Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
"The American Fertility Association invites you to a Special Parenting Seminar on Monday, December 10, 2007 from 7-9pm. Admission is free but space is very limited. You must register prior to the seminar date to attend.
For those considering using a egg/sperm donor it is a rare opportunity to meet other parents who are now parenting donor children.
For parents of egg/sperm donor children, it is a chance to exchange thoughts, ideas and learn helpful tools that may assist you with the unique, yet similar, challenges of raising children created through this family building option.
And finally, for those who wondered about “who are these donors”, it can be a great opportunity to hear how some donors view their roles in this amazing process.
For more information or to register please contact:
Patricia Mendell, LCSW, at (718) 230-9383
Location: 902 Broadway (between 20- 21 Street) 13th floor "
Monday, November 26, 2007
As opposed to their adoptee counterparts today’s generation of donor conceived have online registries that they may have registered themselves on or that their parents have done so via their donor numbers if those numbers are known. A few months after learning of the Donor Sibling Registry I registered each of my children under their common’s donor’s number and cryobank.
I have to wonder in this age of the Internet how many parents, biological or social, check these registries on almost an obsessive basis to determine if new half-siblings have registered or whether their donor has registered. It’s not something I do everyday anymore but I do admit to checking at least once a week if not more. Sometimes I don’t even realize I am doing it I just find myself linking from this blog or off the main Yahoo DSR discussion group.
As much as I wonder about the parents of very young children checking on a periodic basis I wonder what the frequency is for donor conceived individuals themselves. Certainly for those that only know the clinic’s name or that of the doctor such action is not possible but for those individuals that do know enough info what is their thought process and do they check more often just because they can?
Will the ability to easily check these registries push the desire to know more to an obsessive level and if no additional entries are ever made for their donors will it further an unhealthy level of loss? For some individuals the feelings of loss are obviously normal emotions to have in this regard but are we fueling these emotions by the ease of these searches?
In the long run the benefits these registries provide between creating kinship and allowing the exchange of medical information among families far outweigh the remote possibility of creating an obsessive “checker”. Like anything Internet related I guess it just comes down to using it in moderation and looking at it as a tool.
The subtitle for the NY Times blog “Relative Choices” is “Adoption and the American Family”. As Bill Cordray has been stating for many years a number of issues confronting the donor conceived mirror those addressed by the adoption community. Each day that I read this blog I wish that issues surrounding donor conception were addressed openly in an international forum such as the New York Times. I recommend this blog heartily for anyone with an interest in this area.
I have written or rather tried to write the appropriate party at the New York Times to ask if this blog could be expanded to address donor conception in some manner. I have had no luck so far even determining who that person may be. Even once a week or even two weeks would be a great start. Certainly there are many blogs out whose focus is donor conception and each them is worthy of national attention for the issues they address. But somehow I think if the NY Times can be persuaded to include donor conception to their blog it would be a great step forward in recognizing the issues confronting donor conceived individuals and their families.
I have thought of creating a new blog which would hopefully draw from the wide field of advocates in the donor community where their opinions, stories, and thoughts could be brought together in one place apart from their standard platforms which could be used as a Journal much like the Relative Choices blog. If you think this a worthwhile endeavor and I will pursue it.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I certainly don't feel detached from my kids as they occupy, happily, all my time when I am home. It's just that the DI issue is not and I recognize should not be a part of my or their every waking moment. The reality of their conception just becomes another medical (and social fact) fact of their lives and for the moment I am leaving it as that. The “telling” conversations will certainly continue when the issue appropriately presents itself. But I wonder sometimes if I am supposed to do something more now and what and why.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
You certainly can't ask. At least most of us can't ask. And no my wife did not just ask the person I am writing this post with her in mind. But sometimes you wonder is this a child that my son or daughter has this in common with. Is this someone they can grow up with and have someone to share feelings with on a topic that very few kids have to deal with?
Friday, November 09, 2007
What's wild is that according to the reviewer the mother paints a picture of a happy loving family where there is strongly bonded relationship between the twins and their dad, their father.
“Listen to your father, he’s got something important to say,” she says. “And then he’ll be nobody, he’ll be what you make of him. If you want, you can even tell him to leave.”
What struck me was the mother's statements that while truthful if fact that telling may affect their relationship with their father and that they, the children, have the right after learning the truth to tell him to go away. This man for all purposes is their father despite the biological link. To give these children, in this case young adults, permission to cast this man out only serves to heighten fears and is not based in reality.
