Friday, September 30, 2011

Requesting the Cryobank to Contact the Donor (Again)

With all the recent news coverage regarding donor conception I have become curious again about our donor and wondering if he also has been noticing the recent news stories and wondering whether he'd be open to agreeing to contact with the children once they turn 18. His donation had been an anonymous donation with no provisions for identification or contact at any point

A number of years ago I requested the cryobank we used to try to contact the donor and ask a couple of questions. One question I had was regarding the donor's religious background. The cryobank made contact and the donor answered as best he could with the info he knew of his family.

I am curious to ask the cryobank to contact the donor again and whether he would agree or be interested in converting, under the cryobank's auspices, from a completely anonymous donor to a donor ID status where he would be open to contact once any of the kids turns 18 and initiates contact. It may be that the cryobank would not even ask my question but I am curious to ask.

Before I do though I need to discuss this with my children's mom and the mothers of their half siblings. I am curious for their reactions to. I am just thinking with the recent news coverage, the Donor Unknown documentary and the new Style exposed episode perhaps the donor might be receptive to the idea. For all I know neither of the 4 children will even care but it is an opportunity I am thinking should be taken so it's there when and if they want it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How Linked are Issues of Openness to Anything DI Related? And Am I Wrong to Link Them?

I posted a question this weekend on the DI Dad Yahoo Discussion Group asking what were some of the members greatest fears about using donor insemination etc. A couple of the responses involved fears of whether the child would love the dad. My responses included the thoughts that if a child is shown love and respect that the child would have no reason not to love that parent.

It was how I continued that leads to my question of how connected the issue of openness is to anything donor insemination related. Directly or tangentially.

I stated my belief that if a child is told early enough and as a normal part of their life I think the question of whether a child will love the parents is or would be a non-issue as the children would only know love from these parents. If a child is never told and always shown love they will of course, in normal situations, also love their parents. But if the secret is later found out it may cause a rift, in those relationships, it may not. My point is as always that telling early does more to take away the pain of a possible secret being learned and resentment being born.

It was my bringing up the issue of openness and telling that had one long time member of the group asking me to not always bring the conversation back to openness. I did not think I had been doing that but perhaps I do. He felt I was veering away from the group is for.

Does my thinking and response go beyond the initial answer given to my fear question. Certainly it does. Am I pushing my openness views. Can't argue I am not. But have a crossed a line? Perhaps. I do try to state that these are my views and it is also possible not telling may be right for some families. I can't believe how but I guess it could be.

So again how linked are all these issues? I think the entire picture should be known and looked at together as to do otherwise can allow us to compartmentalize and rationalize. Donor conception has causes, action / reactions, and effects. As the character Dr. Ian Malcolm in in the movie Jurassic Park stated "You've never heard of Chaos theory?" Life has a way where all information eventually gets out. To ignore all the possibilities when decision making I feel is to be acting in a vacuum and life is not that easy.

As Marilyn indicated in the first comment, my statements are not meant to state that openness will prevent a donor conceived individual from having issues with the concept of their conception story or wanting to know more about their biological father. I only meant to indicate that openness allows the truth to be known and that from there a base can be developed for a family to work from without anything hidden lurking waiting to be exposed and creating additional issues that may divide an individual and the parents that raised them. Does that make sense?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/15 NYC Presentation - The Ethics of Telling Children if They Were Donor Conceived

Sorry for the short notice but just learned about this speaker / presentation.

Per an email to Ms. Sweeney at Columbia the presentation will be in Fayerweather310.


------Original Message------

From: Infertility Network

To: IN-Yahoo

Subject: New York, NY: 'The ethics of telling children if they weredonorconceived', Sept 15

Sent: Sep 15, 2011 12:32 PM

The ethics of telling children if they were donor conceivedSpeaker: John Appleby, Welcome Trust Fellow in Bioethics, Cambridge University,UK

Sept 15/11. 6:00-7:30pm. Columbia University, Morningside Campus, New York

NB.The following location are both given in various notices about this event, socheck with Meghan Sweeney, to be sure which one is correct before going:

* Hamilton 516

* Fayerweather 310

Presented by The Columbia Master of Science in Bioethics program

RSVP: Meghan Sweeney,

What Does Our Donor Think about 150 Offspring?

Lately with the two main donor stories currently hitting the media about upwards of 150 offspring or the Ben Seisler story about him having over 70 donor conceived offspring I am wondering what our donor thinks of all this?

