Thursday, March 30, 2006

Fathering Children

My first DadBloggers submission was posted / published today 3/30/2006. The topic I started with is “Fathering Children”. You can link to it here.

I recognize here (in this blog) that anytime someone in the DC community uses the term Father or Dad we seem to get all bent out of shape with definitions. I have fallen prey to this as well and I expect I will for some time to come. My DadBloggers post looks at it more from the social perspective as opposed to the biological although that is addressed.

In our world there seems to be a unwritten agreement that the term Dad is for the social father and Father is for the donor. I have generally written here and on the DC discussion groups under that construct and named myself that way as well. But somehow had I titled the DadBloggers post Daddying Children the dual definition I refer to would not have worked.

Tax Tip for 2006: Donate to the DSR

OK, I'll admit any donations made now in 2006 will not effect your bottom line 2005 taxes due this April 15th but I figured that while taxes were on your minds that I could put the thought onto the table. The Donor Sibling Registry is federally recognized 501(c)(3)charitable organization such that all donations made to them will be tax deductible to you the donor.

I can't say enough of the attention and benefits the DSR has brought to all the families connected due to its existence and the efforts of Wendy and Ryan Kramer. So at this time when you should be filing your 2005 tax returns plan ahead and make any size donation you can to the DSR.

If you can't donate cash make sure when you visit the DSR that you click at least once on the Google Ad Sense links as even that small action can benefit the DSR financially if enough people click through. Make it a daily ritual while you have your coffee at work to take a single moment to drop by and click on any of the Google Ads. For the amount of traffic the DSR gets this can make a difference.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Where are the DI Dads of Donor Kids?

As I have stated in the past I moderate the Yahoo DI Dads discussion group where our membership has slowly climbed into the mid 30's. If the numbers are correct regarding DI births then about 35,000 to 40,000 kids are born via DI each year and if only 10% of those births are to heterosexual couples where are those 3500 to 4000 social DI Dads from the last 12 months alone?

If anyone finds them please let me know. Statistically they exist. The question is do they want to use their voices to be heard? Most likley it is a sad fact that many are not disclosing the truth to themselves or their families / friends to protect themselves from scrutiny and more likely the implied stereotypical shame on their egos. Maybe I should then be amazed that with the numbers out that even 30 or so have actually found their voices.

Well if these others exist please let them know there are others here who are willing to listen

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

TTC Infertility Lists (Non DC and DC)

I have added to my side bar a link to the Infertility List of Blogs that is maintained over at A Little Pregnant. It is quite extensive and worth browsing through (if only too see the creativity in blog names) in addition to the TTC blog "A Little Pregnant" itself.

I have yet to really work on a true stand alone DC blog list and I now believe it would involve a fair amount of overlap as many TTC DI blogs are those of single moms or lesbian couples already listed on the list linked above. It's easier to let others maintain these things I suppose.

The few hopeful dad written DI blogs I know of I have links to already. This presents a quandary as I feel to only add hopeful mom TTC DI blogs without the single moms and lesbian couples would be exclusionary which is not my goal. So for now I am limiting myself to the male written blogs for the most part. There is such a dearth of male experiences in this area and men rarely speak about these issues that it self perpetuates the fact that men don't discuss these issues which only allows the pain to continue.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Alert: Lead Based Toys

Ok, this is off the topic of DC much less DI but something that shocked me, as my 4 year old son constantly asks me for the toys in those quarter vending machines outside grocers and stationary stores so that I want others to be aware of it. Link here to the article I want you to read or via this post's title.

I am not saying the toys in these machines are necessarily lead based but I would bet they were produced by the cheap end of the toy market so who knows. Kudos to Brett over at DadTalk for publishing the post on this topic.

DI Overshadows Donor Eggs in the Media

Almost every story I see regarding donor siblings involves donor insemination and there is virtually no mention of donor egg yet it's hard not to pick up a newspaper without seeing an advertisement soliciting young women to donate their eggs. Yet somehow the new stories continue focusing on DI. Why is that?

My first guess is that there are far fewer donor egg sibling matches out there. I have no idea how true this is but I plan to post the question on my next visit to the DSR yahoo groups. The biology is quite clear that one man's DI sample can be parsed into a number of saleable vials and result in multiple children but that only a limited number of eggs are produced by one egg donor thus decreasing the chances of sibling matches. I would also expect that the number of times a woman donates must be a tiny fraction of the samples produced by their male counterparts due to the physical stress it causes and the requirement of increased medical review.