If my children were to react in shock at learning at 16 this news I would certainly give them space to process this info and even understand the immediate resentment which could follow but as a father I would never submit to being told to leave. My children are my children and I would expect to continue to care for them as a father and to help them in any way I could. In short I expect I would fight to retain their love.
As I have not read the book I can't say why this couple waited until the children were 16 as it seems almost the worst age range to tell. Teenagers already have enough going on that to add this issue seems cruel.
Based on what I understand to be the fears of the mother it sounds like she should have joined the UK Donor Conception network and read the how to tell pamphlets before she got all worked up compounding her fears which surely will be felt by her children possibly introducing two new emotion into their young lives, embarrassment and shame, for an act that they had no control over.
Monday, November 05, 2007
So what's bringing me back. Lets see my son's kindergarten class is soon to bbegin their family structures unit and I have been talking about this DI stuff with one of the moms from his class. You may recall that one of his classmates has two mommies and the facts of his birth are much more evident than in our house. Well maybe not the facts as to a bunch of kindergartners their first reaction will b to this child not having a daddy in the house.
The other factor is my trading emails (several) over the last day with a mom who has a beeautiful little DI conceived daughter about her goal to start a new support organization for donor conception families (current or TTC) and she came to me for advice as her husband is a DI Dads Yahoo group member among other factors that lead her to me. Pretty flattering I must say.
At the same time our emails have addressed various issues and tonight I sent an email to various friends who I have met in the US DC community about this woman's goal as I began such a quest about two years ago only to see the effort stall due to various factors inclusing concerns of duplication of services and competiton for resources (people and dollars). You may recal the posts I published about my hoping to start a US version of the UK DC Network. I do think the DCN is the model with defined connections into the many areas that the DSR completely covers. Our community is too small to step on toes and I am trying to advise her where I can.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Ok, I admit it I nominated this blog for a Blogger's Choice Award in the Best Parenting Blog category. Now why did I do it. I am not exactly sure. Part of me needed a pick me up.
Part of me was tired of rarely if ever seeing a donor conception related blog on these things. The categories never seem to fit us. Am I rebelling against the system? I wouldn't go that far but perhaps a tiny bit.
Well this blog is now nominated whatever my reasons were so if you like this blog please vote for it.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I wanted to throw a question out to the dads of kids already in or past (or way past)kindergarten. My son started K this past month. As I wrote on my blog my wife asked me whether we should tell the teacher as they have a big unit on family structures etc. My gut was to let our son take the lead.
Yes he knows the words DI, donor, half siblings etc but I cannot say he fully gets it yet and I am not pushing him but at the same time the topic is openly discussed especially when we exchange emails and pictures with his and his sister's half sibling.
In his class is another DI child (via his two mommies and the sperm they purchased etc). She told me her son knows he has no dad just his two mommies. My wife approached this mom and told her our story etc and then I on another day disclosed my blog etc.
Anyhow this mommy (FYI she is the social parent like me) asked me if we expect to be open and have our son explain it all himself (or what he can). I at first said that I will let my son take the lead and if it comes up it will come up. I am now thinking that perhaps when her son explains (if he does and what he can) it would be a good time for my son to also say "me too". Granted he has a daddy but like his friend his beginnings are essentially identical.
This might be a way for them both to "not feel different" when addressing a very different story than the rest of their class. I was curious what the dads of kids who are not toddlers and below think about this.
Now since drafting this I said to myself I don't expect to push my son into telling as it has to be his decision and he obviously has to understand or have an idea as to what he is even telling. Should be an interesting unit when it comes up.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
There's a sperm bank-ruptcy crisis in America right now. The AP reports: "A ban on sperm from all European countries with exposure to mad cow disease means U.S. sperm banks are running low." The ban includes sperm from 30 countries.
So American women are facing narrower choices. As The New York Post put it:
"Couples who once hoped to purchase samples from square-jawed, strapping Norsemen living in Lillehammer will have to settle for locksmiths, bartenders and struggling writers from less exotic locales, such as Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, Rego Park, Queens, and Hackensack, N.J."
Given the increasingly limited options, how would you answer the questions we posed to New York's women...
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In our last neighborhood we knew one or two kids who were DI conceived to single moms. This child is the first he's met, or we've met, who has two moms.