If he knows his donor number he would see there are only four kids registered as having been born from his donation. I am guessing he would then sigh with possible relief. He must be in his mid thirties by now at least. I wonder if he is married did he ever tell his spouse he donated sperm? Guessing if he has kids they probably have no clue. But he must wonder if there are more out there. Does this scare him?

Seisler himself seems so far amused by it all and not overwhelmed, yet. Apparently Ben Seisler's fiance was told and from I saw on the news she is a bit concerned if all these kids start coming around looking for her husband. Seisler's story is being told as part of a documentary titled "Style Exposed: Sperm Donor,’’ which airs Sept. 27 on the Style network.

So far our four siblings, my two plus their two KNOWN half-sibs seem content with just each other as they each live in their own little worlds not even thinking about each other day to day. What their donor thinks about all this will remain a mystery.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Debate: One Donor 150 Offspring

In the past week the NY Times ran a piece titled "One Donor 150 Children". That article can be found here.

The TODAY show the next day ran a video segment about the article speaking with Wendy Kramer of the Donor Sibling Registry from her home in Colorado and an in studio guest bio-ethicist. Both woman are moms to donor conceived children.

The ensuing debate has lead to a NY Times on-line debate among ten parties associated with the industry or interested groups. I encourage everyone to read the debate HERE and come back and let me know what you think. I was struck how of all the experts and individuals only one parent was asked for their opinion and that was Wendy Kramer. The doctor who contributes was the doctor that helped my wife and I conceive our kids.

Wendy's op-ed contribution was co-written with Naomi R. Cahn a law professor at George Washington University and the author of “Test Tube Families: Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation.” Their piece suggested a three prong approach at regulation, (1) required data base and tracking by the industry of donors, births, etc, (2) limnitation on the number of children that can be born from a single donor, and (3) limited disclosure of a donor's identity (i.e. reconsidering the practice of donor anonymity).

I must admit of the debate I have read so far I am amazed how some of the writers can't look beyond the donor industry and insurance company point of view and the truth of the numbers to focus on what is best for the offspring. Yes people will find limitations put before them in their quest to have a family but as a parent I think looking back, if successful, the speed bumps reform will bring will be recognized for the greater benefiit it provides society and the offspring.

Monday, September 05, 2011

General Update

I can't believe school is starting this week in NYC and that it is already September. The Summer flew by at least it felt like it did.

Kids are both fine. They had a fun phone call with their half sibling Z from out West. My kids got extremely silly and hung up several times on Z not meaning too and blaming each other each time it happened. I wish we could see the half siblings more often as we did not get a chance to see either T or Z this Summer. It's been 9 months since we have seen Z and about 18 months since we have seen T. Winning a pile of cash in the lottery would be nice and help here and a lot of other factors in life these days.

Both kids have received their school assignments for the next two years as their school loop the classes with the same teacher for two grades. It has its pluses and minuses. What's interesting about is that my son is again in the same class as the other two donor conceived boys he has shared a class with since kindergarten. At the end of these next two years they will have been together for 6 years.

I asked J if he has ever discussed donor conception stuff with one of the boys and he said he has not. I am still not sure what the third child has been told and I have not discussed the topic with his mom in a few years. The one who does / must know again has two mommies so the issue is out in the open. Day to day it's a non-issue in the house or for the kids these days.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Art/Commentary - Mobile Sperm Bar Seeks Donors

The blog "Gothamist" in here in NYC reports today the following:

"Later this month, a mobile "SpermBar" will hit the streets of NYC, setting up on Museum Mile to offer delicious non-alcoholic cocktails made by Cristian Molina, who does the exceptional cocktails at Rouge Tomate. The SpermBar is an edible interactive art installation by French artist Prune Nourry, who says her work is "inspired by the commoditization of human reproduction and the ‘customer satisfaction’ culture." It sounds like an amusing project, but lovers of semen-infused beverages beware: the mocktails won't actually contain sperm! Oh, these "conceptual" artists and their confusing "happenings"... "

Link here for the balance of the blog posting. Interesting mix of art and commentary. On top of everything else I have explained to my children I don't expect I will go anywhere near this cart with them as I don't want to discuss what this cart is trying to say. Can't even imagine how one would start. The possibility of a child asking if this is where his donor contributed is not an image I want.