Listen to the children…It’s DCN conference time again

It’s the DC Network London conference on Sunday.  My rather enviable job has been to organise the speakers in the main morning and afternoon sessions.  I say enviable  because this is the fun bit.  All the really hard work is being done by Nina and her team in the DCN office.  There are definitely upsides to being semi-retired.

The morning plenary is a panel of children and young people between 9 and 16 years answering questions about their experiences of being donor conceived but within the context of the story contained in DC Network’s new book for 8 – 12 year olds, Archie and Jemima: Family Detectives.  The book will not be published until early summer but all the young people have been given the current draft to read and the text will be adapted in the light of their comments and feedback from others in this age group.  The questions will be put to the panel by donor conceived young adult Peter age 19 and I met with him yesterday to prepare for Sunday.  Peter is the son of a solo mum and came to our notice when he put himself forward to be a member of our first children and young people’s panel in Nottingham when he was just 14.  His comfort and confidence, both with being donor conceived, and in being articulate in front of a large audience impressed us and when we wanted new faces for the films DCN are currently making and to chair the conference panel, he was a natural choice.  When I thanked him for all he was doing he said something that I know is quite controversial in donor conception circles.  He said he was happy to give something back as he is grateful to DC for being alive in the first place. He is even considering becoming a donor himself when he is a bit older.  Although a techie by inclination Peter does not hang out in DC circles on the internet and he was completely unaware of the controversial nature of what he was saying to me…and was surprised when I told him.  I know these sentiments do not come from his mum, a lovely, sensible and unsentimental woman who would never expect her son to be grateful for his existence.  Peter is very like her – sensible, mature, articulate and well able to make up his own mind about anything.  He of course acknowledges the contribution the donor will have made to his make-up – his height for instance – but currently has little interest in finding out who this man is or even registering with the HFEA to be in touch with half-sibs.  He also knows that this could all change as he gets older, but for the time being he is enjoying his life and is not troubled by anxieties to do with the manner or means of his conception.

Whilst the morning panel will be fascinating I am also particularly looking forward to hearing Kate Bourne from VARTA in Melbourne, State of Victoria, speaking in the afternoon.  Kate, who is a counsellor and used to work for Melbourne IVF clinic, has possibly one of the most interesting jobs on earth.  As Senior Community Education Officer she has contact with all members of the DC triangle and their families, runs a bi-monthly group for donor conceived adults and liaises with Victoria’s fertility clinics about the making of connections between donors and offspring.  She also hopes that very soon she will be able, once again, to take an active role in facilitating connections between donors, offspring and half-siblings (this role was removed from VARTA but a review decided to reinstate it and they are currently awaiting the legislation to allow it to happen).

Kate and I have been mutual fans for years but I only met her in person today for the first time.  She is just as a lovely as I knew she would be.  Over lunch we talked about how very fearful parents are, particularly those in heterosexual couples, about the donor becoming a real person.  How important it is, she stressed, that the donor should not be seen as ‘the enemy’.  He or she donated in order that other people should become parents.  They do not want to take our children away from us.  We discussed how it might best be possible to help parents think about what might happen if/when their children want to have further information or make contact.  As we have learned from Generation Cryo teenagers remain very sensitive to how their parents feel and those who can, in a matter of fact way, help and support their children in thinking about the many potential scenarios, both positive and negative, can play an important role in helping their children make good decisions.  But they have to get their own heads around the donor potentially becoming a ‘real person’ first.  Kate had not seen, or known about, Generation Cryo so was delighted to hear that it is currently available in Australia (thank you Eliza).  I am sure we will have many more fruitful collaborations in the future and in the meantime I am much looking forward to Kate’s presentation on Sunday afternoon.  I think we will all learn a lot.

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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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171 Responses to Listen to the children…It’s DCN conference time again

  1. marilynn says:

    You mentioned that the young man on the panel was thinking about doing the same with his own offspring at some point and becoming a gamete donor. I understand that he is happy and feels grateful and has no interest in meeting his own bio father.
    It made me think how his mother or a mother such as yourself would feel about any offspring that your children were not raising if they entered into these contracts themselves. Would you think of their kids as your grandchildren if they were not raising them? Would you not wonder about them or miss them at all and do you think having at least one grandchild kept by one of your kids could offset the loss to you as their bio grandmother or would you feel no loss thinking that they never intended to parent and therefore you never intended to be a grandparent? Would you feel greater affection and love for a kept grandchild than for those being raised by others and if so why? Does the love of a grandmother come from being around their grandchild or is it something a grandmother has whether they are near their grandchildren or not simply because you love your child? I’m just curious his interest in the donor process made me wonder if his mother would feel sad about each grandchild she would not maybe ever meet.

    Also I’ve spoken with a couple of grandparents whose were separated from grandchildren in this way and they had some serious concerns about grandchildren that their other children were raising and the fact that they had all these full first cousins in the area which is not a good thing when they start dating and won’t be a good thing for their great grandchildren either with twice as many second cousins in the area. This distressed one woman very much she wrote an article on the topic on Family Scholars a few years ago.

    Anyway I just wondered how you and others in the organization feel about their kids doing it. I’m sure there is a range from great pride to great sadness. Does it ever get discussed have your kids thought about giving back in this way?

    As I mentioned Alana wrote to tell me I would be intereveiewed by the Gurardian paper there well I read the questions of Alana and it appears the article will touch on her donation and giving back phase. I don’t know if they’ll ask her mom how she feels about it or not. I’d be interested actually to know how she feels since Alana has a child she’s raising. I know its quite complex but I’m getting the impression many donor offspring kind of have a point where they kind of want to bond on a higher plane and do what their absent bio parent did. It’s fascinating. It does not appear to be a slam at all but almost done with reverence and respect. Its interesting.

    • oliviasview says:

      I think the grandparent issue is a very interesting question Marilynn. I think if one of our children wanted to donate gametes I would be very proud of them for wanting to help others. I would be curious about any child that resulted but I suspect I would also feel distanced because of the circumstances. I cannot imagine feeling for that child as I do for our grand-daughter whom I first saw when she was three hours old and whom I visit regularly and have a lovely relationship with. And that’s just it, I have a strong emotional bond with our eldest son’s daughter and I would not have that with a child being parented and raised in another family. He or she would have other grand-parents to have a bonded relationship with. I was talking with a friend this afternoon who has a friend of her own whose son is a known donor to a lesbian couple who live in another European country. She felt her role was to make sure her son knew the implications of what he was getting himself into but she does not feel grandmotherly about the child that the couple have produced. She feels distanced by circumstance and by geography, but would be willing to be available in the future should that child choose to meet her.
      It remains an interesting question though.

      • marilynn says:

        Thank you for answering. I appreciate getting your input

      • This is interesting. I don’t know if anyone saw the donor documentary on the Style Network (US). He decided to make himself available to families but his fiancé as well as his parents were dead set against breaking his anonymity to recipients and their children. I suspect that most families would prefer to remain distant from offspring out of fear of the unknown (are there large numbers of offspring, are they expecting money, they’re not legitimate, etc).

        If my daughters asked me if I felt about them donating eggs, I’d suggest they only do it for people they know. I’ve learned so much about the industry, some good things and some that make me uncomfortable. Since the US is so unregulated, I think the emotional risks are greater for donors than those that are recipients and offering.

        If they do donate, I wouldn’t feel a great connection to them because they would bond with another grandma rather than myself. I would not reject them if they came knocking since that’s not in my nature. But, I’d accept the fact that they have a family that I am not a member of.

        • marilynn says:

          But you’d view them as a member of your family and also of the one they were raised up in? Well that is reasonable and logical. See Lorraine I think you are quite grounded and logical so I’ve only occasionally questioned statements that I want clarified. I’m not combative. I’m curious. I like hearing what people would feel like in the grandparent position. Thank you for providing your input.

        • marilynn says:

          I did watch that documentary. He was a decent person he was trying to do the responsible thing. His fiance was a shallow btch as far as I am concerned. She was so irritating to me.