So you would think that the media would focus on this more invasive procedure as opposed to the side where the men just fill up a cup. But the media goes for the easy story of the cute kids faces created via DI.

In contrast The Independent (UK online edition) yesterday (3/26/2006) published an article titled "The Donor Business: The Price of Eggs" and discusses in detail the business end of this side of the donor conception business. It is a pretty in depth article about the costs incurred by both the egg donors themselves and the prices being paid by the purchasers and why donors are lured into donating. The article focuses on the UK DE world but is still quite telling.

I started writing this post as I wanted to compare the emotions of a DI mom carrying another woman's eggs, birthing and raising that child to my own feelings as a DI Dad but I got off track. Perhaps another time.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Last Will and Testament : Guardianship

In our wills if my wife and I both pass away our kids go to my sister and her husband. We set the guardianship of our kids up this way so the kids will be raised with their cousins and in our religion. If however my sister were to pass before us the kids are to go to my wife's brother and his wife (who currently have no kids).

We figured that in case the latter sequence of events occurred that the kids should be raised by their blood uncle even though he and his wife practice a different religion. It's interesting how the subjective nature of when blood relations matter are used when you deal in matters of donor conception or at least how it colors any and all discusions.

That comment begs the question of would I consider the kids being raised by the donor. In our case I could sidestep the question as the donation was an anonymous one. But my real answer is as there is no social relationship the kids would not understand why they are not with the family they know. Certainly at the young ages they are now it would be unthinkable. Maybe if they were teenagers and no other options existed (i.e. grandparents, cousins, etc.) and the donor agreed. But to be honest I could not imagine this at any time.

Friday, March 24, 2006

DSR Storyline on ER TV Show

I just caught the following post on the DSR Yahoo Group about last night's episode of ER (on NBC) involving a sub plot involving the Donor Sibling Registry. My apologies to Carol and the DSR for copying Carol's plot synopsis.

--- Carol@... wrote:

Storyline is:

Archie Morris, the somewhat dorky red-headed chief resident of the ER, is hunted down in the ER by 4 semi-red-headed kids, ages about 11-15. (As a DI Mom,I kinda saw what happens next coming....all that redhair was too much). They explain to Dr. Morris that they all met through the DONOR SIBLING REGISTRY online and that one of the computer whiz kids was able to crack the sperm bank's computer system and find the name of their donor...Archibald Morris. Morris had donated as a med student from 1991-96 and these are the four kids (from different mothers) who are listed on the registry for the fictional Chicago Cryobank.

Morris is THRILLLED, falls right into the "daddy" role, and clearly forms a stronger attachment to the kids than vice versa. He takes them on a tour of the ER, introducing them to the gang as his family. He has already picked up on each kid's specialness, obviously excited at this new-found role as parent.

When the oldest, a teenage girl who stole her Mom's car to drive them to the hospital, announces that it's time to go, Morris seems upset at the abrupt parting and asks about continuing the relationship, going for burgers, etc. The girl says "we'll see".

Later on we see Morris, nose into his computer, printing up the photo one of the staff took of him with the offspring. He tells a fellow doctor that "this is the one for my Christmas card".

I thought it was good publicity. They mentioned the DRS in its complete title and more or less gave the info on how the site works. The script made it clear that the kids found each other online, but found the Dad only through one of them being able to hack into a website. They showed a civil meeting between the donor and the kids, a reunion that has a happy ending.

If only all the matches ended up this nicely!


--- End forwarded message ---

Thursday, March 23, 2006

New Consumer Model - Infertility Cartoon

I was browsing a few of the blogs I keep up with and read a post on A Dad Someday where he discusses a cartoon blog titled "New Consumer Model". After reading the post I linked over and found that the blog is not solely devoted to only infertility but various issues and thoughts of the artist Cameron. Today's cartoon, titled "Seaweed", nailed what it feels like when friends announce they are pregnant and you have been trying unsuccessfully.

Other cartoons drawn by the artist dealing with infertilty are titled as follows: "Preg Test Buy"; "Bed Estranged"; "Ultrasound"; "Found Pregnancy Test"; and "Pregnancy-Test". They probably should be viewed in reverse order but this is how I transcribed them.

