Sunday, September 24, 2006

More on Competing Rights: Donor vs. Conceived vs. Infertiles

The above post title links to this Blog's Annex where you can read two additional days of Letters to the Editors of the on this topic. Buffalo Girl of Whose Daughter and Tom Ellis let me know that additional letters had been posted by the Times including Tom's own response.

My own submission to the fray as the only responding DI parent is as follows (who knows if this letter will be accepted and posted by the Times so that is why I am posting here):

I have been reading all of the letters posted on this topic and as an American whose children were both conceived via an anonymous donor I am amazed. The US system being consumer based has not been forced into a position of outlawing the use of anonymous donors so I am reading these stories from a position where I am not affected and all too easily can comment without repercusions but here goes anyway.

Over the last two years that I have been following this topic I am amazed at how individuals like Colin Campbell (Sept 21) and Tim Hammond (Sept 23) can still make the argument that donor conceived individuals should accept the "be happy you are alive" argument as a prong on which to support their belief that the rights of the infertile parents trump that of the donor conceived.

As a parent whose kids are donor conceived I will work to fully ensure my kids have as much as possible about their past. To try now to turn back the clock to donor anonymity does future children conceived via DI a disservice and appears to me to border on criminal. It is true that donations have plummeted via the change in your laws but it appears to me that there have to be better avenues to increase donations than to just throw up yor hands and turn back the clock. For instance how about the UK government to provide more funding and staffing to the National Donor Gamete Trust. From what I understand you have a group whose mandate is to work in this area but without proper funding how can you expect results.

Again speaking as a parent who benefiited from donor sperm but now sees the bigger picture don't turn your back on these children and adults. No parent wants to cause their children harm, emotionally or otherwise, but to coopt their rights you would be doing just that.

Eric Schwartzman
New York, New York


katty said...

I am also 100 per cent against donor anonymity. I know that I feel bound to my genetic origins and it seems terrible to inflict lack of that knowledge on someone else. Adopted children have that right, why not DI children? I also think that UK donors should be encouraged to provide far more information, in the style of US banks, which at least give real concrete details. And I think that the age at which donor children can contact their genetic fathers should be lowered, at least to sixteen (a child is old enough to get married then, or join the army).

The truth is that I am conflicted about DI, despite carrying DI twins, who have an open donor father. It is not morally clear cut at all.

I actually think that people who use DI should be obliged to tell their children this by law. It should be included on the birth certificate, so that the child can always find out. I think the same thing for adoption. The childs origins should not be encouraged as a secret. Tough luck for the parents if they feel it will make it harder for them as a family; children adapt and will learn to live with the new circumstances. I believe in turth. And the more it is considered as normal, as an alternative way of life, the less it is considered a secret or something to hide, the better for everyone.

katty said...

I was a bit hasty there. I do think that children have a right to know, and that it shouldn't be the whim of the parents, as if it were a lifestyle choice. But I can see that a birth certificate isn't perhaps the place to do it.