Thursday, November 30, 2006

Looking in NYC for Donor Conceived Kids for Playdates?

no. 299

Just under three months ago I published a post with this same goal: to locate other donor conceived children in NYC for periodic playdates with my children. I received no responses. It's not to hard to accept that answer as this blog is not widely read as compared to other blogs.

But at the same time this is a city where the population is approximately 8.1 million individuals. Statistically there must be a number of children conceived via donor sperm or donor eggs. Therefore somewhere in this city must be children whose conception story mirrors that of my own kids. I wonder if it will take an ad in the newspapers to find them. I am guessing the ad rates in Metro and amNew York are cheaper than the NY Times. I'd actually start with the tabloid Big Apple Parent I suppose. Or maybe Go City Kids or Time Out New York Kids.

As much as I find posting messages on the Yahoo discussion groups rewarding I'd like to sit in a room and speak live and in person to other parents who are like us. But how do you find a group of married parents who will speak publicly on a topic where the majority of heterosexual couples hide this story?

This could be interesting.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kansas Case re Donor Parental Rights

no. 298

This Kansas case will be an interesting one to follow. In short it involves a single woman who used a known donor to conceive her twin children. Immediately following their birth she filed papers so she would be considered the sole parent. Problem was that the donor believed he would have a role as their father and there was nothing memorialized in any agreement protecting his belief.

The case involves a 1994 Kansas law that sperm donors have no parental rights without an agreement. The plaintiff donor's attorneys are arguing the unconstitutionality of that law. Amicus briefs filed on behalf of the defendant mother, lead by Joan Holinger (a UC Berkley law professor) argue that to set aside the 1994 law could result in donors uninterested in being parents to have such responsibilities (financial and otherwise) thrust upon them without such protection.

The case has no applicability to unknown donor arrangements but it has longer range effects regarding the establishment or not of donor parental rights. In our case NYS treats social fathers as the natural father if we are married to the biological mother at the time of a DI child's birth.

A great site with info and links regarding the laws in every US state is the Human Right Campaign Foundation. The links have not been updated in some time (please let them know) but it's a great starting point for info on any state you are researching.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Donor Conceived Blogs - Current Posts 1

no. 297

If I could figure out how to set up autofeeds of various blogs I read on this blog I would create a section where the titles, links, and entry summaries would automaticaly pop up. My thoughts are to highlight, more than I already have, the blogs of donor conceived individuals, DI Moms & Dads and those TTC, and Donors.

Until that point here are the links and current posts from the blogs of a few donor conceived indiduals:

Whose Daughter?
"IVF Youth Experiencing Genetic Anger"
November 23, 2006

Donated Generation
How do I tell MY children??????
November 21, 2006

Who do you think you are? T5's daughter
Apparently he thinks about me too
November 4, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Family Ties & Night Terrors

no. 296

Family Ties

This evening we hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our apartment. In addition to the four of us we also hosted both sets of grandparents. Growing up I only really knew my mom's mother. Her husband passed when I was only eight and by that point they lived in Florida. So grandparents were not an everyday occurence much less thought. My own dad never knew a single grandparent as both his parents emigrated here while each was under 20 years old and the only grandparent that emigrated as well dies two years before his birth.

While sitting on the floor in my son's room my mother-in-law began pointing out how many states her ancestors resided in. My own family, historically, has been pretty much limited to NYS and NJ (although my generation is spread out nationwide) and before that it was Eastern Europe. I often wonder what kind of connection my kids will have to my genetic past.

Night Terrors

My daughter lately has ben prone to sporadic and short night terrors. They may not truly qualify as night terrors. She trashes wildly for anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes calling out for me and nothing seems to calm her down. I try rubbing her back but am pushed away while at the same time she is caling out for me. At those moments I wonder if she knows the truth. I am probably imagining this last thought as all during her waking hours I am currently the center of much of her life.

It's late and I have work in the morning.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yahoo DI Dads Discussion Group Marks 100th Member

no. 295

This afternoon I approved the membership request of a gentleman who became the 100th current member of the DI Dads Yahoo discussion group. For a group of 100 men to come together in one forum to discuss an issue as personal as their own infertility is truly amazing. Some members along the way have left for various reasons, so in truth this is probably not the actual 100th approved membership, but it is the first time that the group stands at 100 which is quite cool.