3/26 - I removed the individual links to these cartoons as they appear to have changed as the artist/bloggist does not have perma links set up for each of his drawings. As I previously stated look for the cartoons based on the titles provided above.

The Differing Roles of Fatherhood - Part 1

Following the 60 Minutes segment a number of posts were made to the Yahoo Discussion Group SpermDonors the following is an edited version of the first message I posted there:

I have been following [the] thread dealing with the 60 Minutes segment and the use of terminology and the level of dettachment that Donor 48QAH exhibited and I wanted to throw another DI / Social Dad's comments into the mix.

I have never denied that the donor is the biological father nor would I to my children when they are old enough to more fully comprehend their conception. The older one does know a donor helped create him along with his mommy as I could not. Yes this sounds like the stat mantra kids are told but it is the beginning. I feel to explain more to a four year old may confuse him at this point.

Under normal conditions a father is both the biological and the social we all know that. Under conditions where DI is used those roles are split into two creating that split in identity that my children will have to deal with. It wasn't my intent as I have described numerous times on these boards and in my blog etc. To my children as they grow into adulthood there will always be two fathers perhaps but at the young ages (and I would expect the experts would agree) that this concept should be introduced slowly to ensure true comprehension. Until that point my kids know me as their sole father.

My only knowledge of the donor's intent to NOT be a social father is via the vials we purchased and that his sperm was being marketed as an anonymous donor when our bank offered both anonymous and open. Yes I acknowlege in the years since those donations his wishes may have changed.

My point, and I apologize for the rambling before making it, is that the kids will each decide to what degree they want a relationship to the donor and in what form. To blanketly assign the donor the role of the sole father (based only on the truth of biology) does the social fathers an injustice and only creates scenarios where these men become defensive and less likely to help their DI kids along their path in addressing these issues. My job and responsibility as I see it, based on my and my wife's choice / decision to use DI, is to help them in whatever paths they choose...whether they seek a relationship with the donor or not.

I hope this makes sense.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Baby Books....Mommy, Daddy, Donor...

My wife has been on my case to write in the baby books for our kids. She wants me to take a break from this blog to spend quality time with a pen and paper. I never seem to get to it. I think it’s the pen and paper aspect of it. If I don't start writing she will kill me as our older child is about to turn 4 and the younger is nearly 2. Now I should tell you that my wife has also been bad about making entries and only recently began adding info so we missed what date both kids first smiled etc among other facts looking for hard dates.

I did take some time the other night to peruse through what she has written. Mostly standard stuff. I did note that their conception story is noted in at least one of the two books that a donor was used and I believe she noted his number and the cryobank. In addition in one of the books we have copies of the beginning emails between us and the mom of their half sibling. I need to append all the donor info we have. I already have copies of it all in our safe deposit box in the same folder as our other family history / genealogy original documents.

I wonder if I can market a new line of baby books…..standard, two mommies, two daddies, choice mom, and standard along with the donor addendum pages. Hey electric light started as a joke too.

Monday, March 20, 2006

What Did This DI Dad Blog Do Right?

Over the last few days this blog's hits have exploded. As you can see above the hits kept coming at a level I have not seen before.

I can only guess it has to do with the search terms associated with the DSR via the 60 Minutes segment, the NY Times Mag piece and the posts regarding the Donor 401 moms based on the info accumulated as statcounter. Until this past week I averaged about 50-60 hits per day. To finish up a single week with these numbers is wild (at least to me).

For those of you that happened by for the first time I hope you will visit periodically and see what this DI Dad is thinking. If you have any comments or questions feel free to post them.

Link to 60 Minutes Transcript

CBS News: 60 Minutes
Sperm Donor Siblings Find Family Ties
March 19, 2006
Thousands of babies are born each year in the United States to mothers who used sperm from anonymous donors. As correspondent Steve Kroft reports, the children and their mothers are now using the Web to track down their "donor siblings."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

My Reactions to March 19, 2006

Today was certainly one of the biggest media days for the topic of donor conception I can recall.

60 Minutes

This evening 60 Minutes ran a clean non sensationalistic piece about DI and retained in my mind why they are still one of the best at long format news pieces. I myself did not learn a lot of new facts out of tonight but I did not expect to. Tonight was another opportunity for the Donor Sibling Registry to shine and Wendy and Ryan Kramer to be congratulated for representing us well.