  2. I’ve noticed the same fear among heterosexual couples and to a lesser extent, lesbian couples. These men/women helped people create children but become the enemy based on what I feel is an irrational fear. Donors can have anywhere from 10-25+ offspring so it’s unrealistic to think that they would be interested in “taking our children from us.” Interestingly, I don’t see this fear as much from single women. I can’t judge such parents, though. Had I used an egg donor, I might feel the same way. This was the primary reason why I gave up on adoption (which was my FIRST choice to create a family for many years). I would not feel at all threatened if my children expressed an interest in the donor or developed a relationship years down the road. That’s because I do not have a split role. What I mean is, there is no birth mother, egg donor, or surrogate to share the mother role with me. I suspect that is the reason why hetero couples are fearful.

    • oliviasview says:

      I agree Lorraine.

    • marilynn says:

      I can see feeling threatened by another woman out there who is maternally related whose relatives are the maternal relatives of the child I was raising, but not really threatened by someone that would have given birth to my offspring. Maybe during pregnancy just cause I should be the one pregnant with my kid, but not so much after it was all over.

    • marilynn says:

      Donors in the UK have a limit of no more than 10 but in the US the ASRM limit is a farce a formula intended to sound like no more than 25, but it’s no more than 25 families per population of 800,000. That puts it at slightly over 200,000 offspring family groups per donor world wide based on the world population. Since the population increases by about 200,000 a day, your looking at that 200,000 offspring per donor number increasing in increments of 25 offspring every 4 days. The real quota number per donor in the US is a minimum of 100 children donated per person in order to break even and cover their expenses screening, testing, storing, marketing, overhead etc. They need to sell more offspring per donor to make a profit but won’t take anyone on as a donor unless they think they’ll exceed that 100 offspring donation mark within a couple of years. They can’t obviously put off their profit much past five years or they’ll go broke and close shop. Economics. of it is fascinating really. I wrote an article on it that is available on the DSR library of industry topics. Luckily in the UK you don’t have to worry about it. If you were in the US then you’d be looking at your kids having an excess of 200 siblings most living in the same state as them. This becomes a big issue for them when dating of course and an even bigger issue for their children and grandchildren because they’ll have all those first and second cousins running around. There is also of course the unknown number of cousins donor offspring have from their absent bio parent’s sibling’s kids. This is obviously more of an issue for those cousins than for the donor offspring since there are more of them than there are cousins unless the donors sibling was also a donor. Then whoa look out its inbreeding time.

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

    The ppl who contact you have reason to contact you. Their perspective and stories are going to be jaded and biased towards the comfort level of your advocacy. This is good but it is not at all representative of the reality outside of this bias and comfort zone. Feelings also change over time especially once ppl become autonomous from their dependency on their intended parents and have families (children) of their own. ALL of his is a head game to the highest degree.

    • gsmwc02 says:

      The advocacy of Olivia’s group is to educate people that need a resource but at the end of the day it’s not intended to push people in a certain direction. The idea is for people to make their own educated decisions not to push them in a certain direction. This isn’t like the CBC who has a clear objective to outlaw Donor Conception and all infertility treatments.

      • oliviasview says:

        But we do encourage them strongly towards using an identifiable donor and being open with their children…but always in a supportive and non-judgemental way.

        • gsmwc02 says:

          Absolutely, with everyone’s experience being so different I think your organization does a great job of telling people to be open minded.

      • Lorraine Nowlin says:

        CBC?

        • gsmwc02 says:

          http://www.cbc-network.org/

          The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. They advocate for a number of issues one of them is to ban third party reproduction and infertility treatments.

          • Lorraine Nowlin says:

            They sound like a fascist organization on the opposite end of those who want a genetic free for all industry

            • gsmwc02 says:

              That’s a great way of putting it. If you follow their work they are great and picking and choosing what they share misrepresenting certain aspects of the topics they are discussing. They are very good at manipulating their pieces to leave out information and only including information that supports their argument.

          • Liz says:

            I thought they wanted to ban all ART, regardless of if 3pr was being used? (criminalizing IUIs and IVF). I could be in error here.

            • gsmwc02 says:

              No, you are correct Liz they want to ban it all. Basically in a passive aggressive way they are telling those that wish to have children that are unable to naturally that they should just suck it up and remain childless. This coming from people like Jennifer Lahl and Alana Newman (doesn’t work for but has been used by the CBC) who were easily able to conceive families of their own.

              • Liz says:

                Interesting. That message won’t find much interest. (Are they also against the pill/ condoms/ contraception?)

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  They have published a number of pieces about the use of birth control pills and the danger of them. Though I haven’t seen pieces on other forms of contraception.

                  • My parent's donor is my father says:

                    So what? It’s important to share this with the public.

                    • Liz says:

                      Greg was answering my question. I wondered what their position was on the birth control pill, condoms, and the IUD.

                    • My parent's donor is my father says:

                      You can always contact the CBC yourself and ask them these questions.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      What’s important is telling the whole story not just bits and pieces that misrepresent groups of people or medical conditions.

              • My parent's donor is my father says:

                Wrong Greg.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  I’m correct. Just because they are an organization that supports your cause doesn’t mean you have to blindly defend everything they do. For instance Resolve supports the infertility community. However, I take issue with a bunch of their stances and approaches.

          • My parent's donor is my father says:

            No, they play a role in speaking truth to all the serious bio-ethical and human dignity issues involved in these practices. They are not actively trying to ban anything other than surrogacy and egg selling – or rather keeping paid womb renting illegal and putting heavy pressure on the industry to stop the money enticing risks to women’s health, life and fertility. The National Organization for Women are behind this effort as well.

            • Liz says:

              Do you have a link to NOW’s position?

              It’s interesting they are against egg but not sperm donation.

              • My parent's donor is my father says:

                Sure Liz! 🙂 http : //eggsploitation . com/about. htm
                http : //cjonline. com/life/arts-entertainment/2014-01-27/breeders-hits-close-home-new-surrogacy-bill

                You can google more

                • Liz says:

                  “Kansas NOW lobbyist Liz Dickinson said she came to see the film because surrogacy is a hot-button topic and it was important to hear all sides to the argument. She reiterated the point made on the paper given out at the film about Kansas NOW’s stance on surrogacy, saying that it violates a woman’s right to choose.”

                  I can see that a member of Kansas NOW was supportive and involved with the film. But the links are saying that NOW was politically opposed to the anti-surrogacy Kansas bill.
                  http://cjonline.com/life/arts-entertainment/2014-01-27/breeders-hits-close-home-new-surrogacy-bill

                  • Liz says:

                    Actually, I looked into it more. The supporter was a member of now, but the local Kansas group was upset by her viewpoint & affiliation to NOW. Her stance of surrogacy isn’t a NOW stance.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  Jennifer Lahl doing what she does best exploiting those who are vulnerable for her own selfish cause. I feel bad that she has used so many people including Alana who are clearly hurting and need support rather than someone to stir the pot.

                  • My parent's donor is my father says:

                    I really shouldn’t even bother responding to this nonsense but this is nonsense. No one is exploiting anyone – all adults, all passionate, a.l have excellent perspective and are greatly needed to help educate the public. I highly, highly respect the people of the CBC and I’m incredibly grateful that they exist and do what they do.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      Again I recognize why you support them and their cause because of what they’ve done for your community but when they are trying to eliminate infertility treatments such as IVF and IUI they are enemies of my community. Recognize that.

                  • My parent's donor is my father says:

                    Argh, Greg, again, they are not trying to eliminate these things. Just educating the public on it.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      Their work advocates the elimination of those treatments. If they were just trying to educate people they would tell the whole story rather than pick and choose what they acknowledge.

              • My parent's donor is my father says:

                Well, they are a women’s interest organization. Not a bioethic group or a child’s rights groups…soooooo…I guess that makes sense.

            • gsmwc02 says:

              You’re wrong on this. They are also actively advocating banning IVF and IUI even when it utilizes the sperm and egg from the intended parents. They are looking to ban all infertility treatments, period.

