Saturday, June 30, 2007

Donor Does Not Equal Daddy T-Shirt

no. 397

















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.

12 comments:

Somewhat Ordinary said...

It stung me as well! I'm trying hard to help my husband overcome certain emotions that come with using a donor no matter how 1005 ready you are for it and if he saw this shirt I'm sure it would sting him as well.

Anita said...

Ouch!

For a while I would pop into Whose's Daughter's site to gain some perspective on how a donor conceived child may feel. I had to stop going because I could not read the bitterness any more. It hurt me to think that our son may have these same feelings one day. I'm praying he doesn't.

Rachel Inbar said...

I think that the way the t-shirt is laid out and the word father is emphasized gives the father some sort of significance beyond what it is in the case of donor insemination.

It may also just be annoying that anyone would even want to invest the effort in wearing a t-shirt to say anything about their donor. It seems like a slap in the face to the parents who loved and raised the child from birth.

Ryan said...

I type this in response to the shirt's message, and I want Anita and Eric to know the response. That response follows:

What? WHAT?! I was manufactured 28 years ago in a doctor's office. As an artificially conceived offspring I have weathered: my parent's divorce, the unveiling of my origins, the death of my grandparents, getting kicked out of college and my eventual estrangement from my mother. Through it all, the only person that has stood beside me to get me through has been my father, my daddy, my dad who I am not genetically related to.

Who do these ungrateful little DI brats think they are that they can shove aside our fathers' roles in our lives and instead whine incessantly about their donor who doesn't know them, doesn't care about them and has no claim to them? How... Argh! How self-centered can we DI kids be? If I wore that shirt it would KILL my dad! KILL HIM!

I hate it when one of "my people" begins making blanket statements about "social fathers" and "genetic fathers". Bah! You have a father (unless your mother is single and decided to have you) and you have a donor. The one is who you owe loyalty to, the other was merely a source of genes that has been paid for his time.

*sigh* Sorry to explode on your blog, Eric, but I'm tired of my fellow donor-conceived offspring whining ALL the time about their "fathers".

donorconceived said...

I think you are misunderstanding the nature of this post on my blog (regarding the t-shirt). I'd NEVER actually wear a t-shirt like this. It does not even exist (except in cyber-land). I certainly wouldn't SELL something like this to make a political statement. THAT would be extremely tacky. But this shirt by Family Evolutions does exist, is being sold and advertised/modeled on a child announcing that he doesn't have a dad, as if his biological father should have no meaning to him. My immediate reaction to it is anger because for me and many others our biological/genetic fathers/family DO matter. I do not think that this is empowering, I think it only serves to disenfranshise any feelings he might have about it in the future.


No one could replace my dad or my step-father or my grandfathers or my father-by-marriage or my uncles or any man, woman or child who I care about/have a relationship with. The point is my biological father and extended bio/genetic family matter to me and my growing family.

My feelings and experiences are very different than yours Ryan. I don't think that my POV is more right than yours. But neither can you negate mine or anyone elses. I wrote a bit about it in the Voices of Donor Conception: Moving Beyond Secrecy and Shame book...but I only scratched the surface. It is all very subjective anyway.

Ryan said...

Well, I look at the shirt (which is poorly worded anyway) and see a two-fold statement. "My donor isn't my dad, but he IS my father."

Bullshit. A donor is a donor, end of story. Now, I say we donor conceived have a reason to know at least passing information about our donors, medical history, physical dimensions, ethnicity, that sort of thing. That's the extent of it, though. I refuse to bandy about terms like "daddy" or "social father" and will not quibble about what "father" means.

Why? Using the word "daddy" is melodramatic, meant to tug the heart-strings. It bypasses reason and goes straight to emotions. No reasonable argument relies on emotion. "Social father" is an insult to men like my father, who needed no adjective to define him last week, and doesn't need one now. Quibbling about the meaning of "father" is just ridiculous. Thousands of men have been fathers to children that they were not related to, nothing makes us donor-conceived so special that we get to redefine the term.

