kids have met and begun forming some sort of connection.

The conversation then turned to our friends’ surprise that we have already told our 3.5 year old son that a donor was part of his conception equation. They seemed to think that we would tell at a later date or that later would make more sense to their thinking for the child’s benefit. We explained that the research we have seen and read indicates the earlier the better as to allow the info to just become part of who the kid is. I don’t think they bought that info (if they are reading this I am sure I will have confirmation whether I interpreted their reaction appropriately).

We also discussed how the whole issue of DC adds another layer to the kid’s eventual dating patterns and things to confirm before becoming real serious about a romantic relationship. Granted on one hand discussing the future dating rituals of a current 3.5year old is weird. But yes where we only had to confirm if our dates are aids-free my kids will need to be upfront regarding their DI beginnings to elicit a response as to whether their date was also the product, hopefully not, of DI to ensure no half sibling issues exist. Granted the odds are infentesimal but who wants to take that chance.

Needless to say our dinner conversation was anything but light fare but any discussion of these topics I find quite interesting

Topic: Our Story

This post will act as a central link page to all posts categorized by this topic.

2005-Aug. 9 How I learned of my infertility problem.....