Monday, October 20, 2008

Teenage Donor Conception Literature - Fiction

Over the next few weeks I plan on reading each of the below fictional donor conception / insemination books. I am debating whether I will be leaving the dust jackets at home as my fellow subway / bus riders will no doubt wonder what a 40 something man is reading what are obviously books aimed at teenagers and teenage girls at that.

I posted the synopsis for each book on the DI Dads Yahoo group and one of the initial reactions was that neither synopsis mentions anything about a social father who raises and wants the child while the first book seems to indicate that the Choice Mom later married and bore children with her fertile husband prompting a discussion about real men and a call for a book featuring a DI Dad.

After I finish each I will post a review and my comments. I admit I will be reading each wondering what my own kids would be thinking if they were the reader much less my own reactions.

My So Called Family
by Courtney Sheinmel

Pub. Date: October 2008
ISBN-13: 9781416957850
Age Range: 9 to 12

Synopsis per Barnes & Noble:

"Leah Hoffman-Ross just moved to New York and she wants her new friends to think she's a typical thirteen-year-old. But Leah has a secret: She doesn't have a father; she has a donor. Before Leah was born, her mother went to Lyon's Reproductive Services and picked Donor 730. Now Leah has a stepfather and a little brother, and her mom thinks that they should be all the family Leah needs.

Despite her attempts to fit in and be normal, Leah can't help but feel like something is missing. When she finds the link to the Lyon's Sibling Registry, Leah has to see if she has any half siblings. And when she discovers that one of the other kids from Donor 730 is a girl her age, Leah will do anything to meet her -- even if she has to hide it from everybody else."

The Other Half of Me
by Emily Franklin

Pub. Date: September 2007
ISBN-13: 9780385904490
Age Range: Young Adult

Synopsis per Barnes & Noble”

“Jenny Fitzgerald has been outside the huddle, trying to fit in to her sports-obsessed family. The only time she knows the score is when she's holding an egg-carton palette and painting on a canvas, but even then she feels as though something is missing.

Unlike her three younger siblings, Jenny knows her biological father only as Donor #142.

As Jenny's 16th summer draws to a close, she feels more alienated than ever. But then a chance meeting with gorgeous ├╝ber-jock Tate leads Jenny to reach out to someone else who might know exactly how she feels. With Tate by her side, Jenny searches for a genetic relative in the Donor Sibling Registry and discovers that she has a half sister, Alexa. Jenny hopes their budding relationship will fill the gaps in her life, but when Alexa shows up on her doorstep for a surprise visit, the changes in Jenny's world are much bigger than she could ever have imagined.”


. said...

Please see the link >

Vinnie said...

This "need for a father" guy has been here before, and it is his mantra that all donor conceived children are unhappy and wish they had never been born; his link sends you to a site advocating banning donor conception altogether (I think maybe adoption, too, but I stopped reading once I realized it was not meant to be a place for reasonable discussion). I think the more practical and useful solution is to talk about the problems and triumphs experienced by the donor conceived and their parents. Um, kind of like here and on the DSR. Then the triumphs can be celebrated and the problems addressed, kind of like how humans have to address other human problems that have nothing to do with donor issues. Any time some extremist decides that all people who don't do what he dictates are completely wrong and must be stopped, I suggest suspecting that perhaps the one trying to control everyone else is the one who is wrong.

I know, Eric will say don't let these crazies bother you, but the guy I'm responding to here doesn't allow responses on his own blog, and I need to vent. So sue me.

Unknown said...

Okay, Vinnie, I'm gonna jump in with you here. I used to be on the DSR Yahoo group and at least one other DI kiddo group. I withdrew in bitterness and anger after someone likened me to the Nazis exterminating Jews because, get this, I think it's neat that my genetic makeup was not left to chance or the vagaries of emotion, but rather that my donor gamete was selectively chosen to create a smarter, bigger child than my parents would normally have had. (Dad's 5'8", Mom is 5'2", I'm 6'1") In other words, I was likened to a genocide because I *register false shock* ENJOY being donor-conceived.

Now, let's go further with the idea. There are members of my "minority" whom, get this, advocate our extermination. With no more Donor Conception, we would be wiped out in a generation. We're not even really talking about extermination, though. Some of us wish we were never BORN. There are people that, given the power, would have forced my parents to NOT have me.

It offends my sensibilities, Vinnie, and it seems like it offends yours as well. If so, good, I'm glad you don't subscribe to that bullshit.

Speaking of triumphs: My donor never met my mother. He managed to get her pregnant long distance. I've always thought that was pretty amazing and a lot better than the alternative.

Vinnie said...

Hear, hear to all that Ryan said. I had cancer as a kid (in fact, that's why I'm infertile), and it sucked, but no one is stupid enough to ask me if I wish I'd never been born, or if I wish I'd let it kill me rather than be treated and suffer some ill effects like infertility. I don't see how donor conception, which is not even a disease, should give rise to such broadsweeping suggestions about universal angst and banning the whole thing. Also, I suppose people are worried about a "Gattaca-esque" world where we design our children's abilities to meet their planned role in society -- make smart ones to do hard stuff, and make the ones who are gonna get forced to do boring stuff too stupid to care. Sure we chose a donor whose description made him seem intelligent, healthy, and well adjusted (and also, I'll admit, in fairly close range to my physical description, although it turned out he looks nothing like me anyway). But that was just to give the baby good odds on a future that is not at all planned. What my son will do with what he was born with remains to be seen. Plus, soon people will be able to do the Gattaca thing with their own bio kids, so it won't be a DC issue. And really, I ask you who are DC, would you truly rather not have been born, or are you really wishing that you were born to bio parents? Because no one faults you for wondering about the missing link, but don't kid yourself -- it's not like there was an option to be you as you are now, but raised by both bio parents, and your mean selfish social parents ruined it for you. The alternative was just to have no you at all. Do you think the answer is to abolish a solution for infertility (from the parents' point of view), and thereby erase the existence of a class of people who'd have no chance to come into existence in any other way (from the child's point of view)? Wouldn't a better answer be to get rid of donor anonymity?

. said...

ok ok but the need for a father? also gives this link for you for resposes >

. said...

I think you may like to see this too as things with ivf and ivf scientists are rather v dicey >