Mixed perspectives on being donor conceived

Lots of interesting things around at the moment.  The Donor Sibling Registry’s new book Finding Our Families is published today.  I’ve written about it before (link below) and can only reiterate that it is essential reading for everyone involved in donor conception, including the professionals who could learn a lot!  I have also just received a copy of donor conceived adult Alana Newman’s book Anonymous Us.  As I’ve only read a few pages so far, I haven’t yet formed an opinion but as the Conclusion starts, “Clearly 3PR (third party reproduction) is not an ideal family scenario for anyone.  It causes serious anguish for every group-from social parents to donor to children, and even to extended family,” I am expecting a challenging read.  Knowing that Alana comes from the end of the spectrum of feelings about donor conception that concludes that the outcome is inevitably damaging, makes me think that I am unlikely to be recommending the book with the same enthusiasm that I have for Finding Our Families, but I nevertheless feel it is important to understand that some people do feel this way.  I’ll write more later about this when I’ve finished the book.

In the meantime I have been proof reading DC Network’s Autumn Journal which contains, amongst other fascinating articles, two items written by nineteen year old donor conceived adult Lara.  Lara was conceived with the help of donor sperm and has known about her beginnings from when she was very little.  Unlike my own children she did not like the topic being talked about during primary school years as it made her feel over-whelmed but she is pleased, in retrospect, that her parents told her so early and that there was never ‘a sit down moment’ of revelation.  She did, however, feel that it would have been helpful if her parents had talked with her teachers as an awkward situation arose when her class was asked to complete an ‘All About Me’ book which included characteristics inherited from each parent.  Her advice is that parents should keep an eye on the syllabus or curriculum so that they can talk with their children about their options when a topic around families or reproduction comes up.  From the age of 12 or so Lara became much more comfortable around the topic of donor conception.  This she felt was because she could now understand it much better and was able to explain to school friends without feeling confused.  She says she was lucky to have friends who were well-educated and open-minded and adds that being donor conceived was actually often a source of pride for her.

Lara had been volunteering in the DC Network office over the summer holidays and during this time she attended a meeting at the HFEA with Nina the office manager.  She was disturbed by the focus of one of the groups at the event which seemed to be advocating for would-be parents to have increased amounts of information about their donor…to the point that could almost be seen as attempts to create ‘designer babies’.  Lara felt that having such choice might lead parents down a path of having expectations of a child – their looks and their talents – that would be unfair for a child to have to live up to; that a child might feel uncomfortable coming into a world where such things were important to their parents.  As she says, “Being donor conceived is not a ‘burden’ which parents have a duty to alleviate by a choosing a ‘perfect’ donor for them, but a gift that we can learn and grow from.”   Lara believes that a child should be given room to “live freely” rather than being expected to conform to expectations that may come from the characteristics of the donor or from some ideal in the mind of the raising parents.  She is personally very happy with the amount of information she has about her donor (height, blood group, hair and eye colour and profession) and does not wish for more.  She understands that others might want more information but that is up to them to seek this if they feel they need it.  For Lara, the value of removing donor anonymity is in making the information available, not necessarily in accessing the information itself and not in trying to choose the features of future children – the value is in the freedom of the donor conceived individual to live a life that is not defined by the way in which they were conceived.   I don’t think anyone would be surprised to learn that Lara’s course of university study is Philosophy and Applied Ethics.

Which leads me to a paper called Genetic Knowledge and Family Identity: Managing Gamete Donation in Britain and Germany by Maren Klotz from Humboldt University, Berlin.  The research was in two parts, firstly a comparison of the modes of regulation in Britain and Germany and then how interest groups, such as DC Network and the newly formed DI-Netz in Germany, contribute to the moral framing of the decision on if, when and how to ‘tell’ children.  The whole paper is worth reading but what struck me was one of the conclusions which seemed to show that German parents felt that sharing information early with their child was likely to divert their interest in or curiosity about the donor, and indeed that curiosity might indicate that something was not going well at home, whilst British parents were much more open to the idea that curiosity on the part of their child was entirely natural and to be expected.  Klotz ascribed this difference to the uncertainties inherent in the German legislation around donor conception (see previous blog German Parents Speak Out) but I see it much more as openness still being in its infancy in that country.  For many years in DC Network I would hear British parents talking in exactly the same way and some still do.  Becoming comfortable with the idea that children will be curious and indeed may want to make connections with genetic relatives, has come only with time and familiarity with the subject in the UK…and many parents remain anxious about it.

As Lara says, parents are likely to find the process of donor conception much more challenging than their children are ever likely to.  Although I suspect this sentiment would be heresy for Alana Newman, Lara’s relaxed but thoughtful perspective on being donor conceived is, in my experience, far more common.  To quote Sam, another young donor conceived adult, “If parents want to do the right thing (tell early) then they are likely to do it.  They should stop worrying and chill out more.”

https://oliviasview.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/german-dc-parents-speak-out/

https://oliviasview.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/finding-our-families/

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About oliviasview

Co-founder and now Practice Consultant at Donor Conception Network. Mother to two donor conceived adults and a son conceived without help in my first marriage.
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151 Responses to Mixed perspectives on being donor conceived

  1. My parent's donor is my father says:

    Olivia, your review of Alana’s perspective (many of our perspectives who stay slient) strikes me as condescending, dismissive and rude. Yes, we should all just “chill out” – get a puppy, go to the beach – the social infertile as well – stop wanting, start being thankful for what you have. You included. The lady doth protest too much.

  2. oliviasview says:

    NOT a review. As I said in the blog, I haven’t read the book yet! Sorry you think I’m being rude. It’s really not meant that way. I do think parents need to listen to ALL perspectives…and learn from them, but as i have said before, I’m a pragmatist. Donor conception is not going to go away and views as strong as those of Alana (and I know other people as well) do nothing but alienate those she might have been hoping to influence. She is often her own worst enemy…and I say that as someone who is personally fond of her.

  3. My parent's donor is my father says:

    I think it’s obvious that she is hoping to influence those who might be considering using (buying) other people’s eggs/sperm/wombs. People who might otherwise only be exposed to the happy talk euphemisms. In hope that they will reconsider partaking in this practice. She is also providing alternative POV’s of the ‘donor’ conceived to give support to those ‘donor’ conceived who might feel disenfranchised by the happy talk euphemisms, as well as providing current and future social parent(s) of ‘donor’ conceived children a window into some of the possible feelings that their children may or may not experience, or feel able to express. Her work is desperately needed. I’m behind Alana 100%. Very grateful for her.

  4. Liz says:

    Alana Newman tends to write inflammatory work. That sort of inflamed rhetoric tends to appeal to those who already agree with her, and is unpersuasive for those who are undecided or disagree.

    • My parent's donor is my father says:

      She’s definitely passionate and I can understand why those who already have a bias might confuse that passion with ‘inflammatory’. But she’s also very logical and makes many very good points about this disagreement with the practice as a whole. Also her book is based on the stories submitted to Anonymous Us. She is not making these stories up. It’s hard to ignore what these stories are telling. I disagree that this is unpersuasive for the undecided. In fact I know undecided who have been persuaded. That being said, I completely understand why some people (like Olivia and Liz and many others in their situation) would disagree. It’s all good. All necessary to add balance to this issue.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        I forgot to add…she sent me a copy of the book as well (http://www.amazon.com/The-Anonymous-Project-Story-Collective-Reproduction/dp/1105936783) and I thought it was very well written. An excellent (and very needed) addition to a well rounded library on ‘third party reproduction’ issues.

      • Liz says:

        She’s engages in specific rhetoric about gay marriage and gay men I find to be problematic and inflammatory.

      • Liz says:

        btw- I’m am unclear what you mean by my situation. I am not a parent of donor children.

        Anyways, I’m not the only person who finds Newman’s rhetoric inflammatory. See the below article from the Huffington Post, 10/7/2013, “Gay Parents Slammed as Sexual Predators.” (you can google this article if you haven’t seen it.) These rants circulated on left-leaning blogs in the United States. NOM (National Organization of Marriage) promotes her and she’s associated with the Witherspoon Institute. Civil Rights groups obviously watch NOM.

        It was through these blogs that I became introduced to her. I find her rhetoric to go beyond the pale. I obviously disapprove of her quest to criminalize gay marriage. And I disapprove of the work done by NOM that promotes unequal rights between gay and straight couples in the realm of marriage rights. To quote Mary Cheney, she is on the wrong side of history.

        If she was a teenager, I could cut her some slack. I would wonder if these right-wing groups are using her for their own reasons. But she is an adult — and she is herself married. And she wants to deny the right of marriage to a significant portion of the population.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        I am not going to engage in a debate on this further than saying, I disagree with you. Alana does not attack gay people, her advocacy is against using/buying other people’s gametes and wombs for human dignity reasons. I am very familiar with her writings and know that she is being attacked unfairly. I have quite a bit more that I can say about this but I will practice self control and ask that you please not spread these false claims around further. Thank you.

    • Liz says:

      I have not misrepresented either her rhetoric or her positions. She is responsible for her public positions. She has clearly come out against the legalization of gay marriage in the United States and she has frequently reiterated this position. As far as I know, she doesn’t even think it should be left up to the individual states, but believes it should be illegal in all the states. This position places her to the right of Liz Cheney.

      For any non-Americans reading: There is a public family fight between our former Vice Presidents two daughters — one of whom is a married lesbian women with children (Mary), and her sister, Liz, who is running for the Senate in Wyoming, and supports the present laws of Wyoming that do not allow same-sex marriage.

      Furthermore, she has submitted testimony in California for legislation that was attempting to remove gay-bias from infertility treatments offered by insurance companies. New legislation was working to add anti-discriminatory language to assure that people could not be denied treatment based on sexual orientation.

      I will not comment further on this thread about her characterization of gay men as “predators,” which fed into historic stereotypes and was very irresponsible language. However, I will reiterate that I find her language extremely problematic. The only excuse I can see for this was extreme ignorance about the historic ways in which gay men are discriminated against and stereotyped.

      Her articles and positions on these matters are easily accessible on the internet for people to judge for themselves.

  5. Alana Newman says:

    Olivia, I think Lara’s current stance on donor-conception should be taken with a grain of salt. She’s 19. Remember when I was 20, and again at 21/22, I was selling my own eggs and fully participating in donor-conception. The man I was dating around that time had a 40 year old sister who was single and couldn’t conceive and he asked me what I thought about DC. I told him it was fine and encouraged him to encourage his sister to use donor sperm.

    Opinions change, especially as we grow in wisdom and experience.

    Liz, I appreciate your concern for gay rights. Like you I used to work hard in promoting gay marriage where and when I could. I voted to pass gay marriage in California when I lived there. I was apart of the gay/straight alliance in high school and in college I spent a lot of time consoling and helping a friend who struggled with complications from AIDS, including taking him to the hospital on occasion and making sure he understood all the paperwork when he was feeling ill.

    What I think you’re not recognizing is how strong the association between marriage and children are, and how gay marriage effects women. Women are being turned into baby machines now thanks to surrogacy and egg donation. The health and moral consequences of this are extremely alarming. I’m publishing an article soon titled “The Mother Free Money Tree” which exposes how the surrogacy/egg-donation package is the most lucrative product for the ART and infertility industry and how people profit most when mothers are made disposable.
    This was all made possible because no one objected when we started making fathers disposable.

    You may not care if women become baby machines, but I have a daughter and I intend to fight for a world that values her whole person.

    • oliviasview says:

      You are of course right about Lara, Alana. She may well change her views over the coming years…but on the other hand she might not. Our own adult children, now 30 and 27 have basically the same perspective as they ever have. Will remains uninterested and Zannah, having talked with a dozen or so donor offspring in the course of doing her anthropology dissertation (which I think you have seen) remains curious but convinced that her identity and sense of self lies in her own hands and is not determined by being donor conceived.

      • marilynn says:

        There is a big difference between someone’s identity and their sense of self. I often read where people raising other people’s kids will be all “we want her to write her own narrative” or “donor conception does not define their identity it’s in their own hands”. No its not. Identity when truthful is totally outside your control, its who you actually are and it starts with whose child you are whose offspring and that gets recorded so your primary identity is who you came from (whose child are you) and what is your name and that fixes you in relation to everyone else in the world either as a relative or non relative for starters and then with that identity firmly established you become other things to other people like someone’s student or someone’s boyfriend, spouse, employee, assailant, bank robber etc. When people take their identities into their own hands they call that living under an assumed or false identity. We don’t get to change who our biological parents are or who we are or are not biological kin to its fixed like it or not and our existence then shapes the rolls of our relatives and others around us. So you can change your name without altering your identity you can call yourself bettyboop but still be traced to the same family and social security number which in the US is a thread at almost dna level that does not change even when your name changes. But they try it with adoptions and they have a horrible mess on their hands because all the people that get adopted never die on the books – they get two recorded identities for only one body which must be part of why they lock it away cause nobody can have two identities. They should just keep their original bio identity and simply have an adoption decree so that they stay one person on the record books.

        In black market adoption its on the black market meaning the person is adopted out of court and under the table and people sneak their names onto the birth records of children that are not their offspring. What it means is there is no written record of a person’s actual identity then, their primary identifying record is falsified so it looks like the people named are the last in line of authority there is no further back to go no further back source of them directly. Well what it does is force them to live under not an assumed but rather assigned identity. Yes everyone’s identity is outside their control but we are OK with it because its the truth we really are the offspring of the people named as our parents. In black maket adoption its a forced yet false identity that is almost impossible to escape because not until now are people starting to realize they can go ask for their medical records to be corrected.

        They are starting to truly take their identities into their own hands and not ask for their original birth records, not ask for their donor’s file when they turn 18 but rather ask for what is fair and equal – ask for the error on their birth record to be corrected if they are not related to the people named as parents, even if they don’t know who their bio parents are leave it blank, leave it to be determined but don’t leave it wrong. It’s their medical record and they have a right to have it corrected or its useless and none of their relatives can find them or get a copy of their vital record. So they don’t need access to their donor’s files they need their bio father’s name and information to be entered on their vital record like everyone else. Not asking to end anonymity or waiting for access to a donor file – they were donors yes but when their offspring were born they became bio parents with human kids that have the same rights and needs as any other person which simply cannot be met with a falsified identity and birth record. I know of donor offspring in the UK petitioning to have their birth certificates corrected with and without the support of their social fathers, with and without siblings or bio fathers en tow to help them. We shall see they are beginning to get their letters of response and instructions in the UK one in Australia. I’m going to work with others here in the US to start the process. Its the way. No waiting for donor or birth parent info just get the info from wherever they have to get it and correct their birth records to name their proper parents.

        Of course being donor conceived is not something that defines legal identity so it should not be on her mind as identity shaping. Her identity is who her bio parents are same as everyone else and when its not true it is a false identity. Not in the emotional sense but in the actual sense for record keeping purposes anyway. So telling the truth is not enough they have to be allowed to live it and the truth has to be a legally recognized reality. To know your siblings for instance and have no legal recognition of that fact and on paper that it looks like your not part of the same family is wrong. All the matches on the DSR should go get their birth records corrected so they are not allowing donor conception to define their identities. I think leaving their birth records falsified and inaccurate is to the detriment of future generations and that kind of complacency is what it means to let donor conception define the identity. Because its important to live as your authentic self and it will allow everyone they are related to to live as their authentic selves as well sibling, aunt grandparent etc.

        They keep a copy of how it was originally, their social parent probably never even needs to know it was corrected. After all if the donor offspring does not get consulted when its falsified why should the person whose name was erroneously placed on the certificate get consulted when its corrected? Maybe the State will have to tell them I don’t know its all starting to play out now. I’m getting excited.

  6. My parent's donor is my father says:

    This is completely off topic from this post regarding perspectives on being donor conceived and the Anonymous Us Project book which Olivia referred to. This has nothing to do with the redefinition of marriage debate. I understand you are pro-gay marriage but this is not the place to debate this.

    • Liz says:

      “Gay couples parade it. Flaunt it even.” -Alana Newman, quoted by Phil, 9-26-2012, 3:40AM, Family Scholars blog, “Reproductive Predators.”

      “I took down my ‘flaunt’ comment. It was wrong. I was speaking out of anger. It was an unfair thing of me to say and simply isn’t true.” -Alana S. 9-26-2012, 8:38 Family Scholars blog, from the post “Reproductive Predators.”

      You may read the thread to see how she discussed gay people and why she thinks gay couples are particularly egregious and “bad actors” (as you can see from this thread — more so then heterosexuals) when it comes to ART.

      She is very dismayed with parents who tell their children that they are donor-conceived without shame. In this thread, you will see that she has more sympathy for hetero-sexual parents who hide the facts of their conception from their children. In the thread, she is ANGRY that gay people “flaunt” the donor status of their children. (I will admit I am very curious why Alana is friendly with Olivia, who I understand promotes anti-anonymity in donor conception. It would seem to me they have oppositional approaches to ART.)

      Why I think it is on-target: Her rhetoric is clarifying as to her goals and her agenda.

      Consider why she lashes out at certain categories of people (gay men and lesbian women). In the above comment Newman realized she needed to apologize.

      Yet, she continues to be _particularly_ concerned with the gay community and gay marriage despite the fact that the heterosexual community partakes of ART at MUCH greater rates.

      • oliviasview says:

        Liz: Alana and I do have completely different views about ART…and indeed the use of ART by lesbians and gay men. We have talked about all these things. I will email you with regard to my personal feelings about her.

  7. Liz says:

    I do not support gender and sexual inequality under the law. I am for equal rights, and equal treatment under the law for all people, irregardless of gender, race, nationality, or sexual identity.

    I do think these issues are relevant to the present discussion. If a strain of the anti-donor movement is working against equal rights for gay people, that is relevant information. If this strain is employing fear-mongering rhetoric about gay men harming little girls, it is even more appropriate to discuss.

    Alana, please know that gay people are no threat to your daughter. Your heterosexual marriage will not be harmed if a gay couple marries. Gay men are not “predators.” Lesbian couples will not harm your daughter. No one can “turn” your daughter “gay.” No one will force her to (or you) to marry a woman. Your daughter will not be harmed by equal rights for all. (You may want to consider why you are irrationally worried that a gay man or a lesbian woman will harm your daughter.)

    There are more then 100 rights (including tax and immigration rights) that come with marriage laws. It is unjust to deny people those rights.

    I also do not understand why you are referring to your behaviour as a college student. Clearly, and as you have stated, your political positions have radically shifted. You are now anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, and you hope to ban all IVF donor conception and surrogacy. You may want to make all IVF procedures illegal. If so, you might want to clarify that point.

