Friday, September 13, 2013

It's a Small World - Especially with DNA Testing

From my Y-DNA test that I did with FamilyTreeDNA I only have 11 matches at the 12 marker range and that includes 2 that are at the 1 step range (that is one marker that is different by a one step mutation). This is from a database that is almost half a million men (500,000) that have tested with FTDNA.
This number of matches is not surprising even though there are many others who will have a much larger number of matches.
The surprising part is that one of my matches, is another donor conceived man in the USA (I live in Australia).
A man that I have had communications with for several years.
While we are very distant genetic cousins, we do share a common ancestor that is likely to have occurred about 100 generations ago or about 2000 years. (If a faster mutation rate is used in the calculations this could be reduced to about 50 generations or about 1000 years, but the slower mutation rate is more conservative).
So while we share a commonality in both being donor conceived we also share a common ancestor, and while we all share one if we go far enough back in time, it is quite ironic that some of us also share significant familial links beyond just being donor conceived.
Such a link might be meaningless to many people but for those of us that have no knowledge of our paternal heritage such information is interesting nonetheless.
The power of DNA genealogy makes the world a somewhat smaller place.

Monday, September 09, 2013

On Being Wanted

This is something I wrote elsewhere but thought I'd share it here: 
Before I start on that I will preface the following with saying that in the outcomes for donor conceived people there is a whole rainbow of emotions with some being completely happy and others who are traumatised and everywhere else in between. All views are equally valid but we also have to remember that this is a lifetime journey where views can change dramatically during that time (they certainly have for me). For others they will not change at all. Also note that I often use the term "some" because not all are of the same perspective.

Ok now on to being "wanted". I have heard this phrase used more times than I can count as well as the matching statement that other children are born into other scenarios which some people view as worse. What these statements do to "some" offspring is they impose what is termed in the literature as existential debt. This is where the child is aware of the efforts and costs that their parents went through in obtaining them. Because of this, "if" they do have any negative feelings they may be afraid of voicing these in fear of hurting their parents feelings. This is termed disenfranchised grief whereby the donor conceived person feels unable to express or process their grief.

We as a society recognise the tragedy when a child is born into a situation whereby the father may have run off (dead beat dad) or the tragedy of when the birth parents for whatever reason are unable to care for the child and have had to give that child up for adoption. Yet we are still having difficulty acknowledging the loss for donor conceived people simply because the kinship separation was planned and that the child was wanted in this manner.

Just as in any family the outcomes for any child will be varied depending on a plethora of circumstances one of which is NOT being wanted. Just as evidence of bad outcomes can occur from unplanned parenthood, so too can evidence of good outcomes. Conversely the same can be argued for when parenthood was planned and the child wanted, there can be bad and good outcomes.

This post is not meant to offend anyone in any way but rather as a means of presenting another perspective that some people may not have thought about before. I do not imply that every DC person will feel this way, far from it, but many that I have had discussions with over a great many years do have difficulty dealing with the use of the term "wanted" (others also feel extremely happy about being wanted). Additionally just as some parents and donors can be upset about terminology and various posts, so too can the donor conceived.