My wife was the first to introduce ourselves to one of this child's moms. I guess, knowing that families and their structures are a major part of this kindergarten's curriculum she wanted to say hello to this family and let them know that their son is not alone.
When I formally met this mom I indicated meeting other DI parents was new for us. This mom like me is the social parent and from what my wife told me we are the first heterosexual couple she has met that used DI. I somehow felt compelled to disclose this blog and how I had spent the last two years writing it and being totally absorbed by this stuff.
Anyhow it gives me some comfort to know there is another kid nearby that is more like my son than either of them even know......for now.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Anyhow between eating and mildly paying attention to the game he spent much of his time writing down the names of subway and LIRR stations into his speckle covered composition notebook. My dad was amazed that his grandson was a lefty. He commented that in generations of of our family there has never been a lefty. I reminded him that those generations stopped with me and the other granddad (my father-in-law) was a lefty. He replied that you can "inherit" being a lefty? It was all said in fun and I felt no pain.
I just hope that this kid's handwriting will improve. But I have yet to meet a lefty whose handwriting is really that neat. Poor kid.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
For those two years I felt I needed to post on a frequent basis. Well those feelings took their toll and besides wanting a venue as noted below where I could be more creative I guess I needed to step back for a while and just be a dad. I have even taken steps to empower others to be more active on the DI Dads Yahoo group.
While these issues are still very important in my family's life which only time will tell how important. I must let the children point the way. My son again is aware that a donor helped create him, his sister and T. My daughter has heard the discussions but she does not yet seem to grasp what it means even at the level he did at her age. Time will tell.
I am not closing ths blog down yet. Nor do I expect to as I still see visitors dropping in even with nothing new posted. I expect as circumstances dictate I will drop back for an occasional post. For those of you that I count as friends I wish you well and hope to follow your stories and videos on your blogs and perhaps you will honor me with an email once in a while as I hope to do the same.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
No she's not another donor conception blog. In fact "she" / it is totally unrelated to donor conception. I decided I needed another venue where I also could be more creative. Not creative like Vee or Max but more along the lines of creating a footprint in the community I live in. It's sort of a travelogue / what's going on here and there type of blog.
It has allowed me to play as opposed to thinking about all this stuff all the time when I am sitting in front of the keyboard. I am not the only blog in my little "town" but I have a niche. The only problem is now I need to catch up on my Harry Potter reading.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
First off let's state a few facts as I gleaned them from the various articles about this case. In short this is not a simple case involving an anonymous sperm donor or even a ID-release donor. This is case stemming from a known donor who was involved from the beginning.
The sperm donor was known to the couple and there was a contract between the parties laying out the expectations of the parties even going so far as stating that if the bio mom were to die the sperm donor would have some parental rights as to how the child would be raised. The contract even specified visitation rights. The lawsuits appear to have began after the women began to cut down or stop allowing the sperm donor the right to see the child and after the lesbian couple announced plans for protracted travel out of Ireland with the possibiilty of emigration to Australia.
The court made references to the best interests of the child and that the first years are critical to the development of a bond between "father and son". In this case from what I see this donor was acknlowledged as both father and dad as to both his existence and to his ability to interact with the child. This is not a case where the donor anonymously gave up his sperm to a clinic only to recant his decision and want interaction. This man had that interaction and was the father (beyond the obvious biological connection). Yes he rarely saw the child based on the visitation rights agreed to but all parties acknowledge his connection and right to it in some form.
In my mind this case while involving the use of donor insemination to create this child is nothing more than a custody case between parents. It should only be precedential to similiar fact patterns. I respectfuly disagree with any parties that argue that this case is a precedent that sperm donors are something more than a father biologicaly, defined in its narrowest sense, where these facts don't exist.
Irish Independent Journal, UTV Ireland, UK TimesOnline, USA Today, UK Daily Mail, UK Scotsman
Saturday, July 14, 2007
NY TImes Magazine
July 15, 2007
I just found out about this article and plan to read it tonight and add my comments later.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Janice Tibbetts, CanWest News Service
Published: Friday, July 13, 2007
A three-judge panel, by convention, did not give reasons for refusing to grant leave to appeal in the closely watched case of Jane Doe, which has raised questions about parental freedoms when stacked against the rights of the child.
