Listen, watch, take part…Learn

I am busy this week trying to set up visits to clinics so that I can understand more about their donation programmes – how and where they recruit donors and something about the counselling and preparation process for both donors and recipients.  Also getting excited about Zannah flying in from New York tomorrow, although the reason she is coming home is somewhat alarming.  The US authorities have turned down her application for an extension to her education visa so that she can complete her massage therapy course.  An immigration lawyer advised her not to appeal in the States and to come back here asap to sort it out.  Fingers tightly crossed.

There are three things I want to draw your attention to this week.  The first is a fascinating interview on Radio Newcastle with a donor conceived adult and her donor, brought together via the Donor Conceived Register (DCR) – the UK register for those conceived via donation before 1991 and their donors.  Sarah talks about how she realised via routine blood testing in pregnancy when she was in her early thirties, that she did not share a blood group with her father.  She talked with her mother about this and very reluctantly it was revealed that a donor had been used.  Sarah is certainly not the first person I have come across who discovered this discrepancy via blood tests when expecting a baby.  Sarah then spent a very uncomfortable time feeling that a part of her had been taken away and the lack of honesty has caused trust problems in the family.  Being a resourceful person Sarah went on the internet and found the DCR, gave a DNA sample and not very long afterwards was told that there had been a strong match to a donor who had been registered for some time.  Sarah and Terry, her donor, were put in touch by email and they spent a year getting to know each other before they finally met.  During this time Sarah used Terry’s email address to find out more about him, but Terry seemed very understanding of the ‘gentle stalking’ that occurred over this period.

It would seem that Terry had put himself on the UK DonorLink register that preceded the DCR partly because his life had not turned out the way he thought it might (his marriage had broken down and he had not become a conscious father) and partly because as time had passed he realised that children who had resulted from his donations might want to know something about him.  He and Sarah now have a good relationship, Sarah has had the gap in her life filled and Terry has gained a daughter.  Sadly, Sarah’s parents remain very uncomfortable with the situation and are unlikely to meet Terry.

Listen to these interviews, hear ‘Joseph’s’ story and Laura Witjens from DCR here – https://s3.amazonaws.com/NGDT/BBC+Newcastle+-+Jonathan+Miles%2C+05032014+1_0001.mp3?utm_source=Newsletter+Donor+Conceived+Register&utm_campaign=50b0821241-September+Update+DCR&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b6d62383d-50b0821241-92832693

The second event is the coming to the UK of the Generation Cryo series, where the Donor Sibling Registry in the States helps 18 year old Breeanna Speicher from Reno, Nevada find her half-siblings.  Everything I have heard from people in the US is that this is a really sensitively made set of programmes so I for one will be glued to my TV set on Wednesday this week (9th April) when it starts on MTV at 9pm.  I know some people will not be able to view this but if you have a cable package, typically Virgin or Sky then you are likely to find it there.  We have Virgin and it’s Channel 134.

Thirdly, I want to give some publicity to our friend Eric Schwartzman’s Donor Conception Postcard project.  Eric lives in New York with his two donor conceived children and runs a blog called Life as Dad to Donor Insemination (DI) Kids.  A short while ago he announced on his blog and various Facebook pages associated with the donor conception world, that he had started a project whereby anyone with any perspective or viewpoint on donor conception matters could send him an anonymous postcard (via snail-mail).  He would then publish the content of these cards on the project’s Facebook page and his blog.  When asked about the goal of project Eric said –

“I am hoping it can create a site where individuals from many corners of donor conception community can in one place exchange views but more importantly perhaps see the issues from viewpoints other than their own. Promote honest discussion upon visually seeing someone else’s feeling in a postcard. Perhaps empathy can ensue.

The Post Secret site always for me results in immediate reactions and responses. There is no reading of long letters or articles. You see the whole picture immediately. I am looking to see if submissions can tell a story on a single 4 by 6 card and have the viewer see it that quickly.

So in the end my goal is to tell our stories in a single panel. For community members to participate in creating the larger story by contributing their single card to it.”

The subject matter can be anything, as long as it is related to donor conception, but Eric posted the following list to provide ideas – What is Family: Identity: Desire to have children: What defines a parent: Secrets: Relationships: The donor: Loss

The project site https://www.facebook.com/DonorConceptionPostcardProject also has lots of examples of the sort of things you might want to write.

The fascinating thing is that so far Eric has only received one postcard, and that arrived this morning.  Maybe this is the opening of the flood gates but I do wonder what it is that has been preventing the many people who are usually only too keen to post their views on DC from taking part.  Could it be that we are all so used to electronic communication that snail-mail is just too much bother.  Or could it be the anonymity?  I never hide my name (sometimes I wish I could!) and nor does Eric and so sending something anonymously feels wrong (but I have done so just the same).  I think there is a lot of potential here to capture the essence of some otherwise unheard aspects of donor conception but it’s going to need loads of postcards expressing a whole spectrum of views to make it valid.  Visit the project website, check the address and then join in, wherever you live.

Update on 17th April:  email from Eric Schwartzman – “I will accept electronic submissions now via the email address donorconceptionpostcards@yahoo.com  I will post the images received anonymously even though I will have a email address indicating who the sender is.”