              Instead they want to stigmize infertiles as just being people who waited to long to have children ignoring the many couples in their 20’s and early 30’s who are struggling to conceive a child. Again they have painted an uniformed offensive picture of infertiles. Until their approach changes with a more fair representation of infertiles I will continue to expose them publicly for the garbage that they are.

              • My parent's donor is my father says:

                No they are not Greg. They speak to the bioethical issues and problems, they are not actively involved in legal efforts to ban all of these practices. There is no traction behind that.

              • Liz says:

                “I’m not making up their advocating against IVF and IUI treatments.”

                They sound like a far right-wing group, outside of the mainstream.

              • My parent's donor is my father says:

                Based on bioethics, health, psychology, culture and human dignity reasons they oppose using (especially paying) ppl to intentionally sell their children to others pre-conception, and sell their wombs. I agree with them. Their efforts center on public awareness and education….But legal bans? – not happening.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  They are also opposed to the utilization of IVF and IUI treatments even when it involves the sperm and egg of the intending parents. Again I am not making this up. They’ve had a number of pieces on the topic this year as well as in the past. In those cases they have used women who were unable to conceive children through these treatments and their stories as a back drop to their arguments.

                  • Liz says:

                    If they are against contraception, IUIs, IVFs, ect. they’ve got extreme views.

                    Why would anyone be against IUIs? I could sort of see a health argument for IVF. But IUIs? I can’t even think of a argument against IUIs, unless they think it’s against “natural law” or “God’s will” to help anyone conceive.

                • My parent's donor is my father says:

                  OMG, this too much. You guys are really only discrediting yourselves.

                  • gsmwc02 says:

                    Until they start painting a more fair picture of the whole story they are the ones who are discrediting themselves .

                    • My parent's donor is my father says:

                      They have many many many supporters, me included, they aren’t going anywhere. Thank God.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      Neither am I. I’m going to continue to attack them for contributing to the myths of people in my community. Groups like the CBC and people like Ms Lahl are dangerous people in our society.

                  • Liz says:

                    “You guys are really only discrediting yourselves.”

                    1) I’m not advocating for change. Thus, my accreditation is not relevant.
                    2) The Brits reading this blog probably think American are insane.
                    3) They might be right.

      • marilynn says:

        Yeah but there is a right and wrong here. These people should not even have the authority to withhold this information in the first place. The information does not belong to them. When information impacts someone other than yourself its not yours exclusively to control and to do so creates an imbalance of power. It’s horrible that the law has allowed anyone the right to call the shots and decide for themselves whether someone else knows who their relatives are. Its great that Olivia encourages telling considering the law is so terrible. She’s steering people towards ethical behavior since they have been given an unfair advantage over the children they are raising. People raising adopted or donor offspring have the authority to control and withhold information beyond other people with parental authority so the kids they raised are essentially treated by law as if they were minors without full adult rights no matter how old they are. Live and let live – everyone find their own way is only appropriate when nobody has unfair control. That is not the case here.

  4. oliviasview says:

    So sad that you feel you have to put down those who do not feel as you do. I would not dream of being so denying or denigrating of your perspective.

    • Lorraine Nowlin says:

      Agreed! If we assumed that people change over time, MPDIMF could change in support of ART.

      What I find interesting is that there are a number of forums where parents take a hard line in favor of anonymity, etc. Forums such as this contain parents attempting to listen and some DC individuals respond harshly. Why, because this forum disagrees respectfully and all appear to at least attempt to understand. Contrary to what some may think, this is the furthest thing from a lion’s den.

      Whatever the case, I think it’s great if this young man wants to be a donor. My only respectful suggestion is to be an open or known donor. Then again, the UK appears to have sensible rules so maybe donors and parents won’t have to worry about hundreds of offspring/siblings like we do in the States.

      • marilynn says:

        I agree the UK has more sensible rules and second that he be known if he’s going to do it at all. I’d love to pose the known or unknown question to him I suspect he’d say known.

        Lorraine you are misunderstanding the dynamic of why donor offspring might start out saying they liked the idea and then change to saying they don’t like it. I explained the conflict of interest in my comment to Olivia. All minors (not just donor offspring) have an interest in towing the party line of the individuals raising them. I believe the old fashioned term is not to bite the hand that feeds you. As they separate and become independent of those people who raised them they are more likely to speak out against things they did. It’s just a function of practicality like we don’t expect spouses to testify against one another. I think the same may be said for a child against his or her legal parents though I’m not sure of that but in principal you can see where there is inherent problems with speaking against the individuals whom you depend upon for love, care, shelter, food. The less dependent the person is the more likely you are to get a candid answer about what they think of the things done by the individuals who raised them. Many people I’ve reunited did not even start their search until their adoptive parents were dead for fear of it being perceived as disrespectful and they maintained total disinterest.

        If you can see that logically we are unlikely to see people go the opposite direction. In fact we never encounter people who are totally pissed off about their unequal treatment as adopted or donor offspring youth who age into thinking the differential treatment was a swell idea.

        This is why MPDIMF was telling Olivia hey be aware of how the world works here and know that they are unlikely to be giving candid answers no matter how encouraging and open the people are who are raising them because it goes against the survival instinct generally. It takes a super rebellious kid usually at the end of his 18 year tour of duty to go outside the home and speak out openly against his or her rearing family. In house rebellion is different than publicly admonishing them too.

        Do you see the difference? It’s just business economics. They are not going to screw with the guy in charge its treason basically.

      • marilynn says:

        Oh I see what Liz was saying now. I misunderstood you. Are you saying that Olivia’s blog is a place where people who raise donor offspring out in the open confidently – who believe in telling them they are the offspring of a donor rather than keeping it secret and you are wondering why there would be donor offspring coming here to challenge the viewpoints of these people? Since these are the people raising donor offspring that are more or less on the side of truth and justice for donor offspring? If so then I see how Liz comment below relates.

        OK well the idea would be to talk to people that think telling the truth is great and then challenge them to think about what it would mean to tell the truth all the way, like on their birth records and for the donor to actually have to be recorded as the biological parent they are. That would be all the way truthful. To challenge the idea that it is OK for donor offspring to not have the same rights as other people legally just because one of their parents was a donor, why should the intentions of their bio parent matter when intention is not a consideration for the naming of other bio parents. There are many positions to challenge and in fact people who believe in telling the truth might be the kind of critical thinkers to stop and question things like if its OK to know who their bio parent is when they turn 18, why not just have them know who that person is for their entire lives? If it’s OK for donor offspring to know who their bio parent is, why would it not be OK for the bio parent’s other relatives to know who his offspring are because the rest of society gets to get copies of birth marriage and death records on their relatives who are not donor offspring – why does this have to impact so many people’s access to information? If openness and honesty is the goal of people raising donor offspring, that is great. Keep going and be all the way open and honest with everyone on the record so that they and their relatives have the same access to info and benefits that people who are not donor offspring or donor offspring relatives do. I come here to have discussions based on logic, not emotion.

        • Not going to get into the specifics again because I made myself clear about what families are. They are those legally recognized and that does not include donors or their families. What I am saying is that there are many forums, some where DI parents are almost militant about anonymity, secrets, lies, etc. I don’t see people with your views or angry DI conceived adults challenging them. They are too difficult and would not care about the feelings of those who are angry. I feel that you and MPDIMF are dismissive and I’d say combative because people that post here are being as respectful of your feelings as possible.

