Back in the office for the first time this year. Not that I’ve been slacking, just working from home over most of the holiday period. Seems like some people have been having a difficult time over Christmas as Nina and I both had long ‘phone conversations with troubled parents. I spoke with a mother to adult sons who have yet to be told that they are donor conceived. She is torturing herself with guilt about not telling them earlier and is also riven with shame about using donor conception. She knew her husband was infertile before they married and went through with DI, despite misgivings, because she was desperate for children. From the information she gave me, the secret she and her husband have held all these years seems to have crept into all the relationships in the family and distanced wife from husband, husband from sons and sons from parents. She wants help to try and end all that. Not easy, but we will do what we can.
I talked with Nina about the comments that have resulted from my blog on the film Anonymous Father’s Day. We pondered the smoking analogy and decided it needed more contemplation. Also the questions from Marilynn about relatives ‘by donor’ having some kind of legal relationship so that they would have the authority to make complex decisions for blood relatives should the need arise. In each case, so much seems to depend on individual circumstances. Several sandwiches and some cake and tea later we resolved to keep talking about it.
Nina had enjoyed reading through the thought provoking posts but noted, insightfully, how different comments and responses from people in the States often are to those who live in Europe. Particularly in the UK but even in Catholic mainland Europe, it is unusual for religious arguments to be invoked in debates about donor conception. God just doesn’t come into the equation as far as we are concerned, but in the US s/he seems to be hovering in the background, or be right up front, in all political, ethical or moral conversations. Brits are amazed by how often God seems to appear in the political arena, particularly prominent at the moment with the rise of the Right in the build up to the Presidential election. In odd contrast to this (or so it seems to those of us on the other side of the pond) is the gross commercialisation of every aspect of life…completely rampant of course in the fertility and assisted reproduction world. And real resistance to any kind of state or semi-state regulation.
Of course we prefer our way as no doubt Americans do theirs…or perhaps not in the case of donor conception. What seems important is to keep on listening and talking. We all have things to learn from each other.