    You have recently worked against a law that intended to give gay people equal access to medical treatment. You testified against California Bill AB 460 in April 2013, a proposed law which would insert non-discriminatory language into California law. (Note – this bill explicitly excluded IVF. It would never have included surrogacy, and I have no idea what Newman is talking about when she refers to gay people forcing women to become “baby machines.” She may wish to clarify that statement, as it is incomprehensible to me.)

    The new non-discriminatory language means that a lesbian woman may not be turned away if seeking treatment for her fibroids, a tube test, clomid, a hysteroscopy, or removal of scar tissue in her uterus simply because she is gay. A gay man may not be refused tests for his sperm quality or treatment of his varicocele simply because he is gay.

    For the British people reading this — legalized discrimination still exists in many US states. For example, employers may fire gay people in many states, without cause, for simply the act of identifying as a gay person. They don’t even need to be in a relationship. This behaviour is presently allowed under the Constitution. The California law was attempting to ban discrimination in the medical community because gay people could be turned away from treatment simply because they were gay, and that was legal behaviour until this law was passed. This is the law that Newman attempted to stop, but it was passed and this discriminatory behaviour is now against the law in California.

    “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” -Martin Luther King.

    • marilynn says:

      Uh but the equal rights of donor offspring or adopted people are totally no big deal to trample on

      Equal rights is equal for everyone and buying and selling people is wrong Liz Tess

  8. Liz says:

    Olivia,

    I am sorry I took up so much space on your blog today. I wanted to mention how deeply impressed I am with the UK, that a anti-anonymity movement can be enacted in a progressive way and grow out of progressive thinking. I think it’s wonderful that donor-conceived people have the option to find out their genetic heritage.

    I was trying to explain, in a messy way, I am sure, the toxic history in the States which tends to close off conversations and disappear the space for this type of progressive movement in America. The type of rhetoric employed is actually quite similar to the rhetoric used by those who wished to criminalize interracial marriage. Anti-miscegenationists argued against legalized marriage by boldly claiming that the children themselves would be harmed. They argued the kids would not fit into “either” community and would suffer terrible emotional harms. A little historical research will reveal the above fact. Actually, it was not only the criminalization of interracial marriage, but Jim Crow itself was largely justified through sexual tropes (the myth of the black rapist was the justification for lynching and legalized Jim Crow; the threat towards “white ladyhood” — little white girls in particular. (Off topic, but I was struck today by Newman’s use of the “little white girl” and the “threatening non-normative man” trope. One of the reasons the Equal Rights Amendment was not ratified in North Carolina was an attack ad about a little white girl and a black man entering the women’s bathroom.)

    Socially conservative groups do not simply want to end anonymity and reform ART. They want to end ART for non-heterosexual couples and non-genetically related couples. Some find all ART immoral, even between heterosexual couples with their own genetic material.

    They also want to restrict legal marriage to heterosexual couples. They want to deny gay couples state recognition and protection of themselves and their family with the marriage bond. They are quite explicit about this goal. There is no exception for gay couples who adopt foster children. The ultimate goal is to deny gay couples legally recognized, legitimate families.

    In any case, I apologize for taking up so much room at your blog today. I found the interaction most fascinating as I study conservative ideologies, and I was taken aback by the historical similarities.

    And I wish that the USA had the historical traditions that would support the approach to donor-conception that I see in Britain. I wish I had been able to grow up in a place like Britain, instead of a country filed with a toxic political environment in regards to sexuality.

    • marilynn says:

      Tess I find your arguments are filled with things that have nothing to to do with the rights and freedoms denied to donor offspring. Stop talking about people’s sexuality. It has nothing to do with people or who they choose as mates. This is about abandoning children in the name of fertility treatment.

      • Liz says:

        Marilynn,
        As someone who studies the history of rights, I do not understand your statement. You are not, as I understand it, a supporter of reforming donor conception (anti-anonymity), but rather you advocate ending donor conception. That means that you do not think this group of people, as a class, should exist in the world. Quite literally, you do not believe that donor conceived people ought to have been conceived and brought into existence. (I understand you are happy to welcome people into the world once they do exist, but you do not think one more baby should be born who is donor-conceived.)

        I do not think I would classify that position as advocating rights for the donor-conceived, as a class. I do not see how it’s possible that you are advocating for rights for donor-conceived people, as a class. Rather, you are advocating that the class itself disappear through the cessation of births.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        I didn’t want to engage with Liz/Tess further but when she wrote:
        “Quite literally, you do not believe that donor conceived people ought to have been conceived and brought into existence.”
        I had to chime in.

        See Tangled Webs link “Arguments in favour of donor-conception, and why they are wrong”: (http://www.tangledwebs.org.uk/tw/WhyWrong/ArgumentsInFavour/)

        ***”But you wouldn’t be here otherwise”

        If the second world war had never happened, my grandparents might never have met, and I would never have been born. Nonetheless, I think the second world war was wrong, and I am not glad it happened!***

        One night stands, extra marital affairs…rape etc all resulting in children (who are all very happy to exist) doesn’t mean society should have to condone the conception method and not challenge these various methods that bring new, beautiful and valuable life into the world. Fighting for the rights of non-existent people to exist as a way to defend a practice that intentionally creates children with a profoundly intentional disconnection from half or both sides of their biological parentage and extended family, is an argument that goes absolutely nowhere. Another example, millions of people were conceived and born during the baby boom, the baby boom started because the atomic bomb ended WWII, none of those people would exist if it wasn’t for the atomic bomb – we obviously don’t see the atomic bomb as a good thing just because many people would not be alive other wise. This is a painfully vapid defense of the practice (and deeply insulting to those who feel a loss and injustice of their intentional disconnection).

      • Liz says:

        You are misreading me. Please read my posts more carefully.

        I observed that the position was not to _reform_ and give rights to an specific class of people in perpetuity, but to _abolish_ the future births of a specific class of people.

        Marilynn’s and Newman’s position is the eradication of donor conception as a form of reproduction.

        This position is hopeful that NO new births of donor-conceived children will ever occur, as Marilynn and Newman view it as a crime against humanity. They work for the eradication of future births of donor-conceived children, not the reform of the practice of donor conception.

        Marilynn wants to shame those considering 3rd party reproduction as she views it as a deeply immoral practice that should cease immediately. I did not say that you (or Marilynn) wished that people had never been born. I understand Marilynn is friends with Newman and is very happy she is alive.

        Nor was I presenting a “defence.” I was making a note about how this group frames the concept of “rights” — which is not a classic way of viewing rights for special groups. The aim is to cease the growth of the group, and hopefully eradicate future births. This group works to stop all new births, with the exception of genetic parents that have parental legal and social claims to their children from the moment of birth. {Not to repeat – but this would eradicate the class of people known as “donor-conceived children. This is not a reform of the system, but an eradication of this group by disallowing the population to increase.}

        I was not suggesting that either you, or Marilynn, wished to eradicate anyone who is presently alive.

        I understand that Marilynn wishes to alter the present laws so that the people who are presently alive today would be able to legally have a relationship with their genetic donors as legal parents. I also understand that she promotes the demotion of social parents to step-parents.

        Finally, I understand her position to be that _all donor conception practices_ should cease immediately because it is deeply immoral and the equivalent to slavery. We have engaged in many (too many!) debates about her belief that donor conception is morally equivalent to the crimes committed by the North American Atlantic slave trade. Just as abolitionists were not willing to prevent the increase of those with the status of “slave,” Marilynn does not want to see One More Child created, and born, who is a donor-conceived child. And if one accepts her position, one can understand why she promotes the eradication of all births of people who are donor-conceived.

  9. oliviasview says:

    No problem Liz, I find your contributions fascinating and informative and hope others do too.

  10. marilynn says:

    I think its utterly offensive for anyone to suggest that donor offspring experience freedom of any sort when they have been sold by one or both of their parents as if they were property. Their own identity has been purchased and replaced, their medical records are falsified, they have birth records that name other people as their parents that erase their connection to their own families so they are unable to access the vital records of their own relatives and their relatives are unable to access theirs. They are anything but free. They are sequestered and hidden from their brothers sisters aunts uncles grandparents and cousins when nobody but people with falsified and incomplete birth records experiences this kind of interference with their rights. Free to be themselves? How on earth can they be free to be themselves when their identity at birth is falsified in service to people who many times paid for that service? This whole practice is intended to have them live an inauthentic existence. Its bad for everyone all the way around! This process impacts everyone. What if I am or you are a person that has 500 nieces and nephews or 500 1st cousins. Heck what if I am a person who has one just one relative lost to a process that has parental abandonment masquerading as a fertility treatment? Just one relative lost to parental abandonment is too many. Just one. How can anyone look at that young woman with a straight face when she says she just wants donor offspring to be free to choose for themselves? Look at how she’s been forced to settle for the freedom to choose to know who her relatives are only at 18. What about the freedom to have accurate medical records? No she does not deserve accurate medical records because she is not fully human, she is half donor and the half that is donor is not human does not bleed has no relatives has no feelings can be trampled upon and replaced. Love is suppose to be enough, love makes a family, love makes a father. What she’s learned is that she would only deserve love and care if she sacrificed her freedom and her rights otherwise she’d get nothing and would not deserve to exist. That is the message she’s getting instead of saying, because she was born she is a person deserving of identical rights as the rest of us. She too deserves an accurate birth record and support from her father and to live a truthful authentic existence as who she is instead of a life of service working to play the roll of child as charity in a job her abandoning father wanted her to play. He gave her as a gift to help a childless man? Now she’s born to play that roll. What freedom is that the freedom to be someone she’s not forever. No pressure.

  11. marilynn says:

    Alana is not a sheep. She is not reading the script that will encourage more people to pay for children to be abandoned in the name of fertility treatment. The idea here is to STOP people from abandoning their children and giving them as gifts to childless couples. The idea here is to STOP people from abandoning their kids period – its not a fertility treatment to let other people raise your offspring. It’s neglectful and wrong. Its not a fertility treatment to walk away from the kids we create. They are not ours to give as gifts to needy people. Give a winter coat, give a warm meal, teach a man to fish, but don’t give your kids to them to raise for crying out loud! I hardly think these generous donors would give the keys to their home for a week to someone who was homeless, but they’ll give their children to a childless person for 18 years without so much as a second thought! Not even an interview!? Their only qualification that they can pay or that they want to be parents? Would that be good enough to send a seven year old on a sleep over? I am so sure! I bet they would not give their keys to their car for an hour to a stranger off the street whose feet were tired from walking. Just walk up to a guy at a bus stop and go…you look like you need a car I feel so sorry for you here’s mine.

  12. oliviasview says:

    It’s good to know your real agenda Marilynn. The end to donor conception. I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

    • marilynn says:

      I want to stop parental abandonment Oliva not end donor conception. The idea is to stop having children with strangers that will abandon their children. My agenda is equal rights for every person born.. I don’t believe that donor conception is real. Their fathers and mothers are abandoning them they are not donors. That’s like saying they are not totally human. Not made of human reproduction. Don’t twist my words or my thinking. Ending anonymity just tells people they were robbed but it does not give them back what was stolen. How is that fair to them? How is it fair to tell them who they really are but not allow them to live the truth?

      • marilynn says:

        The problem here is with the fertility industry script with this new social script and lingo. Donor conception is a euphemism for parental abandonment. It is not a method of conception its a method of efficiently abandoning children. Is the fight against teen pregnancy a fight to eradicate the existence of people born to teenage parents? No its a fight to encourage people to only have children they are prepared to raise and care for.

  13. marilynn says:

    Tess how can you say I’d rather anyone not exist. I’m thrilled that donor conceived people exist. I love Alana I would cry my eyes out if she’d never existed. I want hoards and hoards and hoards of donor offspring to exist and be raised by their own biological parents held fully accountable for raising them as their own parents. Their parents can figure out who they want to be married to and where they want to live and with whom. Their step parents can do what ever step parents do. So long as donor offspring are born with the same legal rights and legal protections as other people and nobody forces their step parents onto their birth records as their parents forcing them to live an inauthentic life without legal kinship in their own families. They should certainly exist don’t be such a backwards hillbilly. I’m so sure like its totally impossible for them to exist with the same rights as everyone else Tess. They have to be treated like second class citizens to serve their masters I’m so sure..

    • Sam Gregory says:

      “I want hoards and hoards and hoards of donor offspring to exist and be raised by their own biological parents held fully accountable for raising them as their own parents.”

      Marilynn, are you actually advocating a nationwide program of taking children away from the parents who have raised them since birth and handing them to their donors?

      • marilynn says:

        Sam No not at all. Everyone has a right to truthful accurate medical records right? And the right to aaccess the vital records of all their relatives because of the identifying information in them and importance of the health information that can be garnered from them right? And nobody has a right to conceal their vital records from their relatives – not even the vital record of a minor a grandparent can get their grandkid’s records without getting permission from the kid’s parents. So this system of keeping families able to inform themselves of who they are related to only works when people are named parents on the birth records of their own offspring. Everyone but donors has to do this and what it does is leave you and everyone you are related to at a disadvantage unable to exercise your right to identifying information and vital records of your relatives. The laws that say donors are not parents don’t take into account that biologically they are and that the kinship rights of their offspring and their other relatives are undermined by them not being named as parents. If you Sam find a sibling on DSR you deserve you should have the right to be legally recognized as siblings qualify for family leave act to attend a sibling’s funeral or help a sibling immigrate or take care of a disabled sibling in their later years and qualify as a relative dependent. You should be able to have your birth records corrected so that you not only know the truth but have a legal right to live that truth. People who donate gametes also become bio parents when their children are born and they cannot undo that and they should have the same obligations to their offspring as any other bio parent by being recorded on their birth record as a matter of public health. If they don’t wish to raise their offspring for whatever reason there are ways to relinquish parental authority above board in court so that minor offspring are afforded full legal protection of court approved adoption. Why would one child deserve the protection of court approved adoption and investigations into the reason for relinquishment to ensure no money or goods changed hands say – when another child would not.
        You deserve equal rights and treatment to everyone else and that does not have to undermine your current family situation or even the parental authority of the social parents. Its not appropriate that you are prevented from having an accurate medical record, you should not have to wait or ask for your donors information – not everyone has a donor, that is unequal. You should be able to go to vital records and say my birth certificate is wrong and it needs to be corrected my bio father’s name is in a file at such and such clinic. I don’t need to see the doctors donor records, I just need you to correct my birth record so my relatives can know I exist and vice versa.

        Sam being told the truth is wonderful, but not being allowed to live it or have it legally recognized is just wrong. Living the truth and having it legally recognized does not need to undermine the familial relationships you have with social or legal parents. Its possible to have legal recognition with parents and adoptive parents or parents and inlaws or step family I’m just saying its not an all or nothing game. But bio parents need to be held accountable as parents for their own offspring so that when they have 200 or 300 kids, they freaking know it and are at the very least accountable personally to their kids and for public health reasons. You are still human. There was nothing so unique about your conception that would change the fact you have two bio parents that owe it to you to be named and accountable and whatever arrangements they make for raising you after that can be worked out hopefully above board an on the record. No I’m absolutely not talking about confiscating children, just making sure they have equal rights and access to info from birth full legal kinship in their bio families.

      • marilynn says:

        And I’m also just reacting to the load of crap that being against parental abandonment is a suggestion that donor offspring should not exist. Everyone deserves to exist. Once they are here just make sure they have equal rights. I don’t like the suggestion that in order for you to exist we had to sacrifice a bunch of your rights. Like as if you woke up in a hospital without a leg and found out they had to cut it off to get you out of the burning car. Nobody had to sacrifice your rights for you to exist. Makes no difference how they managed to conceive you that’s their problem once you are a person you should just be treated the same as everyone else. Sadly not how it is at the moment.

  14. Sam Gregory says:

    Is there any need to give this Alana Newman woman the time of day? This article, written by her less than three months ago, tells you all you need to know: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/09/6459/

    The subtitle says “Young women now have to defend themselves not only from stereotypical sexual predators, but also from older women and gay men who seek their eggs.” Written in such a ridiculous way, it brings to mind images of hoards of broody homosexuals,chasing fertile women through the streets of our towns and cities. Such brash sensationalism!

    Basically, what that sub-title does is it links egg donation to rape. Quite plainly and unapologetically. Which is utterly repulsive, both an insult to those who use egg donation to create amazing, wonderful families, and a complete trivialisation of ACTUAL sexual predators.

    It continues. “And if lesbians use sperm donors to create fatherless children, then it’s only equal and fair for gay men to be able to use egg donors and surrogates to create motherless children too. Because again, it’s not biology that matters; kids just need two parents.”

    What is this “biology” crap? It’s a misuse of a word that has connotations of being vaguely scientific, conveniently covering up the fact that she has provided NO peer-reviewed scientific references to any research that says a child being brought up by two dads is not “biological” Alana has used it much like the word “normal” is misused (the argument “it’s not normal/biological” is frequently heard from homophobes). The mallard duck is an animal that frequently procreates through gang rape. Would you advocate that too, given that it’s clearly “biological”? A load of homophobic tosh, I’m afraid.

    • marilynn says:

      Sam
      You are reaching far a field here. When Alana uses a word like biological, or any word for that matter she ascribes the commonly understood meaning to it elsewise she’d risk not being understood by her audience. You see assigning our own meaning to commonly understood words is just an academic way of lying. They call it propaganda. While she may be blunt and sensational and draw some rather controversial comparisons in that essay she is not manipulating the reader with any re-definition of words. A predator is a hunter looking for prey looking to beguile them or do whatever needs doing to take what they want. Women and Gay Men generally never wanted anything from young women least not anything sexual and now they want their sex genes. TODAY right now has an article up that says the very same thing its not just young straight men looking for young pretty college girls anymore now they fall prey to people seeking sex from them their sex genes their eggs. It’s inflamitory I’ll grant you but its a social commentary about the fact that people are looking for something sexual from girls now that is unrelated to intercourse – just raw reproduction, they want their children.

      How did she misuse the word biology? A woman is the biological mother of her own offspring whether she gives birth to them or not. It is a well known medical fact and the ASRM is very clear that egg donors become biological mothers when their offspring are born. The woman that carries their child is not the biological mother as she shares no biology with them. In any event two men can’t be the biological parents of a child anymore than two women can or an opposite sex couple where neither is fertile or only one is fertile. Two men can raise a child together but at most only one will be biologically related its just a fact. I hate the word normal. She is not meaning it in any other way than to say that people act like biological parents are not doing anything wrong by abandoning their young in the name of fertility treatments. They say its just egg donation but nobody would want their egg if they had not first agreed to give up their children. They have to be willing to abandon their parental responsibilities or there is no need for their sperm or their eggs. So All she is saying is that human beings are not replaceable. The parents that made us are unique and someone else can do a fine job of raising us but it does not mean that the absent parent does not still owe a debt to their child. Their child is not an object to be given to a needy person as a gift. These are people not winter coats.