          • marilynn says:

            which forums are these that you speak of where donor offspring’s views are not being voiced against people against telling? Specifically? If you are talking about fertility websites like fertility friends and whatnot where they have their “no tell support groups” or parents via egg donation places like that…you don’t see opposing viewpoints because they reject donor offspring and people like me from joining to comment. You hear opposition here because Olivia is kind enough and fair enough to allow the exchange of ideas and view points to go on. Nobody else will let donor offspring talk if they are not saying what it is that they want to here. Olivia is VERY VERY rare in that regard and I can say this I know that I am grateful for her allowing opposing opinions to be heard because honestly we piss her off a fair amount of the time and she’s gracious about it. I hope that it sometimes gives her items to at least think about or reflect upon. At the very least Olivia can think about forming intelligent responses to questions posed by people that disagree many of whom are donor offspring. I’d think she’d want to know that some kids raised by people who are members of DCN are people in and amongst donor activists or are people I’ve helped or am helping and the people who raised them are not going to find out sadly because I guess not telling is easier – ironically gosh thats weird, huh? I’ll have to think about that myself a bit because it’s kind of sad that people would really want to be honest with the kids they are raising, they read books take courses etc and then after all that the kids don’t feel like its better to let the people who raised them believe what they want to believe. I just realized this lightbulb moment. Need some time to contemplate it. Anyway don’t take it as combative. Take it as a sincere desire to get you to defend your position logically, I can be reasoned out of my position. In fact I come here and other forums looking for someone to give me a logical explaination. I needed to double check to make sure my own opinions hurt nobody. So far I’m convinced that anyone wanting to maintain the practice has more control and authority than they should have compared to others and so equalizing things does not hurt anyone.

            • Lorraine Nowlin says:

              Marilyn, are you in the states? If so, why didn’t you go to the Generation Cryo FB page during the season? There was a TON of pro anonimity folk over there that were quite brutal. Have you visited the pages and public forums of the major sperm banks? If I’m not mistaken, I saw you a lot on Family Scholars blog. Maybe you’ve visited those forums under a different name, who knows. The reason I ask is because I’m actually an activist (although not for donor insemination) and methods I’m familiar with are not preaching to choir (this forum is the choir ) or combating potential allies but going to the source of the problem. Again, speaking as an experienced activist I feel it would be in the best interest of you and the others to focus on the common ground that you have with Olivia and see how you might be able to work together to bring about some type of positive change instead of causing her to feel that the two of you are on a parallel universe.

              • marilynn says:

                I appreciate your input. I don’t use alternate names. I’m me all the time. I had not thought about it until talking with you made me think about it but Olivia heads an educational organization and so if anything anyone says gets her thinking then it would have a real impact. There are things she might totally stay in disagreement with that could be at least questions their organization alerts members to be prepared for. I think that’s really a good thing. I do and have commented on some of the cryo bank and doctor’s websites. I generally prefer to comment on blogs that deal with law aspects of it. Thanks for listing some.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  I think you are missing Lorraine’s point about finding common ground to enact change.

                  • marilynn says:

                    Common ground to enact change? If donors and their offspring were on common ground with the rest of us there would be no need to change anything. The only change needed or requested is simply to fix the laws that took them off that common ground to begin with. If you eliminate laws that treat donors different than other bio parents then you eliminate the unfair and differential treatment of their offspring. They will be on common ground and there won’t be a need for change at all.

                    If you mean meeting in the middle and coming up with a compromise that satisfies everyone’s needs why should there be a compromise? That won’t result in donor offspring being treated equal it will leave them in the same position they are now with a different, albeit lesser set of the same problems. So just change laws that result in differential treatment arrive at common ground and there won’t be anything to change or complain about.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      And this is why you are never going to accomplish anything or enact any type of change. Your unwillingness to find common ground and only agree to exactly what you want is going to continue to lead you down a road to nowhere.

            • gsmwc02 says:

              It’s not the differing opinions that is combative it’s the approach that is combative. It’s the approach that attacks others rather than it be this is a different perspective that they feel is their experience though it might not be everyone’s experience.

              • marilynn says:

                Different perspective? Different perspectives are absolutely fine so long as acting upon those perspectives does not compromise the freedom or civil liberties of others. Same sex marriage is a perfect example of an oft attacked perspective that is not of anyone else’s concern. Nobody’s civil liberties or freedom is threatened when two members of the same sex have their marriage legally recognized. But what is done to donor offspring or adopted people or anyone with a falsified or incomplete birth record is not a matter of perspective where we should say live and let live because someone’s freedom and civil liberties are compromised in order that someone would get their desire to be considered a legal parent. That is an imbalance of power and so it is not a live and let live kind of a situation. It’s a legal inequity that requires correction. I think you must not see that donor offspring are treated unfairly by law otherwise you’;d not consider it to be an attack.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  Again you miss the point. It’s not the objection to DC that is the problem it’s when phrases like “desperate selfish adults” are used by yourself and others on a regular basis that are attacks. It’s when you consistently put down non biological parents that’s an attack.

                  As far as different perspectives someone who was not DC is going to have a different pers

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  Again you miss the point. It’s not the objection to DC that is the problem it’s when phrases like “desperate selfish adults” are used by yourself and others on a regular basis that are attacks. It’s when you consistently put down non biological parents that’s an attack.

                  As far as different perspectives someone who was not DC is going to have a different perspective than someone who was.

        • Liz says:

          Marilynn,

          Perhaps you are unaware that Olivia’s group worked to get anonymity banned in the UK. The group does not simply encourage parents to talk openly with children.

          They worked to change the law in the UK and institute a national database.

    • My parent's donor is my father says:

      How rude. To suggest that I am ‘putting down those who do not feel’ as I do. Olivia, this is very immature. I’m very simply adding a different perspective that doesn’t fit neatly into your definitions – that support your advocacy. There are many many ‘donor’ conceived who do not fit into these ‘happily every after’ molds and stories. They don’t contact you for reason.

    • marilynn says:

      Oliva please don’t say that to her she is not putting down people that don’t feel the same as she does. She’s giving you some wisdom things she knows from being on the inside. Why do you think she has a screen name instead of her own Olivia? She’s not entirely comfortable stating her opinion for fear it might hurt her rearing family and she’s a grown damn woman.

      Minors are as likely to speak out against the people raising them as employees are likely to speak out against the company that signs their checks and puts food on the table. There is an inherent conflict of interest in them going against the political stance of their rearing family. Donor offspring are unlike the rest of us in that they had to play the roll of another person in order to be kept and raised by one of their bio parents. Bastards are throw away children – their parents are unmarried, so they don’t count, they are the kind of people that get given up for adoption. They were kept and raised by a bio parent on the condition that their other bio parent would not have their name entered on their birth records and would not be associated as their other parent. They were kept and raised by a bio parent contingent upon being able to pretend that they had been a child of their marriage with the spouse they love. Had their rearing bio parent been forced to identify them as who they really are child of their other bio parent, they would not have been kept. They were kept contingent upon their ability to eliminate the other parent and possibly replace that parent with a person they like better. That’s how they get their food Olivia. That’s how they got kept. Nobody wants them as who they actually are so why would they try to be someone nobody wants? Not their bio family not their rearing family. It is incredibly painful and difficult for those who do speak out to do so. It’s very painful and scary for them to search. They are so afraid and they feel so unworthy of membership in their own families. It is terribly sad.

      She was giving you some inside info. Reminding you of that conflict of interest and that lots of people raising donor offspring who attend your organization may not want to believe it but the kids they raised are blogging behind their backs under assumed names. They contact me – God do they contact me. I did not just stumble across your blog accidentally. She’s not putting down people who don’t feel the same as her she’s kind of letting you know that just like her – they can’t tell the truth to the people raising them because they don’t want to hear the truth, they just want them to play the roll they assigned them to play. That might be difficult to hear but really I’m not saying it to be hurtful. I know you think I’m bonkers is the word you usually use but I’m just logical and so is she.

      Remember you told me recently you asked your kid about something i said on the topic of birth records and you said that she could see where I was coming from, but no she would not want to change her birth record…..? Member that? Why did she say she could see where I’m coming from if I’m being illogical? She did not say wow what an illogical thing to suggest that donor offspring be treated the same as all other people with birth records that are accurate medical records. She’s willing to accept a medically inaccurate birth record because that is the one she got and to want anything else would maybe hurt you guys or whatever and she loves you. I’m going out on a limb with my suppositions there but if she sees the logic in what I said then there has to be a reason for her willingness to settle for something less logical in her life. Ergo the conflict of interest I mentioned that My parents donor is my father was advising you to be dialed into.

      She definitely does not put down people who think different from her. She’s not like that.

