Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oct 4 Symposium: Putting Ethics At The Core Of Gamete Donation Practice

On Octiber 4, 2008, the Canadian group Infertility Network is sponsoring, in Toronto, an all day seminar titled "Getting it Right - Putting Ethics At The Core Of Gamete Donation Practice". I am attending both as a parent personally and as one of a few parents who will speak about our experiences.

When I was last at a Infertility Network symposium the number of attendees was about even with invited presenters. I encourage anyone who lives nearby to attend as the list of speakers / presenters is quite good. I am concerned as to what I can say as I have spoken my mind on most issues in print and on-line and I am unsure what I can bring to the seminar that is different. Like last time the presence of a DI Dad is an anomaly and interesting one to most people.

As far as speaking on the general topic about ethics, do I feel it was unethical to create two lives separating them from their genetic past?

The attorney in me wants to ask how could it have been unethical if I had no intent to be unethical and did not see the issue from that position when we made the decision to use DI. Grammatically I am not sure I worded that correctly but my point is like many infertile coupdles we were dealing with ourselves first and did not look at the issue from the perspective of the life (lives) we were creating. So perhaps then the answer is we were unethical as igmorance of a moral issue is probably no excuse.

Now that we are past ther act of creation, right or wrong, the next question is are we ethically raising these children in light of their conception story? I believe we are. We decided long ago that we were telling them their storiesas early as we could so we can build upon the story and fill in what blanks we can as time goes on. For us the only ethical issue left to us was solved when we decided to tell and te reaization that the children's interests are greater than ours in this respect.

More later.


annacyclopedia said...

Thanks for posting this - I live in Canada but unfortunately nowhere near Toronto. I didn't know about the Infertility Network, though, and my quick glance at that page revealed some good sources of information and food for thought.

I agree with you that there is an aspect of "doing the best we can" with DI. I have often struggled with questions around whether pursuing DI is ethical, and tend to resolve it in a similar way as you, i.e. that we plan to tell any children we might be lucky enough to have about their origins from the very beginning and go from there. I guess part of me feels it can be harmful - mostly because of reading stories from donor-conceived people who must live without any access to information about their genetic heritage. But at the same time, I do think that everyone has issues - I just happen to know what some of my children's will be. And because I wouldn't pursue DI without using an open ID donor, I hope that some of those problems will be mitigated to some extent.

Anyway, I always appreciate your thoughts and insights. Thanks again for posting this link.

Bea said...

Wow - it's all different in here.

Love your thoughts, as always, though. Will be waiting to hear more. I agree that ignorance is only a limited excuse, in that you can be forgiven for not knowing, but perhaps not for deliberately avoiding the issue altogether, which might sound rich coming from someone like me, but that's my 2c for what it's worth.

Anyway, for that reason, it's great that these issues are being discussed publicly, so people can be informed and take all sides into account when they weigh the issues. You're doing a great job!