      What peer review would one need to make the statement that two men claiming to be fathers of the same child can’t both be biological fathers? I’ve never even heard anyone try to make that claim. One is a legal/social father. under current laws.

      I think Sam you and others should stop focusing on the families that raise or are raising donor offspring because they are known quantities – everyone knows they love them an wanted them etc etc. Everyone knows the kids in all likelihood love them and think of the social parents as their parents. The problem is with what people have to loose in terms of their family and legal rights in order to wind up in those very loving situations. The problem is with the way not being named on their own offspring’s birth records is causing a major public health problem because people think they are related to people they are not related to and vice versa. The whole thing needs to be done in a way that still holds the bio parent as accountable for their kids as any other bio parent. The whole thing needs to be done in a way that does not interfere with the rights of the person with the donating parent or their relatives. No qualms with non-bio parenthood its abandonment by bio parents that is the problem and the loss of rights that their kids and relatives suffer and the huge problem it causes for public health. Don’t feel like your social family is attacked by a discussion about you enjoying the same legal rights as other people. Its possible to protect your social family and still get what you deserve an should never have lost. It is not as black and white as they’d have us believe. You could still have been raised by your social father and still be who you are with your same two bio parents without having a falsified birth record and while being allowed to just be who you are on the record knowing all your relatives part of all the families bio an social.

      Of course it is ideal for people to be raised by the two people that made them – who else owes it to them to take care of them. It’s their fault that their dependent minor exists. There are some things that only a bio parent can provide for their kid like a link to kinship rights to the rest of their bio family which means contact with siblings and the benefit of not being isolated from information about what makes you you. Sometimes bio parents suck and can’t raise their kids. Every social parent owes their position to the fact that a bio parent failed to live up to their parental obligations. Having people fail their offspring in a really efficient impersonal way is the name of the game. So there is no record of the connection, no social connection the more distance that can be put between you and your relatives the better many would think as it cements you as theirs and theirs only – gives you no where to run to because nobody else thinks of you as family. Thats the extreme thinking but it does not need to be that drastic

  15. Eva says:

    I just want to say that I’m so glad these discussions take place here – i learn so much from both sides and I do hope to be able to make an informed decision..Pity such discussions never take place in my own country (Poland), not even on the trying to conceive fora. I’m an adoptive parent who now would love to “add to my family” and actuallly our only option is 3rd party reproduction, as at almost 40, we’re too old to adopt plus our income is not suficient according to the adoption centre. We are at a loss, as donors are only anonymous here. We would like to adopt an embryo as this would be the closest to the “normal” adoption you can probably get, but it’s so hard to imagine bringing up one kid (the already adopted one) who will get full access to his records and another one, intentionally deprived of this right,even though not by us as we would gladly share this info with him/her. Will “being alive” and our love be enough? i’ve been struggling with this for a few months now and i do appreciate your blog as well as Alana’s “anonymous us project” – as two perspectives.

  16. marilynn says:

    Eva I’m the negative nelly around here, but embryo adoption I have to say puts the rearing parties in the least abusive position because they did not orchestrate the abandonment by the child’s parents. Even if you are not allowed any identifying information take it upon yourselves to get something in writing that the relinquishing parties were not anonymous donors selling their children but rather a couple who relinquished their embryo in the process of doing IVF themselves. The ethical difference between being sold by their mother and father who were donors and manufactured by some other couple or a clinic then resold by a clinic is just too horrific and makes you a consumer of manufactured children. If its actually a couple who received no compensation and are raising their full siblings and there would be a chance for them to locate even through FTDNA or DSR their parents and other relatives one day then you’d be being ethical. It would be most like a normal adoption. It would be better if their names were on their birth record cause the kid still looses way more rights as donor offspring than as an adopted person but its far better than raising donor offspring whose parents were commercial donors. Find the most ethical way to do this since you have the option.

  17. marilynn says:

    Tess – I’ve never used the word immoral. I’ve never said that I wanted to abolish donor conceptions as donors are people and people should not be constricted in their ability to conceive children. Donors are people and should have their reproductive rights respected. If you are going to outline my stance the agenda of things I think then never again type stuff about me wanting to not have one more donor conceived person born. Or that I want to abolish anything at all. Abolish nothing. Simply obligate everyone equally to their own offspring as parents. They can donate their genes all day long so long as they take care of their own offspring as parents when they are born. I don’t give a rats ass how anyone conceives their children why because they are not violating anyone’s rights then, they can be as anonymous or absent from their non existent children’s lives as they want. It’s the part of their agreement where they say they’ll abandon their parental title and responsibilities to their children when they are born that should be either eliminated from the agreements in favor of something like gamete donors have no special exemption from being named parent of their own offspring on the record and anyone who reproduces with a donor should have to agree to put their name on a registry of individuals that has to be tested before getting named as a parent on a person’s birth record in order that they not be named parent on the birth record of a child not their offspring. And it should state that the doctors or clinics has to cooperate with the state’s efforts to identify a child’s bio parent and that these identifying records can be accessed if need be to obtain the name of a child’s parent. Nobody else has a right not to be identified as the parent of their offspring. So stop making stuff up about what I think you make me sound almost religious. morals i have no morals.

    • Liz says:

      Marilynn,

      You believe that the marriage partners of the genetically-connected individuals may be step-parents, but should not be viewed as the legal or the social parents of the child.

      You’ve been quite specific about your opinion. I am, quite frankly, mystified as to why you would pretend that you are in support of donor-conception.

      In your ideal world, people would no longer ever act as “donors.”

      There would not be any more “donor-conceived” people, as there would only be genetic parents, and genetic children. This, ultimately, is what you actively work towards, as you see donor-conception as the moral equivalent of selling people. (As you have posted in one of your above comments.)

      Your position, as I understand it, is as follows:

      You are pleased to see people making a babies, and even using ART to make babies. But you want both of the genetically-connected individuals to be designated as the legal parents on the birth certificate.

      In order for anyone else to be the legal parent, you would require that the genetic parent relinquish after birth and the adoptive parent go through an adoption process and a home study.

      But, you do not, in general, approve of adoption.

      You are reluctant to support the legal relinquishment of children. You are extremely reluctant to advocate for adoption.

      You want every child’s birth certificate to only list his genetic parents. You want the state and society to view the genetic parents as legal parents, with the rights and obligations that follow from legal parenthood.

      You prefer people to be named foster guardian parents, even in cases of parental physical abuse, so as to encourage the genetic familial connection to the wider genetic kin network. In some abusive situations (or situations such as prison time for the parent) you would be comfortable with a legal guardianship being awarded, but you do not want the genetic parent to lose the designation of legal parent.

      • marilynn says:

        Liz your a smart gal. Slow down and get it. Get my angle. Too many of the people on my side of the fence focus stupidly on trying to stop donor conception. It’s unfair to restrict any human beings right to reproduce. A donor is just a man or a woman who is exercising their reproductive rights. I would never want to do anything to ban or restrict people’s bodily autonomy. People on my side of the fence get so caught up in trying to stop people “from conceiving children this way” It’s absurd. The end result of conception any way you slice it is a person. What their parents were thinking or intending or wanting or desiring makes no difference at all the end result is still a flesh and blood person that has the same basic needs and should have the same basic rights as the next. So if people wish to meet the future fathers and mothers of their children through medical clearing houses for safety sake or because their spouses or partners are unable to have children with them, far be it from me to decide their particular path to parenthood. They can call themselves donors or doodahs or Bob and Betty before their kids are born so long as they are held fully accountable as parents when their kids are born so that no bio parents have special exemptions and no bio kids have a loss of rights.

        Marital presumption and Giving birth are no longer adequate means of achieving presumption of a medical state such as maternity or paternity when there are more accurate ways of achieving that presumption used all the time for the protection of children. A simple expansion of the sworn statements already given and some licensing losses for people that aid and abet people in hiding from their parental responsibilities would be really the ticket to a more truthful record and would start to correct the public health problem and give everyone the right to a medically accurate identity and give everyone rights in their own bio families. People’s partners and spouses should be legally tied to their spouses kids, but not permanently because the connection is only as permanent as the relationship. Sure their convictions and comittment may last a lifetime but the record of the permanent relationship and the medical debt as it were needs to go to the person who caused the kids existence not the spouse. So currently the term for that is step parent. They can raise them and be involved up to their ears but the record needs to show who is blood and who is through marriage just so people can know who they should and should not date they are their kinship rolls its unfair to conceal them and revise them especially when health and reproductive choice is at steak. So stop looking at me as if I’m attacking donor reproduction because I’m coming to care less and less about it. What matters is what people with offspring do once their children are born. Who cares if they were gamete donors they still produce human offspring with human needs. They also should not be selling off their parental obligations or title cause its child selling. Sure donated a gamete but I also had to agree to give up my kid and they paid me for it. They would not have paid me for the gamete if I did not give up the kid.

        You repeated my position correctly that they should go through the same court approved process as everyone else does if they are not going to raise their kids for thei protection of their kids or we should just abolish adoption altogether why bother. I don’t approve of adoptions current laws with regard to identity changing and loss of kinship rights. I do approve of the legal checks and balances relinquishing parents have to go through to vet instances of child trafficking and I believe the court approved process is the only way to keep a disinterested third party involved to make sure kids are not the objects of private contracts.

        And you are correct that I don’t want the parents ever to loose legal parent status – you can be a legal parent without custody or authority it happens all the time. This is the way the child retains all their rights while terminating any parental authority the person had over a minor child its fully respectful to the person with something to loose. If they have to loose a parent they need not loose an entire family or their kinship rights just to be loved and raised by someone else.

      • Liz says:

        Marilynn, you are not disagreeing with me. But you don’t understand the legal definition of “gamete donation.”

        Gamete donation is not simply a jagon-ish term that people use. It is a legal term. You want to make it illegal to do what is commonly seen as “gamete donation.”

        You are calling intercourse or the use of ART in non-married (or “co-parenting) relationships “gamete donation.”

        That is not “gamete donation.”

    • Liz says:

      To put things more simply:

      Marilynn,

      You are fine with anybody using ART. You are also fine with unmarried sex and reproduction. You would not make these various forms of reproduction illegal.

      But you want the genetic parents to be recognized as the legal parents, and placed on the birth certificate, and assigned the legal obligations of parenthood.

      This would, indeed, abolish donor-conception, as no one would be able to legally donate gametes. You are, indeed, in favour of abolishing donor conception.

      • marilynn says:

        Yes they could legally donate them. Legally donate them to both research and reproductive services they just would not be donating their child.

        There are tons of co parent sites (a term I hate because its just stupid) where people want to meet a person to have a kid with that will help raise the kid but not be their spouse. They may already eve n have a spouse.

        Now I think the term donor is a lame description because all they are really doing is reproducing anyway but whatever, they could still be brokered through these services even paid for their time to do this and still have their little parts harvested. They could even be paid to allow another woman to gestate their pregnancy for them because alot of women are really looking for that ride and are willing to pay for it – they just could not offload or walk away from their child or parenthood without first being fully documented and recorded so it remains their responsibility how many offspring they have and not some company controllong them. They’d have to relinquish in court so their kids got the same legal protection as other kids. Anyway I don’t want to abolish anything I want parents to be held responsible for the kis they create which is the way it already is for everyone else. If some people chose not to have their kids this way I it would be like any other factor people consider before bringing children into the world. They should be thinking about what they are doing and trying to make decisions knowing they’d be accountable for them.

      • Liz says:

        By legally donate to “reproductive” services — you must only mean cells for research.

        Unless you have drastically changed your position — you believe that all genetic parents should be on the birth certificates and have the legal obligation to be recognized as the legal parent.

        That is not the definition of “sperm donor” or “egg donor” or “embryo donation.”

        I stand by my earlier statement — you do not want one more child born that is legally disconnected from his or her genetic parents. You do not want one more child born who is known in the current terminology as “donor-conceived.”

        You may be changing the definition of donor-conception, but “donor” as it is commonly known is viewed as a legal term. A sperm donor does not have the same obligations and parental rights claims as a father.

      • Liz says:

        And Marilynn,

        I do wish you would read me more carefully.

        I did not say you were against unmarried births. I did not say you were against the births of people who are not in a relationship. I did not say you were against “co-parenting. I did not say you were against ART. I did not say you were religious.

        I said you wanted to eradicate donor-conception. Which is a true statement, unless I have drastically misunderstood your many posts about the subject.

  18. Eva says:

    Marilynn, I kind of noticed that you’re not in favour of the donor conception 🙂 but honestly – I do appreciate your arguments and see your point – even if it’s hard to swallow for someone struggling with infertility who would do “anything” to get a child.. I’ve been there, too, but somehow the perspective changed since our little boy joined our family – I’m not that desperate any more and it’s only now that I am able to take the (future) kids’ rights and interests into account. And “first do no harm” has become my motto. I do agree with you on the fact that adopting an embryo created out of one or both anonymous donors (bio- parents?) could be simply too much – definitely for myself, as I’m not sure how I’d be able to tell a positive story in such a case, that just seems too complicated. I’d also like to stick to the terms “biological parents” for both kids, as this would be (i think) a challenge to explain to them that the elder one has bio-parents while the younger has donors – i am aware that the intention and situations were different, but in the end it all comes down to the fact of who they share their genetics with. We’d be more than happy with adopting an embryo relinquished by a couple who would leave their names for the kid if she/he wanted to get to know them in the future, but apparently there are no such couples in Poland (or at least this is what almost all the clinics in Poland have told me so far). And yes, what I worry about most is our kids having totally different legal statuses and rights, even though both would be adopted by us. And the worst thing is that it’s not that the records will not be there (as it might also happen in adoption for one reason or another)- as the clinic must keep them for 50 years or so, but the access to them will be simply denied for the kid while the elder brother – if he chooses to find out – will be treated with full understanding and support from the officials. This is really bothering me a lot.

    • marilynn says:

      Wow your really thinking that is great. You know I don’t talk about it much but I come to this opinion as a woman who faced infertility – me my body 13 miscarriages and I had a son die at birth so I know what it is like to be told I should try a donor egg and a surrogate. My work reuniting separated families has given me a window into the tremendous loss of rights people and their relatives experience when one or both parents don’t raise them. It really needn’t carry over into every aspect of their lives and sever kinship rights with other relatives and all and I think those laws can be changed. For all the separated families I’ve seen and all the various reasons for separation and all the various ways they came to be raised outside the family I’ll tell you this they all love the families that raised them but I think the amount of trust the kid has in the rearing family is directly proportionate to the amount of involvement the rearing parent had in causing them to be separated from their bio family. Like as in the less they wanted it paid for it asked for it commissioned it the more the kid seems to trust them with their reunion and search efforts anyway or their feelings on being adopted or donor offspring etc.

      Like calling both kids bio parents bio parents is good cause they are biologically related so you can’t go wrong with the truth and if they were not custom made and abandoned just for you, or just to serve the general public but rather the bio parents did not have the resources to raise 4 kids or whatever then you had nothing to do with them giving up the kid your just there to gestate and raise and you don’t stand in the way of them finding and think they should know their siblings etc. then you’re cool. Just really be aware that for some people its rough to feel like they are being raised by people who organized their separation from their bio family encouraged it shopped for it even. So avoiding those situations could save people and the kid the grief an that kind of cloud of resentment that I think pretty much most donor offspring I’ve talked to have towards the parents that raised them. They just would never dream of saying anything about it cause it would hurt their feelings or they’d get mad. Stay away from the cause of separation its a safe zone.

  19. Eva says:

    I’m sorry about your losses, Marilynn – I barely survived one myself, and can’t even imagine 13 and a death of a kid at birth to that, that’s simply too much to bear..
    I have been thinking about what you wrote and I agree with many points, such as the importance of our biological or genetic identity as something non-negotiable and totally independent from anyone’s (parents/donors/whoever) intentions. I do get the point presented by Olivia in this blog that identity in a general sense is more than just genetics, but anyway – everyone (or almost everyone?) needs some sort of an anchor or biological roots to start building their broader identity. And this info should simply be available to people, adopted and DC alike.
    The “flexibility” or relativism in looking at genetic connections is rather surprising, especially among doctors- who first acknowledge any infertile patients’ longing for their own (genetic) child and then come up with an idea of anonymous 3rd party reproduction as some sort of a substitiution. As if anonymity would wipe off any genetic features and the donated gamete or embryo could magically become just a “tabula rasa” for us (infertiles) to write on. But all this has been said too many times.
    I’d be more than OK with a child having a truthful birth certificate – with info about biological parents – and regardless whether we are talking adoption or donor conception. I don’t have any need to (officially or not) pretend someone that i’m not (i.e. a bio-parent). My adoptive son biologically or genetically is who he is (and thanks heavens!) and this doesn’t depend on whether he was wanted or raised by his blood relatives or by us. So honestly – I also see his new birth certificate more as a “working” paper issued just to simplify our everyday life together as a family rather than a confirmation of his new identity.
    Talking about safety zones – I’m afraid that even if we stay away from the cause of separation, we still might add to the problem by letting someone be born while we knew right from the beginning that their basic human right to know where they come from will be severely compromised.
    But anyway, many thanks for your advice – the discussion and your arguments showed me that i need more time with this decision. Obviously, it might all end up fine, the kid may just be like Olivia’s son who is not interested in the donor at all, but it seems a bit like a gambling for me now, so i just need to think a bit longer.
    Could I also ask what it means that you reunite families or relatives for adoptees or DC people? Is it your job?