      • oliviasview says:

        Marilynn: I can often see where people are coming from – like Zannah about birth certificates – but it doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with them. Zan can see your point of view but it doesn’t accord with hers. Most of life is not as straightforward as seeing a piece of logic and then agreeing with it. Mature adults have the ability to hold apparently conflicting feelings at the same time. Do you not agree that it is possible to feel excited and frightened all at once or sad and joyous together. Life is rarely black and white.

    • Liz says:

      “What I find interesting is that there are a number of forums where parents take a hard line in favor of anonymity, etc.”

      I am also befuddled by this aspect of the situation. The DC network worked politically to ban anonymity. This community can hold up a real political victory for people who are donor conceived. They lobbied the political system and enacted change that materially enriched the choices of potentially thousands of people in the UK.

      The USA, and many other counties, have not come close to achieving any such concrete steps.

      “Why, because this forum disagrees respectfully and all appear to at least attempt to understand.”

      I wonder if the goal is to create a toxic atmosphere and limit the website as a source of support? Honestly, I cannot say.

      The DC network works to encourage parents to talk about donor-conception with children and avoid secrecy. Perhaps they don’t like this calm discussion of donor-conception? If parents are not fraught, insecure, and distraught about their use of donor-conception…is the goal to encourage parents to be distraught?

      Perhaps the ability of parents to talk calmly about DC, without insecurity, without secrecy, with their children — perhaps this what is upsetting? Perhaps calm approach normalizes DC in a way that is not acceptable to some people?

      In any case: Emotion-driven blog fights are not constructive, and do not achieve anything but the exception of hurt feelings. (Well, I suppose blog fights can also alienate people, spread negativity, and encourage people to emotionally regress. But that’s not helpful to anyone or any goal.)

      • marilynn says:

        Liz I took what Lorraine said differently than you did. I come here to comment because Olivia posts her thoughts on the news of the day relevant to those I’m in the midst of aiding in their searches. The things they’ve been subjected to are terribly unfair and I would love to see an end to laws that treat the offspring of donors different from other people. I sincerely hope that people that feel passionately in favor of the practice can provide logical insight into why they do what they do as I’m attempting to understand the reasons donor offspring are treated different by law than the rest of us. Olivia has made great strides in getting people to tell the truth about being the offspring of donors. There is not yet a real discussion of why the law is not treating them the same as any other person though. The fact that one parent was a gamete donor should not so profoundly impact their recorded identities and rights.

        • Liz says:

          The UK and the USA have two different legal traditions.

          And, those two traditions are different from the legal systems that govern Greece, Spain, Japan, Korea, Australia, Italy, Mexico, ect. You won’t learn about the legal system of the USA by talking to individuals who, mostly, live in another nation-state and operate under a different legal system.

          • marilynn says:

            I’m concerned with fixing the inequities everywhere. Unfair is unfair in the US or in Brazil or in the Congo. I’m worried about the treatment of human beings not my fellow countrymen. I get enough email from the UK and Australia that its hard not to care. I just did some intercontinental reuniting the other day and this citizenship thing is really quite a BFD.

      • oliviasview says:

        “Perhaps the ability of parents to talk calmly about DC, without insecurity, without secrecy, with their children — perhaps this what is upsetting? Perhaps calm approach normalizes DC in a way that is not acceptable to some people?”

        It has occurred to me sometimes that calm and confident parents using identifiable donors and being open with their children are more threatening to those DC adults who oppose the whole practice, simply because it does normalise DC as being just one of the many ways in which modern families are formed. This feels very sad to me and like Lorraine, either here on another thread (I’ve had problems keeping up with the comments over the weekend because of being pre-occupied with the conference) it would seem much more sensible to work together towards improving practice. Once again I feel moved to state my own position as that of an ethical pragmatist. Donor conception is not going to go away. If DC was outlawed and driven underground then there would be no oversight at all (and I accept that there isn’t much in the US anyway), and considerable damage would result. People will always find a way of creating the children/families they desperately desire. Surely it is better to work towards making the practice as open and ethical as possible with legal and regulatory frameworks that acknowledge the predominance of the interests of the children. Parents who do not feel shame about their infertility or use of donor conception are going to be much better parents to their children, raising offspring who can manage in a resilient way any challenges that the fact of their donor conception raises as they grow up. But maybe that’s what is upsetting for MPDIMF and others who seem to believe that any DC adult who is comfortable with their situation is not acting autonomously but has somehow had a ‘head job’ done on them. This feels very patronising to me, but I can see that if your world-view is that DC is a dangerous practice then it may be necessary to convince yourself of this. I do feel that a respectful exchange of differences of opinion is healthy, definitely provides food for thought, and am happy to continue this on my blog, but please no more inferences that those DC adults who do not feel they have been damaged by their mode of conception are living in rainbow fairy land and will somehow wake up at some point to see how betrayed they have been. They are able to think for themselves, as you are too, and it may be that the time has come for you to understand that their viewpoint is not going to be undermined or go away. But then of course I’m just a parent, so what do I know!

        • My parent's donor is my father says:

          Nice Olivia. Thanks for putting me in my place. Unbelievable.

          • My parent's donor is my father says:

            “They are able to think for themselves, as you are too, and it may be that the time has come for you to understand that their viewpoint is not going to be undermined or go away.”

            THIS is a misinterpretation of what I’m trying to convey. Every human deserves to to valued in their full being. Every human being deserves to be allowed to know, be known by, love and be loved by ALL the people they come from and belong to. Not only as a matter of choice but as a matter of human dignity. “Donor” conception by it’s very nature handicaps this basic human dignity. The very intention of the practice and all the complexities it brings with it (even with ‘openness, honesty and identity disclosure), seriously undermined’s this human dignity (ability). Of course we are all able to think for ourselves but just because some express no interest or no problems does not mean that this is not a problem as a whole. And the more ppl added into the equation the more difficult and really just impossible this becomes.

            • gsmwc02 says:

              The point Olivia raises about what would happen if you banned donor conception is a valid one. Either way people who desire children who for whatever reason are going to do something. Would you rather it be underground where things could become unsafe and more complicated or would you rather people be better educated and there be more control of it?

              For me as a society I think we benefit from the latter and things would get worse by going down the road of the former. I think the former will lead to more lies, insecure parents and hurting adults who are raised in these families.

              • My parent's donor is my father says:

                Great, I’m a realist. So called ‘donor’ conception will never be banned. But I don’t want it to ever be normalized in a way that negates (continues to negate) the ethical/moral problems involved with it and/or negates the importance of biological mothers/fathers/siblings/grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins/heritage – human dignity, connections. Obviously non-biological parenting is important but it goes without saying that this practice is centered upon that – there is little reason to feel any threat towards the non-biological parenting intention. We all play a role.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  I don’t look at it as “normalizing it”. I look at Olivia’s and others work is learning from the past to make things better moving forward. And what is normal anyway? With divorce rates being what they are today there is no such thing as normal or typical families.

                  As for non biological parenting, while it may not be the intention the approach from your side tends to be very anti non biological parent centered. It portrays them as inferior and not as important or having lesser meaning in a child’s life. IMO it encourages them to feel threatened and brings out damaging behaviors to the children. Again it may not be the intention but when phrases like “desperate selfish adults” are used by certain individuals it does nothing good for anyone.

                  • My parent's donor is my father says:

                    No Greg. There is no “my side” vs. “your side” – it’s just a discussion and sharing of insight and opinions. This is all very complex.

          • Liz says:

            ““Donor” conception by it’s very nature handicaps this basic human dignity. The very intention of the practice and all the complexities it brings with it (even with ‘openness, honesty and identity disclosure), seriously undermined’s this human dignity (ability).”

            If other individuals created via DC disagree with you — if another individual tells you that their family life does not undermine their sense of human dignity — can you accept that their views and experiences are different from your own? Or do you think that individual has been “brainwashed,” or “live in a DC fog” or have acquired some form of Stockholm syndrome?

            In other words — can you accept the possibility that another person, created via DC, may possess different experiences, feelings, and opinions in reference to concepts of human dignity and family life?

            Or can you not accept that as a possible outcome?

