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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: It's not that cut an dry...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's not that cut an dry...

Today I was over at my friend Gail's Blog and read the post from Karen, who is a donor conceived adult. After reading this blog no less than three times I got up and left my computer to reflect about what Karen had to say as I wanted to give her feelings the respect they deserved instead of a knee-jerk reaction.

Basically Karen's post says:

"Personally, I would never donate my eggs. Although I’m ‘pro-choice’ I also strongly believe that we should never intentionally create a child to give away or in most cases, sell. I strongly feel that we have a personal responsibility for our own sperm/egg when combined to create a new (out of the womb) life."

I took exception to this -- to begin with I think it is not that cut and dry. Not every egg or every sperm that is put together results in a child. Depending upon what your belief system is, where you seek treatment, how your body responds to medication, as well as the basics regarding the condition of your uterus has a lot to do if a child is going to result in an egg donation cycle. I for instance do not think our egg donor felt she was giving a "child away".

Egg donors and sperm donors don't donate eggs and sperm to have children vicariously through another set of parents. They don't sign up for this to become parents. They do this because they want to give other people like me to have a child to love, honor, and respect.

Karen also goes on to say:

"More specifically, I know that I’d always wonder about them and worry that their parents might have issues with their personality/disposition/quirks that I could easily identify with and understand. I’d worry that their social/gestational mother might have bonding issues with them because they are of her husband’s and another woman’s dna. Or that the extended family might have bonding issues with the child for that same reason. (kin altruism issues) I’d worry that the child felt out of place at family gatherings. I’d worry that they kept it a secret and the child finds out in a traumatic way. I’d worry that the child might think they were unwanted and given away by me and half of their bio family. I’d worry that my own social/bio children would feel a loss/ feel cheated/confused by their own separation with their half sibling(s) ….etc."

My response is - then if you truly feel like that, then you would not be a good candidate for egg donation.

As a parent via egg donation I can attest 100% that I embrace all of my child, there's nothing weird, or bad about him. So I have to say I scratch my head when I read that parents who have children via sperm or egg donation would have issues with their own child's personality/disposition/quirks? And that the egg donor or sperm donor would could easily identify with and understand whereas we might not? Don't you think that's stretching things a bit far? I can tell you I know lots and lots and lots of "genetic" families where Mom and Dad do not embrace their children's personalities, or their quirks, or their disposition. I myself am a product of a set of parents who loved me but never "got me" or my personality. I have always been an animated and highly spirited person and frankly my parents found me to be a major pain in the rear end, and often didn't know what to do with me. So I think the theory that you can only help, understand, or appreciate a child's personality, quirks or what have you is blown out of the water.

I take exception at being referred to as a gestational mother or a social mother. I am my son's mother. I carried him, I birthed him, he comes to me when he's sick, afraid, proud, angry, happy, upset -- I tend to his every need. I raise him, nurture him, love him, and am responsible for him. I am his mother.

The knee jerk reaction to :

"I’d worry that their social/gestational mother might have bonding issues with them because they are of her husband’s and another woman’s dna."

Is to invite this woman into my home and have her observe me interact with my child. My personal experience is that I love my child so very much I sometimes forget to breathe -- he's the moon and the stars, the sun sets and rises in his eyes, as far as I am concerned. And as far as accepting another woman's DNA? I had a child with my husband, period. And even if we used donor sperm -- guess what? I still made a choice to have a child with my husband, my partner, my life mate, the one I love.

Bottom line -- Our child was wanted very much, and I was and am just so darn grateful to have him.

In regards to other family members not accepting a child via egg or sperm donation into the family -- I can't argue that. I know many many families who think egg donation and sperm donation isn't a big deal. We are one of those families. It didn't matter how we happen to get our son, it matters that he's here for us to love.

I can't say that's the case for some. There are some families who's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other extended family for whatever reason don't accept children from adoption, egg donation, sperm donation, or step children. And all I can say to that is that it's very sad. And that is one of the reasons there is a shroud of secrecy surrounding this particular kind of ART.

In regards to disclosure I feel it's very important that parent(s) are honest with their children in regards to how they were conceived. A child should always just know about having an egg donor or sperm donor. It should come out in a traumatic big way. A child should be able to look back and just say - "Oh yeah, I have always known that." One of the tricky parts about disclosure is the baggage Mom and Dad carry with them. I have said this thousands of times -- Children aren't born with baggage, they come to us like a fresh canvas, and we the artist begin to paint the foundation of how our child is going to be when he or she grows up. So -- if we aren't weird or or hung up about their conception neither will they.

I think this woman views egg donation much differently than other egg donors. Other egg donors don't donate eggs to have an extended family. If they wanted a family they would have their own -- I know personally of no egg donor who has taken her compensation and put it into a savings account to give to a product of her egg donation when he or she is ready to go to college.

Am I all for open donation. You bet I am -- I am for whatever is agreeable between the recipient parents and the egg or sperm donor.

It takes a special person to be an egg donor -- and my hat's off to them, without them our children wouldn't be here.


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