 

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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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59 Responses to Listen, watch, take part…Learn

  1. marilynn says:

    Olivia I am happily blown away by your narrative description of the woman who met her father through the relative matching website in the UK. I say this primarily because although you referred to Terry as Sarah’s donor, you referred to Sarah as Terry’s daughter – which means you acknowledge him as being her father despite not having raised her in the context of a loving relationship with her mother, who in fact raised her with her husband and not him. Terry is obviously not going to be the person who she had the parent/child bond with as a youngster but they can obviously develop that bond now that she is an adult if they get along well enough to continue keeping in contact. At the very least their contact is based on concern for his offspring and a sense of parental responsibility for the life he created.

    It’s interesting to me that I’ve encountered several fathers who donated because they were not sure that they would have children with someone in the context of a loving relationship and wanted to still make sure that they had children an hoped some day to find their kids and have a personal relationship with them. I’m beginning to think this line of thinking is pretty common with women who donate their eggs as well, they are not sure they’ll have kids with someone in the context of a loving relationship an this way they’ll have kids at least and will hopefully someday find them. With Terry though you mentioned things did not work out as he’d hoped and he never ended up having children with his wife. So he was not a pre-planner. You said:
    “It would seem that Terry had put himself on the UK DonorLink register that preceded the DCR partly because his life had not turned out the way he thought it might (his marriage had broken down and he had not become a conscious father).” The term conscious father is a curios bit of psychology. You ended your paragraph on these two people by saying that Sarah is Terry’s daughter. Obviously you are correct, not just because they both THINK so but because it is FACTUALLY TRUE. When was she not his daughter then? When he thought he would become a conscious father? How do his thoughts effect who she is in relation to him? I can see that his thoughts impact how he feels about her an how he treats her and how she feels about how she’s treated – but who she is, what she is in relation to him has never changed since the day she was born. It’s like the Pinocchio or the velveteen rabbit thinking – that only love can make a wooden boy a real son or a stuffed bunny a real bunny. She was really his daughter before he came to know her personally and love her. I just think it’s interesting that she became important when he was unable to have children with his wife – then she went from someone else’s child to his child in his mind. His real daughter became someone else’s daughter in his head when he thought he could have children with a woman he loved instead of Sarah’s mother. Her mother and husband could not have children with the person they loved and so someone else’s daughter became their daughter in their head’s. All these people taking a real human being who has a real identity of her own and pretending that she is someone else’s kid all based upon who they happen to love and want to have kids with.

    It’s a good thing Terry came around and loves her for who she is in relation to him despite not being his wife’s child. Now if we could just get everyone to start out with that mentality instead of winding up there 30 years after their offspring are born there would be much less heart ache and unfairness in the world.

    • oliviasview says:

      I said ‘Terry had gained a daughter’ because now they have a social and emotional relationship he can behave in a father-like way with her (she seems estranged from her raising parents). As you know I do not believe that a genetic link alone makes a father (or a mother).

      • marilynn says:

        OK so a person – any random unrelated person can begin acting in a father like way to a younger person, but an adult younger person and though he’d have no legal standing as a father and the young person’s step father is still listed as their legal father on their birth record – you’d say that the young person was his son or daughter because he was acting like a father and the young person thought of them as a father? Behavior of the adult and younger person alone is sufficient? You don’t give this situation any more weight because this woman is his child and is related to his family in the same way a daughter that he raised would be?

        Lastly are you more inclined to refer to him as her father since she is currently on the outs with her step father whose her legal father? What if she were not on the outs with him? Would you still think of her as this man’s daughter? If child rearing is the chief thing in your mind that makes a person a father or not then do you think someone who reared a child ceases to be a parent whenever they have a disagreement with the children they raised? I’m just trying to wrap my head around what the rules for kinship and identity are if people can change who other people are in relation to them simply by changing their feelings towards them. I don’t mean saying she stopped talking to her father, but rather he is not her father because she stopped talking to him. Or conversely this man is her father because she started talking to him.

  2. Lorraine Nowlin says:

    I watched Generation Cryo with great interest. One thing that sticks with me is a statement Bree made about the curiosity many DC individuals have. IE, donors can’t expect offspring not to be curious. That can apply to anyone not donor conceived. While I’m completely opposed to parents lying to their children about their conception, The infertile father in Atlanta left me with an understanding of why some parents do lie. I saw in him just how traumatic infertility is, the same feeling you get when someone dies. Glad he opened up.

    • marilynn says:

      Right only someone did not die, they never existed. What’s more like someone dying is when you have actual relatives that exist that you are hidden from and are not allowed to meet. It’s more like death because the estranged bio parent definitely existed an along with them any bio grand parents an great grandparents. Very likely aunt’s uncles cousins, siblings nieces and nephews as well. Sequestered from all those actual people that a person is unlikely to ever meet. Yeah that is much more like mourning a death because it’s the loss of real biological relatives not imagined ones.

      I know it’s painful I lived with that feeling for quite some time when doctors told me I’d never have a biological child. I feel for the guy. It’s nothing like mourning a death but it hurts a whole lot.

