Sunday, January 11, 2009

Donor Sperm Children Are Genetic Orphans

Genetic, Donor Sperm

Olivia is supposed to not care about her genetic origins. She was conceived with the sperm of an anonymous donor. She was wanted and loved by her "intended" parents, but Olivia compares herself to adopted children. She wants the law to recognize her right to information about her biological parent.

The whole donor sperm-conception industry is under girded by a central creation myth. The industry cannot stand without faith in this central tenet: that biological parenthood is irrelevant, and that "social" parenthood is what matters for children's full emotional and psychological development. All you need is love, nothing else. The industry heals the parents by giving them their own genetic children while depriving these same children of a biological parent and depriving them of the right to be conceived through an act of love.

According to the creation myth of the fertility industry, Olivia should not care about her anonymous sperm donor. But Olivia is challenging the creation myth. She insists that her sperm donor is important to her, and she speaks of the "psychological distress" she has suffered at not knowing her biological history, including what race, culture, and religion her biological father may have come from. In 2001, she went to the Canadian Parliament and told the Standing Committee on Health: "the genetic tie that I share with my biological father cannot be minimized or made to disappear. If I could somehow know who he was…everything I already know about myself would be put into a different context, and I believe my perception of things would be altered."

From around the world people are crying out in pain. One Australian young man writes on his blog, Donated Generation: "Nothing can fix the sorrow I feel for my own loss and the loss experienced by other donor sperm conceived children." A young American woman writes on Confessions of a Cryokid: "One tries to argue that having a social father makes up for the lack of genetic attachment, but it doesn't." And in a powerful cry, a young Australian woman writes on her blog, Umbilically Challenged: "I am very sad today, with a grief that is not talked about. It is not allowed. Because I had two loving parents. I am not granted asylum. I am not allowed reprieve.”

Our society is engaged in a massive re-definition of the family that rejects its most natural and fundamental basis, genetic connection. Children are being taught that "love" is what makes a family. To attempt to make same-sex marriage unions equal to heterosexual marriages, it is necessary to devise a way for them to have children, so these couples rely heavily on the fertility industry. If children are to have two mothers or two fathers, it also means that they will be separated from at least one of their biological parents, who is not part of the same-sex union. The donor-conception creation myth requires us to believe that these other parents will not matter to the child.

Single men and women are increasingly resorting to the fertility industry to have children without waiting for a suitable partner. What's happened is that children have become a commodity. The myth that "love is all you need" needs to fall. The children themselves might cut it down through their own bitter testimony and experience. Who will stop the madness?

More information at Mercator


MD Views said...

Thanks for the news. I had no idea of the angst these people were experiencing. My own father passes away 4 months ago, and I thank God for his life and influence.

Secular Heretic said...

I never thought about the issue until now. I suspect that having the knowledge that you were created through an act of love as apposed to being created in a science lab must have some impact on your self worth.

the pomegranate apple said...

this whole concept is so infuriating. thanks for the story.

Pearl said...

I think people grossly underestimate the influence of the human mind. Can you imagine knowing that your genes, essentially who you are, are out there mirrored in two other human beings and you can't know who those people are?

When I crack a lame joke, I always think of my dad and his dry humor. When I thank God for my curly hair, I never forget to thank my mother, too. And now my son, he'll always know who to blame for his stubborn nature and brilliant math skills. And the littlest, just a toddler but already developing his mother's love of making people laugh.

If I was created in a test tube or through an experiment, I would feel like a societal floater. No matter who took me in and raised me, they would always feel somewhat like strangers to me. You are right, Secular Heretic, love is not all you need.

Now, there are couples (talking male and female couples here) who are infertile and may need help getting an egg and a sperm to implant, but, when successful, that mother still carries her child, her flesh and blood and gives birth to her and her husband's genetic shadow. And that child is still raised with the comfort and security of knowing who his mom and dad are and who he is in relation to them.

In the case of adoption, even adopted parents often don't suffice. In many cases, adopted children are driven, later in life, to discover their genetic heritage. Love can do wonderful things to ease hurt and pain, but love cannot replace what was lost. It just can't. So we should absolutely be working toward a society that cherishes life and creation and is responsible enough to not "lose" it to inventions which foster selfishness.

Secular Heretic said...

I think it is part of our human nature to want to know about our past. Many of us know about our parents and grandparents but after that we can only rely on written documents or the testimony of an old relative who may have known a long dead relative. There certainly is a curiosity about our past, where we are from and also about our future, where are we going. To not even know who your immediate family is must be difficult.

I like your last sentence.

So we should absolutely be working toward a society that cherishes life and creation and is responsible enough to not "lose" it to inventions which foster selfishness.

It should go into a book of wise sayings.

beetlebabee said...

It takes more than a village, it takes a mom and dad first. Good post S.H.!