Jane Doe, described in court documents as a
The couple agreed to write a contract clearing John Doe of any legal responsibility but, before signing the deal, they decided to go to court to see if it was legally sound under
“The Supreme Court's decision Thursday to reject the case effectively upholds a ruling last winter in the Alberta Court of Appeal.
“The Doe case has spawned numerous opinion articles in newspapers, some of which condemned the
Andrea Mrozek, a spokeswoman for the Ottawa-based
Comments: My first reaction is what kind of marriage is this and how could this man expect to not be looked up to as a father figure to any resulting child especially if living as husband and wife, even if not under the law.
Comments: My first reaction is what kind of marriage is this and how could this man expect to not be looked up to as a father figure to any resulting child especially if living as husband and wife, even if not under the law.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
The American Spectator
The American Spectator
By James M. Thunder
Published 7/11/2007 12:07:52 AM
I came upon the American Spectator op-ed column yesterday listed above and linked to HERE that examined the Maryland court case In re Roberto d.B. I don't usually read what I refer to as political magazines but when I saw this column, via Google, I was intrigued as I had read about the case earlier this year and posted a link to a news story, see here for that post, but I had not seen much in the way of op-ed pieces about it.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
"The Name Behind the Number
Child of a Sperm Donor Starts a Web Site to Find His Secret Family"
Below are copies of the two comments I left on the ABC Primetime site in response to the program I watched earlier this evening. Comment One may sound a bit like "what about me" and that was not my intent. I read an email on the Yahoo DI Dads group that ran along similiar lines and and received another from another member which were in line with my own reactions so I wrote it as it came out of my brain. It is what it is.
On a different note I want to say again congratulations to the Kramers, the DSR and all the donor conceived families that appeared on this program. Like many others as a result of the DSR my own two children now have a half sibling found via the DSR and the relationship that will grown over the years will always be precious to them and for that we thank Ryan and Wendy. Regards.
While I was happy to see Ryan and Anna meet as well as the other three donor kids meet I must admit a good part of the segment left me with a slightly sour taste in my mouth. I am a father to two children conceived by donor insemination. No I am not their donor I am their dad. Constantly through out the piece the reporter indicated that the donor conceived individuals were searching for their fathers as opposed to their donors. Yes I understand that the donors biologically are indeed these individual's fathers and there is strong need for the individuals to connect to who they came from. I know this stuff and understand it as I write and blog about it pretty much every day for the last two years.
What I am referring to is the media's continuing goal to sensationalize this very serious topic. The constant photos of Donor 150, I apologize as I have forgotten his name, as a young man posing as a male model were unneeded. There was nothing in the piece to acknowledge that Anna's dad is raising this young woman and perhaps put aside his own feelings for the benefit of his daughter yet the piece keeps referring to the donor fathers without addressing the other men who might be out there.
Again I write about this stuff each day on my blog. I am also writing as I moderate a discussion group of social fathers, DI Dads, where the reactions to this piece were pretty much along these lines. Anyone that knows me knows the needs of the children and donor conceived adults should come first and for many they will continue to search for their "fathers" as that is their desire and the terminalogy they use but here in this piece the term aws thrown around so much by the narrating reporter that it is no wonder so many heterosexual couples that use DI continue to conceal their use of DI. If you want to help bring DI out into the open and remove stigmas and work towards reform you have to address all members of the donor conception community.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
While the DSR has resulted in approximately 3500 matches between half siblings and/or genetic donors this TV story captures on film Ryan's first meeting with his own half sibling Anna. The story segment will also focus on another DSR match (donor and children) connecting in California.
The story of how Anna found Ryan has previously been written about by Wendy Kramer in the May 2007 AFA newsletter and can be linked to HERE in this blog's Annex.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
I have been meaning to have the CD Rom recording of the donor's words transcribed for some time now. I had the recording copied onto a micro-cassette tape so that a professional using a tape player made for such a purpopse could easily stop and start the recording. I sent it out earlier this week and am awaiting an e-mail with a full transcription.
I figured having the donor's words on paper would be important if something happened to the CD copies we have or for some reason technology changes and future devices would not play CDs as we know it.
As soon as I receive the transcription I plan on sending a copy down to T's mom so they have it also in their records for T's benefit.
On an administrative note I can't believe this is my 400th post to this blog. I started in Aug 2005 and am soon to hit my two year anniversary this Summer. Pretty wild.