    • marilynn says:

      No it is not my job. I don’t want to profit by helping people get back what belongs to them. Even now as I am out of work and in desperate need of money even families I’ve reunited say I should charge but it feels wrong. I learned how to find people helping my mother find her father’s family and I found she had a sister hidden from her a whole family hidden from her – she died the year before I reunited her with her family. This was now going on 20 years ago. Then I reunited all my friends with their estranged fathers and word spread. Turned out everyone I’d grown up with had a parent or sibling lost to them for myriad reasons. Sometimes it was just they lost their sister to drugs and was she dead or homeless and sometimes it was a deadbeat dad deadbeat mom many many adoptions many many tragic and sad separations. People would come to me and I was already paying for the people searching websites and I enjoyed trying and it always worked, every time. I would see other posts on adoption.com as I was helping my friends and their friends and I would cry to read some posts and if it seemed easy enough I’d stop and take a few minutes to just surprise reunite those families. There are thousands of matches on adoption.com and the posters have no idea. I’d say out of the million posts probably 250,000 are matched, mother’s post sitting on top of the child’s post and they don’t know it. So I like to sometimes just go to adoption.com and punch in the current date – to look for adopted people born that day and typically several thousand will pop up and then i call up the matched ones so they can be reunited with their family on their birthdays to make it feel extra like magic. I worked with a woman a very famous donor offspring woman who’d found a brother but not their father and spent a few years helping her search. That was my intro into helping reunite donor offspring families and I am now friends with most of the donor offspring that blog and I’ve been pretty successful in the reuniting department though I must say donor offspring are often extra secretive because many of their fathers are their mother’s gyneocologists and still practice so they don’t go public. I’m not sure but I think they fear loosing their licenses for inseminating their patients with their own sperm without their mother’s knowledge. I don’t see why that matters actually since they did not care who was getting them pregnant. Its too obvious that his would be the most available reliable source of sperm. Medical students indeed. Why pay for it when they could rub one out themselves on lunch at their own desk?

  20. marilynn says:

    I just wanted to check in with Olivia there is some interesting stuff going on in the UK with adult offspring not only trying to change their birth certificates but getting the ball rolling by changing their last names to the names of their fathers when they find out who he is. Its all done no offense to the men who raised them its just a matter of correcting an error on their records so that they are not living under a false assigned identity.

    While I think the birth records and their names should be reflective of their true parentage from the outset I’m thinking the laws there in the UK that allow for people to learn the names of their biological parents when they turn 18 are a step toward them never being concealed in the first place. I mean what is the point of concealing that information when all it does it prevents free flowing information and contact the first 18 years. In any event I think the law should take into account the need to correct their birth records and names once they do get the correct information at 18. Obviously if there was a need to have their mother’s partners named on their certificates the first 18 years of their lives that need is no longer there when they are adults and so the appropriate thing would be to make adjusting the records for public health and personal information something that just has to happen when they turn 18 whether they seek it out or not. None of this will change how they feel about rearing parents of course so I can’t see that anyone rearing donor offspring would object since the corrected records would not interfere with the records while they were under 18. Now again I don’t think its fair that they have to wait till 18 for the truth since nobody else does – but until the laws are adjusted to be completely fair disclosing the truth from the very begining

    • oliviasview says:

      Of course any adult can change their name by deed poll if they choose to do so. Changing a birth certificate is a very different matter and I know nothing about donor conceived adults attempts to do so. In a loving family it is highly unlikely that any young person would wish to change their surname at age 18. I also find extraordinary your lack of compassion or understanding for raising parents. You speak of them as if they were people with no feelings at all…as if it would be a matter of complete indifference that a child they loved deeply and had raised since birth wanted to change their surname at age 18. It would not be appropriate at all for a name change to occur at 18 as a matter of course. It is perfectly possible to be completely open about and respectful of the donor and the contribution they have made, without changing names. I cannot imagine any donor would actually want this to happen either. By and large donors do not want to be parents. They have not abandoned their children. They donate so that other people can have families. As Liz says, this is the legal definition of donation. But there really is no point in engaging further about this. We are never likely to agree on this fundamental point…so do burble on all you like, we will never agree.

      • marilynn says:

        Check out Daughter of a Donor’s blog out of the UK http://daughterofadonor.com/?p=2493

        The fake birth certificate and issue of the name is huge Olivia. In every country and with most every person that has an inaccurate birth record whether because they were adopted or donor offspring or just wound up with the wrong name on their certificates somehow.

        Its a health issue for entire families Olivia I can’t imagine that people raising donor offspring would care about the record keeping aspects of it if they were secure and comfortable with their relationships.

      • marilynn says:

        It is a rather important issue of semantics Olivia. I say they abandon their children and you say they donate their gametes so others can have a family. I’m calling the bluff linguistically and saying that I am not against the donation of gametes. We should not try to stop gamete donation. It’s the agreement to abandon parental responsibilities for their offspring that the law should not honor. Nobody should be exempted from being accountable for their own offspring at birth as a parent.

        When you say the donation is so other people can have a family you mean so that other people can take and raise the gamete donor’s offspring. A gamete donor for reproductive purposes has to really want to have children, so badly that they don’t care who they have children. They want lots of kids but they don’t want to raise all of them. The problem does not occur until after their children are born when they are not accountable for them. There are many reasons why a person might donate their gametes and it is their business if they want to help a stranger make a baby so they can have a family. So long as they and that stranger are accountable as parents when their child is born, they’ve achieved their goal of helping a stranger start a family and have children, they just won’t have abandoned their child to be black market adopted by the strangers spouse or partner. They could also donate for research not for reproduction. I’m not against the conception part. I do think having children with someone you never met is dangerous since your could be related to the person but its all their business until their kid is born

    • gsmwc02 says:

      An adult changing their last name to reflect the name of their biological father, absolutely says that they don’t respect the people that raised them one bit. It says that the family that raises them is of little importance to them and the guy who donated his sperm is more important.

      If it were me I would cut off all ties to that child I raised. But that is your goal to eliminate non biological parents from the picture.

      • marilynn says:

        This is why they all go behind the backs of their rearing parents even the ones that run blogs about how openness and truthfullness is the way to go when raising donor offspring. They all go behind the backs of the people that raised them because they are not actually willing to live out the truth of the situation and acknowledge that these kids have another family. Why on earth would you cut off a child you had raised from birth over the fact that they wanted their medical record their vital record to be medially accurate if your name and theirs were on a perfectly valid adoption decree that stated your connection to the child truthfully. They would not even have to change their name from yours people do have legal name changes all the time without altering their birth records. But even if they did want to claim their own name why would you begrudge them their history on written records that their relatives could access when as an adoptive parent you and your relatives certainly have the right to access the adopted child’s vital records and those of their relatives and the adopted child can access yours.
        If you don’t get comfortable with the birth certificate being a medical record from which familial and kinship rights arise you will never comprehend the fact that an adopted person and their family suffer profound loss at the falsification or realize that they don’t have to suffer that loss to be an adopted member of your family and will still love you and honor you. You have to let people live the truth of the situation or they’ll hate you behind your back and you’d never want that after years of effort raising a kid would you? Would you really want them to pretend to be cool with it in order not to deal with a temper tantrum from you over something like wanting to fix an error on their vital records? Chill the f out..

      • gsmwc02 says:

        The reason I would cut off all ties is because removing a name from a birth certificate and changing a last name is a way of telling the parents that they do not wish to be a part of their family. And if that’s the case the family that they changed their name to can take care of that person. It’s a clear sign of disrespect.

        You know for all of your non sense talk about reuniting families your intention is clear to separate non biological families. This type of stuff is very dangerous. You are a very dangerous person who people should stay away from. I’m so thankful that there are rational people who are mentally stable like Oliva who write well thought out ideas that our society will benefit from that counteracts the dangerous extremists out there.

      • marilynn says:

        Greg I have a little bit of affection for you I don’t know why because your really mean as spit to me . Seriously. But I do I kind of like you. You’ve grown on me. I have a desire to reach some kind of mutual understanding and have some respect for one another but your really mean as spit towards me and I’m hoping at some point you’ll feel kind of badly about that.

        So let me get this straight. If you were to become an adoptive parent and you had in your hot little hand a copy of the adoption decree that demonstrated that you and your lovely spouse were the adoptive parents of a child born on such and such a date to such and such persons and that the child’s name had been legally changed on adoption to Greggie Don’t-Piss-Me-Off Jr. why would you need to have you and your wife’s name on his birth record if you knew that not having his original parents names threre would make it nearly impossible for your adopted kid and his relatives to ever find one another? Why would you need additional legal proof of your parenthood printed on a document that implied bio parenthood when your name was already listed on an adoption decree? Are you saying either the kid is willing to go along with the lie and have a falsified medical record or he’s not worth raising? What kind of message is that? If a person is an adoptive parent what is wrong with having a piece of paper that says that they are an adoptive parent? When they put their names on the birth record it interrupts the rights of everyone in that family to identifying records on their relatives. That is not fair. Why is lying such an important sign of love and respect to you? Who taught you that? Would you expect the to lie about other things? What else makes a childunworthy of love and care? Wanting an accurate birth record makes them unworthy of your love? Wanting to have contact with their relatives makes them unworthy? You say that I am dangerous but you are not making much sense. I actually think you would not withhold your love and would not cut the kid off and I actually think you would remain devoted to the kid and would be supportive of their efforts to fix their records confident in knowing that he’d joined your family through a provable court approved adoption and that you were very secure in your relationship with him. I don’t think you’d ever abandon a person you’d raised from birth to adulthood over something like this. I don’t I just think your trippen and that you are a hot head that needs to be managed and tiptoed around but I do think you were probably raised up to be a pretty honorable and respectful old fashioned gentleman and I don’t think you would kick the kid to the curb over that. I think you need to take a chill pill though. Talking to you is like talking to a guy that thinks he just got his capped knocked off and called chump. Your always ready to leave the club and go outside and settle it brawl style. relax. After all this I still have a little soft spot for your Archie Bunker cranky self.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        Marilynn,

        I respect you trying to help a group of people that need support. I think that’s wonderful. But that’s where my respect ends. I think your intentions are to shame and hurt non biological family members. You want to severe that family bond those people have and replace it with the biological family members. You want to manipulate these vulnerable donor conceived people and have them lash out at the people who made the decision to create them. That is what I think is very dangerous.

        I believe you feel you can manipulate people and change their minds. You use your infertility story to try to connect but that gets lost when you shame and guilt people. It makes me believe that either you infertility story is made up or what you have (your daughter) has made you forget what you could have been (childless). People who go through infertility don’t brag about the number of miscarriages they’ve had to get a point across. Saying you have gone through infertility and had miscarriages tells the audience all they need to know. That’s what makes me believe there is a chance the story is made up to manipulate and connect with the audience. But I think it’s more likely that your infertility story is true and that having your daughter has made you forget that you could have easily remained childless, which would have changed your perspective completely than what it is today. And what you are today is a lot like Archie Bunker which is intolerant of other people and other people’s feelings. As for me being mean to you, when you play with fire you will get burned.

        If my wife and I were to become PARENTS (not adoptive) through adoption, I would have no issue with a child wanting their biological parent on their birth certificate and removing mine. However, them changing their last name (unless it’s a daughter getting married) is an act that for me would sever my relationship to them. I stand by what I say that I would cut them off forever. It tells me that they don’t value what we brought to them as their parents who raised them. That’s not being irrational it’s being level headed. The child will always have a biological connection to the people who created them. I would never get in the way of them having a relationship with any of their biological relatives. A last name is what we have as a bond that connects us as being their family. Remove that and there is no family connection just the number of years in our lives that we wasted being used. The child (adult) can then go to their biological family when they need someone or something because removing my last names removes us from being their parents because the only thing connecting us as their parents is gone forever.

        See Marilynn what I desire is to become a parent not a legalized babysitter with sleepover privileges (A Guardian). I understand you don’t approve people becoming parents that way and that you feels people with non biological connections to the children they raise are legalized babysitters/Guardians. However, I know we can become parents through adoption. No, we’ll never have a biological connection. Yes, the child will have another set of parents through birth and family through their biology. But my wife and I would always be their parents unless they decided to remove us as being their parents by changing their last name (unless it was a daughter changing her name through marriage). That would be a hostile act against us sending a clear message as to where we stood in their life.

        • oliviasview says:

          Hi Greg
          Would you really cut out of your life a child who wanted to change their surname(other than by marriage)? I think I’d feel very sad and want to explore why it is that they feel that way…but to my mind nothing could erase the (hopefully good) years of being parent and child. I suspect that as an actual parent your feelings would be more complicated than that. Take care.

          • gsmwc02 says:

            Hi Oliva,

            I think you’re right that I would want to find out why they wanted to get rid of my last name. That would better explain why. But I think to go to that extreme there is likely some type of intent to hurt the non biological parent(s). It would definitely be a blow to us and make us feel like we were less important to the child (adult). You’re right that as an actual parent our actions will probably be more complex than that.

      • marilynn says:

        So in the case of a donor’s offspring whose last name is legally their step fathers and their birth record lists their step father as their father, you think its fine to remove the step father as father from the birth record since it is not medically accurate and you think it would also be fine to name the father for medical purposes on the medical record, but it would bother you if the birth record were altered to give the child the name of the father. You think the kid’s name on the certificate should be the step fathers as it was when it was issued. Well thats fine as it would take a seperate legal name change for the kid to change his name on the certificate. His legal name since birth happens to be his step fathers. Correcting the name of the father on the birth record won’t require hat the last name also be changed for the child.

        So that you find non threatening and totally OK? Cause it fixes the legal ramifactions for donor offspring or many of them anyway. Once the damage is done as a clean up method. Obviously best to be avoided in the first place

      • gsmwc02 says:

        In the case of donor sperm conceived people their birth certificate lists their FATHER on it. Yes, it is their non biological father but he is the man responsible for raising the child. Unless the man responsible for raising them as in Alana and a lot of donor conceived people’s case rejects them, I don’t see the need to remove that man from the birth certificate as adults. It really serves no purpose. The legalities of non sense stuff like kinship rights means little in the big picture. For people already born I don’t see a need for it. But if they want to the can go right ahead,

        For future donor conceived children that are born, I like the idea of listing both the biological and non biological parents on it. This way no secrets are kept and who the child’s parents (the ones who will raise them) is established at birth. Plus it holds the child’s FATHER who was supposed to raise the child from birth despite not having a biological connection does so. It’s a win for all the child knows who they are and is not rejected.

  21. marilynn says:

    Well Eva you’ve given me something to think about and here are my evolving thoughts on the matter. You and your partner are not creating or bringing anyone into the world – once born that child’s non rearing parents will have been responsible for the creation of their own offspring. You will have assisted them in the process of gestating and delivering their offspring and then also raising their offspring. If their embryo is out there on the adoption market – (gawd how does that sound), chances are someone is going to come along and give birth to those two people’s baby and God willing it will be people who are not covetous of the child who wish to pretend the child is a product of their relationship but rather their adopted child and – when someone comments on how the baby’s hair looks just like adoptive mommy’s hair – adoptive mommy will say “I have to give all the credit for her beauty to her biological parents but this Momma here can take credit for her sweet disposition and winning charm”. Just never miss an opportunity to let a false assumption go uncorrected so that she gets to live that authentic existence as she’s walking around in the world. Like so that it never feels like t would just be easier or better if she was the adoptive mom’s bio child. Like its easier to let people believe something that’s not true because their relatives and heritage are not that important anyway. There are as many learned behaviors as there are inherited traits Plenty of opportunities to show an adopted child that they really like the qualities in the child that are inherited and they are proud of the parts of the child that came from their bio parents and are not trying to hide the existence of that part of the child from anyone. If you did everything you could to help them find and get connected with their siblings and showed no fear of them finding their bio parents because together your family and theirs make up the whole of the child’s family experience so they can have all that they deserve out of life then you could sleep well. Wanting them to have access to all that they deserve and be part of both bio and adoptive families without reservation is openhearted and loving. My objections are to wanting to have a child be abandoned in order to obtain one to keep and sequester distance and separate from all that they are and belong to. In that instance telling is certainly not enough. If you are going to tell someone they have another family a biological family and then not allow them to be part of that family and force their records to reflect something that is not true etc then that’s just cruel. It is enough to say that you know the records should be different and that it would not bother you or threaten your relationship at all to have those records corrected for the authenticity of their existence so they know if the law changes or the opportunity arises you won’t feel betrayed and then you’ll have a nice solid loving truthful relationship with a kid whose loyalties are never split. They won’t have to manage your expectations.
    Gosh its great you have an adopted child and this delema about how could you refer to the first kid’s non-rearing family as bio parents and the second as “donors” it drives the point home not to dehumanize their family. I sure don’t want to see embryo’s manufactured for sale. It’s a tough one for me. But if someone is going to give birth to that kid better it be you with your big girl pants and ethical hat on than someone whose never going to tell or someone whose going to tell and devalue their non rearing family.

    I can count on my hands the times I have said go for it to someone thinking about raising a donor offspring kid and that would be once. This once.

  22. Eva says:

    Marilynn, thanks for your support- though Im not sure what we’re choosing this route yet.
    I think you are right in that the whole process of donor conception is paradoxically about “dehumanization” of the human gametes (or their final “product” – an embryo) so that the donors and their human features “disappear” or are limited to the physical characteristics and used as spare parts only, to miraculously fix a couple’s problem in conceiving. That’s what both patients and doctors want, so the perfect world of dellusion is created for some time at least or at least that’s my experience with Polish clinics (with all those smiley baby photos on the walls and doctors saying “don’t think about it, you will “shape” the kid “in your image and after your likeness”).
    I definitely don’t need any dellusion and i strongly believe that more and more patients will become “disillusioned” in a positive way, that is – accepting that the kid is not “their own”, that is has his or her own genetic background and biological parent(s), and have the right to be brought up in truth, and not dellusion. I agree that being bio- parent or genetic parent is not about intention – so the arguments that donors don’t intend or want to parent don’t really make sense to me, because so didn’t the bio-parent of my adopted kid “intend” or want to become parents, but they are and this is just a biological fact that cannot be erased either from their life or my ado-son. BTW – i also know adoptive parents who struggle with calling their kids bioparents – biomum or dad. They claim it’s better for the child to know they have just one mum, and the other woman was just..a woman who gave birth. But I find it a too convoluted and defensive explanation.
    On the other hand – if DC kids themselves prefer to call their bioparents donors, so be it, I don’t really care, as long as they have the choice.
    While agreeing with you Marilynn about many points, I also agree with Olivia that a pragmatic approach needs to be adopted because DC will most probably not disappear. There needs to be some balance, or “the less of two evils” at least.

    • Eva says:

      And BTW- Marilynn, I have been thinking about the false presumptions you mentioned and the plenty of opportunities that simply go by – to appreciate my kid’s inherited traits. I have been doing that a lot, actuallly, saying things like “yes, he’s beautiful just like his bio- mum (which is absolutely true, envious as I might feel of her beauty ;)” but someone told me a story about an adopted kid (who was 12 or so) who actually was happy to hear that he resembles his adoptive parents and didn’t like his ado-mum to correct other people about it. Now I am honestly not so sure about advertising the bio heritage of my son to everyone.