The group was started, in Aug/Sep 2005, by a former sperm donor who saw a need and invited me to join him, with me at first moderating the group and later he ceded ownership of it to me. Today I announced the 100th current member in message post 729 to the group. Thanks Mark for the start.

There have been a few interesting moments regarding the topics of discussion but in all cases the men have been great about opening up and sharing their fears, thoughts, and concerns.

I believe I am actually prouder to be a member of that group than I am of my keeping this blog going for the about the same amount of time. I started here in August 2005 as well.

I am not sure statistically if you can extrapolate how many DI Dads must be out there but if anyone figures it out please let me know.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who'll Say Kaddish for This DI Dad?

no. 294

Recently while googling "religion and donor conception" I found an interesting site that analyzed donor conception under Halakhah (traditional Jewish law and ethics) and also compared the analysis to a paper published in 1990 by the Ethics Committee of the American Fertility Society1 published in reaction to the Roman Catholic Instruction on Respect for Human Life and the Dignity of Procreation.2

What struck me hard was a one line sentence at the end of a short paragraph in the midst of the website which stated:

Halakhah, too, knows of no legal procedure by which a genetically unrelated person can be considered the full legal father of a child. The sperm recipient's husband, by virtue of his consent to the donation, might have assumed those legal obligations to support and educate the child that usually evolve only on the natural parent. However, when the husband dies, he is assumed to be halakhically childless with regard to inheritance and other religious issues.

Now I should not have been surprised by this statement as I already knew most interpretations of Jewish law on the topic only looked at me as the guardian of my kids but something about the starkness of this statement hit me hard.

I am probably screwing this up but here goes. Years ago when I used to go daily to morning prayers I read something about the Mourner's Kaddish that said unless the child of the decedent says Kaddish the decedent does not pass through onto heaven.

A friend told me that there are specific rules when the child is adopted which may apply in this case but I have yet to find them. Does this mean I need to adopt my children under Halakah?

How will my children feel if at my death a Rabbi tells them they are not allowed to say Kaddish for me? I can't imagine being told you can't do something that is integral to what we know as part of the mourning process.

The Kaddish is one of the most basic prayers in Judaism and one repeated in various forms including that of the Mourner’s Kaddish. Somehow I all of sudden felt cut off from my children and from a future (even one after death). Now don’t get me wrong I am not “observant” in the true sense of the word but my religion is a big part of me.

But this statement more than many I have read before it hit me hard.


Donor Gametes for Assisted Reproduction in Contemporary Jewish Law and Ethics
Richard V. Grazi, MD, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York 11219,Joel B. Wolowelsky, PhD, Department of Jewish Philosophy, Yeshivah of Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York 11230
Assisted Reproduction Reviews 2:3 (1992)
1. Ethics Committee of the American Fertility Society, Ethical Considerations of the New Reproductive Technologies, Fertil Steril. 53:6 Suppl 2 (1990).
2. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation, Vatican Press, 1987.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Clinics target men's toilets in search for new sperm donors

no. 293

OK, let me start off that while I am glad to hear that clinics in the UK are being creative in their quest to find new avenues to find sperm donors this one, for me personally, crossed a line. For a future donor conceived individual to ever learn that their biological parent started down the road to their creation due to his reading an ad possibly over the urinal is pushing it. I know I joined the "Don't be a Wanker" campaign to help support new ideas but the association between urinal and creation I find distasteful.

The Independent
By Sophie Goodchild
Published: 19 November 2006


Fertility clinics are to advertise for potential sperm donors in men's toilets for the first time in an attempt to help couples desperate to have children.

The shortage in recruits has forced one clinic in the West Midlands to display posters above public urinals urging men to sign up.

Midland Fertility Services, near Birmingham, is targeting 18- to 45-year-olds with its campaign, which launches this month, through appeals in the gents at Walsall Football Club as well as in fire and ambulance stations."

Dr Gillian Lockwood, the clinic's medical director, said: "The removal of anonymity has had a direct impact on sperm donation. We want to attract older men who may already have families with quality sperm who are motivated by altruism."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

American Psychological Association: Parents Should Disclose Using ART

no. 292

Monitor on PsychologyVolume 37, No. 8 September 2006
American Psychological Association
Should parents disclose?
Print version: page 54

As more children are born using assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), a major question looms: Should parents tell their children how they were conceived?

In both policy and practice arenas, psychologists are saying, “Yes.”

