Friday, February 08, 2008


I am going to blog about the Oprah show today where they discuss donor conceived children.

The pediatrician at the beginning of the show had a really good attitude about sperm donation. The second donor, not quite so much. He is enjoying playing "father" to his "children." But he's not horrible.

The donor conceived children's stories were.... mostly unhappy. It seemed like they were either children of SMCs or from a long time ago when donation wasn't open. In my opinion, these children are the ones most likely to feel angry about their conceptions.

I see another donor who has the good attitude. I will talk if a donor conceived child if he or she wants, but I'm not going to force myself on a child.

One dc woman does have a dad. She calls her donor Dad and her father Dad. She thinks of herself as having two fathers. This is making me feel pretty ambivalent.

Granted the reasons for conception are different, but I imagine an adopted child would feel similarly about his or her biological parents. I understand the curiosity and the need to meet the donor. I believe in open donors. Our current donor isn't open, but isn't open for the right reason. And has a family member that is donor conceived and I think if we express an interest down the road, I think he would understand.

The pediatrician's wife is also a pediatrician. I like them. They're good. They understand the idea of donor conception well. They don't over condemn, and they don't idealize.

This part is about donor siblings meeting. They are both only children of SMCs. I totally understand these people and why they have a need to meet each other.

So the siblings are talking about a void in their lives being conceived this way. That she, as an only child, was amazed at being able to look into someone else's face and see herself. Well, we have lost this, too. And donor sperm is how we are trying to allow ourselves to have a child, even if that child can't see himself in my husbands face, or we can't see my husband's face in our children.

All I want to say is, the hurt goes both ways, folks.

The pediatrician talked about regulation of the industry. It needs to be regulated better. No argument from me. He also talked about being paid for donation -- how blood donors are not paid (Is that 100% true? They used to get paid.) so why should sperm donors. This is something I think about, too. And I know that other countries do not allow payment for donating gametes. It's a valid point to bring up, though I am not expressing an opinion about that one.

Why were all the dc children women, except for the male reunion sibling? And why aren't egg donors discussed?

They leave with info about the DSR.

All and all, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The choice of dc people was not quite as diverse as I would have hoped. It would have been nice if they had an adult who, while certainly curious about the donor, doesn't think of the donor as a father and thinks of his or her FATHER as his or her father. I know they exist. I have emailed a couple of them. I have a friend who was donor conceived and didn't find out until she was an adult who feels that way.

But all and all, it could definitely have been worse.


Beagle said...

I agree. I could have been a more diverse sample of DC (adult)children. A fatherless child is going to feel that void whether a passing affair or an intentional donor conception by a single woman. That is about devaluing fathers in society more than it is about donor conception. (OK shoot me now all single parents).

The one donor was a bit creepy to me, the one who goes on vacation with his teen son and the mother. That guy donated for the cash and seeminly never went on to have a family (and life?) of his own.

Overall, not a horrid portray, but pretty slanted. several of the DC people were told very late in life about the donor factor which is not what is advocated today. (Kind of like bitter adoptees who were lied to as well.)

OK, I should be writing on my own blog!

Sorry so long.

The Town Criers said...

Okay, I'll be back later tonight to discuss. I'm going to watch the episode.

Bea said...

It's interesting what you say about "the hurt goes both ways". Seems like it could open the door for understanding and healing to go both ways, too. For the child to come to appreciate, from the parent's example, that it doesn't have to be an all-defining thing.


DI_Dad said...

It was an interesting episode but nothing truly new for me. I posted about it myself tonight. I have not surfed through the Dc community in a while and that is how I found your blog. Glad to see my reactions were not off center. - Eric

Jess said...

I watched yesterday and I SO agree that it could have been worse. Did you see the Oprah with ... oh I forget now ... I think it was women/couples using donors (Martha Stewart's daughter was on it)? I remember feeling really angry at how that whole topic was presented.

In this one, I was sad to hear the donor conceived kids speak of their feeling of loss and void. But I was struck by the two siblings who met. And how coming to know each other helped fill their "void." It made me happy that a child of mine might someday be happy about finding a sibling and connecting with him or her.

I thought story with the "dad" who takes his offspring on vacation was a very strange and unusual situation.

Rebecca said...

I saw that show...I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was okay. I, too, wondered about the donor egg thing too...where do those people come in? Maybe because that's relatively new? Who knows? I still like the idea of getting the issue out there...

ultimatejourney said...

I haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but I wanted to say I hope tomorrow's appointment goes well!

Somewhat Ordinary said...

Thanks for the synopsis! My DVR is messed up and I didn't get to watch it.

nishkanu said...

I am pursuing DE and the worst part about it is the fear that one day the kids will feel angry and lost because of the choice we made to have them. For this reason although I live on the East coast I am using a clinic on the West coast that maintains a donor registry and to be open and positive about how they were conceived from day one.

Note: this "worst part" about DE gets balanced by a lot of GREAT parts, it is truly wonderful through the kindness of strangers to be able to decide what may pass on to your children. I didn't really appreciate how great this was until we were into the process. So I definitely won't need to FAKE being positive about it...