Monday, October 30, 2006

Two Hopeful Dads: A Donor Egg and Gestational Surrogate Story

no. 284

When two men who are partners want to start a family the process is a lot more complicated than that of two women who use DI to start their family. The links below are to magazine length articles which started in this past weekend's Los Angeles Times. The arrticles are part of a multi part series following the story of the two featured men.

Sunday 10/29: The Journey Begins: Ready to be dads, but they're going to need help

Monday 10/30: Trying to make a baby: Shots, eggs, embryos and a big dose of hope

All I can add is that I can't imagine going through the process these men go through to have biological kids. As I have said in the past I wonder if the non-biological parent shares many of the emotions that DI Dads like myself do. I envision they must.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Leading Academic McWhinnie: DI Fertility Treatment 'Traumatises Children' (per

no. 283

The article linked above, pubished 10/25/2006, states:

CHILDLESS couples were yesterday warned that fertility treatment could traumatise their future children.

A leading academic claims that children are left angry and resentful of their parents when they discover they were conceived through a sperm donor. Dr Alexina McWhinnie, of Dundee University, said donor conception was soaring in Scotland, yet no-one had thought of the consequences.

Dr McWhinnie has researched and investigated the lives of donor-conceived children in several research projects, the most recent in 2001. "No matter how they found out about their origins, the reported reaction was anger, resentment and a loss of a sense of self and identity," she said.

What bothers me about this 5 line article is that it provides no links to where or in what context Dr. McWhinnie makes her claim. It does not state where the statements were made or whether the statements are part of any current research being published by Dr. McWhinnie. There is no author taking credit for this story and nothing to corroborate or support it.

I almost want to think that The Scotsman, which has continuously covered the lack of sperm donors in Scotland, needed to fill space and figured since they have covered this issue continually we would not notice the lack of substance to this piece.

Without support and references this article does nothing more than provide a scary headline. If this is a lead story in a print edition I'd say they were trying to merely sell papers. Come on guys you can do better than this. Your readers deserve better.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Is there DI Happiness?

no. 282

What makes a person happy? What keeps them from being happy? Will my children be truly happy? Right now they are happy. I am hoping they remain so. When they fully understand DI will it change this? Will it throw a thin veil of sadness and questions over them that will color their lives denying them true happiness? I am plagued by this question. If I could take on that veil ensuring that they would not I would gladly do so. This topic keeps coming back to haunt me.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day : A DI Dad's Perspective

no. 281

I don't know all the details how the day began or why it was calendered for October 15th but the concept is an interesting one. I let it pass without discussing it with my wife as she has put most of the pain we had during our infertility years behind her. I can't always say the same though.

For a DI Dad, you thank heaven every day for the kids you have but occassionally you do wonder what children born of you would be like. For me this day actually served as a reminder of what might have been. I am not sure I wanted that reminder.

I am happy for the day to allow those that want to mourn to mourn but for me it is a painful reminder of the embryos and cycles that did not work and all the pain we went through.

My comments seem to contradict themselves but as a DI Dad I also don't want to highlight the day as I don't want my children to think of themselves as the best daddy could get setting them up to think I love them less because they are DI. I don't. I love them more and can't imagine life without them. At this point I don't want any life but one with them in it.

In Judaism, on the anniversary of a loved one's death we are required to say Kaddish, a prayer for the dead. Interestingly enough the prayer never mentions death but focuses on extolling the greatness of G-d without whom the life we are mourning would never have existed. So in that vein I offer the Engllish translation of the last line of that prayer:

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all [Israel]; and say, Amen.

O-seh Sho-lom Bim-ro-mov hu ya-a-se sho-lom O-lay-nu v'al kol yis-ro-ayl v'im-ru o-mayn.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cognitive Thinking Comes from ... Not the Donor?

no. 280

In response to my post (no. 278) regarding my son having to take an IQ test and my hope that my son “take after” the donor that day I was sent the above link to a site that restates (based on a 1997 New Scientist article) that cognitive thinking comes from the mom not the father. My wife will be thrilled. And here I was rooting for the advanced degree'd donor's genes to kick in.

Perhaps it's true when they say 'Mom's know best'.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

You Tube and Sperm Donors

no. 279

Yesterday I attempted to watch a video (linked here and above) on You Tube that was titled Sperm Donors. I had seen the link on the DonorMisconception Yahoo group. It was an interesting coincidence as I had never really explored You Tube and the site's purchase by Google had me curious.

The video linked was 8 minutes long, fiction, labelled a comedy, and revolved around a young man, Jacob, short on cash who wanted to buy a diamond engagement ring for his girlfriend. My understanding is that by the video's end he reconsiders this path. My cable modem kept winking out so my wife and I only saw the first 3.5 minutes (several times).

From what we saw it did not paint a complimentary picture of donors, or at least the one donor, Herman, that Jacob encountered in the minutes we saw. This may be the reason there was a comment from a donor conceived person who was offended. But that confused me as most of the donor conceived persons I have “met” would be happy with this portrayal on some level as the video was headed towards an anti-DI message. Having not seen the rest I may be wrong. The pen given to Jacob to fill out the form was quite cute if not silly. Perhaps some folks would even be offended by it. I don't know.

A lot is discussed on DC boards regarding donor intent. Here Jacob seemed to honestly think his donation was to be used for research until Herman clued him in. And he seemed surprised and the fact that his donation would result in many children needing college tuition etc did noticeably have an effect.

Anyhow I did notice when you run a search on You Tube using the terms Donor Sperm several videos pop up. I hope too what else they say and if they all are labelled as comedys as this one was.

If anyone can give me a fuller synopsis of the video I'd love to hear it as my modem will continue to wink out and anything with streaming video is blocked at work.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Intelligence Tests and What Your Dad & Donor Gave You

no. 278

Today is one of those days when I hope my son is somewhat like his donor. As I write this he is taking some sort of IQ test in order to qualify for a gifted program / school here in NYC. I say the donor as I have never thought myself to be highly intelligent and based on the donor's educational background he apparently was / is. It's silly for me to think this as I am not a dummy, I hold two professional licenses, and I consider myself to have better than average horse sense. But my son is not biologically mine and on a day like today you want every edge the kid can get.

I usually feel environment plays a big factor in an individual's life but the facts seem to be that if the “nature” genes are supporting the good environment teaching you at least have a head start and that would not be a bad thing.

So today little boy hopefully your own intrinsic curiousity together with what ever the donor gave you and what I taught you will come out while you take this test. And if you have a case of the silly's please just shake them out and listen politely to what the tester asks and try your best. I love you no matter what and I always will.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Videos of the Half Siblings

no. 277

When my kids met T and her mom, back in August, we all took photos and I took some short videos on my camera. I put them altogether as one slideshow and three short videos from which I then made a DVD from.

My kids love watching the video of them and T. They ask for it at least once a week and sometimes on a weekend multiple times. The whole DVD only last about 8 minutes.

Truth be known they like seeing themselves on the TV screen as much as seeing T with them.

As I write this I am finally standing in line at the post office to send a copy of the DVD to T's mom along with data disks of the raw photos and video. Hopefully T finds the video as amusing as my kids do.