“The feeling is that this is not only the parents’ story, but also the child’s story,” says Jan Elman Stout, PsyD, chair of the Mental Health Professional Group of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The reasons are both medical and psychological: Children of donor and surrogate technologies risk receiving inaccurate medical advice if they are misinformed of their genetic or biological roots, and such a fundamental secret can create an undercurrent of shame, experts note. For these and related reasons, ASRM’s Ethics Committee released a position paper in 2004 advocating disclosure (see

Given the recent development of some ARTs, as well as complications in using children as controls whose parents have not disclosed to them, research in the area is still relatively new. But thus far, telling children appears to be neutral or positive, according to a review article in May’s Sexuality, Reproduction and Menopause (Vol. 4, No. 1, pages 17–19) by psychologist Joanna E. Scheib, PhD, and Alice Ruby of The Sperm Bank of California (TSBC). The article also reports on Scheib’s and colleagues’ research on identity release, in which TSBC children can access their donor’s name at age 18. Adult children and donors are mutually curious and may want to meet, Scheib’s research finds, but they also want to respect each other’s lives and not intrude.

It may be easier to tell children in some cases than others, other research finds. Studies by University of Virginia psychologist Charlotte Patterson, PhD, and others, find that lesbian and single moms are more likely than heterosexual couples to have told their children how they were conceived, undoubtedly because it’s clear there is no biological father, Patterson says.

Other research shows that some people don’t disclose because they want to protect one or more family members, or they’re afraid children might reject their own father in favor of their biological one.

No matter what the circumstance, psychologists can offer clients important guidance in deciding about disclosure and in talking to their child, notes Cornell University infertility expert Elizabeth Grill, PsyD.

“There is no definitive answer on the right time to talk to kids,” she says. “But in general, younger is better, and parents might want to tell their children before adolescence, when issues of trust and identity take center stage.”

Sunday, November 12, 2006

And Then There Was Only One DI Dad Blog....

no. 291

Well it is now official that I am again all alone in the blog-0-sphere as the only man maintaining a blog about donor conception. That I know of anyway.

Max over at Diaries of a Hopeful Dad (The Adventures of Dynamo Dad) informed me off line that which most of us figured out that his blog is on hiatus. His last post was in August. As I mentioned earlier this week this a tough topic to keep going at when you are trying to conceive. Vee, Max's wife, is still maintaining her blog The Sweet Life and folks should make sure to stop in often to offer support on their continuing and hopefully short term journey.

On the flip side Richard from The End of My Line? has also suspened service over at his blog due to the happy news and events leading up to his and his wife's eventual delivery of DI conceived twins. His wife up to recently was having a rough pregnancy and things seem sto calming down as I understand she has headed back to work and is feeling better. We all look forward to Richard at least posting another entry when the children arrive complete with photos if that is possible.

I am saddened by each of these men leaving but fully understand where they both are at having been at both places myself. I first learned of my infertility in 1995, our first IVF / ICSI procedure was in early 1999 and our first child was not born until the Spring of 2002.

To deal with the topic of male factor infertility on varying levels for seven years before our son arrived was quite tough. There are many folks out there whose cycle count exceeds our own and the toll that takes monetarily much less emotionally is intense. So I can appreciate the different methods people use to deal with it on their own terms.

So again if anybody hears or sees a male written donor conception blog please let me know.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Donor Conceived Ignore Chance to Meet Sperm Donor Dads

no. 290

"Kids Ignore Chance to Meet Donor Dads"
The Herald Sun
Kate Jones, Medical Reporter
November 06, 2006 12:00am

DESPITE new laws and a statewide advertising campaign, no Victorian children conceived by donor sperm have tried to find their biological parents.More than 100 young Victorians, who have turned or will turn 18 between July and December this year, are eligible under the new consent laws to apply for identifying information about their biological parents.
The laws came into effect on July 1.
But so far, the Infertility Treatment Authority has yet to receive one application from a donor-conceived child.

ITA chief executive Louise Johnson said many children may not be aware they were conceived with the aid of a donor, "or the time may not be right for them," she said.

It is thought 30 to 50 per cent of donor-conceived children are not told about their true origins. Next year, more than 200 donor-conceived children will be eligible to contact their biological parents. Donors also have the right to apply for information about children. Providing there is consent, a donor and child may contact each other.