      • oliviasview says:

        For Eva: Our experience at DC Network is that children, particularly boys, around the age of 12 to 14 do not like differences between them and friends to be pointed out. They want to be just like their friends. This is very normal developmental behaviour. And of course, from around this age or earlier, the information about being adopted or donor conceived is theirs to share as they choose to, not the parents to advertise to anyone else. If they choose not to celebrate a biological connection, or to start to do so, for a short period or for ever, that is up to them from that time onwards.

      • marilynn says:

        Well it’s not like it comes up daily or anything but if you have the opportunity to complement the both of you mom’s in the same sentence showing that you like the parts of him that are like her to the same extent you like the parts that are like you then I think it makes sense that the kid would not feel as inclined to need to manage your feelings and hide contact should he make contact with relatives, not worrying that you’d feel betrayed or hurt. Many adoptive parents give good lip service but actions speak louder than words and if they don’t ever compliment them on things that are similar to a bio parent or just let false assumptions slide all the time then part of who they are is something the adoptive parent does not like and then they only bring it up to others. I was just musing, I don’t often talk about the emotional sides of it because it leads to circular arguments and I am to fix laws. People do as they wish on the home front.

        I like very much how you act as an adoptive parent do you have a blog I could direct people to? You say the things the people I’ve helped tell me they wish their adoptive parent had said.

      • marilynn says:

        I was thinking if the complement received from the stranger happened to be about a trait that was a genetically inherited one such as pretty blue eyes and the compliment included the statement that they were just like your eye’s his mother’s where its clearly a false assumption and being attributed for giving the child something that he or she received from their other family when it’s real clear cut like that it would be an opportunity to say something nice about the kid’s other family and the inherited trait they received the compliment on and then in the very same sentence compliment a learned trait that they’d picked up from being raised by their adoptive parents so that the kid feels like the adoptive parent is totally cool with them having another family they have stuff in common with and that the adoptive parent is proud of those attributes in addition to those that they learned at home from being raised by them. I mean virtually everything about the kid is going to be like the adoptive parents, they raised the kid. Physical appearance and some inclinations towards certain things like sports or math or whatever will come from the genetic family but the things like that make up their daily personality and habits will be learned from whoever raises them.

    • marilynn says:

      Eva taking you to task on running with the script ….saying that if donor offspring wish to refer to their bio parents as donors it’s totally up to them. Like with whether or not they want contact with siblings being totally up to them….

      Really? For anyone charged with the task of raising a child what other circumstances does one just let a kid decide what he or she is going to call someone or something? Cause in any language we have commonly understood terminology for this or that and names for him and her and titles for he and she. Unless the kid’s name is Funk or Wagnell or Webster they don’t get to vote on the definitions of terms or what things are called and it’s the job of the person raising them to inform them of the words that describe the objects and people around them. We don’t just let a kid call a boat a car. If the kid kept referring to the doctor as the butcher it would paint the wrong picture in the minds of his audience.

      If a person spends no time around their relatives and grows up without their siblings near them make no mistake its the its the actions of the parents who made them that caused it and the parents who raised them that perpetuated it, not the kid. Kid’s don’t have the long view they can’t even think far enough ahead to bring a sweater with them. I’ve seriously known people raised in open adoptions who had not really pursued contact with their non rearing family while they were minors and now they are 30 and feel so sad they missed out on time with them – the adoptive parents have said well we did not want to push we left it up to you. Which is basically like saying well its your fault if you don’t feel close to them that was your choice not to get to know them, we did our job, not being close to your bio family was your choice not ours. Its a super passive aggressive move. It’s also a trap because its the popular thing to say and do so people wind up being passive aggressive without ever meaning to be.

      • Eva says:

        Wow, Marilynn, you are radical, indeed 😉 Im not sure I get it – so if my kid doesn’t want to meet his relatives when he’s 18 I should somehow force him to do that, is that right? or work on his mindset from now on so that he wants to meet them? I will do my best, but I cannot really take responsibility for his bio parents in any way. What if they refuse to meet him because it’s too painful for them? People have very different life circumstances and since his bio family wasn’t able to take care of him, they must have had their reasons, which they only know..
        Perhaps a word of explanation, as you may not be aware of the adoption system in my country – we legally cannot contact his bio parents. We know the mother’s name but we cannot really pursue any contact with her. Our boy can do it himself when he’s 18 and if she also wishes to meet him. He doesn’t have any siblings for the time being, the girl is pretty young. I don’t think we will ever have the info about any siblings she may give birth to unless she decides on giving them up for adoption again (unlikely), in which case, provided she goes to the same adoption centre, we will be potentially their first candidates to make contact with so that the siblings can grow up together.
        As for donors – as i said before, if we do the embryo adoption, I’ll call them bio parents as well, with all due respect but also some regret they didn’t leave any identity clues for their (potential) kids. If the kid (when they are in their teens or later) still wants to call them donors – well, that’s their choice of words. I also call some of my relatives in a different way – some of my aunts are aunties, some are called by their first name. This is about emotional aspects of our relationships and it doesn’t change anything in our genetic connection 😉
        Im not sure though if I understood you correctly..

      • gsmwc02 says:

        Eva,

        There is nothing to understand except Marilynn feels biology trumps all. You are serving a babysitting role in her eyes. Unless you degrade yourself to your children that you are seen as second class parent you will never be seen as doing enough in her eyes.

        I follow a donor conceived person’s blog who about a week ago had a single mother of a donor conceived child write a guest post. Marilynn proceeded to shame this poor woman who is only looking out for the best for her daughter. Marilynn called to woman selfish and tried to make the woman damage her daughter. It was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen written on a blog.

        You see Marilynn wants future donor conceived children to be damaged to prove her point. She doesn’t care about these children she cares about being right and making sure others suffer to prove her point. Don’t buy her nice routine she is a deeply disturbed hateful human being.

  23. oliviasview says:

    Responding to Marilynn with regard to birth certificates: On further enquiry I have found out that EC, a donor conceived woman in her twenties, has had the name of her ‘father’ removed from her birth certificate, but there were very particular reasons why this was allowed. The Father section on the certificate is now blank. E’s (social) father separated from her mother shortly after E’s birth and she had no further contact with him until she was 13. Throughout that time he refused to pay child support and her mother raised her alone. E discovered at age 19, during a row, that she was not the biological child of this man. E’s application to the court to have her ‘father’s’ name removed from her birth certificate was supported by statements from her mother, her mother’s ex-partner (the social father) and E herself. These circumstances are not the same as a family where both parents love and raise a child together. It is hardly surprising that E wished to have this man’s name removed from her birth certificate as he had not been a father to her in any sense of the word.
    The Birth Registration Campaign in the UK is now seeking a change that would include ALL birth registrations, recognising that the modern family is changing and making clear that the main birth certificate is a record of legal rather than genetic parentage. A second certificate, only accessible to the person concerned and their legal parents, in order to maintain privacy, would give information about whether or not the person concerned had a genetic relationship with the legal parents.
    I had a look at the blog you gave me the link to. I understand that this person was 29 when she discovered that she was donor conceived. As she acknowledges herself in the About section, those who learn of their beginnings early mostly integrate this into their sense of self. Learning about her DC late was, unsurprisingly, a terrible shock. I am not surprised she is interested in trying to take some action to make sure that parents are open with their DC children.

    I refute your suggestion that any non-genetic parent who objects to a change in the birth certificate when their child is 18 is uncomfortable with donor conception per se. If our daughter, who has a wonderful relationship with her dad, wanted to change her surname to that of her donor (should she ever find this out) it would feel like a very hostile act. Both Walter and I are completely comfortable with donor conception, have supported Zannah in registering with the Donor Conceived Register and I am pretty sure that Zannah would laugh at any suggestion of her wanting to change her name, but if she did, we would certainly feel it was indicative of something going seriously wrong in our family.

    Can you explain to me how a change of name on the birth certificate might work in the case of egg donation where the woman gestates the pregnancy but did not provide the egg?

    • gsmwc02 says:

      I know you were addressing Marilynn but I think the whole birth certificate gets tricky with egg/embryo donation and surrogacy. Because you are talking about the women giving birth being different than the woman whose egg the embryo came from it complicates who should be on it. Obviously the intended parents will be the ones doing the parenting but those donors/surrogates contributed to the conception of the child. Having all parties involved in the conception and intended parent might be the fair way to do it. But then again I wonder how a child growing up would feel about their birth certificate being different.

      I am not sure what the right answer is.

      • oliviasview says:

        It’s very complicated, which is why I think separating legal and genetic parentage to two different certificates – as in the UK proposal – is probably the only fair way forward.

      • marilynn says:

        I’ve been thinking about this too. For familial medical history the mother really has to be the woman with the offspring. The rights of all her relatives and herself and her offspring are compromised if she is not named as mother. Obviously vital statistics that track fertility in this country need to know its her who is the one who reproduced, not the woman that gave birth. We are getting a very false view of fertility and the nations health it looks like women in their teens and twenties are not reproducing as much as they were in the past, but they are its just not being recorded. It also looks like women in their 40’s and 50s are having no problem. What if a bunch of women living near a power plant can’t have babies and they are in their 20’s and 30’s and there is a major problem with the groundwater causing infertility, but they are all getting egg pregnant so it looks like there is no problem at all? And then they mess the kids up by drinking the contaminated groundwater. Oh its just an extreme example but you can see how concealing who is healthy enough to have kids and who is not healthy can prevent problems from ever being detected allowing the problem to sit uncorrected effecting more people. I do think though that the pregnant woman can impact the health of the child she delivers and vice versa so maybe her name should be oon the record for health purposes, but she is not the mother and no kinship rights should arise from her giving birth to the child as they are not vital to that woman’s relatives. They are not impacted by the birth of a child that is not related to her. That child did not make them aunts or uncles for medical purposes it is not vital that they know of the child’s birth or have info on that child..unless the child is adopted by her in which case the child becomes a member of their family by adoption giving rise to their right for that information but I think it should be an adoption decree that clearly sets out that they are not related by blood its not vital health information, but would establish kinship rights of equal force to those of the child and any bio relative. It just needs to be clear whether the kid is a blood relative or not and that may hurt some people’s feelings but the truth is the truth it is medically important and nobody else gets to hide it when they have offspring so really we just need to get comfortable with telling the truth and being who we really are. It won’t effect bonding, really.

    • marilynn says:

      Olivia I hope to convince you that it is not a violent or hostile act. I think that people tend to forget that no one family member is more important than another. We focus so heavily on the right of an adopted person’s or black market adopted person’s to know who they are related to but rights are a two way street and that person’s relatives have every right to know them as well and we also forget that people with offspring are very much obligated to identify themselves and be recorded on the birth records of their offspring for public health reasons and family members have the right to access one another’s vital records without any special permission because the records of our relatives define in part our own identity as an aunt as a grandparent, sibling, etc. There are kinship rights that flow from having legally recognized kinship or legally recognized adoptive kinship and it is a tragedy and a public health problem when people are prevented from accessing the vital records of people they are related to because one of their relatives has offspring but are not named parent on the vital record. It interrupts the rights of entire families. Having the truth recorded gives rise to legally recognized kinship and all rights that come from that.
      People who raise children will God willing not live as long as the kids they raise, right? And in the absence of their rearing families watchful and loving gaze, the kids go on living into their own elderly years. Some day the kids that you and your husband raised may find their other relatives, their siblings and they won’t have legally recognized kinship because their birth records don’t name their father as father but name their mother’s husbands as father or nobody as father. Your child may have a disabled sibling that she wishes to care for but her sibling would not qualify as a dependent relative for tax purposes. She would not be allowed time off work to attend her sibling’s funeral. She might like to help her foreign born sibling become a citizen in your country or might herself like to apply for dual citizenship in the country of her father’s birth if he was foreign born. Your child does have a right to obtain the vital records of all her biological relatives but that right was interrupted by naming your husband on her record rather than naming her father. This interrupted the rights and the identities of her and all her paternal relatives. She should be able to walk into the vital records office and get the certificates of every child her father ever had with anyone, but she can’t because her certificate does not name him, it names your husband. Had her certificate named him rather than your husband, your husband’s relatives would have had a right to get her vital records because they would be related to her as step relatives. She could have claimed a step relative as a relative dependent on her taxes say if she took care of her step father in his declining years or step grandmother. See she would have had virtually an identical experience as she has with your husband raising her only she would have lived an authentic existence with fully intact legal kinship and associated rights if only her birth record listed the name of her father. Had it listed his name he would have been compelled to relinquish in a step parent adoption if you’d wanted that. I think the rules of adoption need to change so that adopted people never loose their kinship rights and rights to access relatives vital records. There is no reason to deny anyone the right to accurate vital records, no reason to have them have a separate set of rules. Just have them get what everyone else gets, is that so outrageous? Just treat them fairly. Give them truthful records that allow them and their relatives to get one another’s records at any time for any reason, that is what the rest of us have so long as nobody lies and put’s the wrong name down or no name down on their birth records.

      If you think having her father’s name removed from her certificate is hostile, please realize that having his name put there in the first place took away her rights and the rights of her paternal relatives to legal recognition and rights as the kin that they are. If she finds a sibling and they want legal recognition as siblings – let them live out their lives in the truth that you are allowing them to know. What good is it to tell someone they have another family if you don’t want them to legally acknowledge membership in that family and want them not to have kinship rights want no written historical record of the fact that they are related? Telling the truth is half the battle, encouraging them to live the truth is the other. She could probably go with her sibling and a DNA test in hand and have something like “donor 10 name tbd” entered on both records and maybe gain legal recognition as the siblings that they are with all the legal kinship rights that flow from that. She deserves that. It would be a small victory for all the relatives she’ll never know that she has a right to know but can’t find them because her father is not named.

      Is it really so hostile to remove his name from the certificate and put the father’s name or donor tbd with a number if it would allow her to have back some of the rights that this process cost her? It would not change a thing about how she feels about your husband, she would not stop referring to him as Dad but it wold grant her and her other family the rights they should have been allowed to exercise all along. The fact that you would find it hostile or in someway tied to emotion, when it is solely an issue of medical accuracy and the legal rights that arise from a medically accurate record that are at issue.

      Of course the people who are maternally and paternally related to the born child are the ones who need the access to the vital records because the birth of that child defines who they are in relation to someone by blood and that is a family and public health issue. The family of a woman that gives birth to an unrelated child does not need to know about that birth unless the child is adopted and raised by her and then an adoption decree would serve just fine. I think when a gestational surrogate gives birth her health can impact the health of the child delivered and so should be recorded on the birth record, but not as mother because her relatives won’t be related to the child she delivered they need no kinship rights. If she is going to raise the kid it should be as eithr step mother and then her relatives can still access the record or as an adoptive mother and her relatives could access the record. There are ways to o about this that harm nobody and give everyone the rights they deserve.

      Don’t take it so personally. If people can get their birth records changed as adults because they had a sex change or if two women can claim to be the parents of the same child and people can just make up whatever reality they want and put it on a medical record, the government had better not say no to the millions of people living with those falsified records

    • marilynn says:

      Aligning her certificate with those of her siblings will be the only way for them to have legally recognized kinship with them. Do you realize that? Couldn’t she want to have legally recognized kinship and have the vital records be allowing her and her relatives to all find one another like the rest of us do couldn’t she have that without upsetting you and making you think that your family life had failed? The reason for changing her vital records would have nothing at all to do with you or your husband’s child rearing abilities. I am not saying that she’d want to do it but she is certainly giving up a lot just in order that she might protect what you clearly view to be a symbol of something more than it really is. She has a fake birth certificate and she’s going to live with that her whole life and not get to just walk into vital records and pull the birth certificates of the other children her father may have had so she can know who they are and maybe avoid dating them keep her kids from dating their kids. This is all multi generational – she’ll be reproducing blind as you did only it won’t be by choice. You don’t know if the man who donated to you might have been a cousin or 2nd cousin – donor offspring are likely the most in bred in addition to being the most likely to inbreed and that is all because nobody knows who they are making babies with. Having all that straightened out and corrected has nothing to do with what her home life was like. It’s not about you or your husband, she has another family its about her and them and the fact that they should never have been placed in this position of being out of contact out of kinship but her father left his name off her certificate and it screwed them all out of exercising basic rights like knowing who their relatives are and having legally recognized kinship with them. Really we need to take the focus off the people raising donor offspring entirely and put the focus on the families people are separated from and on the impact of that separation in terms of public health vital statistics and kinship rights and the rights of people to have court approved adoptions etc. I’m not saying she’d ever want to exercise those rights but it is super insulting to be told the truth and maybe get to find some of their siblings and then have the whole world say that the truth is just pretend and what’s just pretend is the truth. If she’s someone’s sister let her really live that out fully and that would take getting your husband’s name off the certificate to tie her to her siblings by having the same parent – even if that parent is unknown “donor 10 from such and such clinic name to be determined.” then their kinship rights would come from there and it would not appear on the record that someone had reproduced when they had not. It’s the only way to get hold of the masiive sibling numbers and also then donors would be parents with obligations to be named and they’d have to go to court to relinquish their parental obligations. Suddenly donor offspring and their relatives would have equal rights. It’s totally exciting. I hope they all rush the vital recocrds office to do it and I hope you and your group will back them in their bid for equal rights 100% you love them so of course you’ll support their right to live life as a member of their other family as well.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        Oliva,

        I hope you ignore this non sense. Stuff like this is very dangerous if you believe it. I hope your children have their own feelings and aren’t influenced by deranged agendas like this.

        • oliviasview says:

          Hi Greg
          As you will see I rarely engage with Marilynn…her ideas are so off the wall as far as I am concerned. My (adult) kids are their own people with their own ideas, doing their own thing.
          With regard to CBC I can only assume that there is a Catholic ideology behind it. JL’s views all fall into place if you see them in this context. We all have an agenda of sorts. No perspective is value free. Some of us are just more up-front about it than others.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        I’m glad that you have raised well adjusted adults. You sound like a great parent. It does seem that the donor conceived children who struggle with it were either not told at an early age and/or were rejected by the man who was supposed to raise them in some way.

        There is a religious background to the CBC. The creating a life platform is just one of them. They are also against euthanasia and other issues that you see coming from the church. I agree with you that everyone has their biases though it’s easy to respect and engage with people that acknowledge their biases.

        • oliviasview says:

          Hi Greg: Thanks, but hold on the great parent. I (we) have definitely made mistakes along the way but having our kids by donor conception we don’t feel was one of them (and neither do they).

