I think it bears repeating, that while I will not be convinced that the donor is someone I will ever refer to as my daughter’s biological mom/mother, that does not mean that I am going to keep the fact that there IS  a donor a secret.

Some of you may interpret my strong feelings about what is “mother” or what may have been “father” (if any of our donor sperm cycles had worked) as an indication that I am in denial about the donor, and therefore may never acknowledge what she did for us.

Nothing could be further than the truth.

Every moment I look into my daughter’s crystal blue eyes, my heart swells with gratitude. Those eyes are the donor’s eyes. It’s almost as if someone wanted to make sure I never forget what a stranger did for us so they gave ZGirl her distinctly colored baby blues that obviously didn’t come from me, some one who has eyes the color of wet sand or from her father, whose green eyes are remarkable on their own. Everytime someone makes a comment about her beautiful eyes, I smile with pride. Maternal pride.

“Weren’t we lucky to have a donor with such lovely coloring?” I wish it was something I could say, but that will be my daughter’s response when she is ready.

Another thing. I’ve been asked this question ever since we first discussed donors and our decision to go anonymous, which was about two years ago: “What if something medically related happens with the child and you need to contact the donor or even possibly the donor’s children to seek help?”

Let’s say for a bone marrow transplant.

Well, we would end up well and truly screwed if the donor’s family was the only key to my daughter’s well-being. You see, no one ever asked us that question when XBoy was an only child for 6 years. Oh, well, unless you count my SIL’s MIL who said to us when XBoy was six months old, “Are you going to have any more children? You know, in case something happens to him?”

While I appreciate the concern for my daughter, it makes me wonder why is it there for a donor-conceived child but not for a non-donor conceived child.

Finally, my MOTHER FATHER post must have pricked a nerve since it become an email topic that eventually made its way to Lindsay, who is a donor conceived child and has her own blog, Confessions of a Cryo Kid. Lindsay also left a comment and after her second sentence I felt my hackles rise and was preparing a reply. But then I realized I didn’t have to. She told me what no one else has been able to because no one else who has weighed in on donor children has been a donor child themselves. So to the person who emailed my post? Thank you. Really.

With that, I plan on putting this topic on the back burner once again and bringing back to boil topics like the death of breasteeding, where to find the cheapest diapers on earth, and some great new cosmetic finds.

17 thoughts on “AND WITH THIS, I WILL LET IT GO”

  1. Hi,

    I wrote that late last night(or this morning!!) and I noticed I said “To me, egg or sperm donation makes it even less obvious that the donors aren’t the biological parents.” what I MEANT to say is that its less like biological parents, and MORE obvious that donors AREN’T bio parents. It came out like I was implying that adoption means your are less “related” than donation I think…at least how I reread it…and I meant that WITH donation of eggs or sperm you are even LESS “related” since there was no womb time, or bonding time in utero. I think the rest of my comment made that clear but I don’t want to leave too much room to make assumptions…since that can turn ugly 🙂 And yes its just my opinion so I wanted to clarify what I was opinioning on about 😉

  2. I’m adopted. But I only have one set of parents. My parents. For ease of use I refer to my biological parents as just that…biological parents. The same way as I would refer to a teacher as my teacher, or my neighbour as my neighbour if I didn’t know their first name. I feel no emotional ties or bonds to my biological family. Am I grateful, and appreciative that they chose adoption instead of abortion, or raising me while unprepared. you betcha!! But thats as far as it goes. They are not my parents, and just because I share genetics with them and possible “siblings” doesn’t make a difference to me. I have my parents and my siblings. I grew up knowing I was adopted(like many others I feel its wrong to keep it a secret…mostly because it implies there is some shame in it which of course there isn’t), and will proudly discuss it with anyone that is interested.

    To me, egg or sperm donation makes it even less obvious that the donors aren’t the biological parents. At least my biological mother grew me, and nurtured me and birthed me. Thats part of what can make a mother. However there is so much more to it, mostly what comes after. Which is why I don’t see her as a mother figure in any way…my parents did the hard part and that was raising me to be a good and loving person, educated me, and supported me. So just because someone donates and egg that would be lost anyway or sperm doesn’t make them a parent. It makes them generous and kind, and compasionate. But those acts alone don’t a parent make!! It takes so much more.

    I guess I don’t see why people consider donors parents in any form. People donate blood, organs, marrow…an egg or sperm has the ability to turn into a life, but not by itself.

    If I were ever to meet my biological parent, which at this time I have no desire to, I do think it would be neat to see if I looked like them, or had similar mannerisms…but I am a big believer in nature vs nurture. And as for looking alike, I just mentioned to my husband the other day how our daughter, his female lookalike, reminded me also of a girly version of my brother when he was a boy. And I am not genetically related to him at all. But something about her reminded me of him. And it made me smile.

