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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The meaning of the term Donated Generation

This blog introduces the term Donated Generation, but why have I used it?
If we are to look at other groups of disenfranchised people that have had their kinship forcibly severed through institutionalised means, we have the Stolen Generation (of Australian Aboriginal children), the Forgotten Generation (of Australian children taken as wards of the state) and we also have a generation of children who were Child Migrants from WWII and who were not orphaned but taken from their families. Some of these forced separations went on for several decades, however these kinship separations have all stopped within a given time frame, leading to the term “generation” being used. Similarly in donor conception, a child is forcibly severed from biological bonds of kinship. The current ethos prevailing around a large proportion of the world (notable exception is the USA), is that it is acknowledged that knowledge of the donor/progenitor is important to the welfare of the child and that now at least these offspring will have access to identifying information once they reach maturity such that these bonds can potentially be partially, but never completely re-established (and that is best case scenario).
For those conceived prior to such changes in the paradigm, they may forever be left in limbo and forever separated from their kin due to poor record keeping, destruction of records or a maintenance of anonymity. As donor conception became mainstream in the 60’s and 70’s, and changes allowing access to identifying information starting appearing in the 90’s and much later as a whole, we have created a generation of donor offspring that will never know their true biological parentage and heritage. We have a generation of people who have been donated away by one or both biological parents.
The term “Donated” in this context, while I feel that it is an oxymoron, as in all instances there has been an exchange of money for the gametes and therefore does not classify strictly as a donation and would be better coined as vendor donation. It is the term that is widely used to describe this form of conception and is enshrined in literature, popular media and our society, therefore the term has been carried on here.
Yes there will always be children conceived through donor conception, however, it is sincerely hoped that current and future offspring will have far greater rights in regards to knowing their kinship. While the effects of forced separation will carry over into future generations as an indirect effect and can never be erased or ameliorated, the numbers of those that are directly affected by such barbaric practices of anonymity will diminish.

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