      • Lorraine Nowlin says:

        I disagree. As someone abandoned by her father and reproductive limits, the thought of not having children was far worse than being abandoned by a father. Also, I took a DNA test and discovered relatives that I have no interest in contacting. Everyone is different and I feel that infertility is almost like death.

        • marilynn says:

          Ah but those are your feelings about those existing people. That’s fine process the loss of those individuals from your life however feels right to you. I’m just saying do the math an it’s evident that the child these people are raising has in fact suffered a very real loss of a bio parent and paternal relatives. They may not give a hoot about it but never the less have suffered the actual separation from biological family so there is at least someone real to morn the absense of even if they are living. If they morn them at all is another thing, but at least the bio parent does exist. Where the bio-child the stepfather does not have is an unfulfilled dream. I agree could be possibly more painful to have an unfulfilled dream than to have relatives you don’t care about kept away from you it all depends upon the individual. But if one is to mourn the loss of biological family it would be the kid and not the step parent, you know?

          • gsmwc02 says:

            It’s not the loss of a dream. It’s the loss of:

            -Not having a family as you age
            -Not having your blood line continue
            -Not fitting in with others in our childfilled society
            -Not being able to participate in conversations with others about children
            -Not living a fulfilling life

            Lorraine gets it and I respect her for having the empathy that others lack. She also never forgets where she came from.

      • Lorraine Nowlin says:

        Out of curiosity, Marilyn, do you have children, biological or adopted?

        • marilynn says:

          I do. I had a bad run of miscarriages myself. I had a son who died not long after he was born due to my fertility issues. Later on a doctor figured out how to at least get me through a pregnancy and my daughter was born. So I have one living child. Lots of adopted relatives, lots of chosen family, plenty of everything, you name it.

        • marilynn says:

          They not only said I would not have kids, another woman would have to conceive with my husband maybe I could carry or maybe not given my condition. I got pregnant again and my doctor was doing a paper on blood thinners for women with my clotting disorder. So she tried me tand it worked it was really hard. She was mad that I got pregnant again it was dangerous for me. So I was faced with the decision of adoption or eggs/embryos but its obvious given my hobbie hat I’d want to be very careful about how I obtained a kid. I’ve just learned a lot from helping because they just pour their hearts out when they need help searching. heart aches for them and the social injustice of it made me want to really do something to change the way things are done

          • Lorraine Nowlin says:

            Strangely enough, I have a clotting disorder that is the culprit of my fertility issues and a m/c as well. I also come from a family where some are adopted, foster care, etc. Also believe it or not, I can understand why a couple would reject the idea of using donors to create a family. No offense to those that do use donors, I just don’t know if I could do it if I were a part of a couple.

            • marilynn says:

              I have thrombofilia (sp?) I did not know I had it until my doctor tested Sam’s placenta and me there were clots in it he could not breathe when he was born. I had to inject blood thinner into my stomach three times a day while I was pregnant with Ruby. I almost lost her at 6 months so they put me on bed rest and then took her a month and a half early to prevent labor because she was also placenta previa. They say girls are stronger than boys – maybe my miscarriages were all boys. I don’t know Sam is the only other pregnancy who went full term

              Everyone has the parents who create them and they are either raised by them or they aren’t. It’s always sad and tragic when a the parents who create a person don’t raise that person so I knew any child I was going to raise with or without my husband would be a child to have suffered such a tragedy unless I was helping raise a child acting as a step mother with my husband and the mother sharing joint custody. If I were thinking about the ideal situation from the point of the person being raised – what would be a situation where the kid did not have to suffer the loss of any parents in order to have me contribute to raising them and I suppose that would be as step mother. Not that I was down to have him have an affair and produce a kid. Let’s say me not having a baby was a deal breaker for him and he divorced me because he wanted biological children and I met and married a single dad with joint custody of his kids – that kind of thing would be a way I could have raised kids without having the kid loose a mother in the process or be more separated from their mother than they already were. Or I could foster and take good care of kids until their families were back on their feet hoping the kid could ultimately not have to loose their family to be with me. Maybe if their family could not raise them then I would make myself available to adopt kids in that position and I think I could be respectful of who they are as an individual and put their family on the front burner right along with my own so they felt incorporated into my family but not at the expense of any relationships with their family to whatever extent possible and not at the expense of their identity or rights in their own family. I would not alter their birth record for instance.

              I can gamble with my own family relationships but not someone else’s. It’s sad if a woman has offspring she does not want to raise why would I want to encourage someone to give up their parental obligations for the kid they created? Why would my marriage or my husband’s desire to have a biological child be so important that a whole family suffers the loss of one of ts own? Marriage is a relationship the parties can opt into and out of but you can’t opt out of being someone’s child, all I’d be doing is pretending I had a child with my husband because I’d been pregnant. It would be my biological pregnancy experience but the person I deliver would be another woman’s biological child. The kid’s maternal relatives would be hidden from them. Oh its all just too tragic to think about – never being sure how many siblings they had and wondering if their mother ever thinks about them. She absolutely gives up her parental duties to her children, not her eggs, paragraph after paragraph of their contracts talk about giving up the kid, being willing to give the kid up for adoption if the agreement is found illegal. The kid would grow up and read a standard egg donor contract and I’d just look like a big fat desperate liar for trying to get away with calling myself their bio or birth mother. I know what donor offspring say behind the backs of their non-bio parents so knowing that it’s not something I could be party to and its stepping over the line – I should not be able to buy control of someone else’s offspring.