My hopes for stories such as these are for more families to become open and public so that the kids will more fully understand the love that brought them into the world. Did tonight get into any of the hard issues? No. Did I expect it to? No. These last few months DI has been the poster child of a clean, happy, easy story for the networks to run. Most have strayed into the sensationalistic but in each case the exposure has brought more families to the DSR and that is a positive step. Still I hope for stories to address the needs and concerns of the married heterosexual couples.

New York Times Magazine

As I stated in my post of last night as an empty "cannister" I can only say that DI brought us two wonderful kids who I love to death. What I got out of the article was a deeper appreciation for what many SMCs / Choice Moms go through to start their families. Most of the story I was familiar with. I know what we went through and I can't imagine doing it all as a single individual.

Again I watch each of these media pieces and feel that the opinions and feelings of men like myself, the DI Dads, are treated as inconsequential to the larger story and that is unfortunate as we are raising these children, our children, and until our stories are told a part of the long thought of stigmas remain and the heterosexual couples who use DI will remain in the closet.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Looking for Mr. Good Sperm ( NY Times Mag. 3/19 Sunday)

This is a mammoth article in length about the Choice Mom experience. The cover shot of the Magazine you have to admit is amazing. Not so much from the DI Dads point of view but it sums it up if you are a SMC. The article itself, published tomorrow 3/19, is titled "Wanted: A Few Good Sperm" as was written by Jennifer Egan. To link to a larger version of the cover shot link through the post title. You almost have to in order to truly appreciate the photo and the look on the woman's face.

Terminology is an amazing thing as the article when it begins to skip into the back of the magazine is referenced as "Donor Dads" which biologically is correct but is anything but what the average SMC is then looking for as I understand it. My wife joked around that the article and magazine cover show just how much worth a man is ...just a biological neccessity and no more. A quote in the article refers to a woman carrying a cannister of sperm and then realizing when she is on the street that all she sees is other cannisters of sperm but the ones on the street have two legs. Marginalization at its most potent. Yet I am an empty cannister who has benefited from this industry as we have two beautiful kids and who am I to complain.

Don't forget to watch "60 Minutes" Sunday night, March 19th, as where the NY Times article begins the story Steve Kroft's piece will detail the result of using Donor Insemination by interviewing the 5 Denver teenagers who are all half siblings and found each other via the Donor Sibling Registry. The promos hint that the investigative news crew went looking for and found either their donor or the donor of another set of individuals interviewed.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Media Update: Sun. 3/19 "60 Minutes Promo"

Per their website:

CBS News/60 Minutes/Up Next/Sunday, Mar. 19, 2006: FAMILY TIES – Fertility science techniques like anonymous sperm donation are creating some extended families that before now, would never meet. But today, with the help of a Web site, "donor siblings" are not only meeting each other, but their anonymous fathers, too. Steve Kroft reports. Mitch Weitzner is the producer.

What Biology Can Do....

Anyone that has seen the few televised news pieces about the Fairfax Donor 401 moms and their kids has to be amazed at the physical similiarities between all the kids. This morning I actually for the first time put on my computer screen three pictures: my own two kids together, a picture of their only known half sibling and lastly the toddler picture I have of their donor. All I can say is….Wow. In the past my wife and I had only looked at the half sibling photos together but I had never looked at all three photos at once.

The similarities between my older child and his half sibling alone are something to see. I thought it was just me but when a co-worker who knows of my children's conception method saw the photos she was amazed. [My door was open - I did not invite the office in for a comparison test.] She actually thought the donor's photo might be a brother to the half sibling. Again amazing stuff.

Egg Donor U

The Today show ran a piece this morning on egg donors and the efforts on campuses to recruit them. It discussed the advertisements, the fees paid (higher amounts for ethnicities in demand) and that the fees are “not for the eggs” but for the time, expenses, and effort. Jamie Grifo from NYU med ctr was there as the medical side of it. There was a piece a while back about an offer for a Harvard donee to be paid $50,000. Crazy stuff. If you run a search on google many many articles / sites come up. More than DI it appears.

I have not followed many Egg Donor blogs but the one I know that had a lot of good resources linked to it is Hard Boiled: A Donor Egg Blog. I am not sure how this family found the eggs they used as it's been a while since I have read through their blog. But I do recall that it's worth checking out.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

At What Age Should They Hear His Voice ....and Maybe I Need a Break

My wife recently mentioned that she expects to let the kids listen to their donor's voice when they ask about it. No set age but just when they ask about it. I am not sure how I feel about that. It was enough for me to get myself to listen to his voice much less think about their listening to the CD.

