Monday, December 18, 2006

I am so in demand, part II

Well, not really me this time. This Washington Post article made me a bit crazy. It is the story of a girl whose mother got pregnant via anonymous sperm donation, and then the discussion of her piece.

To me, this seems like shameless self-promotion, and self-interest. Poor baby, your mother wanted a child so badly that she went to "extremes" to have one. Here are my "favorite" bits from the conversation:

Katrina says: One thing that needs to be understood is the lack of good arguments against anonymous donors back in the 1970s, 80s, and even the early part of the 90s.

Me: Yes, you are correct, single motherhood was soooo acceptable then. Social sanctions? None whatsoever. Especially not for a working-class woman, or one who was not entirely financially stable.

Chevy Chase says: I found your article very interesting but I am intrigued by your sense of entitlement. You state that you have a basic "right" to know who your biological father is. I am not so sure.

And Katrina replies: Certainly my particular stand point (being synonymous with many other donor conceived people) of absolving anonymous donations would be in the United States, as it is now in the United Kingdom, a deterrent for the whole donor conception industry simply because it would force donors, recipients, and everyone involved to seriously mull over and give thought to more possible ramifications of their actions. Imagine that.

Me: Yes, Katrina, imagine a world in which you did not exist. And where lesbians, as well as infertile couples would be unable to have children, just because it might cause their children some psychological trauma. Some. Is this your biggest problem right now? Get some therapy and get over it. Adopted kids have to deal with issues of abandonment, and often have no connection to a biological parent, what about kids who have lost a parent? As Harley says, you don't really want to phase out anonymous donors, what you want is for people to feel bad for you. You even say it in your article, that you were jealous of the support garnered by your friend whose parents were getting divorced.

I would be inclined to participate in egg donation, if, for instance, either of my brothers prospective wives, or any family member, for that matter, was infertile and wanted to have children. I'd probably help out friends too. And you know what? I don't think that I'd feel like the kid is mine, because all I've donated is some cell matter. Should I feel responsible to everyone who has gotten blood or bone marrow from me? In that case I would especially want to be anonymous

All in all? Shame on the Post for printing pieces like this one, and like this one on a woman who takes her two kids to meet their sperm donor. The piece is subtitled: "Why would Raechel McGhee fly her two beloved children across the country to stay with a man they had never met? Because he is their father." NO HE ISN'T! He is their sperm donor. Father is a social construct.

With these pieces, I feel like the Post is taking a pro-life standpoint. That parenthood starts at conception, and is not an earned title. Said simply, if fatherhood is based on sperm donation, then the act of sperm donation is what creates parenthood, creates a life. And I do not believe that life begins at conception.

Harley says: Damn the heteronormative construction of the nuclear family.

And I am inclined to agree. Last thought: read this book!


harley said...

I like when Annie hides behind my radicalism instead of quoting her own, equally radical, opinion.

AnnieGetYour said...

A friend just pointed out that donating to my brother's wives is kind of genetically gross... I agree. If any female members of my family needed them, I'd be all about that. After of course consulting a rabbi.

Benjamin J. Cooper said...

Well, the state of New York agrees with you with regard to parenthood.

I don't get the sense of entitlement to find out who the person was who gave out some genetic material and left. It's not like the guy donated sperm and then stole your family's map to the holy grail. He just donated sperm. His part is done in this saga.

DI_Dad said...

I just read your earlier post on this topic and wanted to add the viewpoint of a Jewish infertile dad whose kids were conceived via DI. We actually used an anonymous Jewish donor as we wanted the children to share as many characteristics as me as possible.

We were unaware of the various "rulings /positions" from leading Rabbi's that say non-Jewish donors should be used to avoid even the remore possibility of later incest etc among half siblings. Among their multiple reasons that DI is a bad thing.

To date my understanding is that under Halakah I am only the representative of the donor in my children's lives despite my being their dad day after day. So be it. But I get to hear them say "daddy" so I don't sweat it.

I look forward to reading future posts by you both on this topic.


Anniegetyour said...

DI Dad- sorry that you have had such a long and difficult journey to fatherhood, but congratulations on your two children.

I am not qualified to take a stand on the halakhic issues involved with DI children, but I would assume that they are similar to those involved with adoption. Many conflicting opinions, but most people agree that it is a meritorious practice.