              • So you know what they are saying behind their parent’s backs, how do you counsel them? (I.E.) What do you say to them?

                • marilynn says:

                  Lots of people are abandoned by their bio parents are ambivalent like you about it, but your feelings of ambivalence don’t make a case for legalizing parental neglect and abandonment for any reason let alone for acts of charity as a service to others or acts of commerce in service to others for personal gain of the abandoning parent. The fact that you say your father abandoned you means you recognize you had unmet legal expectations; you know he failed you and you know he let you down and you know you deserved his attention and support no different than any other kid whose loved and cared for by their Dad. You know what happened to you is not the way parents are suppose to act toward their offspring and it’s a tragedy when it happens. You sound resilient, like you have a good head on your shoulders and don’t pine away for people who are not interested in you. Sounds like you like to focus on what you have rather than get depressed about what you don’t have. That is a very practical and healthy approach to life. It just does not make it OK for bio parents to fail their kids or give their kids as gifts or to get reimburse for not raising them, their kids deserve legal protection against that kind of behavior even when they are the kind of person that could take a hit and come up swinging like you, you know?

                  I don’t counsel anyone. I help friends look for their families and I would really like to help change the laws that allow some bio parents the luxury of avoiding criminal charges for parental abandonment because it’s not fair to their offspring. I’d like to change the laws that allow some people to skip the court approved process of guardianship and adoption just because they give birth to someone else’s offspring or are married to someone that has a bio child during their marriage, because it’s not fair to deny those people their due process before allowing someone that’s not their bio parent to have custody and control of them. It’s unjust regardless whether they can take the hit and come up swinging. I know there are plenty of resilient people that make the best of unfortunate situations and are able to get through life just fine when they are not treated fairly but again that does not make the case for unfair treatment of anyone. It’s a testament to their courage and character for sure but we should still look toward changing laws that failed to adequately protect them. People spill their hearts to me when I’m helping with a search I say very little to them I listen a lot. I listen to them then get mad and come on here and other blogs and talk about the horrible injustice they are subjected to and hope that people will be moved to care about them and others like them. I hope people will see the raw logic in going after what they want which is a family of their own without costing anyone else their family in the process. This is easy for people that can have bio kids and very hard to do ethically for people who can’t have bio kids, but not impossible. It’s also possible to have gotten a kid in a less than ethical manner involving donors and contracts for abandonment but still recover and have a good relationship with the kid, there are a couple of women raising egg donors offspring who blog and they are super ethical now but they have deep empathy and compassion for kid and the loss of family and they are I think very good mothers in place of the mothers the kids lost. She’s out of Australia I think she’ll have a very good relationship with the donor offspring kid she’s raising, she’s more compassionate than his bio mom for sure. I’ll look up the blog name she’s corresponded with me privately an amount. Lorraine I pretty much just listen to the ones that experience it. I talk a whole lot trying to get people to think about not doing it but I don’t counsel my friends I have no idea how to stop their pain so I just look for their relatives.

                  • gsmwc02 says:

                    “Sounds like you like to focus on what you have rather than get depressed about what you don’t have. ”

                    If there is hurt there you need to address what you are unable to have. It’s ok to be depressed. People like to shame those who are depressed telling them to “snap out of it” but it doesn’t address the hurt. Confronting your hurt is a more practical approach to healing rather than ignoring it.

                • marilynn says:

                  Not symbolic. It’s the one thing in life that I am really truly good at and LOVE doing it and don’t mess up at. It’s the one project I can start and finish. With the exception of being a Mom and the pride I feel for my daughter, bringing families together is the one other thing that makes me feel like I’m doing something really worthwhile that my kid would be proud of or that my parents would be proud of. There’s no downside heads and tails everyone wins

                  • gsmwc02 says:

                    “With the exception of being a Mom and the pride I feel for my daughter”

                    Yet you shame and guilt people who are physically unable to have that. You forget where you came from. You could just as easily not had that happen. It’s something you obviously take for granted.

                    • marilynn says:

                      I’m concerned with the rights of people who are the offspring of donors. Those rights are compromised. If your saying it hurts people’s feelings to know they are party violating those rights and repressing someone’s freedom – I’m not sure what you think should be done about that. It’s not something that is to each his own. There should be no commercial vehicle or charitable vehicle for obtaining children to raise. There are other ethical ways to raise other people’s offspring that don’t require people to underwrite the separation of another family in order to build their own. Greg it’s like you are sticking up for the playground bullies of the world. These people have all the power all the money and it will be 18 years until the people being bullied have a legal say in their treatment and even they’ll remain under the control of the bullies who won’t let them have their own identity they mess up their medical records. They should take a good look at what they are doing and examine how their actions are hurting the people they wanted to be parents to.at least until the law changes its up to them to help these people recover their rights.