It seems to me that all these discussions come down to a threat level. Of course it is unfounded but human reactions are not always rational. Perhaps I should modify the Government terrorist index to create a DI Dads threat level. That would make an interesting poll to post on the yahoo group.

I am not surprised that the overriding theme to such discussions is the level of threat they result in. When it was mentioned in the comments that I am obviously having issues with my status as dad it was no surprise to me. The writer of that comment seemed to think she was telling me something I was not already aware of. On a day to day basis playing or raising my kids I am absolutely fine. But creating this blog and the belief that to keep it alive one must publish (or perish) keeps the issue in my mind perhaps more often than is healthy and that is beginning to make me wonder if I should pull back a bit. Maybe just post once a week except for related news alerts etc.

I am getting off topic. I had not thought of an actual age but I suppose I had thought when they were teenagers (or at least 12) if I would have to pick an age. But that seems to long away now. Certainly letting them hear it now or even in the next 5 years would I think be too confusing to them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Media Alert: Sun. Mar. 19th: (1) 60 Minutes (2) NY Times Magazine Article

This Sunday 3/19/2006 two separate pieces are being run in the media regarding Donor Conception specifically addressing Donor Insemination.

(1) CBS News program "60 Minutes"

Steve Kroft is doing a piece that will involve or touch upon the Donor SiblingRegistry. This news segment was filmed over a month ago and has been highly anticipated to see what the focus will be. Over the last few weeks the program has run each week a segment on health and reproductive issues.

(2) New York Times Magazine

According to reports I have seen from Wendy Kramer the article is expected to focus on Single Mothers by Choice and again mention the DSR.

This evening 3/14/06 the Anderson Cooper 360 news magazine on CNN ran the piece on the Fairfax Donor 401 moms and their DI conceived kids.

As always these news pieces seem to ignore our story, that of the dads, who wanted kids as much as the moms. All of the stories seem to focus first on the single women or lesbian couples. If a heterosexual couple is part of the piece you almost never see the dad. Perhaps the 60 Minutes piece will do more than I expect. But I doubt it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

DadBloggers - A Community of Dads

Just like the Mommy Blogs there are numerous daddy blogs. Some by SAHDs others by working dads with varying perspectives and thoughts willing to share. Most parent blogs maintain blogrolls of other like sites.

I have been invited to join DadBloggers. This is one of the few multi dad created and written sites I have seen out on the Web. My favorite dad blog to date has been DadTalk which is primarily written by one man. It is definitely worth checking out and his blog was voted third in the Best in Blog awards this year. In contrast, DadBloggers has a number of contributing Dads who each write on average one to two submissions per month.

The reader automatically gets to see a diverse view of topics and thoughts presented by the diffferent dads. I don't know if the invitation will result in my being accepted as a new contributor yet but I definitely encourage the dads out there to check out this site at

Monday, March 13, 2006

William's Doll

There currently is a thread of messages going through the Yahoo DSR_Discussion group regarding Women (SMCs or Lesbian Couples) raising sons alone. The consensus seems to be running along the lines that many of the women have friends or family that would fill the male role model position where there is no father (in this case by choice). There were a few wild comments that if a boy was wearing mom's shoes and enjoying it that usually there would be a dad in a traditional family to provide a re-direct into more traditional roles which I found a bit overprotective.

My own kids (a boy, 4, and a girl, 2) both love pushing strollers with babies in them and both love playing with the large dollhouse that sits at their cousin's house (who are both girls). My son will occasionally sit down and "feed" his sister's babies and is generally very protective of his own stuffed animals very often assigning each a mommy animal. Do I make it a point to re-direct him after seeing him participate in these activities? No, I do not.

