Sunday, July 23, 2006

Gratitude and Anger?????

Gratitude and Anger?????

I've read numerous communications between those of the Donated Generation and those that would appear to be proponents of donated gametes (whether that be recipients, donors, wanna be eithers or just people with an opinion). Many of the arguements against donor conceived people and their quest for the truth about their origins and family history seem to be focussed on the offspring having to be grateful for their existence and that their anger over the removal of their biological ties is ill conceived and that it only causes harm to their parents and other couples seeking to have a family of their own.
For myself being a scientist I have tried to take a scientific look at all the arguements for and against donor conception from a non-biased perspective even though this would appear impossible given that I am one. Given the fact that I used to support donor anonymity until I had my own children may perhaps show that I have been able to look at both sides fully.
The notion that we are ungratefull for our existence is a bizarre notion in that even though donor conception is the reason we are how we are, it should have no bearing on our ability to have thoughts and feelings on the circumstances and results of the practice. It is an easy arguement to make for those who do not wish to think too deeply about all the issues involved. These people are asking us to accept a life debt for our existence when no-one else is burdened with such a debt. So don't say we are ungratefull as this should never enter into it.
The anger that we often express is rarely directed at certain individuals but rather the practice and the outcomes which were clearly overlooked in the pursuit of altruism and the desire or need to have offspring. While I can clearly understand the desire to have ones own children being a father myself, many seem to believe that it is a right of which it should never be. If donors or recipients do not like what many of us are expressing then perhaps they should look at what they are doing more closely. If there are increasing numbers of people saying that there is something wrong with the practice then perhaps maybe there IS something wrong with the practice. I apolgise if this steps on peoples dreams of altruism and family bliss, but don't let your own perspective blind you to the perspective of those that should really know - the offspring. We are not doing this for some sort of perverted fun but because we have had our basic human rights violated.
I grew up in a loving family. I have no grudge against my parents. I can understand why they did it, even though I'm extremely dissatisfied with what has been deprived of my personna and that of my own children. My mother (my father is deceased) understands why I am searching for my donor and my quest for the truth, and is fully supportive of it. I loved the father that raised me just as much as I could have loved my genetic father, but this love and relaitionship has absolutely no impact on the desire to find out who my donor is.
It would appear that those that state we are ungratefull for our existence are unable to come up with any logical arguement for why donor conception practices should continually deny a person (not just a child) their true identity, family connections and heritage.

5 comments:

katty said...

*Hello. Welcome to Blogland. Please can I ask you a question (one I asked another donor conception blogger recently). Do you find the fact of anonymous donors problematic? Or do you find the entire practice of DI problematic, even when it is with an open donor (that is one who will in time reveal themselves to the child)? Do you think 'commercial' DI - or DE for that matter - should be allowed under any circumstances?
*I do agree that desire for children can blind one to the truth.
*I can't imagine anyone would think you, as a donor conceived person should simply be grateful to be alive. Everyone surely has the right to know where they come from - or at least, it seems a terrible thing to knowingly strip from a child at birth. This is also tied in with the commercialisation of the reproductive health industry, particulary in the US, which has perhaps helped present DI/DE as morally unambigous - which it is not.
*I realise you may find my response contradictory or confusing. That is because it is.

damianhadams said...

Hi Katty,

I have been told to just be gratefull by people in the past and I know of others who have received this comment also.
I am completely against anonymous donors.
As for known donor conception being problematic, yes it is. But to say that it shouldn't be allowed under any circumstances is tough as I genuinely do feel for these infertile couples. But given the problems that a lot of donor conceived offspring are experiencing then perhaps this method of treatment is not one that should be considered. Even though the donor may be known to the offspring in time it still removes them from the raising of the child. I find it difficult to reconcile this thought, having kids of my own. I also could not bear that they could ever grow up not knowing their siblings also, as I have had to do. The compassionate person in me would like to think that known donors could be used but the donor offspring and father in me see it as being too fraught with problems so I'll have to go with the latter.
I am completely opposed to commercial donor conception. People are getting incredibly rich treating the desperate and needy and leaving a trail of destruction behind them which includes psychological/emotional and human rights problems to offspring, emotional problems for the infertile individual in the couple, financial problems for the couple, as well as physical problems for egg donors who can become infertile or even have their lives put in danger by overstimulation of their ovaries. Lives are not commodities to be traded and bought.

