Wednesday, November 28, 2007

AFA Mtg re Donor Conception for Parents


"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

Daily Tasks: Check for Half Siblings. Done That.

One of the issues confronting a number of donor conceived individuals, like their adoptee counterparts, is the curiosity and desire to know if they have “family” or at least biological relatives out there.

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.

NY Times Blog: “Relative Choices”

NYT Relative Choices Blog banner

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

Have I done enough for now regarding my children conceived via donor insemination?

I guess it’s been about 3 months now since I have updated this blog on a daily basis. I realized today I am a member of nine yahoo groups other than the DI Dads yahoo group. When this topic took up more of my non working awake hours I would spend my time reading everything trying to learn as much as I can and see if I am missing something that would help me explain everything to my kids. Lately since I have taken a breather when I go back to these other groups I find myself partly overwhelmed and partly detached.

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

Pardon me is your child donor conceived?

As I have discussed my son has a classmate who was donor conceived. My wife and I guessed this as he has two mommies. That was an easy guess. But sometimes when you meet a mom with a child and you never hear about a dad or you know nothing of the mom's background you wonder.

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

Graham Swift's Book "Tomorrow" - Disclosure as Fodder for Fear

I have posted about the book “Tomorrow” before but after reading the NYT book review today I am concerned that the book's theme of fear only strengthens individual arguments not to tell denying young adults and all donor conceived individuals the right to the truth of who they are. It appears also to maginalize a DI Dads contribution and gives the children the right to push their social fathers away upon learning the truth.

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

Pulling Me Back In?

I am currently entrenched in a new non donor conception blog but certain factors are beginning to pull me back into the donor conception part of my world as an active participant. In reality I never really fully left as I still check in and read all the DI Dads Yahoo group posts and I follow what the main discussion lines being addressed over the DSR Yahoo groups. But I admit my heart lately has been in my new neighborhood based blog. It is just more fun for me as the topics are much lighter.

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.