Whenever I hear this topic and especially regarding parent's fears of boys playing with dolls I immediately go back in time to when I first heard the song "William's Doll" from the Marlo Thomas and Friend's album "Free to Be You and Me". That whole album was great in that it made it clear that kids and anybody should be allowed to be themselves and that role models did not necessarily have to fit stereotypes. I still can hear Marlo and Alan Alda singing that song and the lyrics say it all:

ARTIST: Mary Rodgers and Sheldon Harnick
TITLE: William's Doll

[Adapted from the book "William's Doll" copyright 1972 by Charlotte Zolotow. By permission of Harper & Row. Performed by Alan Alda and Marlo Thomas]
When my friend William was five years old
He wanted a doll, to hug and hold
"A doll," said William, "is what I need
To wash and clean, and dress and feed

"A Doll to give a bottle to
And put to bed when day is through
And any time my doll gets ill
I'll take good care of it," said my friend Bill

A doll, a doll, William wants a doll
Don't be a sissy said his best friend Ed
Why should a boy want to play with a doll
Dolls are for girls said his cousin Fred
Don't be a jerk, said his older brother
"I know what to do," said his father to his mother

So his father bought him a basketball
A badminton set, and that's not all
A bag of marbles, a baseball glove
And all the things a boy would love

And Bill was good at every game
Enjoyed them all, but all the same
When Billy's father praised his skill
"Can I please have a doll now," said my friend Bill

A doll, a doll, William wants a doll
A doll, a doll, William wants a doll
Then William's grandma arrived one day
And wanted to know what he liked to play
And Bill said, "Baseball's my favorite game
I like to play, but all the same

"I'd give my bat and ball and glove
To have a doll that I could love"
"How very wise," his grandma said
Said Bill, "but everyone says this instead"
A doll, a doll, William wants a doll
A doll, a doll, William wants a doll

So William's grandma, as I've been told
Bought William a doll, to hug and hold
And William's father began to frown
But grandma smiled, and calmed him down

Explaining, William wants a doll
So when he has a baby someday
He'll know how to dress it, put diapers on double
And gently caress it to bring up a bubble
And care for his baby as every good father
Should learn to do

William has a doll, William has a doll
'Cause someday he is gonna be a father, too

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Need for Contrary Opinion

Please note that this blog was written a few days under a then understood set of facts. At the close of this post will be an update...

Something happened yesterday afternoon (3/9?) which I actually did not intend. There are always at least two sides to every story. There are those who would directly oppose each other's opinion and then in between individuals with varying degrees of acceptance, support and disagreement. Yesterday a member of Tangled Webs who has posted comments here quite often (at least recently) stated she would no longer be posting on "these blogs". By these blogs I took it to mean this one, and those of DD and Richard respectively each at "Diaries of a Hopeful Dad" and "The End of My Line?". While some (including at times myself) felt that this individual's comments tended to the acerbic (as opposed to honest and open discussion) I honestly believe this event is a loss.

While I disagreed with her methods I did not always disagree with her position or right to it. It was just her insistence that there can be no other answer. But I want to back off any criticism for the moment. My purpose is to state there is a need for contrary opinion. And no I am not looking for a kinder and gentler contrary opinion. And no I am not posting this as another method to tame the fire that is in this individual. What I want to make clear is that Donor Conception as a family creation method does have an impact beyond that of "treating" infertility, it does sever a connection between the conceived individual from their genetic past and because it does that the issues involved deserve discussion and reminders to ensure that we the parents who created these individuals are aware of the potential issues that our children may grapple with. To cry a mantra of openness without recognizing the possibility and reality of a downside to these methods of conception is turning a blind eye on the issue. At the same those experiencing losses should not be discounted but also those experiencing losses can not look down on those individuals who are not grieving as exceptions, oddities, liars, or brainwashed children.

Again I am not looking for this individual to re-enter the comment arena and blast out her opinions (on my blog, DD's or Richard's) without her recognizing that others are entitled to their own opinion but I do want to recognize her opinion as valid and that to not hear it is a loss. I encourage her to find a proper venue for that voice and to use that venue to promote meaningful dialogue where all sides to this puzzle can each look at the issues and present their views.