          • Lorraine Nowlin says:

            On the other hand, taunting parents that used donors will not help solve the problems that DC people have. This is especially true because the industry is evolving not only with open donors but there’s a rumor that one of the big three sperm banks will make it possible for donors, recipients and offspring to connect well before 18. There is even a new company for those that want children to opt for a legal coparenting arrangement between the biological mother and father. Their client base consists of those that don’t want anonymous donations and it runs like a matchmaking service. Some may find that weird but it suggests to me and it should suggest to the industry that there is a desire for openness on the part of parents.

            • gsmwc02 says:

              “On the other hand, taunting parents that used donors will not help solve the problems that DC people have. ”

              Definitely, shaming them and guilting them as Marilynn and others do very little to help their cause. Obviously they lack empathy or any compassion for these couples. But they can still educate and advocate for their cause w/out taunting, guilting and shaming infertile couples.

              • marilynn says:

                What constitutes taunting? Shaming? Saying that its unethical for bio parents to abandon their offspring for altruistic or commercial reasons? Saying there is no factual difference between offspring a person has with a partner they love and one or twenty they have with strangers for money or charity – that those offspring should all have the same legal rights to care from their bio parents? Is it really taunting to expect everyone to play by the same rules?

                Being made to fulfill someones desire to raise kids is ethical as long as the person making the kids is the person that wants them. raising them.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  “What constitutes taunting? Shaming?”

                  See below for an example of it.

                  “Being made to fulfill someones desire to raise kids is ethical as long as the person making the kids is the person that wants them. raising them.”

                • Liz says:

                  “What constitutes taunting? Shaming?”

                  This:
                  “…but not paid someone to give up their kid so I could get to play house with them”

                  This is a disrespectful statement to post on a blog in which you are a guest commenter. You are conveying contempt. You are implying that Olivia is “playing house” with Zannah.

                  Many readers will assume you are consciously attempting to taunt and shame specific people with whom you are dialoguing on this blog.

                  However, if you are acting out of trauma, you may not be aware that your post constitutes disrespect. In that case, you might consider seeking support, and I wish you well.

                  • marilynn says:

                    I don’t think that raising another person’s offspring is a bad thing I know that paying someone to abandon their offspring is a bad thing. How can it not be? It treats the child as an object with interchangable identity and interchangeable family. The first situation respects that the person is a whole person with a family and identity all their own the second situation is like buying a doll or a puppy.

                    • oliviasview says:

                      Do you have any idea how offensive that last remark is Marilynn? Our (adult) children are NOT someone else’s offspring and their donors were NOT paid to abandon them. They are our children. YES two men helped bring them into being but they did not intend to be parents, they intended us to be their parents and we have fulfilled that task to the best of our ability. Our children say we have done well. THEY are the only ones who are entitled to comment on the situation, not you! Now you will say this was not intended for me personally, and I should not be letting you get under my skin in this way (I normally don’t) but I just can’t take this rubbish any longer. By inference my family is included in every remark you make about abandonment etc. I talked with my daughter about you today. She understands where you are coming from (if you are indeed sincere in your views) but says it does not apply to her. She cannot understand why anyone would allow the fact of donor conception to get in the way of getting on and making the best of their life. SHE does not want her birth record changed. Her dad is her dad and he deserves his place on her birth certificate. Genetics are NOT all.

              • marilynn says:

                It’s impossible to advocate for their cause by campaigning to end anonymity because then there will still be parents abandoning their offspring in private contracts rather than in court and there will still be people obtaining custody of other people’s offspring in contracts rather than in court. They are skipping the most crucial protective s steps for when a child is not going to be raised by biological family because they all collude to conceal the identity of the bio parents on the original birth record. That’s the black market tactic to skip the expense and time of formal adoption just pretend to be biological parents.when you record the birth.
                They try to offset lying on the record by telling the truth on the record But how open and honest do they look when the truth is told in private but the lie is written on the recor?

            • marilynn says:

              Well I think the last option sounds fine and like regular parenthood. Whatever people do before their offspring are born is up to them; they can call themselves gamete donors but that should not entail abandoning parental obligation for their offspring. As I’ve heard many a time, sperm an eggs are not children. To that I say right they are not children so give up eggs and sperm under contract all they want so long as they are not also agreeing to abanon ther offsring when they are born. Donors are human, so are their kids. The rules for gamete donor bio parents should be no different than for any other bio parent. And people who want to raise other people’s kids should follow the same rules other people do an should not skip the court approved adoption process just because they happen to be married to a bio parent or happen to have given birth it results in unequal obligations and rights all around. They just need to equalize obligations and rights

              I’m not taunting – that’s teasing or poking fun at someone. I’m not making fun of anyone I don’t want to hurt their feelings I want to change the law so all bio parents are required to follow the same rules as everyone else because their offspring are human and deserve equal treatment. That is not taunting the people raising them – it has nothing to do with them. The rest of the population follows these rules and has these rights it’s not like I’m proposing something that is different from how other people have to behave. I want to get people to think logically about the limits of their authority and recognize realities they’ve been trained to ignore. The fertility industry works hard at making people believe that this is just another way to create a family and that they really are the parent of someone else’s child all because the parent did not intend to raise their kid. Come on when else does how someone feels about something change reality for everyone else in the room. If you are someone’s sister your their sister even if the mother you both share never intended to raise either of you. They are parents who just are not raising their kids and I just think very smart people are sweet talked into believing stuff they don’t actually believe but want to. Its all at the expense of someone else’s family though. It is not a matter of opinion and up to the individual people are buying a level of authority over others that is out of bounds.