  3. Just as a random aside, there’s no guarantee biological family can provide medical assistance like bone marrow to someone anyway. My entire family (except my father who was not her dad) was tested for my sister (technically my half sister if you want to be technical about it) who needed a bone marrow transplant including my mother, and her children. None of us matched. Which is probably what I would say in response to that type of question… there’re no guarantees. And genetic conditions… they can appear out of nowhere. I have celiac (genetic condition) nobody else in my family does.

  4. Well, I am just glad that she doesn’t look like you. She stands a chance in the world now. 😉 You know I am kidding, I hope. She is beautiful and I don’t care how you got her, I am just glad she is here, healthy and loving her Momma to bits.
    She sure does look like her big brother who also, thankfully looks like his Daddy. 😉

    Do I rank as a troll now? You can save your comment that I always was a troll, since I am pretty sure you have seen pictures of me. 😉 Happy New Year. Did you hear I get to meet Aunt Becky tomorrow? She is taking Marjorie’s car seat off my hands and finally getting the dang thing out of my dining room where it has lived since May when she outgrew it.

    Take care and ZGirl does have a brother and a father that she lives with that could be possible matches if, God Forbid, she ever needed a donor of blood, organs or whatever. Has anyone thought about that? Plus who is to say you wouldn’t be a match considering you shared your blood with her for 9 freaking months.

    You love her, she loves you and that is really the most important thing in the world. I love you too. 😉

  5. My concern about the medical side of it isn’t a lack of medical concern for Xboy – usually biological parents CAN donate for their children if needed. BUT – it just so happens I cannot donate for my daughter (and her “father” isn’t around). With the new baby, it’s just something I’ve thought of – neither of them, despite being my biological child, having a full-blood sibling.

    Not using that as an argument to consider the donor a mother/father in ANY way, though.

  6. Hi DD,
    I’m actually the person who posted the comment you quoted from the The American Fertility Association Blog.

    I am so sorry to have upset you. Honestly, that was absolutely NOT my intention.

    I had a wonderful upbringing. My parents did nothing wrong. I ADORED my dad and had a very close relationship with my mom. My dad died when I was 18 and my mom remarried about 10 years later. I ADORED my step-dad. He opened his heart and family to me and my/his grandchildren even though we were not bio-related. My step-dad could NEVER replace my dad (and vice versa). My bio/genetic dad could NEVER replace either one of my dad’s but I do still consider him my bio-father — and yes, there is an emotional attachment involved even though he never opened his heart/family to me or his grandchildren.

    Your children will love you unconditionally no matter what. I am sure that you love your children unconditionally as well. But as part of that unconditionally please consider opening your heart/door/family to your children’s genetic mother (or as you would prefer to call her – donor). Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you did find her, she was open to contact, you formed a friendship and unconditionally embraced the children that are of both of you. That would be the most unconditional motherly love. Don’t be afraid.

    My most heartfelt apology and wishing you (all of you) comfort and best wishes for the new year.

    I also wanted to bring this to your attention as well:
    New Study on Egg Donors (Recruited from Donor Sibling Registry)



    Presentation at the “Fertility 2009” Conference in Edinburgh Scotland:

    Title: Long-term follow-up of 155 anonymous egg donors

    Jennifer P. Schneider, M.D. and Wendy Kramer B.A.

    This study presents findings from a large sample of egg donors recruited from the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR), a US-based registry that helps to educate and support egg and sperm donor families, as well as facilitate connections between half siblings and/or donors. An online survey asked about medical complications and subsequent health problems, contact with IVF clinic, willingness to have contact with recipient families, donors’ satisfaction with the donation process, and current feelings.

    Results were based on 155 women <1 to 22 years (mean, 9.4+-5.2 years) past their first donation, which occurred at a mean age of 26.4. Reported medical complications included 32.6% with some degree of OHSS and 4.9% with subsequent infertility. Only 3.9% had been contacted by the IVF clinic for medical updates; 34.2% reported medical changes they thought would be of interest to donor children and half had attempted to report these changes to the clinic, with variable results. Many of those who did not report didn’t realize they could or should. The overwhelming majority, 97.4%, were open to contact with recipient families, 2.6% were uncertain, and 0% said no. A common theme was desire to know the outcome of the egg donation. Donors frequently had not sought information because of confusion about the definition of “anonymity” or “confidentiality. ”

    Conclusions: IVF clinics need to give anonymous egg donors clearer guidelines re asking for outcome information or giving the clinic medical updates to benefit their genetic children. Additional long-term studies are needed to ascertain egg donors’ risks of infertility or cancer.