Kind Regards
Damian.

katty said...

Hello Damian,
Thanks for your answer.
Obviously, I worry about this a lot. One of the reasons I was able to go ahead with DI is because I talked to a donor conceived woman and asked her what her views are, and whether she thought, as child of DI, I shouldn't do it. She actually urged me to go ahead. She said her only regret was that at the time of her conception there were no known donors in the UK, so she did not have any way of tracing her biological father (it would never occur to me to use an unknown donor). Also I watched a video issued by the donor conception network in the UK with the views of donor conceived young adults. They were reassuring in a different way, but I do remember one man, who I thought seemed conflicted, but was not voicing it. I wondered if it would be a problem for him in later life.
But the concerns and anger you have are the concerns I would have. And actually you are right about the gratitude, because when I started this process someone said to me (to reassure me) 'it's better to be born than not to be born' which is sort of the same thing (but not quite) - and also doesn't address the real issue: which is, is it right to design a method of conception which denies a child the right to its biological history? And sense of genetic belonging?
Egg donors are even more confusing, I find, because they are often paid so much money, and thus attract the vulnerable and the poor.
I do believe in the importance of biological connection and genetics, hugely. And yet at the same time, perhaps there is a part of me that believes (or hopes?) that it is not everything...
Are you against 'single mothers by choice' - that is the concept of women who knowingly choose to be a single mother - either by donor conception or through other means (perhaps a friend acting as a donor? or a one night stand or whatever). I wonder this from what you wrote? I don't have a problem with this. I don't think it's a particulary wonderful lifestyle choice, there are better (like being in a happy couple) but I don't think it is a terrible one either. I'd be interested to hear your views.
K.

damianhadams said...

Hi Katty,

I for one really appreciate the fact that you are looking into the issues that may effect your child/children. And I say may because not all people go through the same issues. Some people will be quite happy with it while others wont and many may change their views as they grow older. Mine changed in my late 20's and particularly after having my own kids. Tell yours early, reaffirm it throughout their life (you don't have to harp on it - but it may be easy for them to forget), and support them in whatever course they choose to follow (ie to know the father or not). Obtain whatever information you can now in case you cannot do so later.
Personally I don't think many people put enough emphasis on genetics and the biological connection and the need for this. But also, I loved the father who raised me just as much as I could have my biological father - I just wish he was one and the same.
I understand the arguement that some will raise that some kids are born out of wedlock, from one night stands, early divorce etc etc and these may have severed biological connections as well which is equally tragic. The key difference is the intent with DC specifically set-up to deprive the child of this. And in the other instances the child and mother always have recourse with the father if he can be located.
There are some fantastic single mothers and to be quite honest I don't know how they do it. I have my hands full looking after ours and we are a tag-team. But I must say that I am dissapointed for the child as they do not have the father figure in their life. Sure they may grow up to be well adjusted people but I feel their lives will not be as 'rich' as a result and it may have had some adverse effects that may not be readily visible. It would be difficult for these children to say whether or not they are missing something as they will not have anything to compare it to (you don't get to try out your life with a father and without and then get to choose). Do I think these children would be better off with a loving father as well as a loving mother - without a doubt.
I think for single mothers to willingly choose an anonymous donor or one night stand with the pure intention of removing the genetic connection to a father as being wrong and to be quite blunt - selfish.

Joy said...

I have read some of those comments, that people created for others are supposed to be grateful for the supremely selfish act of the adults.

It is amazing that the same children that they claim want, need , can't live without, have no right to interfere with the adults dream--like shut-up darling, you are just a prop