As noted above this blog was written a few days back on 3/10, since that time the individual referred to returned at least on this blog so its clear this "contrary" opinion has not disappeared as they had indicated they would. One additional note that while I do believe differing opinions are neccesary I do not intend to let my voice and this blog be a platform for those that offer no respect for opinions other than their own much less mine.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Anderson Cooper 360 Blog re Donor 401 Moms

I don't believe the CNN program by this name aired a televised story regarding the Fairfax Donor 401 Moms and their kids but this March 9, 2006 blog posting at last count had over 61 comments submitted in response. It's an interesting cross section of views pro and con on the topic from what appears to be everyday folks as opposed to some of the egghead think tank blogs out there that debate the topic. I believe there may have been at least one dad via DI in the mix of comments. Because the comments are include many from individual outside the DC / infertility community it makes it worthwhile to see what people think of this topic. Granted many are responding to the sensational aspect of one donor, 11 moms, and 20 kids.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Television Interviews: Sensationalism vs. Education

Throughout the last several months Donor Conception has been a hot topic for the print and television media. The television interviews I have seen all seem to sensationalize the topic and to push the point that the donors are the fathers (in the case of DI) pushing aside the social relationship of the donor conceived persons to their DI dads. Again I am not disputing the fact the donor is the biological parent to these individuals and children. But as much as biology is responsible for creating the individual, the love and years of caring and support given by the social parent helped mold the child into the adult they grow into (in addition to the donor's genetics).

Based on those actions the social parent should be the individual bestowed with the title Father or Dad, they earned it. While the donor is indispensable he will never be more than the biological creator unless the donor conceived person wants him to be more which is their right. For TV shows to keep pushing the term Father to represent the donor only contributes to the sensationalism these shows create showing the DC individuals as more oddities than individuals who are looking for answers.

It is my understanding that "The Big Idea" with Donny Deutsch has taped an episode that has either ran or is scheduled to run regarding donor conception. One of the guests is Rebecca Hamilton of New Zealand, whose documentary filmed search for her donor, helped end donor anonymity in her native country.

Ms. Hamilton on numerous occasions has made it clear that her social father was her dad and she is not looking to replace him nor is she looking to find her donor to request financial assistance or anything of that nature. According to a recent post (3/8 Message # 6328) by Ms. Hamilton, on the main DSR yahoo discussion groups, she felt she needed to clarify her own statements, made on "The Big Idea", regarding using DC to perhaps conceive her own children as she felt her own words may have been twisted or edited turning them to a different meaning. Such is the nature of these television shows that try to sensationalize this topic rather than adding to real discussion on this topic. I have not seen the episode so I can't say how the finished episode comes off and whether Mr. Deutsch's editors should be blamed or praised.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Taboos - A London Play About DI

"What do a pioneering West Coast urologist, a celebrated TV presenter, a hip, single San Francisco lawyer and a God–fearing, childless couple from the Southern American bible–belt have in common? They all want to be a parent."

I don’t usually do ads in this blog but this one involved the topic of donor conception. The theatre review linked above is in regards to a play at London’s The New End Theatre. It will run from Thursday, Feb 23 to Sunday, April 2, 2006. I am assuming the author is from the USA. If anyone sees it beyond the reviewer I am curious if it's any good.

The plot seems to mirror that of a recent musical dinner play titled "Infertility" that ran here in New York City which was reviewed by New York Magazine. It is no longer playing here in NYC but ran from October 2005 through Mid-February 2006. The full title and link to the official play website is "Infertility: The Musical That's Hard to Conceive". Perhaps the London production is the same show just transplanted across the "Pond" as the Brits call the Atlantic.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tomorrow's Paper Today

One of my favorite shows has not been on Network TV for a while now but it's still available on cable. The show is Early Edition. It's that show where a man mysteriously receives tomorrow's paper a day early and he must use the paper to right specific wrongs or to save individuals from harm. It may be seen as a sappy concept show but it's one I bought into fully and one that I have loved for years. I think it was that cat that suckered me into loving the show. What is it that makes us want to watch stories where we know the hero will triumph at the end of an hour's worth of time yet we still sit captured by an impossible story. I can only guess it is our desire to know things will work out in the end.

Am I looking for a paper to say my children's lives will be OK? What parent isn't? Will it be challenging to help them along their appointed path? Of course. Will their lives be a bit more complicated than your average life. Yep. But we can always dream that maybe Gary Hobson's cat will happen by with that paper now and again to give us a few hints along the way. Just don't tell Chuck I have that paper.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Not an Oscar Picture: "Made in America"

I figured it's Oscar night so I should post something about the movies. Until I read Rel's blog I had forgotten about the Whoopie Goldberg / Ted Danson flick "Made in America" that was about donor conception.

Great film? Hardly, but it's the only movie I can recall that dealt with this topic comedically or otherwise. Are there others?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

How "Not" to Tell Friends

Last weekend we had an impromptu playdate with friends across the street. While my son and his friend were playing on the floor, my friend T remarked how much my son looked like me. I turned to his wife R and asked if she ever told T. She replied that she had not. I had told R about two years ago, during another playdate, that my kids were donor conceived.