My wife and I again discussed my involvement in this blog and the yahoo group. We talked how she hardly ever thinks about this stuff while I unnaturally think about it too much due to these venues. I'd be curious to see if a psychotherapist would think all this writing is a bad or good thing.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Beginning of Sorrows
by Nancy Merical
Format: Paperback, 201pp
Publisher: Buy Books on the Web.Com
This morning my son asked to watch the video of he and his sister with T. Has it been 11 months since the only trip we met T and her mom already? I asked who T is to him and he said "she's my half-sibling". No prompting. There was no discussion using that term in the past weeks that I can think of. He just knew.
I then asked him what do he, his sister, and T all share. He said they have a common "onor". [Of course I heard "owner".] I corrected him by stating "donor". He just giggled and repeated "donor".
We try not to let them watch video or too much TV in the morning but this DVD will always be an exception. Which when they get into a pattern of wanting any video can be a problem as they know it.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Donor Conceived over at Whose Daughter? (who for some reason I have in my head as previously going by Buffalo Girl) has posted the above T-Shirt design in response to the "My Daddy's Name is Donor" t-shirt that can be seen for sale around the web.
Despite the veracity of the statement made on the shirt she is suggesting it is interesting to see, even after all this time, the immediate feelings it can stir up in me. Envy is an interestng emotion. As I stated in my Father's Day post I don't believe I am threatened any longer by the donor (am I backtracking already?) but the underlying fact of the t-shirt's statement still has some sting. Granted it is not the shirt's intent but still there it is.
Friday, June 29, 2007
I am taking a cue from Brett over at DadTalk and posting one or two line updates on various fronts as I have been unable to sit down an write due to work and sheer exhaustion:
(1) My Father's Day post was picked up by the Donor Conception Network and posted under their Articles section.
(2) I was part of a panel of active egg donors and egg donor recipients at the last meeting of an Ovum Donor seminar series held here in NYC that was sponsored by the AFA. OK, seems out of place since I am obviously DI related but the session included a focus on disclosure and issues surrounding choosing donors etc.
(3) Over at Stirrup Queens I was honored by someone via the Secret Ode of the Day (1) with some very kind words about my blog and efforts. I was very touched. I must say, that Stirrup Queens is an amazing site and the amount of work that Mel puts into it is unreal. What started as a blog is truly a true community which various virtual events and support opportunities going on all the time.
(4) The Second Infertility Film Festival is due to be premiered on July 28 so all aspiring film makers have less than a month to put their entries together, pot them to YouTube or wherever and send the links to Bea. Another blogger who has gone way beyond her own keyboard, Infertile Fantasies, and built a community via her Festival and own writings and the support she constantly shows others.
(5) I discovered today a newly minted male written fertility blog, written from the average joe point of view. It is quite hystertical. Definitely worth checking out and watching as it will definitely make anyone male or female smile. It is called "The Adventures of (In)Fertile Frank".
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The following may be more amusing to a Choice Mom than me but the reality TV show “On the Lot” included an entry on their 6/26 episode where a single woman and her mother robbed a sperm bank at gunpoint forcible withdrawing a fresh deposit. The video can be linked to here. The short was titled “Under the Gun” and was written and directed by contestant Hillary Graham.
I had to laugh at the “bank lobby” scene where the men were all sitting around waiting to be called to make a deposit. I immediately recalled my own experience waiting to go into the “collection” room with the hope of actually giving a sample where they would find any usable sperm (my diagnosis you may recall is non-obstructive azoospermia). Anyhow I had to laugh as I pictured these same women trying to attempt the same robbery from a room of infertile men. Sorry, wrong room ladies the fertile waiting room is next door.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The other night I called my wife over to the computer and asked her to watch a webisode of this 5 minute comedy per day called "Where are the Joneses?" Besides her dumbstruck reaction to the content of this very strange donor sibling search psuedo-comedy she quickly stated that I am nuts and she "did not sign up for all this".
By this she means my continuing involvement in ongoing DI issues and the occassional absurdity (i.e. the aforementioned web based video sitcom) that I find related to it. In her mind we used DI to make the kids and that was the end of the story. Don't misinterpret this to mean she would count herself among those hetero families that use DI and never tell a soul much less the kids. She doesn't believe that and she is a firm believer in openness / disclosure. She just means she doesn't think about this stuff every day like I do and wants simply to put this all in perspective whatever that might be.
