Sunday, September 23, 2018

Reactions to Jarring Experiences Linked Article

The article I linked to a few days ago (and below) had me thinking about the many different ways individuals are now learning they are donor conceived or where individuals are discovering that their biological fathers donated sperm years earlier resulting in half siblings they would never have considered to exist.  It also made me think about terminology and relationships between those interviewed and their donors and the parents that raised them.

Tomorrow, Monday, I will pick up from the post office the 23andMe kit my daughter requested I purchase for her.  Her brother and she had previously used the Ancestry dot com kit with their mom.  But Z wanted to now use the same kit / service that their only known half sibling sister had used.  So far their half sister's kit has produced no additional half siblings.  But we want to at least see if the 23andMe database links them together as we expect it should.

The truth is we know of at least one additional half sibling out there.  As I have written in the past the donor did report to the cryobank that he had a biological daughter directly presumably through a marriage.  If this child now pre-teen or teen ever submits her own kit looking to learn about her own genetic make up or ancestry she we would expect would also be linked as a 50% sibling to our sibling group.

I wonder how the donor will react to his child asking to purchase such a kit.  He must follow and see in the news that these genetic kits have resulted in breaking the promise of anonymity.  Will he let his child or children use such kits. Certainly when there are adults he will not be able to control such decisions.  Imagine years from now his daughter with her own children submitting a kit and learning as an adult that she is connected to this group.

There was an argument the other day on the DSR Facebook group about respecting donor anonymity.  By  purchasing the 23andMe kit am I walking down the slippery slope of breaking my legal agreement to respect the anonymity of my children's donor?  Probably, but they did not sign such an agreement.

Getting back to the article. 

There are several stages non bio or social parents go through once they have donor conceived kids.  One such stage or fear is that once the donor is found that he or she will replace the non bio parent in some form in the mind and heart of our child.  Selfishly I admit smiling when Amy who is described in the article beginning states that she does not think of her donor as her dad even though he is obviously her biological father. At least one other individual interviewed viewed the parent that raised them as their dad.  Again one for my side.  As with many issues, terminology becomes important to how you process information.

Amy like my kids did not find out via a fight or my deathbed.  They like her have always known.  But unlike her they don't have the right to initiate contact through their cryobank.  In that they are unlucky and I worry whether this causes them pain, spoken or unspoken. This is my greatest fear.  My own pain or discomfort are truly secondary but none the less also real.

The article also discussed validation.  Validation from the donor recognizing and acknowledging the donor conceived individual And self validation where an individual always felt there was a disconnect from the family or parent that raised them.  Not necessarily in a negative way but just that something felt different or did not match up.  Perhaps personality wise, or hair color, or for whatever reason.   My own daughter, granted she is sometimes a pain the rear end  teen, feels I am a complete nerd and she being so cool it is obvious we are not blood relations.

I think the sections of the article that I found the most painful were the interviews that detailed the secrecy where individuals were not told and it was clear that there was no plan or even intent to ever tell.  These stories were filled with pain and even betrayal.  I and my ex-wife never wanted to cause such pain and its one of the primary reasons we told our kids early.  We have not gone out of our way to tell everyone in the world as it the children's story. Although this blog sort of blows that goal out of the water.

There is truly so much more I can react to in the article but I think I need to stop for now.  Please read the article and let me know your reactions.

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