              • oliviasview says:

                If we adopted the sort of genetic determinism you are advocating Marilynn it would be the end of donor conception. You say this is not what you want, but I do wonder. Certainly this is the aim of some donor conceived adults.

                • marilynn says:

                  “If we adopted the sort of genetic determinism you are advocating Marilynn it would be the end of donor conception.”Oliva, what do you mean “if we adopted”? There is a set of rules that the rest of society follows where bio parents are legally accountable as parents for their offspring on their birth records and they are accountable for providing them with physical care and financial support and if they are proven unfit in court custody can be taken away but there is due process before taking bio parents away from minors. If they both choose to relinquish in adoption or guardianship they do it in court, if they split and one remarries and one wishes to relinquish in step parent adoption. So why shouldn’t bio parents who are gamete donors following those very same rules? So why aren’t people raising donor offspring following those very same rules? Like why are they just skipping over the identification of the bio parent and the court approved adoption part? That’s the really important part for public health and for the protection of minors from trafficking. That’s the super important part that makes sure people who want to raise other people’s offspring are well suited to it and not engaging in paying people to give up their parental rights or paying intermediaries. As bad as adoption can be there are some controls to attempt to prevent parents from being reimbursed for not raising their offspring.

                  There is no genetic determination about it more than is already the law that everyone is complying with. If people would be reluctant to donate their gametes if they would still be responsible for their own offspring same as normal then they would have to make reproductive decisions the same way everyone else does and take parental responsibility into consideration when they are deciding whether or not to reproduce. It’s not like I’m suggesting anything radical or different of them than anyone else. Besides then their kids would be treated equally. People raising donor offspring would not mind doing the whole court approved adoption thing right? That due process is for the protection of all minors from trafficking and the and that really is a noble goal. Why would people raising donor offspring want anything less than equality for those kids. They don’t really need to skip or shortcut the rules that keep minors safe from objectification. They’d get use to playing by the same rules as the rest of us right now they are getting away with more than they deserve which is why its not fair to donor offspring. or other adoptive parents who do it the hard way.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  I agree Olivia. I’ve told Marilynn for some time that she just needs to admit she wants to ban donor conception. There is nothing wrong wanting to ban it. I’m not sure why it’s difficult for her to admit that. I get the impression she believes it makes her a bad person which it doesn’t. Her current approach rubs people the wrong way on the other side. I think a change to that could bring about a more productive discussion.

              • “I’m not taunting – that’s teasing or poking fun at someone. I’m not making fun of anyone I don’t want to hurt their feelings I want to change the law so all bio parents are required to follow the same rules as everyone else because their offspring are human and deserve equal treatment.”

                The reason I participate in a number of forums as a writer/blogger and your comments remind me of what is known as trolling. Online, we have no way of knowing if people are who they say they are, etc. We can only take their word for it.

                Miscarriage/stillbirth can have a profound effect on an individual (like other horrible things like sexual abuse, near death experiences, etc). It can be so traumatic that it affects our outlook on life in negative ways. For example, you mentioned that *all bio* parents should be required to follow the same rules. It is not possible that all bio parents follow the rules since not all of them are able and ultimately, the law determines who the parent is…not to mention that some bio parents should not be parents.

                It’s just that some of the things you say seem a bit knee jerk (see Liz’s response about the passports and Olivia’s first response to you as two examples out of many) and it suggests to me that something is up. So I’m left wondering if you really want to help DC individuals or if they are actually symbolic for you about something much deeper. That’s all I have to say about that.

                • “The reason I participate in a number of forums as a writer/blogger and your comments remind me of what is known as trolling.”

                  The above should actually read:

                  The reason I feel this way is, I participate in a number of forums as a writer/blogger and your comments remind me of what is known as trolling.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  “So I’m left wondering if you really want to help DC individuals or if they are actually symbolic for you about something much deeper.,”

                  In my interactions with Marilynn, I believe it’s the latter. I believe it goes beyond just wanting to “help people”. I don’t believe someone who wants to help people would continue to advocate against and try to hurt people going through infertility and non bio parents. She has told Alana and others that she wants to “shred” people on the other side of the discussion. IMO that isn’t a nice person. That’s a nice person to those who benefit from her advocacy (biological families) and the opposite for those who are outcasted from success of her advocacy (childless & non biological families).

                  • marilynn says:

                    I want to shred arguments in favor of people abandoning their offspring in private contracts. Yes I was in the position where I could have given birth to some other woman’s child and forced some poor person out of their own family but I did not I would have made myself available to adopt but not paid someone to give up their kid so I could get to play house with them

                  • marilynn says:

                    Greg your problem is that you don’t understand that the object of a contract is objectified. When someone relinquishes their child to be a ward of the state and the state finds other permanent care givers for the child who have made no personal investment in separating that child from his or her family that would be ethical so long as the birth record was unchanged and legal kinship was maintained the kid would loose nothing in terms of rights. It should be a simple change in the rights of the parent and not the adopted person.