Truth is I can see her point of view. She is not affected like me as she is the bio parent and her day to day life is raising two small kids, shuttling them off via the NYC mass transit system to school, classes, playdates and general household stuff etc. She really does not have the time to stop and focus or obsess on these issues. In her mind we used DI to get around infertility, it worked, we have two kids growing up in NYC so lets stay on that plan and continue to raise them and ourselves.
This all got me thinking whether as time goes by, does the bio parent generally forget about these issues and only the social parent continues to revisit them from time to time? Again this blog forces me to not just forget this stuff but to dwell on it perhaps unnaturally.
To be honest when I look at my kids I don't see neon DI signs on their forheads I just see them. Truth is we signed on to be parents and we got that but occasionally we have to remember the other stuff and prepare to address it when the times come that it will be raised by them. And I know my wife will be with me when the kids realize what this all means.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Last night's CBS 60 Minutes piece revisits or really re-ran its March 19, 2006 piece about Donor Siblings first focusing on the offspring of Donor 48QAH and then also Wendy and Ryan Kramer's Donor Sibling Registry.
My initial thoughts abouts about the segment can be found via link one and the link I previously provided to the original transcript of the segment can be found at link two.
At the conclusion of the segment Steve Kroft updated the viewer as to the number of 48QAH donor siblings found and that Dr. Matthew Niedner and his wife had since had their own little girl. For more about 48QAH there was a very nice USA Today article that ran the same day, June 14, 2006 (Father's Day weekend) as the their DI Dads article .
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I am not making up the following plot line for a new comedy sitcome to be I guess broadcast on You tube.
Excerpts per the website Chortle (linked above):
"The plot concerns a brother and sister – played by comics Neil Edmond and Emma Fryer - who discover that their father was a prolific sperm donor and travel through Europe in search of their many siblings."
"The comedy, called Where are the Joneses?, features a five-minute episode every day, over a 12-week run."
"Viewers can then suggest scripts, plots or new characters for the show, which Baby Cow writers will incorporate into the story."
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
The following was written and submitted to the NY Times as an Op Ed piece but was not published......
With Father's Day on the horizon my thoughts stray to the man whose gift allowed my children to come into being. This man is not the doctor or mid wife that delivered them. This man is their sperm donor. My children were conceived via Donor Insemination.
Without this man's gift, these children would never have come into being and into my and my wife's life. I am occasionally asked if I resent that this man could do what I could not. I can comfortably say I do not. On the contrary I want to thank him.
When I was diagnosed with non-obstructive azoospermia 12 years ago I was told that I should expect to never have children of my own. The fact that my children are not biologically linked to me has never lessened my love for them nor my belief that they are indeed my children. At the same time I am cognizant that there is another man whose role cannot be nor should be minimized.
To me he is and is not simply their donor. For now to my children he is in effect non-existent as they don't fully understand the concept of donor insemination. They have been told of their conception story and that a donor was used but this is still too much for them to truly comprehend as they are both less than six years old. Someday soon this will change and I wonder how that will play out. For now the knowledge of his existence rests with my wife and me and as I see it I have a responsibility to not let the truth of him fade away.
The lives of my children are as much connected to him as they are to me. I do not pretend to argue nurture is greater than nature but rather together play a role in these children's lives. I have his bios, medical, social, and educational. I have a toddler picture of him and a recording of his voice. All of this info is being saved for them as it is part of who they are.
Everyday I see articles addressing infertility and the use of donor conception from the side of the couples going through infertility, women choosing single motherhood, or lesbian or gay couples looking to start families. There are court cases around the country redefining what is family and who has the right to be legally defined as a parent or not. Under New York State law I am considered the legal father to my children. But despite that fact I know that someday my children will wonder about the man that is one half of their genetic make up.
Most heterosexual families of donor conceived children choose to never tell their children of the conception story fearing the child will turn against the social parent or for fear or shame of the perceived stigmas of using another person’s sperm or eggs to create their children. In my opinion these parents do so for their own reasons and not for the benefit of the children who have a right to the truth. I recently contributed an essay to a book series titled “Voices of Donor Conception” and have been increasingly involved in the discussions of these topics on the Internet.
The central issues surrounding donor conception, including donor anonymity, regulation and reform, have been or are being addressed in several countries around the world including Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada among others. The United States has not yet entered that discussion and currently there are no federal laws directly regulating the sale of gametes [i] nor are there any regulations imposed on the administration of the various cryobanks and clinics that solicit gamete donations and sell these gametes to the public. I am in favor of reforming the practices of this industry but I am not here today for that purpose.
