Thursday, February 02, 2006

A DI Dad's Greatest Fears

The greatest fears a DI Dad has, at least for me anyway, is that the donor will try to take my children from me.

I was thinking about this fear the other morning as I was scheduled to take another school tour. I began to wonder what precautions this school takes to make sure that it is only the parents or authorized individuals picking up the children. Granted this question is applicable to all parents, not just DI Dads and DC families, but it's one that struck me.

When I hear donors stating that they are the only true father it scares me. All deference to Michael of Donors Against DI as I know Michael is a donor whose views have completely turned around since he was a donor years ago. While genetically the statement of "true" fatherhood is accurate the use of the term seems to negate or invalidate my role as my kid's dad and the only father they know.

The fear of children being taken away is nothing new to any parent as I stated above but to parents who struggled with infertility, wrestled with the concept of and chose DC you can sometimes feel like this gift of a child is something granted to you only on a temporary basis and especially in the beginning years you keep expectinng for it all to end.

So in effect the normal fears of a child being snatched etc are multiplied by the knowledge that there is a "true" biological sire out there.


Vee said...

A very genuine fear. Max bought this fear up just the other week. You are not alone.

lia said...

Your comments reminded me of the first time my sons father took our soon away for the weekend on an access visit. I spent the entire weekend rolled up in fetal position. I was so worried that we would not return our son. I guess because our relationship had changed, we had to build trust all over again. I guess that would be similar to a social father and a donor father sharing time with their child. I can understand why people would try to avoid that at all costs. If both fathers were healthy minded people, it would be find once some bonding took place and trust was established. It would be very tacky though if one of the fathers was a twisted person. I can promise you that your fears that the donor father would lessen your childs love for you are completely unfounded. I can give you a 100% guarantee that a father as committed, loving and devoted as you are will never, ever, in a million years, come up against this problem. You can sleep easy on that!

Michael said...

As a recent news item posted on DC groups would have informed you, in my home state of Victoria in Australia, donors since 1988 were given the right to seek the identity of their children once that child turned 18. This provision therefore gave donors the same rights as relinquishing parents as already granted at that time in adoption reform legislation. Currently a controversy surrounds whether, as from this year, donors will in fact be allowed to attempt to make direct contact with their now adult child, especially since in the vast majority of cases that child will not have hitherto been aware of their DC status. Not surprisingly, it is the DC providers themselves who are trying to overturn this right! Since I donated in 1977 I am not covered by this legislation. However, if I were - given that I now believe that what I actually did amounted to giving my children away, and that I also believe that DC people via non-disclosure should not be effectively lied to about their genetic history - I am afraid that after a great deal of soul-searching I believe that I would indeed avail myself of the right of attempted contact. Unfortunately, however, the best I can do in my situation is merely extrapolate from the limited information the clinic has given me regarding the recipient families and try and imagine the kinds of people my three daughters will have grown up to be and hope that one day their parents might actually tell them where they really came from. Granted this, I am entirely in sympathy with your fears. Not the least because, as far as i can gather, I realize that in the US you do not have such legislated guarantees against premature donor inquiry as we do here. It is probably not much solace for your fears but my cynical feeling is that, in the main, the donors will never want to know about the result of their donations let alone try to move hell and high water to locate their children. I, myself, never even contemplated the results of my action until almost 20 years after when, in 1995, further changes were mooted to the local legislation which eventually resulted in the removal of donor anonymity.
This all reminds me of the experience of one donor I know of who, quite inadvertently, realized that one of his children was living close by in his own neighbourhood. This donor now hovers in the background of his child's life like Pip's benefactor Magwitch in Great Expectations. A distant guardian angel who can only look but never touch.
Finally, your fears and the manifold reflections of other people of the DC community on these matters only go to show what an unmitigated disaster the entire concept of donor conception is in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame the 'unwitting' players in this tragedy. I blame the cynical bastards in the medical profession who ever thought that DC was a brilliant way of tackling the problem of infertility. What were they thinking of and why do they still continue to think this way?