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        It just amazes me how misinformation spreads when people try to discredit other arguments that they disagree with. JL is not Catholic. The CBC is not a religious group or has any religious affiliation. Their biases are focused solely on human dignity issues based on reason, logic, fairness and compassion. Yes, some other religious groups report on the CBC’s work as well as non-religious affiliated groups and media. Good grief.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        By religious background I mean religion influences their work. I don’t think we said anything as to whether she is Catholic. JL has a very strong faith and there is nothing wrong with that.

        Though there is little to no compassion in their platform when it comes to other people their work impacts such as their opposition to IVF. I understand that your community does not have much in terms of advocates so you appreciate the CBC. But you need to recognize their obvious biases against the infertile and homosexual communities.

  24. gsmwc02 says:

    Great blog Oliva.

    A year ago I found out that I was infertile and that my wife and I will never be able to have children. Over the course of the year we did consider the use of donor sperm to build our family. We decided not to because our infertility goes beyond my non obstructive azoospermia. However, I don’t judge others who have built their families that way. Unless you have actually gone through infertility and are unable to have children with your spouse it’s impossible to say how you would react. Even the people who go through infertility and have biological children their perspective is completely different.

    I actually had some dialogue with Alana back in February through her site. Though I find her position extreme I do respect her. I don’t think she is hateful the way some groups are. I do think she has a heart that cares for people who are hurting.

    I do think it’s important for couples considering third party reproduction to consider how it may affect the child. I think disclosure that the child is donor conceived is important so that they know what their genetic background is. I think these children need to be able to access and have the option of meeting the donor if they wish.

    It’s all really complicated and hopefully by discussing it we’ll be able to make things better for future generations.

    • oliviasview says:

      Thanks for your contribution. I think when Alana has contact with individuals she is pleasant and reasonable. Unfortunately on blogs and forum postings she has been known to make extreme, and yes, very hateful remarks about parents. Her family history makes this understandable but not really excusable. She definitely has a heart and cares about those who are hurting if they are donor conceived people…but does not seem to care about hurting parents, who are mostly only trying to do their best.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        I think that is all very fair based on what I’ve read of her work. What the man who her mother was married to did to her really messed with her head. It’s made her angry and rightfully so. I also think certain organizations have taken advantage of that and prayed on her to do their dirty work. It’s unfortunate but it happens a lot.

      • marilynn says:

        Alana loves her mother and has a decent relationship with her step father as far as I know and also with her siblings. Its so frustrating how whenever someone is told early on about this and has any complaints everyone wants to look to the particulars of how the kid was raised for something, anything else to pin their anger and hurt on. If we are supposed to just accept that what your kids say is true Olivia that there is no back story nothing between the lines to be told then give her and others like her the same respect of accepting that they are mad about the things they say they are mad about and they would not have felt any differently about those things if their home lives were structured more to the listener’s liking. When people who were black market adopted that have a parent who was a gamete donor say they were told as children and there is a list of things they are upset about still, the thought bubbles over people’s heads start rapid firing going “well if she was raised by someone like me she would not be angry about the things she says she’s angry about”. When someone is kicked in the stomach it does not matter where they are or who their with, its the kicking in the stomach part that sucks cause it was rude and not fair and should not happen that is making them angry. You can be kicked in the stomach at Disney Land holding a Lotto Check for a million bucks and it won’t change the fact that getting kicked in the stomach was not fair and should not have happened. Some people can handle the blow better than others, depends upon their pain threshold. Some people can let a blow like that roll off their backs but assault is never a good thing to do and should best be discouraged. When she says she’s pissed that her rights were violated, take her at face value that she still would have been pissed even if her mother and step father had been blissfully happily married in Stepford like a Norman Rockwell painting. It would not alter the violation of her rights. So take her at face value her home life is not the trauma causing her outrage. Don’t you guys get it? It is not all about you. It’s not all about the rearing family. Asking a person what it’s like to be donor conceived is the dumbest question because you are asking about something they were not even alive for. Don’t ask them how they feel about the family that is raising them, ask them how they feel about the family that is not raising them and the rights that they don’t have and the relatives they’ve been kept from. Don’t offset that with their rosey homelives. Ask them how they feel about what they lost and whether or not they feel that they are somewhat of a sacrificial lamb. Other people have both parents both families plus their step families and everything is just fine. They had to loose their family to gain a step family that would have been there anyway. Why not just leave them and their family connections alone why was their family torn apart?

      • gsmwc02 says:

        The man her mother was married to when she was conceived completely rejected her and in their divorce didn’t bother to ask for some type of custody of her. That had to completely destroy her and her trust of any man in her life.

        That’s what divorce does when it separates families. Kids are used as pawns and it completely messes them up. Does that mean we should outlaw divorce? I don’t think so.

  25. Eva says:

    Thanks, Olivia, I’ll keep that in mind. It’s sometimes difficult to strike the right balance, as there seems to be a really fine line between an adoptive family openness and appreciation of the biological “input” in a kid, and the equally important message to the whole world that the kid is simply OURS, a full member of the family. I guess this is similar to DC.

    • oliviasview says:

      Absolutely similar Eva. Constantly pointing out to a child how ‘different’ they are does not help them feel secure at all. This is not the same as ignoring their biological background…it’s just a question of finding a balance.

      • marilynn says:

        Olivia I was referring to times when strangers say things that credit a person for the physical traits of a person that is not their own offspring. I’m saying that the easiest thing to do is say thanks have a good day because the stranger does not really need to know but it allows a false impression to go uncorrected leaving the child repetitively in the position that the person raising them is not comfortable telling the world the truth about who the kid they are raising really is, it would be better if they were just related to them then, easier if they did not have the baggage and background to gloss over. I was suggesting that it would take only a little more effort to say that the kid’s bio parent gets the credit for the good looks and then take credit for some learned behavior to balance it out let the kid know that they are comfortable with the fact they have other relatives and are not ashamed to bring it up as a compliment. Just saying never acknowledging the kids background to strangers has a subtle impact.

    • marilynn says:

      Eva but the kid is also a full member of their own family as well the one they got adopted into right? Being adopted does not have to mean the total wholesale replacement of one family for the other both can exist side by side of equal importance its just that they have rearing and non rearing parents. As long as the adoptive parents give equal billing/time/to their family the kid came from as the family that they came to (adoptive) then the kid won’t ever feel like the adoptive family is supposed to be somehow more important than their own or that the adoptive family would prefer it if they were just related to them and that they did not have to deal with the baggage of the kid having the other parents and relatives.
      One thing I know lots of well meaning people do is leave it up to the child whether or not they want to pursue contact with their relatives or not and this is suppose to be to give the kid room to make up their own mind and not have anything forced on them but family relationships are managed by the people raising the child and there really is no choice about virtually everything when you are a child, you don’t let them choose not to go to your relatives house for Sunday dinner even if they’d rather stay home, they don’t get to choose not to send birthday or thank you cards to the relatives of the people raising them they have to go that is part of life part of part of a family keeping in contact even when we might prefer to do something else. Most kids would rather go play with their friends than visit with relatives so if we leave it up to them on whether or not to get in touch and stay in touch with their family it may never happen and a lifetime of memories may never get off the ground. Kids don’t know the importance of keeping up with family – whoever raises them does have to force it on them like vegetables or wearing a coat.

      What seems like a loving and respectful thing to do – leaving it up to the kid if they want, when no other decisions are left up to them if they want and they have to visit and keep up with the families of whoever is raising them (in any variety of legal parental or guardianship arrangements) send s the message that the family the kid came from is less important than the family they came to and that the people raising them would just as well not have to deal with the kids other relatives an would prefer them to just belong to the family that’s raising them only. They’ll reinforce it by calling the kid “ours” and if they are theirs then they of course can’t be anyone else’s and over time it just becomes easier to play along and act like they do come from the family that’s raising them and that they don’t have other family and relatives of their own. This is all stuff I have been told over time from many adopted and quasi-marital people and donor offspring helping them search for their relatives and it makes perfect sense. When I heard one person say that looking for their family and staying in touch with them was the only area of their life where they were not guided instructed egged on. Like finishing their homework or sending thank you cards and birthday cards when they did not feel like it or saying hi to their adopted mother’s mother on the phone every Sunday for the weekly telephone call, they did not want to do that stuff but it was good for them, it was the right thing to make them do. Their adoptive parent was doing the right thing in instructing them on how to be organized and good family members but they left out the kids other family and that really sucks for them when they are 25 30 years old and missed a lifetime of contact. Also it just made them feel like the people raising them would really prefer it if they’d just actually been their kid, that who they actually are is an inconvenience and not something to be proud of to talk about. It’s preferably hidden or at least deterred for 18 years so that it does not interfere with the rearing families sense of security and then if the kid makes contact at 18 its unlikely that they will form deep bonds because they did not grow up together so the family that raised them will continue to feel secure. So on the surface it seems OK, contact at 18 but in reality its like a bone thrown to appease the kid and the way its done fairly well ensures they’ll bond only to the family that raised them and will be excluded from the family they came from their own family. Legally they are excluded and most likely emotionally. I’ve seen most people I reunite build tight bonds and live like they knew each other all their lives but I’m sure it would have been easier if they’d simply known one another all their lives and there is just no reason not to have them do that. What is the point of separating them for 18 years anyway?

      • Eva says:

        Marilynn, thanks, I’ll think about a blog if only I find some spare time 😉 I don’t want to take too much space on adoption here – as this blog is about DC and that’s why I also started reading it, so that i could learn more about the issues connected with embryo adoption.
        I think i’m just following a common sense in our adoption but i also get misunderstood sometimes – like when I was questioning my friend’s (also ado-mum) opinion that they as parents will make sure that their adoptive child will see adoption as a very positive thing and will feel no loss – she says their little girl will simply have the ado family- as you say – as a “wholesale replacement” of her bio family. She thought that through stressing the importance of the bio relatives and the loss all of them incurred, i’m kind of distancing my child from my own and his own ado-family. Well, I don’t see it that way. I think it’s very normal (for the lack of a better word) for the ado/DC child to feel the loss even if your ado/ DC parents were fantastic. Im personally ok with that, even anticipating what i could do to help my kid bond with his bio relatives so that he has the best of both bio and ado worlds – if only possible, as not everything depends on me and my husband in this process.
        What helps in adoption, indeed, is the thought that we (as ado-parents) didn’t cause it, which Im still worrying with embryo adoption we will partially do – there is a lot of false pretences if you think about it, and even if i go correcting people all the time from day one of my pregnancy, there will be this black hole of anonymity at the end of the day that I knew there would be from the very beginning- that’s my issue.
        I already feel a bit like a fraud having such a beautiful, bright kid that I didn’t make 😉 but I have never ever taken credit for someone else’s job, and will not do it in case of adoption/EA either. I love the wee man to pieces and Im just more than happy to share my life with him. No possessive feelings involved. I’d like to have a similar sort of relationship with the other (potential) kid, but not knowing anything about the bio parents makes it harder, as I feel sorry for the kid even before it is born, that’s not a good basis for love I think..
        I don’t get it why bio parents in adoption have to release their identity while bio parents in embryo adoption/donation don’t. Especially in Poland, a catholic country where the rights of an embryo as a human being are so loudly discussed. Paradoxically, you can buy an embryo created from 2 open identity donors, but this option comes with it’s own issues, as we’ve already discussed.

  26. marilynn says:

    Gregie – what you said about Alana being preyed upon by organizations to do their dirty work is so so so true I am so feeling that. I feel like organizations said they thought the problems faced by donor offspring were important they had another agenda and they dropped her when it was clear that agenda was loosing here and would fail. That agenda they had treated people unfairly. I feel some organizations exploited or exploit people I care about. I tell my friends that their rights will ultimately be realized without compromising the rights of other people. Truly equal rights don’t put anyone in a compromised position and they need to approach their activism with that in mind and then they’ll win. I believe that in my heart and get so angry with people that exploited them. I’m very protective.

    • gsmwc02 says:

      What I was referring to are organizations like the CBC who find people like Alana who are vulnerable, hurting and exploit them. They take their hurt and use it for their organizations cause. Like any group of people who have an agenda that find vulnerable people like Alana and instead of helping them and realizing nothing their organization will do will help their hurt. It’s very sad.

      • marilynn says:

        Mmm some of them have been pretty hijacked into being against things that really have nothing to do with how to solve their problem. I think do no harm is the best approach. Don’t ban anything just make everything equal and nobody looses anything

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        I can understand why you would be concerned about Alana and other people who have experienced a loss and who are hurt from these conception arrangements being involved with activism and advocacy. I too have that worry, especially when they are so public and open to attack and criticism for expressing their feelings against the practice. This is absolutely a very difficult position to be in. But that being said, if no one speaks up, who will? I disagree with you that the CBC is hurting and exploiting Alana though. She started her advocacy before she ever became involved with the CBC. She approached them, they did not recruit her. Anonymousus.org is Alana’s idea and creation. I think it’s brilliant. I also think the CBC is doing some really amazing work. Their documentaries, Eggspolitation, Anonymous Father’s Day and a yet to be released documentary on surrogacy, have and will continue to speak to the serious problems involved with these practices. They help to balance and challenge the dialogue. That is priceless. There are many ways to address these issues and all perspectives are necessary.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        I think there is a big difference between speaking in opposition and using strong attacks that target vulnerabilities of other groups. People are more likely to listen to opposition that is done in a civil manor that doesn’t attack or shame others. I think there is a big difference between anonymous us which brings a collection of stories from all perspectives both good and bad vs the CBC who has a very extreme one side perspective. My belief is that Ms. Lahl and her organization has been able to take Alana and others like her and like a wounded animal has added fuel to her fire.

        The CBC’s goals are much like Marilynn’s to shame infertile couples from utilizing these practices. They want to make it so uncomfortable to utilize them that no one ever uses them. Yet these people disappear after a couple decides not to pursue these family building routes. They aren’t there to support their childless depression. They believe it’s the couples fault they are infertile for waiting to long to try to have children or that they just led unhealthy lifestyles and deserved their fate.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        Greg,
        I understand where you are coming from. Really I do. I would never want to shame my parents for the way they conceived me. I’m truly glad that my biological father created me and gave me away in order to fill the needs of my parents. Both my biological mother and biological father (my parent’s donor) are both an integral part of my soul and being. My complete dna. My mother needed me, my dad (my social father) needed me. I’m grateful to have filled that void in their life. I loved them dearly. But of course, there were profoundly deep personal losses involved for myself and my children. Losses that I couldn’t articulate or acknowledge because of my love and loyalties and gratitude..

        This is why I support ALL sides of the debate. Or rather the compromise of openness and disclosure as well as those who speak to why this practice is a problem. It is necessary to have for balance. The CBC’s goal is NOT to shame. It’s goal is to give a voice to the losses and problems that can’t be articulated or acknowledged because no one wants to shame.

        • gsmwc02 says:

          The CBCs goal is absolutely to shame. All they talk about are the selfish desires of adults. They talk about how people wait too long to have children and are responsible for their infertility. They have zero interest in really working on ways to cure infertility. They are against IVF and other treatments. I’ve even attempted to have conversations with Ms. Lahl and she has no interest.

          Instead she will use the hurt that people like yourself and Alana have for their cause to shame infertile couples.

      • marilynn says:

        I don’t have a problem with the CBC – she had other people behind her and now they seem gone and that bothers me. Maybe they are not gone but just out of sight. The CBC does not attack anyone. They are heavily focused on reproduction and conception which I think keeps the conversation talking about a time and place where there are no children no people born without their rights which is convenient for people that want to keep industrialized abandonment by parents running like a swiss watch. But I think most people that speak out in favor of the rights of anyone whose parent was a donor speak about trying to regulate the conception side of it because that is how they’ve been trained to frame their argument in order that they’ll never win the debate. I think the ultimate goal of the CBC is ethical behavior by parents to not abandon their kids and ethical behavior by people who are looking to adopt kids – like maybe do it in court like everyone else does. Anyway CBC is hung up on reproduction and bio ethics but their intentions are to protect actual people who are born so I’m a big supporter of Jennifer Lahls. I was talking about many of the people who backed her when the marriage issue was hot are just gone now like they needed to help her only when her issue they thought would help their case. To me it looks like they are gone since the marriage issue thing lost so they don’t think helping her and her issue matters any more which makes me mad like they were fakes using her and they don’t need her anymore. Maybe I’m wrong. They seem to have evaporated and as an outsider if she trusted them and the ditched her that makes me angry. But what do I know I’m just hot tempered and protective of people I come to be fond of.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        Marilynn,
        What happened with the IAV is very complicated. All these issues are very intimately connected though. No one can really judge without knowing the full story. The full story is not public.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        Greg wrote:
        “The CBCs goal is absolutely to shame. All they talk about are the selfish desires of adult”

        How? Evidence? Quote? Example?

        You are correct, they are not an organization that focuses on curing infertility. There are other organizations that do that.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        Instead of focusing on cures and proposing alternatives instead of just criticizing Jennifer Lahl the CBCs focus is on shaming those with Infertility with pieces like this one:

        http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2013/august/overlooked-ethics-of-reproduction.html

        http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/the-commodification-of-children-and-the-insensitivity-of-the-culture/

      • gsmwc02 says:

        And my focus is on exposing the CBC and Ms. Lahl for their true infertile shaming and hating agendas.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        Okay, but just saying that you think this way isn’t going to convince. The internet is full of people who are angry.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        Of course it won’t convince people like yourself who have been exploited and brain washed by organizations like the CBC that infertile couples have selfish desires and are responsible for their own infertility.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        That doesn’t even make sense. Your anger is misplaced.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        It makes perfect sense if you follow their work and take any biases that you have out of the picture. I don’t have anger just a general dislike for people and organizations that pray upon the vulnerable that are not empathetic to anyone except their own cause.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        I completely and totally disagree with you. I know Jennifer and am very familiar with the CBC’s work and what they advocate for. This exchange is going no where. Greg, I truly hope that you know that you are understood and supported. Best to you.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        The thing is with the CBC being against third party reproduction, IVF and all other infertility treatments all it says that they want myself and others it remain childless.

        Unless you have gone through infertility yourself and have no children you don’t understand me. As for the support well you have given me mixed signals on that and I don’t believe it for a second. As you told me yesterday, I need to get over my selfish desires.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        There are ppl at the CBC who themselves are infertile. They understand. That doesn’t make any difference in what they advocate for. It’s not simply just about infertility. Sigh. That’s enough from me.

        • gsmwc02 says:

          If they understood the shaming that is taking place wouldn’t happen. I don’t buy it for a second that those that are going through and are infertile are working for them.