I no longer fear the donor’s shadow but rather acknowledge his presence and if my children ask that his contribution be honored this or on a future Father’s Day I must honor their wishes if I am half the father I believe myself to be to them. So on their behalf I wish him a Happy Father’s Day and I say to him thank you for allowing me to do the same.
[i] “Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies” The President's Council on Bioethics, Washington, D.C., March 2004, Chapter 6
Friday, June 15, 2007
David Brooks in an Op Ed column titled "The National Pastime" published by the NY Times today, June 15th, quotes a Harris Poll that " 40 percent of Americans would use genetic engineering to upgrade their children mentally and physically". His opening paragraph states:
"At this very moment thousands of people are surfing the Web looking for genetic material so their children will be nothing like me. They are looking through files at sperm bank sites with Jetson-like names such as Xytex, which have become the new eBays for offspring."
The column continues to state that at the current rate "normal" non perfect specimen humans do not stand a chance and that to keep up all of us must follow suit or our children will be left behind.
I submitted a reply that individuals like me did not go the donor route to simply improve our gene pool or our children's chances of attending Dalton here in Manhattan. If anything the normal couple choosing donor conception, at least here in the US where such choices of donor are possible, made such choices as to match our infertile selves as best as possible. If anything I stated that our donor's medical history is a tad worse than my own. [Do my children have a lawsuit against for me for such a decision? Lord I hope not but I digress.]
I am posting the full text of the column on this blog's Annex as it is only available on-line if you subscribe to Times Select. It always seems like articles like this pop up around Mother's Day or Father's Day or is it just me noticing them more around this time of year.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I was surfing YouTube this evening and came across a pair of videos posted by Caliban018 regarding his diagnosis of suffering from a Varicocele .
His first entry discussing the pain of learning of infertility reminded me of my own raw pain of learning years ago. After blogging for so long you get used to the faceless interaction as opposed to seeing a person's emotions in their face and not just through their words.
Within his second entry on the topic you learn of the varicocele diagnosis and the options and hope he and his wife have. It is within this entry he discusses those options and the possibility that he could be open to raising "another man's child" if it came to that.
We wish you well Caliban018 and will be hoping your July 2007 varicocele surgery goes well in all respects.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Published: June 12, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
June 08, 2007 12:00am
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I was reading through an issue of the free tabloid newspaper amNY and I was taken by the ad placed by the NYU Fertility Center where they were offering $8,000 as compensation for egg donors.
I know there are centers that pay more and ads that are more glossy but for some reason I was just affected by the number.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Later this month, on June 24th, a donor conception gathering is planned to take place at Florin Creek Park and Recreation Center in Sacramento, California.
Everyone is invited. Donors, donor conceived children, donor conceived adults, single mom's by choice, friends, families and any one interested in coming.
Michelle the gathering's organizer asks that interested parties let her know if they are thinking about coming, presumably to help gauge supplies etc. If anyone is interested in contributing to the event or helping out Michelle's contact info is available on the website set up for this gathering.
The site also provides directions, local lodging suggestions etc.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Tonight the American Fertility Association is holding a telephone support group titled "Parenting Donor Gamete Children (Donor Sperm, Donor Egg, Donor Embryo). The Disclosure Issue: If, What, When, and How."
It was an advance registration group and before being enrolled the moderators asked a series of questions to get a feel where everybody is at regarding whether the participants even have kids yet, how they were conceived, whether other biologicaly connected children are in the household, and if we had any thoughts or basic concerns regarding disclosure.
I am interested to see what the general consensus of the group is on all levels and also curious to see how the group is run. I have never participated in a telephone group before and to date I have only seen the AFA run Ovum Donor seminars as opposed to any involving donor insemination.
I will post how it all went either later tonight or over the next couple of days.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
In October 2005, I attended a conference held in Toronto regarding the future of donor conception where I met Mikki Morrissette, the author of Choosing Single Motherhood and also the editor of Voices of Donor Conception. Earlier this week Mikki attended a second conference held in Nanaimo, Canada at Malaspina University - College regarding the Reproductive Technologies. The conference was titled Nobody's Child Everyone's Children.