              • marilynn says:

                Loraine I have been accused of being this troll and I have a hard time understanding how I would be considered a troll (not entirely sure what that is though it is explained to me freqently) why I’m one but why others who comment are not trolls. I don’t know any more about them than they know about me. I use my own name. My Doctor was Dr. Navneet Goggia she worked at Kaiser and pioneered ways to help thrombofillia women keep their babies. Samuel Rex Huff was born June 29, 2003 he died the same day and is burried in Holly Cross in Colma California. I don’t make things up. I’m personal friends with quite a few donor offspring activists and numerous adopted people and lots of people like you just abandoned by parents in no particular category to identify their situation. Many of them I’ve helped find family for. Many I can’t say the names of because their father’s are practicing physicians. I found Kathleen LaBounty’s brother I ca say that in print and I’ve been helping Alana search for her father, she’s convinced I found him but I’m not convinced entirely yet. I am a very real friend to my friends. I love them and care about the couple hundred families I’ve reunited for free and everyone like them. I have no book, no business, no movie deal no personal axe to grind. I just care when I see people being treated unfairly. I don’t like when people call me troll. I don’t know what makes me one but you not one. It hurts my feelings. People say well I hurt their feelings but I am not trying to violate anyone’s freedom or rights I want to help stop something unjust. I have to trust people are who they say they are.

                • Trolls are very real. Hiding who you are has nothing to do with trolling. I consider myself to be quite perceptive (take pride in usually being right, LOL). Volunteering your time (even for free) and helping DC individuals does not appear to be your motive.

                  • marilynn says:

                    But that’s what I do. And I still don’t understand how I’m a troll but any of you are not. Your here commenting also. So if a troll is not a liar what are they? People with opinions? Your a troll too then so is Greg so is Liz. What is my motive? I see an injustice and I want to see the law change. What’s yours? Protecting school yard bullies? What abut their feelings because they really want to stomp all over the rights of the helpless kids?

            • marilynn says:

              ” *all bio* parents should be required to follow the same rules. It is not possible that all bio parents follow the rules since not all of them are able and ultimately, the law determines who the parent is…not to mention that some bio parents should not be parents.”

              Lorraine you are saying that some bio parents should not raise their children correct? I agree there are definiately some bio parents who should not have custody of their children and I agree that the State should step in and intervene when it has evidence that the child is unsafe. The State does do that. So again what I’m saying is that all bio parents should be equally obligated to the care of their children so first and foremost they must be identified as parents on their birth records for public health purposes and for the person’s own accurate identity and the ability of them and their relatives to access one another’s records. That has nothing whatsoever to do with parental fitness or custody it’s just truth in record keeping an of vital public health importance not to name the wrong people on health records just because they gave birth or adopted or are married to someone who gave birth. There are other official documents to record that information on that are not health related and are not misleading as to the identity or kinship of the person born. Then if the parent is unfit that should be proven in court and custody can be given to people that go through official channels. I’m not suggesting that all bio parents will have custody of their kids all the time I’m suggesting that they all have the same legal obligations and that everyone follow the same processes so that all minors are equally protected from child trafficking and parental abandonment in an equal an just manner. I’m not suggesting that donors as bio parents do anything different than any other relinquishing parent. Only thing is they can’t be reimbursed for their time though, not even their time in donating the egg because they would not want the egg if they would not get the baby so its a smoke screen.

              You think my miscarriages made me crazy? Hmm possibly. Not crazy enough to think I could get away with paying someone not to raise their kid and expect that kid to think of me as a mother because I gave birth to them. That would not be logical. Maybe crazy enough to spend lots of free time helping people I don’t know when I have dishes and laundry to do. In fact it’s all a big ploy to avoid folding laundry. It’s working too it keeps piling up.

              • Well, allowing dishes and possibly other things to pile up is a sign that something is wrong. There are some who believe that a chaotic home (whether one is hoarding things, letting clutter pile up, laundry, dishes) is a sign of a chaotic emotions. So I don’t know if you were joking when you said that or not.

                I don’t want to turn this into a tit for tat about your mental health. All I’m suggesting is that you get some help (even if you’ve done so before). Helping others is stressful and can take it’s toll on the one helping. In the circles of activism that I’m personally involved in, we recently lost someone (to an apparent suicide) that worked tirelessly to help others.

                • marilynn says:

                  I appreciate your concern. Were you offering to fold some laundry while I help someone you know look for their mother?

            • Liz says:

              “On the other hand, taunting parents that used donors will not help solve the problems that DC people have.”

              One consequence of trauma:

              “You know them. I know them. And, increasingly, psychiatrists know them. People who feel they have been wronged by someone and are so bitter they can barely function other than to ruminate about their circumstances.”

              “This behavior is so common — and so deeply destructive — that some psychiatrists are urging it be identified as a mental illness under the name post-traumatic embitterment disorder. The behavior was discussed before an enthusiastic audience last week at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Assn. in San Francisco.”