Now this is where the how not to tell part comes in. Rather than letting the resemblance comment go by and waiting for another time to explain how my kids we're created I went into it right there. What I should have realized is that by refuting the complimentary resemblance comment I may have embarrased T by going into it at that exact moment. I should have said a simple thank you and later mentioned to R that she should feel free to tell T. I haven't yet gotten the chance to apologize to T but I hope to soon.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Brown Hair

The other morning my wife commented on how our daughter's hair color matched our son's color. Hearing this our son stated "We match you Daddy not Mommy". Truth is my wife's color is a sort of brownish blond which I guess is properly termed an ash blonde I think. Anyhow before I could state that his hair could not match mine my wife stated how Daddy's hair is darker than his and his sister's to which he quickly replied "We match Mommy and not Daddy." Truer than he realizes.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Seeking Half Sibling & Donor Contact

I posted a question earlier this week on the DSR groups asking if there were any married heterosexual couples out there who had or we're looking to make contact with either their child's half siblings or even the donor. I got a number of responses personally and only one response posted to the discussion group. I asked my question as it appears that most of the "looking for contact" discussions posted on these sites are primarily posted by single mothers by choice or lesbian couples. So I wondered are we (my wife and I) one of the few hetero couples looking for contact with half siblings?

Turns out we are not but married heterosexual couples are in the minority (at least in the talking about it world). The reasons for this are, I expect, simple and what you would expect. I must admit I have no data to support this theory. Married hetero couples generally either hide this issue completely or while they may inform their child of their DI conception no additional thought is given to locating half siblings until the child is old enough to ask. Or they hear of the DSR through either news pieces or articles, become curious, and get the bug to learn more. We ourselves learned on the DSR through the Oprah episode forgot about it and then saw a repeat and joined the DSR that night. Again there are a number of hetero couples (mostly through the moms) who are on the groups discussing the topic but the vast numbers appear to be SMCs and lesbian moms.

I am betting the thought of locating and making contact with the donor would be a step too far for these families to contemplate and I must admit it is not something I would do without a good reason, namely the health of my kids being at issue. I would have to further guess that while many non-genetic dads like myself had issues (some limited some more) regarding using DI we are all uninterested or perhaps afraid to seek out the donor. Emotionally it is obvious that meeting the man whose genetic material did what we could not is a hard fact to get over. I have discussed in other posts about my reservations or perhaps fears of my role being supplanted by this individual if he were to enter the lives of my children. Granted most adult donor conceived persons go searching for their donors not to replace their DI Dads but to answer questions ranging from health, identity etc. But the possibility scares the hell out of this dad.

Lia recently posted a comment to one of my posts stating in effect that its amazing how DI created families go out of their way to locate half siblings and then treat these half siblings as family while at the same time those same families purposefuly avoid making contact with the donor in effect distancing the children from the donor despite the common blood lines. I am not disagreeing with Lia's conclusion but for a dad in my position the reasons are partially stated above why contact with the donor would not be made. Additional reasons include the belief that the donor wants no contact based on the anonymous nature of his agreement with the cryobank. Granted with donors that may have changed from their days of donating.

In addition families who used DI to conceive their kids did so for the fact that they did not want and continue to not want an additional party as part of their lives and the lives of their children. It is a selfish decision from the parent's perspective and does not consult the children created and I admit that up front. No comments are needed to confirm that fact. Choice moms are for the most part women who decided to raise their kids alone by design and accepted that as part of their planning. And yes they also may welcome another person into their family makeup at one point but that is a personal family by family decision (and more likely than not would not be the donor). At the point they made this decision it was based on those facts. For heterosexual couples we see the family makeup as set, one mommy and one daddy, and a third parent is not wanted or needed. For lesbian couples the reasoning, I suppose, is much the same and a combination of the prior two. Again all selfish reasons but they are the reasons I suppose.

I would like to see the married hetero families speak out more but the numbers reflect the fact that an increasing number of choice moms are choosing DI so it makes sene that they are the currently the most vocal group on the discusion groups and many boards out there. So in conclusion from my perspective I pretty much knew why married hetero couples would seek out half sibs and not seek out donors, but I was curious what responses I would get and to work it through myself.