            • My parent's donor is my father says:

              Liz it doesn’t matter what I think about the way they think and why. I’m simply saying that these stories do not cancel out the other voices who don’t agree for any variety of logical/legitimate reasons. If any organization supports ‘donor’ conception, it’s necessary to balance opinions and perspectives. It’s irresponsible to give the impression that the happy voices are the right way and/or the only voices.

              • gsmwc02 says:

                And it’s irresponsible to only stress the stories that are coming from a world of pain. Any group or person that is for raising awareness on donor conception would want to have voices of people where they have been comfortable with who they are so future generations can benefit from parents of these children be educated.

                No story cancels each other out each story is that persons story and shouldn’t be judged. That means if someone has a negative experience they should not feel threatened by someone else’s positive experience.

              • oliviasview says:

                I think you are avoiding Liz’s question MPDIMF. Neither I, nor DCN, nor anyone who corresponds here would try to say that those who feel comfortable are the only voices. The question is, “can you accept the possibility that another person, created via DC, may possess different experiences, feelings, and opinions in reference to concepts of human dignity and family life?”

                • My parent's donor is my father says:

                  (The question is, “can you accept the possibility that another person, created via DC, may possess different experiences, feelings, and opinions in reference to concepts of human dignity and family life?”)

                  That just sounds like a patronizing question to me. I AM ‘donor’ conceived, have been involved with/studying DC issues for over a decade, have been in contact with MANY DC with all different opinions and stages of digestion. Some change over time, some have feet firmly planted in support. Of course I understand all the different viewpoints whether or not I agree with them. Sheesh.

                  • Liz says:

                    You utilized words such as “jaded” and “head game.” I interpreted this as a lack of respect for the differing opinions of other people conceived via DC who disagreed with you. It appears this was a matter of miscommunication, due to the wording of the comments.

        • Liz says:

          “But I don’t want it to ever be normalized in a way that negates (continues to negate) the ethical/moral problems involved with it and/or negates the importance of biological mothers/fathers/siblings/grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins/heritage – human dignity, connections.”

          I am not quite sure what “normalization” means in this context. ie – Has gay marriage been “normalized” in North America and western Europe? I’m not quite sure if this is the usage of the word that you are intending.

          In any society there are publics and “counter-publics,” dominant cultures, and sub-cultures. There is also something we could call “hegemonic consensus.”

          I think you are speaking to the idea of a hegemonic consensus. Single individuals have little control over profound paradigm shifts in culture and society. There are so many variables that go into these changes it is quite difficult to identify specific causes of cultural and societal change.

          I do think there is a general separation of gender from sex that has been gradually occurring since at least the 19th-century in North America and western Europe. We can also see a separation of marriage from sex, and a separation of sexual behaviour from reproduction. These large societal changes are not under any individual’s control, and I think they are related to transformations such as the industrial revolution, urbanization, and the transformation of religious farming societies to pluralistic towns and cities.

          Of course, colonial-era Native American families had their own family kinship systems which were organized differently from European colonists. The existence of the berdache and the “manly-hearted woman” in certain Native American communities allowed for what we would call same-sex families.

          • My parent's donor is my father says:

            Circle talk

          • Liz says:

            I’m not sure what you mean by “circle talk.” It’s a historical precis. I don’t pretend it’s the best precis I’ve written. 🙂

            History is not interesting to everyone, which I understand.

            I get the impression you feel alienated from some hegemonic cultural shifts. To clarify: you seem a bit concerned/alienated from transforming definitions of “normal” family life and the historical changes occurring in the realm of sexuality, gender, reproduction, and marriage. (Perhaps you do not, and I apologize for any misunderstanding of your comments.)

            I simply wanted to convey that these shifts are caused profound historical changes. Shifts in the international economy, urbanization, and transformations in media technology are three examples of profound historical changes that have far more effect on the history of the family then any one individual. As a result, individuals (or even blogs!) tend to be more of a result of these cultural shifts, rather then the elements of historic change that initiated the shift.

            Of course, counter-publics always exist. The Amish have found a lovely way to follow their traditions, and yet they live in the western world.

            But I see individuals as filling a very modest place in history. This is just my take on historical change, and how “norms” are defined.

            • oliviasview says:

              I love your historical perspective Liz…but then I don’t feel threatened by these cultural shifts.

            • My parent's donor is my father says:

              I’m simply stating that biological mothers/fathers/siblings/grandparents etc. matter to many/most people. The ‘donor’ conceived are no different than anyone else. I don’t want it to be normalized that somehow the ‘donor’ conceived have less reason or right or ability or support to fight for the importance of those connections that matter to them. Simple..

              • gsmwc02 says:

                With all due respect I’m not sure where you’ve gotten the impression that Olivia or anyone in here is saying that it’s wrong to feel the way you are describing. All they have said is that everyone does not feel this way. Just because others don’t feel the same doesn’t make yours and others feelings invalid or less credible.

                Though I recognize why you might feel threatened by them. I don’t think you should be.

          • Liz says:

            “I don’t want it to be normalized that somehow the ‘donor’ conceived have less reason or right or ability or support to fight for the importance of those connections that matter to them.”

            I think I see what you’re saying about norms, normalization, and normative behaviour — although I may be misunderstanding how you see norms. As for myself, I don’t think single individuals or groups can mandate or dictate societal norms.

            Normative standards of behaviour are changed by a combination of economic, legal, social, and cultural changes that have been undergoing change over a period of time. The historic redefinition of the “western” family has been shifting since the late 18th-century in North America, when the first factories were built in New England. (Just one data point: divorce because much easier in Indiana in the mid-19th century. But Indiana was not the cause of change, but, rather, a consequence of it.) North American changes to normative behaviour in the area of divorce have been shifting since about the 1840s. These historical changes do not happen quickly, although the final paradigm shift may seem fast.

            History shows me that over the 300 years in the western world the historic definition of the family has, and is, undergoing profound historic change. Sex has been separating from gender, reproduction is separating from sex, marriage is separating from childbirth, and biology is separating from historic definitions of parenthood. There are many catalysts that caused these gradual historic changes, and few of them are controllable by individuals or groups. Such large-scale changes are not caused by small historical data points, but profound changes in economies, societies, cultural and societal practices and political systems.

            Of course, this is just my perspective on history and historic change, I recognize that many disagree with me.

        • Liz says:

          “It’s irresponsible to give the impression that the happy voices are the right way and/or the only voices.”

          I think I am confused by your request. Basically, I don’t understand what concrete steps you want the UK Donor Conception group to take.

          • My parent's donor is my father says:

            To openly and publicly and consistently acknowledge, in a respectful way, that there are many logical, reasonable reasons why some ‘donor’ conceived are less than happy (and some very upset and distraught) about this (unjust) practice. Having nothing to do with their parenting or life experience – simply because they were intentionally denied the ability to know, be known by, love and be loved by their biological father and/or mother, siblings and extended biological family. There are all kinds of voices out there stating this but very rarely are they highlighted by DC parenting support groups or more importantly shared with adults considering using the practice. Perhaps provide links to stories, articles that are less than supportive. Invite speakers who challenge the practice – provide an alternative POV…

            • My parent's donor is my father says:

              I think it should be handled like cigarettes with mandatory warning labels slapped all over this.

              • gsmwc02 says:

                Should having children in general come with a warning label for parents to make sure that either their marriages stay in tact or they don’t neglect or abuse their children because that damages them?

                • Liz says:

                  All children should come with a warning label!!!! For so many reasons! 🙂

                • My parent's donor is my father says:

                  Chuckle, well, I’d say yes!!! 🙂 But the focus of this discussion is DC advocacy.

                  • gsmwc02 says:

                    The point is if you are going to say a warning label should be on this then it should go across the board.

                    Personally, I think the best you can do is try to educate people but the reality is people are going to do what they want to do. I don’t think you can force them either.

                  • My parent's donor is my father says:

                    Chuckle, well, I’d say yes!!! 🙂 But the focus of this discussion is DC advocacy. And since ‘donor’ conception is a market and an industry it requires rules, regulation and warning labels.

