Monday, July 20, 2009

Online Survey of Attitudes to Open Identity DC

An online survey is being conducted in association with the Concept Fertility Centre Perth and The University of Western Australia, to gather stake-holders (offspring, donors, recipient parents) views on open-identity donor conception. Currently there has been a good response from the latter two but they still need more information from the perspective of donor conceived person. The results will be presented at the Fertility Society of Australia's Conference in Perth in October 2009. So if you are an Australian donor conceived person (or even a donor or recipient parent as the more data the better) and haven't taken the survey please consider doing so. The results are extremely important in getting an idea of the perception of donor conception within Australia. The link to the study is:

http://www.openidentity.com.au/survey.html

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

All I Donated Was A Little Bit Of Genetic Material

The above quote and similar ones are statements that I often see made by egg and sperm donors/vendors to trivialise their input into the creation of child. This trivialisation is a vital component of their own psyche when dealing with their “donation” as the converse realisation is that they have given their own child away or even sold them as the case may be, which would then have the possibility to lead to deep psychological trauma. While it may very well be genetic material or a little piece of DNA, it is also known as selfish DNA and DNA that comes with strings attached.
But let us look more closely at this gift and the nature of gametes. Gametes contain half of the genetic information of its progenitor. This information governs your physiological features, it controls to a large extent your health and longevity, it also has a very strong component in influencing your behaviour and as strange as it may seem interests. So just from this we can see that a huge component of our lives is directly influenced by our father and our mother irrespective of who raises us. These are strings that connect us to our progenitors whether we like it or not.
We reproduce to transfer our own DNA into the next generation - to continue our line. And while many will procreate for the joy that it may bring which is the humanisation of having a child/family, it is resource expensive to do so. It uses up an incredible amount of time, money and effort to raise one child and is contrary to being a selfish individual that is only concerned with their own wealth (monetary, time etc). It is actually our DNA that is being selfish. The only way that it can continue to exist is for it to continue into following generations.
I have heard of many people state that it is a biological imperative for them to have children. Actually it is not, because their lives from a health and monetary perspective, is adversely affected by having children – they are a strain (a rather enjoyable strain at that). It is however, a biological imperative for their own selfish DNA that they procreate and pass on their genes.
What make us human as opposed to just animals is our complex family structures, our behaviours, feelings, culture and heritage. These family structures have, ever since man began (whether you believe in creation or evolution), been composed primarily of blood relations. Our culture and our heritage are birth rights that can only be transferred by those of blood, through our genes, through our paternity and maternity.
In essence it is not just a little piece of genetic material that has been transferred to a commissioning couple, it is anything but. It encodes and transfers to the next generation many of the features that make us human. This transference contains an undeniable and very significant link to the person it is derived from.