Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Perpetual Assumptions


After doing numerous media interviews (TV, radio, printed press) for many years now, there are an inordinate amount of people that simply assume that if I am unhappy about my conception then I must not have been loved and that I came from a dysfunctional family. Nothing could be further from the truth. The people making these assumptions then also assume that provided the child is given love and a nurturing environment then that is all that they would ever need. Both my own experience and those of many other donated offspring would counter that assumption.
On the surface though a person could be forgiven for thinking that everything was alright with my life and superficially I would probably make a good poster boy for reproductive technologies, with a loving upbringing, excellent education, successful career, and a wonderful wife and beautiful kids. This façade hides the dark trauma that lies beneath. The loving environment of my upbringing could not and cannot replace my lost kinship, my lost identity, my lost heritage, my lack of a medical history and the dehumanisation that was my commodification.

5 comments:

WP said...

I get it. I was adopted as an infant, have a wonderful family whom I love, yet ache for connections with my biological family and history. I've speculated about the experiences of those born through donation programs or embryo adoption, and am glad there are few of you out there letting your voices be heard.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I just found your blog. I am a surrogate {well, potential surrogate right now as I am not yet pregnant.} I have read a lot of books and info about the baby's perspective and I am very sorry to hear that you do not have that connection with your surrogate mother.
Were you never given medical history of her and/or even know her?
We are going into this with eyes wide open, we are all good friends, and the baby will know me and his/her half siblings and family. We are not doing this in secrecy and this baby is wanted by everyone.
I am sorry for the trauma you have had to endure.

damianhadams said...

Anonymous,
I am not sure how much of my blog you have read but I was not carried by a surrogate. I am the product of donor sperm.
Saying that I have appeared on a TV show that discussed surrogacy to present a child of reproductive technologies perspective, so maybe the confusion has arisen from there.
Your comment about the child being wanted by everyone is what I was addressing in this blog post. And that is even if everyone wants the child, and it is raised in a loving family that the outcome can still be problematic and potentially damaging for the child. This is what I have deep concerns about.

kahluahgal said...

Well I don't want to come off as crass but why keep moaning about your heritage. You had wonderful parents and you are fortunate to have kids - you are the miracle of birth. I don't know 1/2 my family or their medical histories, my husband doesn't even know his mother's father. They're lot's of black holes in our lives, I don't know that medical history and knowing it solves what? Did anyone know or think about medical history 100 yrs ago, and we lived, we're still here on the planet. I can't trace a piece of any history beyond my mother's parents no pictures nothing and I don't look like some of my family and I could go on but I feel that as long as you had love - your 10 steps ahead because some people have all the heritage and no love, we never truly have it all do we...I'm also black and you know that whole deal with slavery and all so we too are devoid of "heritage" so to speak, and life goes on, I say move forward, tomorrow is a new and bright day and you're living in the best of times.

damianhadams said...

kahluahgal
Anyone in the medical industry (particular doctors) will tell you that a complete family health history can potentially be vitally important for speedy diagnosis, as well as life style choices. Even the centre for disease control, the CDC, recognises the importance of this and published it. The desire and need for a heritage is not restricted to myself but several studies by researchers such as Scheib et al, Mahlstedt et al, and Jadva et al, show that the vast majority of donor conceived people wish to know the identity of their donor and therefore their genetic history and heritage. Heritage is a common thread in many societies. You only have to look at the popularity of TV programs such as "Who Do You Think You Are" and the fact that genealogy is one of the most common searches on the internet to realise that it means a great deal to a great many people. Just because it does not mean anything to you does not mean that it should not mean anything to anyone else. I am happy for you that it does not affect you life.
The key difference between most people's lack of a heritage and what happened to donor conceived people is intent. We were deliberately denied access to ours while others in our modern society "typically" only ever suffer this through circumstance or happenstance.