Mikki's reflections on the conference as they relate to the fact that here in the United States no such national discussion has begun can be found at her blog Choice Mom.
The conference agenda looked quite extensive and I would have loved to go but finances, work, and other responsibilities kept that idea from being anything more than that. If anyone finds any other commentary as it relates to this conferebce please let me know.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The ASA released today the results of a study undertaken by Rene Almeling, a UCLA Ph.D. candidate in sociology, where Ms. Almeling reviewed the operations of US sperm banks and egg agencies. The following are excerpts of the study's summary linked through this posts' title.
“Men donors are paid less for a much longer time commitment and a great deal of personal inconvenience,” she said. “They also are much less prepared for the emotional consequences of serving as a donor of reproductive material. Women, meanwhile, are not only paid more for a much shorter time commitment, they are repeatedly thanked for ‘giving the gift of life.’
“From compensation rates to the smallest details of donor relations, sperm donors are less valued than egg donors,” Almeling said. “Egg donors are treated like gold, while sperm donors are perceived as a dime a dozen.”
“A pronounced double-standard exists in the way that men and women donors are valued by the fertility industry, and it can’t be explained medically or by market forces,” Almeling said. “Based on the availability of donors alone, you would expect the abundance of potential egg donors to drive down compensation fees and the scarcity of potential sperm donors to drive up their fees. But I found just the opposite."
I found Ms. Almeling's comments and conclusions interesting as my expectations were very often the opposite of hers. While I do think sperm donors go through a longer comittment period it seems to me that egg donors are subjected to the greater inconveniences of being subjected to actual medical procedures, taking drugs that could affect their own reproductive systems down the road as compared to the men who very often are just “get[ting] paid to do what you [they] already do.” Yes I understand because men are comitted to a longer relationship to their banks they are in effect agreeing to affect their own social lives due to required "abstinences" between "donations".
I am not trying to discount the contribution of the sperm donors as I am greatful for the eventual creation of my own children but I am just surprised by the researcher's own surprise at the results of h er own study.
Monday, May 21, 2007
The Times Online ran a story on May 18th, linked here, reporting that parents will get to decide whether to tell their children that a sperm donor was used in their conception.
This conclusion is based on the UK Department of Health not including in its draft Human Tissue & Embryos Bill a provision requiring birth certificates to indicate if a child is donor gamete conceived.
The British Association of Adopting and Fostering ("BAAF")had as recently as May 17th called "for amendments to the draft Human Tissues and Embryos Bill to ensure donor-conceived children have access to fundamental information about their identity" via notation on each donor conceived child's birth certificate.
While anyone who reads this blog knows I am favor of openess / disclosure to a DCP of their origin I must admit I am not sure where to come down on the issue of a notation on a individual's birth certificate.
Where I fully understand the purpose of what BAAF is calling for as it would compel a parent to tell, I am concerned that such a mark would lead to secondary status. I would never want my child to be envious of a star belly sneetch or feel they are one and believe it to be mark of unequality. Sorry too much Dr. Seuss in our house this week. I have always been leery of government intruding on privacy issues and this idea scares me.
I also am not sure it is the place of the government to compel parents period. Yes I understand to not tell in effect violates the DCP's right to their own history etc. I also realize it is naive of me to expect all parents to automatically plan to tell but again I have issues with privacy and perceived government intrusion. Hard questions.
OK, this article, online at the Guardian Unlimited, got me. I admit it, my eyes welled up, and I almost cried. I am a sucker for this kid of story. The article, linked through the blog title above, introduces the reader to an egg donor whose eggs resulted in triplets being born to a couple living in San Francisco, CA. In what is certainly a rare occurence, the egg donor meets her genetic children and their birth parents and ends up participating, unplanned on her part, in the children's baptism. You feel the donor's emotions and when you hear the priest's words you feel the raw emotion.
I am not sure how I will internally react when my kids truly understand and ask about their donor. I don't think I could ever had thought to include the donor in the brith milah ceremony (Jewish circumcision) where my son entered into his covenant with g-d. Perhaps my thoughts would have been different if it was a known donor, but still that level of involvement may have been too much. But when I read this article I was moved by the acts of each of these individuals, the birth parents and the donor and I pray these children will process this all with the love and altrusim of the parties involved. I suspect they will. G-d I hope my own kids do someday.
Beneath the article there is a note that this story is one of several captured in the book Everthing Conceivable by Liza Mundy.