Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fwd: Donor as Genetic Parent?

I had thought the below post by Wendy Kramer to the DSR Yahoo group, a co-founder of the DSR, to be especially poignant in her appeal regarding this topic. I missed it when it was originally posted but ran across it while reading the blog Buffalo Girl, a donor conceived adult here in the US.

My own views in discussing the donor to my children have been probably around the norm that he helped create them but not too much more than that. I have never referred to him truly as a person that is walking, talking or somebody we could by wild chance run into on the street. At the pre-school age I have not wanted to confuse my kids. But Wendy's plea is important as it cautions parents to note that the decision as to how to process who the donor is to our children is that of the children as they grow older and better understand the circumstances of their conception and birth.

I will hopefully refer back to this post as a reminder to not oversimplify the role of the donor and to not over play the impact of my views on this topic when addressing it with my kids.

These are my personal views and may not be yours and I can respect that. The below post has been reprinted here with Wendy's consent.

--- In, Wendy Kramer on 08/21/2006 wrote:

For those of you who feel that an egg or sperm donation is simply a "cell", a small piece of genetic matter and nothing more, I beg of you to let your kids choose for themselves if this is how they too feel. I am afraid that a child brought up being told that their donor did nothing more than donate a "cell" may not feel fully able to express their own true thoughts, curiosities and feelings on the matter. Many of these kids will indeed view it as one half of their genetic background and heritage, much, much more than a "cell".

We have heard on the site over and over, older donor conceived persons who have a burning desire to know this invisible side of themselves. We have also heard story after story of donor conceived kids and adults connecting with their donor relatives, either half siblings or donors, and it being a profound and meaningful experience. These people are definately acknowledging avery important genetic bond.

Please parents, allow your kids to decide for themselves. Please do not set it up that somehow they will think they are hurting or betraying you to be curious about or value this genetic piece of themselves. (This is why 80-90% of heterosexual couples never tell their children that they are donor conceived- because of the associated fear and shame.) Just because parents feel one way about donor conception in no way guarantees that their children will feel the same way. Please let the discussion and decisions on genetic importance be child driven.

My goal with this forum is to help educate those of us who made decisions long before we were aware of the true ramifications, so that we can better serve the needs of not only our children, but those to come.


DD said...

But how does one try to remain subjective to that choice when the child's parents first must tell the child that there was a donor involved? I understand the thought behind letting the child decide, but how can they make that decision on whether or not they even want to know without presenting to them the Pandora's Box in the first place?

DI_Dad said...

The point is not whether they want to know. The information is their's by right to know. The point as I see it, and as I believe Wendy, was trying to say, is that how they interpret the meaning of the info to them is their alone and not ours as the parent to make. If we color the information that has the ability to effect their interpretation and that is the danger. Pandora's box was alreasdy opened by the use of DI. The trick is to give the tools to the kids that they can handle what that box contains so that it does not overwhelm or consume them. At least this is how I am looking at this whole megillah.

GZ said...

I admire your openess, DI.

Thanks for the article.

DD said...

DI_DAD - Please let me first say that I'm not against what you or Wendy are saying. Right now we are struggling with how we want to handle our situation (part of the reason my site is protected right now), and I'm trying to see both sides so we can make the best decision. I'm just trying to play devil's advocate to bring out the debate. OK, so here goes:

Wouldn't we already color a child's interpretation by telling them that there was a donor involved in the first place? What is inheretantly wrong with having a kind of "Ignorance is bliss" mentality, if you will?

Maybe I am debating the wrong issue or being premature in my concerns. We are wrestling with whether or not we make it known that a donor was involved, so maybe my concern/issue is moot. And it's not just the child resulting from donor (IF there's a child), but one biological child, that we have to consider.

I guess it's our confidence in how we would handle the whole situation that really bears the greatest weight; and quite frankly, I just feel too overwhelmed to feel confident.

DI_Dad said...

DD, I responded to this is a new post to the blog that should be live by Noon on Friday Sep 8, 2006.