                    “Donation Hesitation
                    Should Sperm Banks Reveal the Number of Children Per Donor?”
                    April 23, 2014. By Rene Almeling
                    (Rene Almeling is an assistant professor of sociology at Yale University and a Public Voices Fellow with The OpEd Project. She is the author of Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm.)

                    “The market for sex cells brings us into uncomfortable terrain, collapsing our long-held cultural distinction between the public marketplace and private family life. Men are paid to produce sperm, which becomes cuddly little babies in newly constituted families. The domesticity of it all can make it difficult to look squarely at this market as, well, a market. But it is one. And it needs rules.”

                    http://www.ozy.com/resolved/the-trouble-with-sperm-banks/31016.article

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      Again then you should put warning labels on all conception as to damaging behaviors such as divorce, abuse and neglect. Otherwise you are ignoring those people who are negatively impacted by those types of upbringing.

                    • My parent's donor is my father says:

                      This is market Greg. A very different animal.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      It’s only different when it impacts us personally. Anytime people make important life changing decisions they are taking risks. I don’t think you can force people to think before they act.

            • gsmwc02 says:

              I challenge yourself and Alana to do the same with your organization instead of accusing parents faking submissions to your organization as happy DC.

              • My parent's donor is my father says:

                What organization Greg. You mean Anonymous Us? We do, it’s open all.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  I disagree. Especially when your site recently accused parents of making fake positive submissions on behalf of their kids.

                  As much as you accuse non biological parents and parents of DC of feeling threatened, I get the impression that you, Alana and others get threatened by positive stories. I get why you might feel that way but I don’t think you should be. Though as an outsider it is probably easier said than done.

                  • My parent's donor is my father says:

                    Our site didn’t write that. It is what it is Greg.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      It published it and who is to say that it didn’t come from the website admin?

                    • My parent's donor is my father says:

                      Well, I’m to say that it didn’t. Neither Alana or myself wrote it. I don’t know who wrote it. We also published a post by a parent in response.

                    • My parent's donor is my father says:

                      And for the record, we did not publish another response by a ‘donor’ conceived person (you really wouldn’t like that one) which we felt was taking the site in the wrong direction.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      It has nothing to do with me liking or disliking a piece or comment and everything to do with just being fair. If you are going to accuse someone of something then you better look at yourself in the mirror first.

                    • My parent's donor is my father says:

                      I don’t agree with you.

                  • This is the internet. I like Anonymous US but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the submissions were fake. I don’t think it’s on the part of the creators but this isn’t uncommon i the blogosphere. I’m sure there are fakes on both sides.

          • Liz says:

            “There are all kinds of voices out there stating this but very rarely are they highlighted by DC parenting support groups or more importantly shared with adults considering using the practice.”

            Perhaps you could propose a pamphlet that does not undermine one of the main education pushes of the group — which is to encourage parents to tell their children about their conception.
            ——————-
            Something to consider — the drive to have children is strong, and many parents jump into DC without conducting research. Parents may then grow nervous, and not tell their children.

            Material promoting the practice as unjust and traumatizing to the children may encourage parents to keep the practice a secret.

            (Just an aside, but I wonder if the power behind the instinct to bear children is underestimated. Many people will gamble on keeping it a secret before they avoid the practice all together.)

            • My parent's donor is my father says:

              That’s not a bad idea at all Liz. In fact I think it’s a great idea. Unfortunately, honesty requires full disclosure of perspectives and there will be conflicts in messages. But I still think it is a worth while idea as part of a fully informed consent effort.

              • My parent's donor is my father says:

                And of course, it goes without saying that there is always the option of not participating in ‘donor’ conception.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  Until our child filled society that outcasts the childless changes there is always going to be pressure for people who are physically unable to have children to go alternative routes to have children.

              • Liz says:

                This is the part where I think listening and learning from those unable to have children would be informative.

                There seems to be a lack of understanding of the drive, organization, and determination involved. I’m not sure the drive is quite comprehended. The drive is tremendous in USA and the UK — and these are not even particularly child-friendly or child-centric cultures, like Greece, Spain, and Mexico.

                • gsmwc02 says:

                  There is a big difference between those who don’t want to have children and decide to lead ChildFree lives and those who for whatever reason have that decision taken away from them. As much as the anti DC side says that they are dismissed they dismiss those unable to have children just as much. When we are called “desperate selfish adults” they are no different than those who call them “ungrateful children”.

                  If there was more listening and empathy to our experiences I believe that there would be more listening and empathy to their experiences.

                  • My parent's donor is my father says:

                    This is backwards. Your communities sense of loss has nothing to do with ours but yet our loss has everything to do with filling your communities desires.

                    • Liz says:

                      Huh? Any adult can hurt any other adult with words and insults.

                      Greg did not cause your injury. How did he cause you injury?

                      It is offensive to state that any one who is suffering from infertility caused you injury. This is really beyond the pale.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      Regardless of connection of losses there should be recognition on both sides. Each side is guilty of non recognition and telling the other they should be grateful for what they have and that they should just live a happy life.

                    • My parent's donor is my father says:

                      Don’t even get me started Liz about what is offensive. I wasn’t speaking specifically about Greg OBVIOUSLY. He was making a generalization – and I replied to that generalization.

                    • Liz says:

                      You’re blaming the “infertile community” for your pain.

                      Rubbish.

                      First of all, many people are not able to have children, and the majority of them do not utilize donor conception. This position is not logical.

                      It also proves Greg’s point that the “infertile community” is “blamed.” That buys into old stereotypes about people who are infertile.

                      In any case, 60% of donor insemination is done by single women and lesbian couples.

                      I suppose you could also blame single women for your pain. It is the equivalent logic.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      Liz,

                      I don’t believe she is blaming the infertile community. I think she is just saying that the infertile community dismisses her communities pain. Which at times is the case. My point was just because there are some that do this doesn’t mean they should just dismiss the infertile communities pain. My pain has been dismissed by Marilynn and others that I’ve come in contact with yet I still don’t ever dismiss what others maybe going through.

                • My parent's donor is my father says:

                  No this has nothing to do with ‘my pain’. The intentional disconnects of children (adults/people) from half of their biological families has everything to do with filling the desires of others. This is simply wrong. The focus should be on understanding that this wrong.

                  • Liz says:

                    In the crazy anti-adoption blogs you’ll see some people blaming all “infertiles” for the pain that is caused to adoptees.

                    Seeing similar assertions here. It’s a bunch of rubbish.

                  • gsmwc02 says:

                    If that’s the focus then what’s driving the desire for children should also be the focus as well such as the outcasting of the childless.

                    It’s like health and wellness. We not only focus on diseases we focus on wellness and healthy lifestyles that prevent diseases.

              • Liz says:

                “I think she is just saying that the infertile community dismisses her communities pain.”

                Greg,

                This statement is absurd because it assumes that every member, or a majority of the “infertile community” will use donor conception. 1 in 8 people suffer from infertility. A far, far smaller number utilize donor conception.

                The majority of people who are infertile, around the world, do not have the money or medical access to utilize DC. The statement doesn’t even make logical sense. It’s an emotion-driven statement, and it stereotypes a group of people.

                It’s extremely problematic to group people together, and assume they all have the same response or opinion. This is stereotyping.

                Her statement generalizes about an entire group of people. It really is the equivalent to saying that single women are responsible for donor conception, or that the LBGT community is insensitive and responsible for the pain experienced by some people who are conceived via DC. The majority of people in those groups are not even aware of donor conception as a practice.