The ITA has received 10 applications from donors wanting to know details about offspring and 16 donors have voluntarily supplied their information.


Note: I edited the spacing of the text and combined many single sentences into whole paragraphs to save space

I have to wonder if and how these stats will change for these same donor-conceived children over the years. I expect in the future the ITA will release stats in total and also based on the "class" year that these individuals could have first requested contact info.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fairfax Donor 1084 Update - Restrictions Imposed

no. 289

According to posts I have seen on the Yahoo DSR related discussion groups and at least one Donor 1084 mom's blog it appears that Fairfax has decided to limit access to the remaining vials of this donor to families looking to conceive siblings for existing children. A second Donor 1084 mom's blog reports no such confirmation but for her correspondence with Donor 1084 mom #1.

My understanding is that little or no explaination is being offered (beyond that another mom reported that her child conceived from 1084 also shared a skin condition) and thereforethe vials are restricted and being offered only to existing families.

It would appear that when enough noise is made [whether it be in the media or perhaps other avenues (recall Mom vs. NECC) ) that results in some measure can be achieved in some measure.

Reform is needed folks and the public must be involved in the process. I am not saying the banks should be excluded from the table as all sides need to be in agreement to make any reform work but steps are needed and we need to take them sooner than later so other children don't have to go through such pain and struggle.

[Note: I edited paragraph 3 slightly].

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Decrease in Male Written Male Factor Infertlity Blogs....

no. 288

I am beginning to see that for a few of the male written MFI blogs the bloggers have either stopped writing altogether or the posts are few and far between.

Part of the attrition is due to the emotional whallop that writing does take. For some the experience is cathartic for others it is draining. For some there is a point where the blogger says what am I getting out of this other than constant reminders of the issue at hand. I will admit keeping a blog current is tough work as I am sometimes hard pressed to put something new to "paper" myself. Max, if you are out there I wish you the best as I have not heard from you, on all fronts, in quite some time and I hope you are OK.

For other couples the drop in MFI related blogs is due to successes (or what I am guessing is success as the blogs just stopped at positive early pregnancy tests). I am obviously quite happy for these men and their wives but what's interesting is that their success are leading to a downturn in the number of male written infertility blogs. Not that I am looking for other families to have such issues to just find new blogs written by men but it does leave a vaccuum for those looking for that perspective.

So when I hear and see new male written MFI blogs I will try to highlight them......and if anyone hears of new male written DI / DE related blogs please let me know.....

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Britain's Sperm Crisis: Call Up Our Boys

no. 287

November 5, 2006
The Independent
Britain's sperm crisis: call up our boys
By Marie Woolf, Political Editor

What I found most interesting about this article in the UK newspaper The Independent is not so much the idea of "recruiting" service personnel to donate sperm or to freeze their own before going off to war but the idea of bartering free IVF cycles for the healthy sperm of men who are trying to conceive with their wives when their issues are female centered.

It's interesting and scary as it can create the cruel result of creating children by a husband yet if his / their own IVF cycles fail the couple itself can remain childless.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Telling...Whose DI Story Is It?

no. 286

Ultimately the story is that of my children. So have I been doing them a disservice by running this blog with my real name so prominently posted in my bio? I am not sure. Certainly by being public I believe I give some integrity to my questions. On the other hand had I withheld my name I am sure my words would have spoken for themselves and my children's identities and stories would have remained their own until they decided to be public.

Why am I thinking all of this? Did something happen at their schools or the playgrounds? Actually nothing happened involving them. What happened is that a good friend whom I have known since literally almost birth {born same day same hospital same doctor] told a high school classmate, that I have not seen in 25 years, clear across the country over lunch. Why should this bother me? My name was in the NY Times and USA Today among several other publications and if googled this blog will appear. This friend's mom actually learned not from her son but from seeing the USA Today issue itself. We have guessed that through this mom half the mom's of old high school acquaintances probably know.

Part of my uneasiness might be from the fact that this friend has joked and complimented me at the same time that he could not imagine a discussion of his testes being made in such a public forum. To be honest I am numb to it but on reflection it is somewhat embarrassing. There is currently a book in the works where I contributed an essay under my own name on the topic of DI where again the source of infertility is discussed so why again should I care that this friend shared my story.

Perhaps it is because it is not my story and because I am now more clearly thinking about it as my children's story.

Thursday, November 02, 2006