  7. Donor conception has gone through a big change here recently as now all UK donors have to be prepared not to be anonymous. This is partly as a result of vigorous campaigning by a group of donor conceived children. Some say this change is why there has been a big drop in donors. Anyhoo – I think the way you intend to handle it seems emimnently sensible for all of you.

    On transplants – bio siblings don’t always help – a friend who needed a bone marrow transplant had no compatibility wih any f her siblings or extended family. Luckily she eventually found a non-related donor. I think you just have to hope the need never arises – in any family however created.

  8. What do people who adopt babies do if there is a health problem? I have four adopted cousins and neither of my Aunts lets that seep into their brain, every mother prays for health no matter which way a baby came into their family.

  9. Ok, just looked at that link, and while I agree that the industry mainly is interested in money, they seem mostly concerned with disapproving of gay parents. I’ve met a lot of gay parents who are great, so that’s crap. And there have been many many studies of gay parenting and the kids turn out just fine thank you.

    Interesting sidebar bit of research:

    An interview with the creators of IVF and others. According to them, the first donor eggs were done in 1977, making the first donor egg conceived adults about 30 years old. This jives with my RE’s stories of how he started doing this in Toronto in the late 70’s. (You have to read the method—unbloody believable.) Anyway, there are lots of people out there who we could study about the effects of being donor conceived in a more formal way. Unfortunately, this has only been done in a tangential kind of way, with personal stories and things like testimony to the Canadian House of Commons when they wrote the Reproductive Health Laws.

  10. DD, I’m glad that Lindsay responded, and heck, regardless of who agrees or disagrees with the opinions, she does have some excellent links.

    I will say that her opinion and the opinions of donor-conceived adults I have read match adoptees pretty closely, especially adopted at birth ones.

    On one of the previous threads, I was a little concerned that so often commenters are convinced that the only reason donor and adopted adults are upset is because they have other issues, or because they were lied to. It really does feel like just another way of dismissing our concerns, like keeping the wall of denial up.

    DD, you acknowledge that some things about your daughter are not from you and you honour them, but not every adoptive or donor mother does. Some of them went to great lengths to match appearance and race, and blood type in an effort to hide everything. And every time they talk about their children they desperately search for things that are similar. That pressure, to live up to the expectations of parents after all the money and sacrifice the parents went through to have the kids is incredibly destructive. The pressure to be the same, to be better, to be perfect, is overwhelming. (And yes, it does happen to biological kids from IVF, or just bio kids, but if you fail in life, your mom or Dad have a built in acceptance excuse, “Oh well, I guess they are just like Uncle so and so….never became much in life. blah blah) For kids who are not genetically related, it’s like, well, who do you blame when they don’t live up to expectations and here you’ve spent 100K and gone through multiple surgeries, etc etc.?

    In my experience, yes, lying, or being raised in a difficult family situation do cause more problems, but denial on the part of parents, still causes a lot, even when they are great parents and are kind and truthful. And even in perfect situations, it’s still hard.

    I know many many adoptees who had fabulous adoptive families, who loved their adoptive parents like crazy, who still have questions and still want to know things about genetic relatives. It is a biological drive that has existed for thousands of years to know who you are related to, so why wouldn’t donor kids and adoptees want that knowledge? A knowledge by the way, that cannot be satisfied by simply seeing pictures or reading documents. The massive shift in my reality that happened when I met my birth mother is so hard to explain, but just seeing her face and hearing her voice explained so much. It was literally like meeting a twin. All of a sudden, I wasn’t the only person on earth like me. Perfect relationship going forward? No, but still worth meeting her. Absolutely.

    I’m blathering now, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that everything matters, and dismissing a child’s feelings or any part of them, is always a bad idea, regardless of the subject area. I know you yourself are not doing that, but unfortunately, some people do, and yes, I worry about that.

  11. I don’t think Angela realizes what a very tiny percentage of children are born as the result of donor anything. Donor sperm definitely more, but still a teeny tiny percentage of all children born from spern donation. The odds are incredibly low for a mass outbreak of “incest” 20 years down the road.

    Also, not every single egg/sperm donation results in a child! It doesn’t guarantee the recipient will even become pregnant! Please read more and ask more questions before assuming such things, ok?

  12. Incest will be enshrined in law if donor anonymity is goimg on, and ahet with so may donations, the odds are worsening all the time.

    1. The odds of a donor-conceived child entering into an incestuous relationship are right up with a child from a one night stand hooking up with any subsequent children from one or the other couple involved in the one night stant.

      Until one can provide actual measurable statistics, this kind of information is nothing more than fear mongering and hyperbole.

  13. I think life may have been less complicated when we chose not to disclose certain information!

    I wish you the best with your journey through the years with your family. (I am just catching up, as usual, you have a very beautiful family, loved the xmas photo!)

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