          The thing is it is infertility that is driving the practices they are advocating against. IVF and other treatments are alternatives to third party reproduction. They should be all for them to prevent utilization of third party reproduction. They should be all for any cures to infertility and supporting infertile couples emotionally as a way to prevent the usage of third party reproduction. Those things help their cause yet they don’t advocate for them.

          I believe it’s because they need us around to keep their cause going to advocate against us. Because if there were cures and ways to prevent infertility thus no third party reproduction then their “Creating Life” platform would cease to exist.

          These are things you really need to think about with an open mind.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        Well, I’ll give you this, that is a very creative conspiracy theory.

        • gsmwc02 says:

          It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s a reality for most non profit groups fighting for certain causes. If you solve the problem and it no longer exists that organization no longer exists. Think about it.

      • My parent's donor is my father says:

        The CBC is not NOT trying to solve male (or female) infertility in order to advocate what they advocate for. Seriously, you must see how silly that sounds.

        • gsmwc02 says:

          But you are not seeing how advocating against treatments for infertility just pushes more people towards third party reproduction? When you think about it the CBC seems to be more interested in punishing and keeping infertile couples childless. Pretty cruel if you ask me. And no that’s not silly. It’s only sounds silly if you have your own agenda.

  27. marilynn says:

    Olivia when you say separating legal and genetic heritage on two certificates is the way please remember that the certificate with the names of their parents is the certificate that is obviously the vital and medical record that family members need to access not just the person named on the certificate. In fact nobody gets to prevent their relatives from accessing their vital records because the information is vital to the entire family which is why lying on certificates interrupts the rights of entire families and interrupts their identities by not establishing their various kinship rolls as siblings grandparents etc. So the genetic parents have to be legal parents to the extent that their offspring and other relatives will be legally recognized kin otherwise you have a situation where people are not being treated fairly and equally under wthe law. This is how it is now where they are not treated fairly and don’t have that legal recognition of their kinship because their parents names are not on their certificates. What would be the point of giving them a certificate that would not give rise to legally recognized kinship with all the associated rights?

    We need to be asking the question, why can’t their records just be the same as everyone else’s? Why can’t their rights just be the same like everyone else’s where they have kinship rights in their bio families? What is the point of preventing them from having those rights and why over complicate matters with multiple birth certificates and multiple identities? If their parents were named on the certificates then they’d be compelled to relinquish their offspring in a court approved adoption just like the rest of society and that would be wonderful because it would give any minor not being raised by a bio parent the legal protections that adoption is set up to do which is prevent bio parents from selling their kids or giving them as gifts. Then we could just have a separate adoption decree. Right now the naming of unrelated people on original certificates is black market adoption exempted given special protection but its creating a mess. Obviously the people who are black market adopted did not get the benefit of the legal process that vets graft and corruption. Step parent adoption, sad as it is at least gives people some protection against being sold out of their families and it does give an original birth record to fight for. Ideally there would be no revised certificates for adoption, just an adoption decree stating the names of the adoptive parents obviously granting them authority to make decisions on behalf of the person they adopt. Everyone that has offspring that is not raising them should be going through the courts to relinquish their obligations so their offspring get the legal protection they deserve. So Don’t be too hasty in thinking the birth record with the names of people and their offspring would be one that did not obligate them as parents because otherwise if they are not parents, they have no legal obligations to behave a certain way and their kids won’t get legally protected kinship. The adoption decree gives legally protected kinship to the adopted family so they loose nothing in the process and have things clearly set out and stated. This way if rearing parents lie the kid is bound to discover it at some point and will have their rights intact in both their family and their adoptive family. Win win and nobody looses their rights to anything. They just won’t get to lie and put on a farce but that was not a right to be lost anyway so again, nobody looses when we treat everyone fairly.

  28. marilynn says:

    Olivia can I get you to have EC contact Bill Heisel at askantiote@gmail.com, he’s the Los Angeles times staff writer interested in the stuff I’ve been writing about vital records and kinship rights. He’s been nominated for pulitzers he’s a credible writer on issues that impact public health. Obviously the falsification of birth records and the inability of family members to access their records is a public health crisis and correcting the records, even if it just meaans removing the name of the wrong person for posterity sake is a big step in the right direction which will be someday not putting the wrong names on records to begin with and holding everyone as accountable for their own offspring as parents. But I think correcting falsified records is a step toward gaining back the rights that children of donors loose and I had not heard of her yet. I’m hopeful that this really picks up and becomes the trend for anyone living with a falsified record. Just get the wrong name off the certificate for starters. The obstacle of course is that even very open people raising donor offspring like yourself who feel comfortable telling the truth may feel hurt and they might feel afraid to try to correct their records.

    All I can say is that if you are comfortable enough with the truth to tell it the next step is to be comfortable enough with the truth to have it legally recorded so that people don’t loose their kinship rights or that they may begin to gain them back especially those in reunion with siblings and other relatives. It should not be viewed as hostile. Honestly how can you say that correcting the record to be medically accurate in order to be legally recognized kin with their relatives is hostile? Wouldn’t the hostile act be the one that cost them their kinship rights and falsified their medical records to begin with? If they are not fuming mad at having their medical record falsified and they still love you and think of your husband as their father and family after all that then you truly have nothing to worry about and should not begrudge them the opportunity to have their records corrected to reflect the truth. They know who raised them.

    • oliviasview says:

      If Bill Heisel wants to contact me he is welcome to do so, but I’m not going to engage in debates with you where we have no fundamental agreement about a starting point.

  29. marilynn says:

    Hey Olivia I found some old chat from that board you don’t go to anymore and it was about legislation that was previously proposed to stamp donor conceived on birth certificates
    http://www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=21grnd219tugq2r8pk4a6rbs73&topic=96426.40;imode

    Well it was stupid legislation I agree but not because of why you guys did not like it. It was stupid because it was labeling the person instead of just naming their biological mothers and fathers which is what the certificate is for its a medical record, its what the center for disease control bases fertility statistics and gauges public health off of – right now it looks like the people who have the most kids don’t have any at all! And we are crediting people who are too ill to reproduce with having created kids so there is no fertility problem and women are able to reproduce well into their 60’s. See the public health problem now? Relatives are allowed one another’s vital records because the existence of relatives is of vital importance to them and their identities as well – it can turn a person into a cousin an uncle a grandparent which is part of their identity and their right to be informed on. So long as people don’t lie or we don’t encourage lying then it goes smoothly. When they do lie we should correct the errors on the records and move on. If people can fabricate things willy nilly and get it on to a birth record because they want people to act like they are female when they are really male, can the government reasonably refuse to correct an outright error in medical fact on someone’s medical record about who their parents are?

    Instead of naming the wrong people as parents on their medical record and stamping it with the words donor conceived, why not compel all bio parents to be accountable as parents on their offspring’s birth records? The rest of society has to do it that way, bio parents have an obligation because its a health issue. Just treat offspring of donors like offspring of humans and don’t record other people’s names on their birth records because those people are not parent’s for vital record’s purposes. Instead of revising certificates for adoptions, the revised certificates are not tabulated as vital recocrds by CDC cause they know those people who adopt are not related to the person on the certificate and not to do medical research on heritable diseases with those amended certificates. They should issue a separate adoption decree – like you were saying keep the documents separate, one that lists the parents who are related to them that their legal kinship would arise from and the other that lists their adoptive parents that adoptive kinship rights would arise from.

    What to do about the fact that people don’t have formal adoptions for donor offspring? It kind of highlights the black market adoption scheme that it was right? The whole thing is set up to avoid affording these people with the checks and balances and written records of court approved adoption. They certainly deserve that and their bio parents should be made to do that if they really don’t want to raise them. People who want to raise a donor’s child won’t mind having to go to court to do it as its the way everyone else gets parental authority over kids that are not their own offspring. It was a short cut a back door it made it easy to pretend that they were related if they did not want to tell. But now that telling is in style and is trending the way that open adoption has gone then trend further and just adopt the kids in court an then everythng will be fine. Don’t stamp their birth record as donor conceived, just put their parents names on the certificate so that is medically accurate and don’t name anyone as a parent who unless its their own offspring. A parents spouse will be a legal step parent or they can do a step parent adoption. Nothing changes in the family household only the records would be accurate and the rights would be intact. How could you be against this if your so pro telling the kid. If you tell then just do it proper in court.

  30. marilynn says:

    Hey the staff writer for the los angeles times who is doing an investigative piece on the vital records issues I raise for people who have black market adoption certificates and also for people with amended certificates asked me for contacts for him to work with in getting access to their records,, possibly finding their family members as well and I have been working on getting him to look at my idea of people just rushing vital records offices to get their records corrected. He’s in touch with daughter of a donor in the UK now and I really want him to get in touch with this EC you spoke of – she is the first person in the world ever to have her birth record corrected like that she is going to start a world wide landslide.

    I sent him the link to your conversations and plans on fertility friends to defeat the proposal to stamp birth certificates to indicate the person was donor conceived. I just want him to see what meger proposals have been made on the issue of birth certificates before and see the strategies people used to defeat the idea. The measure was weak because it left donor offspring on unequal footing, still with the names of the wrong people as parents and a big mark across their certificate instead of just writing the names of their medically relevant parents on their certificates like any other normal person. Easy answer is just to leave the names of the unrelated individuals off the certificate and have them pursue being granted parental authority in the normal court approved fashion like other people do. So I hope he can learn something from your discussions in terms of just how committed people are to continuing to the convenience of a black market adoption scheme. They like not having to go to court or tell if they don’t feel like it.

    I think earlier political strategies on birth certificate accuracy have been week because they over look the obvious, just give them the same kind of birth record everyone else has by not exempting their parents from parental obligations like being named for public health purposes on birth records. We need to remind people that kinship roles and rights for people besides the donor’s offspring are compromised when they can’t get access to the vital records of their relatives kids when they are not named as parents as they should be. The real goal would just be to get everyone to follow the same rules and nobody would loose any rights to anything. There are avenues for becoming the legal parent of another person’s offspring which afford the offspring with protections they deserve. There is no problem with following those protocols, they work just fine for millions of adoptive parents. There is also legal step parenthood which a person does not need to go to court for and kinship rights arise automatically there so long as the marriage lasts. Nothing is lost their either.

    The only push back would be sentimentality and a desire to be viewed as the parent of a person rather than as their adoptive parent but we are what we are and the truth is important to record. Start thinking about getting donor offspring comfortable with not just telling the truth but living it. This is super exciting.

  31. marilynn says:

    Greg buddy we see eye to earlobe now I thought and would you help me understand the theory about the CBC needing to somehow keep people infertile and prevent cures for infertility in order to keep their organization operating? I do understand being distrustful of anyone who earns a living speaking out against a thing because if they succeeded in getting rid of the thing then they’d be out of work. I also understand the conflict of interest in someone doing something to help people making money at it and essentially needing a steady flow of traumatized people to help in order to make a living. Anything similar to that makes me uneasy as well – is that loosely the kind of situation you believe is going on with CBC or anyone who is vocal and thinks people ought not abandon their offspring under the auspices and legal protections of the term donor conception?

    I’m sincere here in these questions so please don’t hit me with a bunch of personal digs. I think true real cures for infertility and sterility are what doctors in that line of work should be focusing on and think the whole thing with helping totally healthy people meet anonymously to have children together is a racket that does not resemble anything even remotely theraputic that would reverse someone’s medical problems. I really don’t understand why these types of dating services really can be pandered as medical services by physicians at all. I know now they are often handled by businesses that vend to the physician but all in all their time would be more productively spent curing people’s ailments than helping to arrange black market adoptions.. Nothing new for the medical profession they always had a hand in black market adoption only now they have some legal protections for helping people obtain other people’s offspring off the record and under the radar. Now these doctors and businesses who hook all this black market off the record “baby or your money back” stuff – they for sure have an interest in not curing infertility or sterility because they have to recoup their up front expenses for having gambled on buying a bunch of genetic stock from people they think will be popular to have children with and if they can’t offload what they bought they’ll take a loss. Granted, they will keep moving the stock even if they have to slap a different label on it to help it sell and nobody will know they had a kid with the wrong person until the kid is born when they can’t give the kid back for not having the right hair or eye color and you can’t sue anyone for the fact your kid does not look how you expected. After all people take a gamble when they don’t know the person they are having a child with. In that way I do think, that there is an active desire to create infertile and sterile people as a customer base, I am pretty sure they are not rushing to solve the underlying problems as that costs money and would ultimately result in these companies loosing money in their 20 year long view. So I had not gone deep on that until I wrote that. You did get the wheels in my head turning on this issue and frankly whose to say three isn’t someone poisening the well fi they have enough back stock to offload they could sterilize an entire generation in north america if they were not worried about needing to protect a portion of society so they could be used and bred for sale. Its good fodder for a movie because economically it makes sense and its just close enough to possible it might sell tickets at the metroplex. Still I don’t get why you think the CBC would want to prevent people from getting their infertility cured. Of course they want people to be healthy enough to have and raise their own offspring. There is no harm in that. They are not in favor of corporations breeding people for sale because the young that are sold end up in a very compromised position. Are you saying they actually like the young put in that compromised position because then they’ll have something to bitch about? I don’t get it.

    If they have a stance against ivf with ones own genes – i don’t know if they do, if they do I can only say that I’m not against it personally but any time a person allows their sex genes to be harvested out of their body the opportunity for corruption theft and error is there and because all sperm looks alike the theft is not detectable, its a crime that would be virtually impossible for the person themselves to know happened until many years later if by a fluke on a dna site their child happened to find them, only then would the person know that their genes had been stolen that they were reproduced without permission. So I’m not a fan of anything that takes people out of control of their own reproductive behavior but so long as they are accountable as parents for their offspring its all we can do. If someday they find out that they have kids kidnapped out of their family through unauthorized reproduction then the records should change to show them as parents. Its all I can say as I don’t think banning people from receiving medical treatment on their own body parts iis the governments place. Maybe I don’t understand your point at all so clarify.

    • gsmwc02 says:

      Marilynn,

      In the case of IVF that the CBC opposes goes beyond the utilization of third party reproduction. They oppose it when they sperm and egg comes from the parents who will raise the child. For instance they would have opposed using your eggs and your husbands sperm in an IVF treatment that would have then become an embryo that would have been implanted in you that you would have carried to term. Their objection is because of the embryos that are not used and then destroyed equating it to abortion. Does that make sense?

      See unless you can conceive naturally the CBC is against any treatments to help infertile couples to have children. I don’t think I’m that far off in saying they are against infertile couples and trying to keep them childless.

      • marilynn says:

        Thanks Greg for clarifying . I am always one to want to look below the surface to understand what is motivating people to do what they do and to look for conflicts of interest or contradictory behaviors. I’ve spent three years really checking up on what I believe and trying to reconcile inconsistencies – and there were many inconsistencies that I’ve had to reconcile in order to really be clear with myself on why I believe what I believe. I want to make sure that any principles I tout are one’s I can apply across the board and cause being a hypocrite bugs me. When I’m busted on it I have to go think hard about how to fix that.

        Even if their motivations are religious and maybe they are I really try to distance myself from that – they don’t get into religion in their presentations and try to stick t general principals of ethics which are broadly applicable to people of any religion. Their focus is not on solving the problem of providing people with children to raise if they cannot conceive them but rather on preventing people from being sold out of their families in what is essentially a black market transaction. I have seen their movies and there is no direct reference to the use of IVF or artificial insemination of fertile and non sterile individuals who will raise their own offspring and not abandon them at birth. I do know the Catholic church opposes IVF as fertility treatment but I had not seen that message in the movies that my personal friends were in and interviewed for. If they are against people being treated with IVF or AI when they are planning to raise their resulting offspring it is a good and wise thing that they did not mention that in the movie because it is not relevant – the resulting offspring don’t have any rights compromised so its kind of a pointless thing to talk about. Except in instances where peoples sex cells and embryos are stolen. We need to have some tracking mechanism to tie these cells and embryos to the individuals they came from and to tie people’s offspring to them at birth. People are kidnapped and sold this way so its a human rights problem.

        Ultimately the message I get from them and myself want to give is that nobody needs to worry about how to provide people with children to raise if they are unable to conceive. That outlook turns human beings into a commodity to be shopped for to be manufactured and bought. Finding people to raise minors whose parents can’t or won’t take care of them is a reasonable and ethical thing to do and it is a problem that society needs to address. Many times people unable to have offspring of their own are willing to take on the job of raising those abandoned or relinquished minors. Sometimes people who are able to conceive children of their own do it to. But it should be a focus of providing children in need with someone to raise them rather than finding children for people who don’t have any of their own to raise. The minor has a right to be cared for by their parents and when that can’t happen has a right to state protection and help finding a suitable home. No adult has a right to be someone’s parent adoptive or biological – its just you either are or you are not someone with a bio or adoptive kid and there are responsibilities that go with that. Nobody owes anyone a person and parental title. So the hope would be that people find a solution to obtaining legal parental authority without having a hand in destroying a person’s family and kinship rights. So people should do what they can to have kids of their own get fertility treatment but don’t pay for someone else to have fertility treatment so that they can keep and raise that person’s child. I hope you don’t think that was a slam – really the focus has nothing to do with trying to solve the problem of childlessness. That is a separate important issue to be fixed hopefully without anyone’s rights being compromised/

      • gsmwc02 says:

        I think their cause is influenced by their religion beliefs rather than being motivated by it. Again, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. We all have the right to practice (or not) whatever religion we choose.

        My point with them is that you would think they would support and not advocate against reproductive technologies that allow two people to have a child that is biologically related to therm both. It is an alternative to third party reproduction. Instead they are against these treatments. So it is very easy and justifiable to believe their motives are to keep childless couples childless. You on the other hand support fertility treatments that help couples have biological children. That’s at least one thing I can respect.

        The other parts I can’t respect because your last paragraph shows the bias you have against people who are not physically able to have children. You look down upon us and want us to become legalized babysitters (Guardians) with sleepover privleges. You want us to be treated like second class citizens and have those children have no respect for us. Our feelings and rights not to be outcasted don’t matter to you.