        • marilynn says:

          Oliva – Your statement is very reasonable and I in fact agree completely. I agree with you and what you just said more than my friends who are still of the ban it or educate them out of it mind set. You see, I’ve thought long and hard about the argument you just put forth for several years now. The ‘Its not going away so lets do it out in the open and make it ethical” argument. I also have very strong convictions about bodily autonomy; I am pro-choice and I don’t think gametes or embryos should be thought of as babies; I think they should be treated as what they are which is part of the bodies they came from. In any event I agree that donor conception is not going away. I don’t want to ban it because I don’t think its the business of government to tell anyone whether or not to reproduce or with whom or when or how many offspring to have. The government need not legislate reproductive behavior except in instances where one person interferes with the bodily freedom of another and that’s already a crime like rape or forcing someone to end a pregnancy or keep a pregnancy. So a donor is a human being and as far as we should be concerned they can reproduce with anyone they want whether or not they know them and they can have as many children as they want to have, its none of anyone’s business. What is the business of the government and all us citizens is when people have offspring they have a public health obligation to be recorded as parents on their birth records and they have an obligation to provide care and support for them. We already have those laws in place. So let them donate all the gametes they want but then require them to follow the same rules as any other biological parent because their offspring are no less human than the offspring of any other biological parent. I know that this might be a deterrent to people from being willing to donate their gametes. But the rest of society has to think about parental responsibility before they reproduce and I suspect that many people have popped birth control pills and put condoms on for fear of parental responsibility so then gamete donors would simply be joining the rest of society in having to take personal responsibility for the children they create. It’s only fair. Now the reality is that gamete donation would not go away it would just truly be out in the open ethical and honest where people who could not find a person they wanted to have sex with could still have a child and they could build their family that very same way they do now with gamete donation only they’d have to raise their child in cooperation with the person who was willing to have their children with someone they did not know either. I’m in favor of really living the truth of the situation. I’m not against the alternative means of meeting someone to have a kid with or against unmarried child bearing. I’m not against gays and lesbians raising kids together. I’m against exempting bio parents from parental responsibility in order to make it appear as if a couple had a child when in fact only one person in the couple had a child with someone outside the relationship.

          Look I know you think its bonkers to suggest that married couples would ever cooperate with an outsider in raising a child but millions of kids do have step parents so there is a model to follow. I know you think its bonkers but I’m only suggesting that people not just give lip service to openness and honesty that they conceived with someone other than their spouse, but actually live it openly and honestly at no expense to the child. Donor conception is not going away. People are going to want to have children but be uncomfortable having sex with someone other than their partner and there are going to always be people who want kids and have no partner. Those people will continue to come together and let them do so but don’t exempt anyone from parental responsibility and don’t allow anyone to shortcut the in court adoptive process that is one of the only benefits to minors of legal adoption ensuring that there was no money exchanged and ensuring the adoptive party is well suited – these are critical protections very loosely applied anyway don’t chuck them out the window for some minors. I believe the openness and honesty and ethics that you desire for people conceiving with donors is possible and important but not as important as what happens after conception and birth in the raising of the donor’s offspring. Be open. Be honest really live the truth of the matter. A donor’s offspring should have a birth record same as everyone else with their bio parents listed. Don’t hold up other examples of fraud cause those people were gyped out of accurate medical records too. Live honestly. Cooperate like adults for the benefit of the kid. Don’t have them loose anything in the creative family building process.

          If people want the world to embrace alternative family types then be alternative, live it out in the open honestly don’t mimic the bionormative family structure. Be a non bio parent whose name does not go on medical records. Live the logic of that. If you had a child with the help of a donor you could still keep it private by never telling anyone how you met your child’s other parent who lives separately. Let them believe they are an ex or whatever but live the truth at no expense to the kid. I believe like you that it is not going away and that it is best toi get people comfortable with telling the truth and living the truth. See we do have common ground. I’m just taking openness and honesty to that next level. Tell the kid AND document it and let the kid live it too.

          • Lorraine Nowlin says:

            Believe it or not, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me in principle but I don’t think it’s practical with donor conception. In the US, donors can have large groups of children so I don’t believe having a donor officially recognized as a father to 50 children outside of the two or three kids is going to work. Also, it would not be such a big deal to an SMC (depending on variables) but to a married couple it would be. If a couple adopts, they are both considered the legal mother and father. If a wife cheats on her husband, he (husband) is still considered the father and is responsible for a child due to his wife’s betrayal. Why should donor conception be in a special category where the donors should be classified as parents?

          • gsmwc02 says:

            The reality is the truth for you would be for the child to have no respect or relationship with the non bio parent or their family. To only acknowledge the people that conceived them as real family and worthy of respect and love is what your ideal world would be.

            Face it for you this has more to do with the bio parents and their families connected through blood than it does the actual child. The more I’ve interacted with you the more this has become clear to me.

            • My parent's donor is my father says:

              You are completely wrong and are very unreasonable.

              • gsmwc02 says:

                With Marilynn or yourself? Because I am not accusing you of having these feelings and intentions regarding non biological families. For Marilynn this isn’t just the case with people who are DC but also for adoptees as well. This is based on months of interactions with her. Why else would she favor both biological parents having kinship over any non biological parent or not want a person to carry the last name or join the family of a non biological parent?

                Again I recognize she has been a great advocate for you and your community but that doesn’t change the reality of her belief that families are only biologically based.

                • My parent's donor is my father says:

                  Oh, I thought that was in response to something I wrote. You’ve had a bee in your bonnet about what Marilynn comments for a long time. I think she is giving you purpose (chuckle) 🙂 But honestly, I think it would be better for you to just make your points without getting personal.

                  • gsmwc02 says:

                    I don’t agree that calling out and recognizing a person’s position or intention is making it personal.

                    • My parent's donor is my father says:

                      No one can read into any ones else’s heart or intention.

                    • gsmwc02 says:

                      When there is a consistent pattern of behavior actions and insults displayed you don’t need to read into it when it’s out there.

                  • Liz says:

                    She appears to support non-biological people working as foster parents, legal guardians or step-parents.

                    She has given the impression that she does not classify non-biological individuals as “real” family or “real” parents. This could be due to miscommunication in comments and wording.

          • oliviasview says:

            Hi Marilynn: We are in agreement up to the point where you say,”…… public health obligation to be recorded as parents on their birth records and they have an obligation to provide care and support for them”. And this is where we will always diverge. As you know I do not and never will regard donors as parents in the caring and support sense. They are undoubtedly linked genetically to children they have helped create for others but they do not have, and do not want, any obligation to care for and support these children. That is the role of others. The donor’s name should not appear on the birth certificate as it is a document of legal parentage and this belongs with the raising parent or parents. I have no objection to a birth certificate that indicates that there may be further information that could be obtained and this may then reveal the fact of donor conception or adoption. I really don’t think there is any point in saying anything else as these are real sticking points for me as your perspective is a sticking point for you. And there we have it.

  5. oliviasview says:

    Thank goodness no donor (at least via a licensed fertility clinic) has the choice of anonymity in the UK. All have to be identifiable to offspring from 18 and strictly only 10 families allowed per donor.

  6. Liz says:

    Some quick thoughts:

    1) Heterosexual parents are _much_ less likely to tell their children about the use of DC if they are concerned that (a) the child will be traumatized by the practice (b) there is stigma surrounding the practice. If concerned about trauma, parents will hide the practice. We know this can result in identity trauma if discovered.

    2) The drive to bear and raise children is very strong. Heterosexual parents who are concerned about hurting their children will hide the manner of their conception from the child. Laws banning the practice would drive it underground, and there are already a proliferation of informal websites.

    3) Non-heterosexual parents are individuals who have spent decades ignoring or rebutting messages from various aspects of society that have condemned their identities. One does not live through years of personal criticism without developing well-honed defences towards those who would claim that their life choices are not legitimate.

    4) It’s easy to write comments quickly, and sometimes we chose words that do not best communicate our meaning. Perhaps the words “jaded” and “head game” intended as interpreted by readers.

    • Liz says:

      “Perhaps the words “jaded” and “head game” intended as interpreted by readers.”

      apologies for the bad editing job. The following sentence should read: “Perhaps the words “jaded” and “head game” were not intended as interpreted by readers.”

      In other words — we may type a sentence, but if our words are not precise, it is easy for readers to misinterpret.

    • oliviasview says:

      Great to have your cool and rational head around Liz.

  7. gsmwc02 says:

    It’s the truth. Their work doesn’t connect with anyone without the sad stories of those who have been hurt. If their work was strictly informational there would be no need to include those stories.

  8. oliviasview says:

    18.45 UK time: I am drawing a close to comments on this thread now. Please do not post anything further. It will be removed if you do so.

Comments are closed.