Sunday, January 19, 2014

Family History and Genetic Kinship

I am meeting today second cousins I have never met before. Over the years I have always been involved with my family's genealogy and history. Facts that some folks here on the Internet have used to chastise me for my use of donor conception to conceive my children. The statements made have centered on the fact that by using DI we intentionally cut our children off from their genetic past and heritage. 

During the years we, my now ex-wife, and I were trying to conceive either via traditional IVF or via DC, I was always involved in various family history projects. My work has been used by numerous young relatives passing it off as their own school family history research. 

It certainly was never our emotional intent to create these genetic and heritage disconnects when using donor insemination. No parent who used DC intentionally did this with any type of malice but in plain truth it is the effect.

My kids know my family history. They know part of it is not theirs biologically. But from a heritage standpoint it is theirs. We chose a Jewish donor whose family had Eastern European roots very similar to my own. Now some religious pundits would argue we should not have used a Jewish donor due to some finer points of Jewish Halacha law but we wanted these connections. Medically the donor's family bio was about the same as mine as well so there was no genetic improvement there as well. No eugenics here. 

The point is where the kids will likely never know the donor's parents' names it is likely the experiences of my family heritage wise probably doesn't differ too much from the actual donor's family. The bio Great Grandma and Great Grandpa probably came over in steerage just as mine did, traveling from similar shtetls to America. Yes, there is still a very real and true disconnect that resulted and the kinship percentages reflected in the above chart which would drop to zero for most boxes. Perhaps my continuing research may cause some angst to my children regarding their not knowing their biological cousins and that family but perhaps the kids can look at these second cousins once removed and say they probably just like my own, guess I'll keep them. 

1 comment:

marilynn said...

Eric its not that you and your family are of no value or importance to them in their lives. You want them to think your family is important and wish they'll want to keep them; it's not that much of a mental leap to think they might have wanted you to think their family was important and want to keep them as well.