              “The disorder is modeled after post-traumatic stress disorder because it too is a response to a trauma that endures. People with PTSD are left fearful and anxious. Embittered people are left seething for revenge.”

              “They feel the world has treated them unfairly. It’s one step more complex than anger. They’re angry plus helpless,” says Dr. Michael Linden, a German psychiatrist who named the behavior.”

              http://www.latimes.com/la-he-bitterness25-2009may25,0,1307098.story#ixzz2yg55lNuf

              • marilynn says:

                Nobody has treated me unfairly. It’s not my trauma. I’m glad you are coming around to see how unfairly donor offspring are treated though. My own very fair life stands in contrast to theirs. You are a very caring person Liz and if you were to become aware of the magnitude of the injustice they face you’d be wanting to see them treated equally as well. At least you are opening your eyes to the cumulative results of what can happen to people who are abandoned and black market adopted this way. Lots of anger and resentment builds up in them. Very very bitter about it behind the backs of those who raise them.

                Olivia should take note of these articles your are quoting and so should Lorraine and Greg. This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about all the time. I just did not have a word to describe the kinds of things I hear from people who are searching they say whatever they need to say in front of the people raising them and then inside off line to others they talk an act just how you describe Liz. It seems sort of like post traumatic stress syndrome.

                Your armchair psychology is going to help Olivia and Greg and Lorraine understand better. Helped me understand better too. Well you surprise me Liz there is a heart in there and you do care about donor offspring.

                • Liz says:

                  my best wishes to anyone who is in pain.

                  • marilynn says:

                    That’s good glad to hear you are coming around. They need more people like you to change the way the world ignores that they are being sold.

                    • Liz says:

                      I believe we are talking past each other. And, I would guess this ineffective communication is not engaging other readers.

  3. oliviasview says:

    Thanks Lorraine. I’m really looking forward to watching it, hopefully with our daughter Zannah who is back in the UK from New York for a couple of weeks (the embassy gave her the visa extension that she wanted…she is ecstatic!)

    • marilynn says:

      Speaking of visa extensions and citizenship and the like…You know how I am talking about that thing where some people I help are going to try to get their birth records corrected so they are medically accurate rather than asking to see copies of the originals or rather than asking for donor ID information? I just found one woman’s father (deceased sadly) and she was born in Australia and he’s from the U.S. so that makes her an American citizen because her siblings will take the DNA test and hopefully she can go one of two routes either she’s simply a citizen because her father was or because her siblings are sponsoring her, should be though that her father’s citizenship is enough. I think sibling sponsorship would be if your sibling is American born but your parent was born in another country. This obviously impact millions of donor offspring’s right to dual citizenship which is one of the major elements of inequality. Just think its entirely possible that your child might have a sibling with dual citizenship to the U.S. who could sponsor her. Wouldn’t that be super? If she felt like taking them up on it. Or if your donor was American born she’d be an automatic citizen and all this futzing about with Visas would not be necessary. For those who do have American born fathers this whole donor parental exemption thing denies them access to opportunities that dual citizenship might afford them and that is so wrong you know? Why should other people get to be automatic citizens of their bio father’s country but not them? It’s just not equitable treatment for them or adopted people or people who just don’t know who dad is. But for those who just don’t know, when they find out then its easy enough to kick it into gear. For those who know the information is available only its hidden from them its pretty unjust.

      • Liz says:

        “Why should other people get to be automatic citizens of their bio father’s country but not them?”

        If a child is born overseas of an American father and a non-American mother, there is no automatic transmission of American citizenship.

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/09-5801

        • marilynn says:

          OK it’s not automatic – they qualify but have to apply. Sheesh. Yes my friend will qualify she just has to get it documented. She has no papers to prove she’s american citizen yet. First she has to prove she’s her father’s daughter by getting his name onto her birth record then she’s golden
          http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/abroad/events-and-records/birth.html

        • Liz says:

          It’s complicated – residency requirements, ect. In the above case the son was deported because his father could not transmit his American citizenship to his son. His father wanted to transmit his citizenship and could not.

          • marilynn says:

            Interesting case. Glad it’s an anomaly because the State Department has reams of information on transmitting citizenship father to child but you have to fill out the forms you can’t just call yourself American. People I know are going to fill out the forms not a problem. Hoping they’ll take DNA evidence is harder which is why the birth record needs to be accurate it will be cake if the birth record gets fixed.

            • Liz says:

              It’s not an anomaly.

              It’s the most recent ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States. As the most recent ruling, it sets precedent for the entire nation. American women have always transmitted citizenship differently then men.

              Legal activists who want to prevent the potential problem of stateless and deported children have long been concerned.

              • marilynn says:

                They need to prevent adoption fraud too. There is no excuse for skipping adoption procedures or for hiding thieir bio parents identities. tragic.

    • Liz says:

      Congrats Olivia!

    • Lorraine Nowlin says:

      Wow, that’s great. Congrats to Zannah.

  4. oliviasview says:

    I am shutting down comments on this particular thread now. Any further posts will be deleted.

Comments are closed.