In other words, look at the responses above, the effect things like this shirt have on parents of DC children. If it bothers them, those that made us and gave us succor, then there's something wrong with it.

I know where my loyalty lies, it lies with those that manufactured and reared me.

donorconceived said...

Again, Ryan, that is your opinion and I do not disagree with it (for the most part) I also do not fully agree. My father(s), all of them, matter to me. I will not debate this with you here on this blog, or anywhere for that matter, because it is very, very personal for each of us and I want to be respectful of your feelings. If you really care to know more about where I am coming from, you can read a little of my story in the book that I already mentioned (which Eric contributed to as well). You will see where our feelings parallel and where they differ.

LorMar said...

Hi donorcoceived,

While Ryan's posture may appear harsh, he is making a good point, IMO. I am newly pregnant via a sperm donor. Before reaching this point, I did my homework reading about the thoughts and feelings of donor conceived adults. While I do believe that everyone has the right to know of their genetic origins (thus, I chose a donor who is willing to consider future contact), I could never understand why some donor conceived adults place so much energy in men (bio fathers) who are not interested in knowing or finding them, their genetic children. When selecting donors, I listened to some audio interviews which made it clear that they were not interested in future contact with resulting children (and I avoided them). The reality is, many donors do not want to be found. Why give them such a presence in your (speaking generically) emotions? Of course there are exceptions, but when I search the DSR, I notice the majority of posts are not from donors. None of this means that donor conceived adults should stop searching for their donors since there are some that would consider contact. It simply means we should not make donors what many of them do not want to be...dads. And this is not limited to donor conceived adults. It can also be applied to those of us (and that means me) whose biological fathers abdicated their roles in our lives (for example, after a divorce).

donorconceived said...

Lormar,
First I have to say CONGRATULATIONS! Your child is here now and you (both of you) need and deserve confirmation and support. If you do not already belong to this group I recommend this website www.choosingsinglemotherhood.com

I can not/will not get into what your child will or will not feel. I hope that the donor that you chose will be willing to anwser questions and hopefully be open to a meaningful relationship if that is what you child needs. Again, I won't debate any of this. I can only share how I feel as a donor conceived person.

Ryan (Archschnitz),
You've shared your story here on this blog on the PCVAI group. It is a very, very important story. One that I think many people can learn from. We have a difference of opinion but I fully support your sharing your perspective/feelings/opinions. Who cares if we don't agree on everything. You've lived this experience! I hope you continue to share it...another DCP has brought your internet ID up on the donor sibling discussion group. I hope that you consider joining the group and share your perspective. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/DSR>Discussion/

Ryan said...

Well, donorconceived, I'm glad you're able to put your personal bias aside and acknowledge that there are similarities in our viewpoints. That indicates a level of maturity that, in my opinion, is often lacking in discussions about this topic.

I congratulate you for that.

I'm glad to know that you wouldn't actually wear that shirt which Eric posted, you are right that such a thing would be tacky.

I won't be joining the discussion group, for a half-handful of reasons that I don't want to share here. If you're curious, you can ask me anytime at ArchSchnitz@hotmail.com but you can probably make some assumptions as to why and not be far from the truth.

DI_Dad said...

Hey folks....sorry I have been quiet but the blogspot email system does not seem to passing me the notices of all these comments as quickly as it used to.

I do appreciate the openness and honesty of both Ryan and DonorConceived. Ryan if you donot have a copy of the Voices of Donor Conception book the essay contributed by Karen aka DonorConceived is worth reading.

When I posted this post and linked it to Karen's blog I did so more in respect to my own reaction as a social / DI dad and did not expect to elicit an exchane such as that that followed. But I do think these exchanges are worthy as it shows different reactions and feeling held but unique individuals.

The DSR in association with Cambridge is conducting a survey of individuals in the DC community but unless such studies include statistically significant numbers of individuals from all aspects and views on DC they will always be skewed. We will see where this one falls when the reports are issued.

Regards to all, Eric

Ryan said...

I participated in the survey. In fact, I kept my comments from the end.