  32. Eva says:

    I don’t know what CBC role is but from what Greg says it sounds very much like catholic church teachings..I am not religiously affiliated in any way but I don’t think there is a hidden agenda against infertiles – I think it’s just a matter of focus: they focus more on the resulting children while reproductive technology business (or call it reproductive medicine, whatever) focus on the needs of the current customers (patients)- the infertiles. It’s in a way bothering me that such an opposition exists – parents’ vs children’s rights. And it is then reflected in “tell or not tell” or “seek or not seek” dilemmas throughout their lives.
    Greg, we were not able to conceive (reason uknown) for almost 10 years now and I know too well how it feels. Even now that we’ve adopted i sometimes get (mild) pangs of pain when I hear of someone’s pregnancy (don’t quote me to the adoption centre though – they expect adoptive parents to be “over with it” once and for good before they adopt, that’s another preconceived bull*hit- not all people can do that but they still make very good ado parents, provided they are aware of their issues and also respect their child’s loss or trauma). I do hope you and your wife will find your own way in all this. Infertility sucks, just as any other illness or (mild) handicap that you have to learn to live with.

    • gsmwc02 says:

      Hi Eva,

      I am sorry to hear of your infertility. Like you I’ve come to the realization that no matter how we proceed the loss of infertility will always be with us.

      I think the CBC has good intentions for what they believe in. However, their approach is to guilt and shame infertile couples by calling those who utilize IVF and third party reproduction to have children as being selfish. They don’t propose any solutions or alternatives to help these couples. At least if they are going to attack them they should propose an alternative. But if they can just focus on the children conceived from these ARTs and not say anything about infertile couples then maybe their cause could be respected. Right now I don’t respect the organization and won’t until they change their approach. It’s unfortunate too because those who are donor conceived don’t have too many allies.

      Best of luck to you.

    • marilynn says:

      Eva, I bet you can guess that I’ve pissed a lot of people off commenting on blogs like this and with the exception of Sam who comments here taking me to task once or twice, the people who get pissed off are not adopted people or donor offspring. All the little things I’m told about that would have made life easier in not having to manage the expectations of their rearing parents and in wanting the loss of their non rearing family recognized and wanting to feel like it’s OK that they came from another family have another set of parents and that it is not a soft spot for their rearing parents at all – you exemplify it. Your really logical and relaxed about the way you describe your adopted kid and you have no idea how much he’s not going to have to go behind your back because of it. I really want to cry when I think of all the people who think they are relaxed and open about their adopted or donor offsprings other families and they are not, not if they tell them the truth but act like they are the kid’s only family. Everyone I know would want you to go teach a class or something. It seems so easy to me, just relax and let the kid live the reality of the situation. If they have a really crappy set of bio parents that’s reality its still their bio family people love their crappy relatives all the time people are complex that way. A woman I reunited knew she was adopted but her adoptive mother thought it was still a secret. Weeks after her reunion she still had not told her adoptive mother and they live together she felt very guilty and asked me to call her adoptive mother and try to break the news to her. This woman told me that when she got on the plane from california to Georgia and the adoption was done that was her baby and her baby only. I said she has five siblings that love her and miss her and nieces and nephews that have been crying for her looking for her for 42 years, and she told me to tell them they can just keep crying because her baby was an only child, she was the only mother and her daughter has no siblings. She actually told me to tell her siblings to forget about meeting her daughter and finally I had to say it was a done deal and her daughter had known for years. She just did not want to hurt her feelings. She was ready to let her kid go on living life as an only child to keep her all to herself. She finally relaxed about it but honestly, people need to chill out and just live the truth and be confident enough in their own fantasticness that they’ll deserve love on their own accord and not have to be the kids only mom only family.

      • marilynn says:

        But they can’t relax if they actually helped encourage the separation. Like you said adopted parents can tell the truth and have no resentment from the kid if the act like you. People raising donor offspring have to really really come to terms with their having encouraged the loss for the kid and like apologize for that I think before they can have a relationship where the kids don’t feel like they have to read a script for their rearing family that thinks they are so open andd comfortable but they are not actually. There is one woman in Australia that blogs raising a kid she conceived with a donor who is good like you. Sue Hurst. She’s great look for her blog. She’s friends with all the donor offspring activists which is not something that many people on the family building tell early and often side can say.

      • Greg says:

        They don’t have to apologize anymore so than parents have to apologize to their children when they get divorced. No one’s family is perfect. They all have their issues and for others on the outside to judge it is offensive and wrong.

  33. marilynn says:

    Greg seriously parents that are not married to one another are still obligated by law as being responsible jointly for their joint offspring. Their offspring are not impacted legally by the marital status of their parents. Minors are all equally situated in terms of their legal rights to support and kinship rights to their biological parents regardless whether they have ever been married or not. So divorcing causes the two parents to have to draft a custodial arrangement for shared child rearing in two homes – which emotionally may be scarring to a child yes, but I’m talking about apologizing for interfering with their offspring’s right to the father’s support legally and for interfering with their offspring’s right to an accurate medical record and kinship in the family of their absent parent, and for referring to the child’s parent as a donor and for implying that any person is in a position to donate their offspring / abandon their offspring as a favor to someone who wanted to raise a child absent the other parent’s involvement in order to make it appear that they’d had a child with their spouse.

    Do you understand the legal difference for a minor whose parents divorced and a child whose father was legally exempted from parental responsibility under the Uniform Parentage Act as a theraputic donor? Those people have half the rights of other U.S. Citizens.their rights only flow through the identified bio parent. It’s horribly unfair. Why do you draw a comparison to divorce when there are no legal losses for minors in those circumstances? Can you expand on that? Is your comparison purely emotional? If you wish to draw the comparison to divorce then why not retain the minors rights to support and contact with their father while living with their mother and step father. That is the way millions of non-married parents do it and nobody is less married when they have kids than two people that met through a gamete donation cryo bank. All they are is two unmarried parents with joint offspring. Why not have them follow the normal rules other unmarried bio parents have to follow?

    Why not have them follow the same rules as other bio parents who are unmarried? Millions of unmarried parents are obligated by law to share child rearing duties in their separate residences and they frequently have spouses who are step parent’s to their children. Why not just have all bio parents follow those same rules? If you want to draw the comparison to divorce you have to finish the thought and then require the separated parents to share parental responsibilities. Does that make sense?

  34. Eva says:

    Marilynn, thanks, I couldn’t find the blog so if you could give me a link, I’d be grateful. And actually, I don’t think you’re talking nonsense – definitely not from the medical point of view. However, realisation of this >ultimate truth project< may be just too revolutionary for the time being, for many reasons. But it's quite probable that it will change one day, just as it happened with adoption. With all this genetic craziness (and bewilderment) going on: one the one hand people exploring their DNA connections a family tree hobby and on the other – genetic track lost because of anonymous gamete/embryo donations, it's a matter of time that some legislation will follow. The thing is, genetic make up is what it is – a very basic code establishing social and medical order. And it is just a neutral and objective fact – it doesn't involve any emotions or relationships. I fully agree with you here. Sorry, I may be struggling with my English but I hope it's clear more or less.

    To Greg – I just want to ask what's wrong for you with the name "adoptive parent"? I'm honestly just curious, not attacking you in any way. I'm just trying to understand your position better, as personally I'm quite comfortable with calling myself/ being called adoptive mum. Again, for me it's totally neutral and objective (or even with positive connotations 😉

    A good Christmas to everyone, and many thanks to all of you for these discussions, they give me so much food for thought..

    • gsmwc02 says:

      I don’t have an issue at all with being called an adoptive parent. However in the context Marilynn uses it she calls the adoptive parents such but calls the birth parents the child’s “real” parents. That’s what I have an issue with. So it has everything to do with Marilynn’s non sense and nothing to do with my own personal feelings.

      • marilynn says:

        Greg the birth record won’t indicate any changes in legal authority that happened there after so it simply names the mother and father. Those people have parental obligations unless and until adoptions occur. It is only colloquially that we refer to them as birth parents when we need to differentiate them from the adoptive parents.

        • gsmwc02 says:

          Again the birth certificate names the two people who conceived the child. It’s not a parent certificate. It’s a birth certificate. I don’t get why you can’t comprehend this.

      • marilynn says:

        “Again the birth certificate names the two people who conceived the child. It’s not a parent certificate. It’s a birth certificate. I don’t get why you can’t comprehend this”

        Yes Greg and the certificate calls the people who conceived parents, mother and father.

    • marilynn says:

      Which blog I talk a lot I would be happy to link you to whatever you want Sue Hurst?

      Thanks for thinking that having a factual medical record is reasonable I think so. Biology does not describe an emotional relationship. It does give rise to parental duty however because society operates on the premise that people take responsibility for their own actions. A minor has no reasonable expectation of care from anyone other than the two individuals who caused him or her to exist. Its lucky for them that society organized to give them a legal right to state care in the event that their parents fail. I think much of what is called primal wound may be a bit more practical like hey you guys owed it to me to take care of me and then you did not do it. Why? And tell me you feel really bad about not doing it. Tell me I deserved your care and your sorry that you could not do it. Tell me I matter. Tell me I am worthy of membership in your family and you are proud to introduce me to your family. Tell me that I am not a source of shame for you. See they can have all those feelings while knowing they are a source of pride for their adoptive family and feeling they have that bedrock of security with them who raised them. The birth family is usually kind of flakey shakey quirky – they were not put through a battery of stability tests and they have to find a way forward to interact they don’t have years of living together to fall back on. It is so important for bio parents to try though so they let their child know they are and were worthy of their care and they are sorry they could not provide that, glad that they have a stable family that could. It is all quite beautiful when people don’t act like wusses or whiney pants.

      • gsmwc02 says:

        “The birth family is usually kind of flakey shakey quirky”

        Wow, could you insult birth families any more than you did with that comment? Birth families do not have one description. Placing a child for adoption does not automatically make them “flakey shakey quirky” they are similar to any family that has their fair share of problems. No ones family is perfect.

  35. marilynn says:

    OK Greg now we are getting somewhere. I actually need this input because we are going to start making the requests to correct vital records and I’ve been thinking a lot about the last name change part of it. Now I personally don’t like the idea of changing a child’s name at adoption, but legally it happens. Interestingly it happens as an independent process typically on or about the same time as the adoption so its like a real normal name change with paperwork that anyone could have at any time and its documented within the adoption paperwork they ask the new adoptive parents if they’d like to change the adopted child’s name. So in that way it is very much like a name change that would occur with marriage where a woman’s name once married won’t match her birth record – you don’t change your birth record to your married name yet it is still your birth record. When you present your birth record with your maiden name you have the other associated documentation that demonstrates the legal name change that you had ie from old to new. So I’m actually thinking it would not be that big of a fur ball at all for people to get their birth records corrected and give rise to their entire families kinship rights without having to change their last names back to their bio names.

    I mean correcting the person’s birth record will not undo the adoption that was approved in court. They have proof of their adoption, and that their name was changed. So really correcting their birth record is something they have a legal right to under Hippa and can’t reasonably be refused and will allow their relatives to get access to their vital records and will allow them to get access to their relatives vital records and will make it possible to prove kinship for all legal benefits that families have and their adoption paperwork will make it possible to have all legal benefits of adoptive kinship with their adoptive relatives. Its perfect it is the perfect alternative to begging for original records to be unsealed.

    Problem is that with donor offspring asking for it the government will have to get their bio parents names from the physicians and their records will be corrected, they never had a previous name so there won’t be any change to their last name from whatever it is currently it just won’t match the name of the bio parent on the certificate. Now emotionally the person might want to have their father’s name but legally their father’s relatives would still be able to find them by requesting the certificates of any children he had and if he had 20 kids with 20 different last names so be it. Sadly his last name won’t get passed down but at least for health purposes his children would all be recorded as his and their kinship rights would be completely intact.

    Donor offspring’s social parents though won’t have any adoption paperwork though establishing them as legal parents because the adoption was black market or off the record. If the records are corrected when people are adults it won’t have any real bearing on their personal relationship. It highlights the whole black market part though.

    • gsmwc02 says:

      In adoption the last name changes because the child is being adopted into a new family thus their last name should change. Not surprising that you oppose that as you want the parents raising them to be seen as legal babysitters/Guardians rather than their parents.

      A donor doesn’t care about his last name being passed down if he did he wouldn’t donate. So it’s not sad it’s irrelevant. What establishes the parents who will raise the child is the donor agreement. It just isn’t necessary to do a court approved adoption when it’s not. It’s overkill and unnecessary.

      • marilynn says:

        Sweet well meaning Greg I have never never said not wold I ever ever think that a person who adopts a child is baby sitting. They are fully financially responsible for the child – they are not being paid. They have total authority to make decisions on behalf of the child in accordance with the law. Why do you necessarily think that the minors name would be changed? Your not buying a person and holding title to them – the way slaves ended up with surnames like Washington and Jackson. You’re taking on an existing and most likely named individual with a whole real identity as the child of the people who created him or her fully connected to their own family but tragically unable to be cared for. My personal opinion is that the duty taken on when adoption a minor should not come with the right to make over the person and take away their name. It is not yours, it’s their name and honestly they should make that call to change their name when they are adults if they feel like it not because they were adopted and the people would not take care of them unless they got to alter things about them. Like we’ll take this one I guess but this and this and this need to be different because I’d envisioned the child I raise to be like this and such and this is the name I’d always planned to name my child. Well you did not make a child from scratch so you kind of have to respect that you are getting a fully formed human being, the blank slate is a marketing tool used by the adoption industry and it is not respectful to the adopted person nor is it real. Why change anything about them? Are they not just fine as they are? Legally having the same name does not magically impart some extra parental authority over the adopted child. If one is truly compelled to do it my preference would be to at least hyphenate the name. I know this is not common and that I am radical but I’ve spent time thinking about the aspects of that treat people as property and naming rights is one of them. I am however happy to realize that adopted people do have a legal name change record so correcting the OBC is really no big deal and they can keep the name assigned to them at adoption it does not have to match the OBC because they have the name change documents the way a woman could prove why her current name did not match her OBC. I know it is common to rename people at adoption but to me it says the people doing the adopting really wanted to have their own kid and the kid they got is not good enough as is they want them to seem more like their own so they rename them to make them feel more like what they really wanted. I think it sucks but that is just me

        • gsmwc02 says:

          What you have describing is legalized babysitting with sleepover also known as Guardianship. There is no name change and the people who care for the child until they become adults are not parents. They aren’t joining a family they are just being provided for by one. You haven’t called it that but that’s what it is, whether you choose to accept that or not. Again adoption is when a child is adopted into a new family they are joining that new family and thus their last name should change to reflect that. It’s a thing that says this child is family with the people who have the same last name in addition to the people whom they share their DNA with. That may not make sense to someone who has children but to someone who doesn’t it does.

          You remind me of the Cameron Alexander character in the movie American History X. He was an older gentlemen who was the vocal leader of a Neo Nazi group who would find vulnerable white kids who were being picked on and turned them into angry hateful people who became violent. No, I’m not accusing you of being a Neo Nazi. I’m accusing you of taking vulnerable people who were either lied to and/or rejected by the men who raised them and turned them into hateful angry people.

  36. marilynn says:

    Just realized that the revised birth record upon adoption is not the legal document that gave them parental authority over the person – the adoption paperwork is what proves they have the right to custody and that they have parental authority and the adoption paperwork will provide all the names from the original birth certificate and any new name change for the person adopted so it shows that one individual has these parents and was adopted by these other parents and had a name change to xyz. Correcting the current incorrect birth record simply shows their name at birth and their parents names it won’t do anything at all to the adoptive relationship. Until today I was thinking they might have to do the legal name change to match but they don’t. They can keep living with the name as changed by their adoptive parents or as originally written on the certificate. It just ensures that nobody is named a parent on the birth record unless the child is their offspring. I think adoptive parents think the birth certificate with their names is what gives them parental authority and it’s not actually. Its the adoption paperwork.

    • gsmwc02 says:

      Restablishing the OBC makes sure that the person’s BIRTHPARENTS are recognized as the people who conceived the person. The adoption paperwork establishes who the child’s PARENTS are. As the person is adopted into that family they take on that families name to become a part of that non biological family. They will always have their DNA as their connection to their birth families. The child is connected to both families forever. Not even someone with a dangerous agenda to break up non biological families can break that.

      • marilynn says:

        You know Greg that’s close enough for government work for me so I’m cool with that. I mean nobody refers to parents as birth parents so the birth certificate just refers to the people as parents because there is no inkling of adoption yet at that point when the birth certificate is filled out they are simply parents and then when the adoption paperwork is finalized identifying the adoptive parents who adopted from the parentss named on the birth certificate people frequently will then refer to the parents named on the birth certificate as the birth parents since they are not in the daily picture. But the birth certificate just says mother and father because there has to be an adoption take place with adoption paperwork and an adoptive mother an father for anyone to feel the need to differentiate the parents on the certificate from the adoptive parents so,yo are correct people will refer to anyone named on the birth certificate as birth parents if ever there is an adoption. But even the adoption paperwork has to name the mother and father plainly as mother and father and the parties to the adoption plainly and then when fully executed – the whole thing locks in. But really you are close enough to legal reality there to make it a workable compromise without an east coast beat down on the tiny red head,

        • gsmwc02 says:

          The mother and father named in the adoption paperwork are the two people that will raise the child the BIRTHPARENTS are the two people who conceived the child.

  37. Eva says:

    Marilynn, just to comment on the truth of birth certificates – I know kids (not DC, not adopted) whose birth certificates are false right from the beginning, because a single mum can simply give any name as a rather – like “John Smith” or Brad Pitt if they don’t want to involve the child’s father and that’s it. And i don’t think there is a law that could force women to give real names of the guys who made them pregnant ( i.e. child bio fathers). That’s why the campaign for correcting BC should affect not only DC/ adopted. But this is simply not possible..

    • marilynn says:

      Eva I agree that the rules for the content of birth records need to be the same for every individual born. I think you start with clear rules, understand that there will always be people that lie but if the lie is ever discovered it should have to be corrected. You don’t just go on living life as if it were true and expecting other people to just go along with it especially when the information impacts what other people know to be true about their own identities and who they are related to. It should start as people correcting known errors regardless if they are unaffiliated or are adopted or are donor offspring. I know over two hundred families living in reunion whose records don’t match reality. They are complacent now but if they go do this and make the corrections it makes the statement that the records never should have been falsified to begin with. Especially the issuance of the revised certificate at adoption, just skip that part. For those that have them, don’t ask for copies of the original. Just fix the current one so it’s correct for birth and they already have all the documents proving they were adopted. This could show how pointless the amended certificate is. Skip it.
      No you can’t make people tell but when you end up figuring out the truth down the line at least let people fix it

  38. oliviasview says:

    OK guys, I think we’ve said enough on this thread. It’s all getting a bit personal so I’m pulling the plug and any further posts of any sort will be deleted. You are of course welcome to continue to comment on other threads.

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