Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thank you to our donor

I usually have thanked our donor on Father's Day. This evening it felt right to say thank you again. 

Over the last several weeks the how and why we (my Ex and I) came to the decision of using donor insemination have been in my thoughts. 

The thought process boiled down to the desire to have these children. They are as silly and smart and beautiful as I ever hoped they would be. 

I had always wanted to be a dad. Long before I had any idea that biologically I could not. Mentally and emotionally I knew I would be a great dad. Even when they drive me crazy I love them. 

Turning to donor insemination was the next step in our desire to create these children. I know now I was not aware of all the issues this decision would lead to. But I knew without those decisions these children would not have been. I continue to ask questions so that when and if they do I can perhaps help them find or work towards answers. 

Our donor at this juncture must know he has helped our family and others to exist. My past questions to the cryobank have certainly clued him in. What he thinks and wonders I and my children may never know. 

I write today to say thank you for allowing me to be a dad. I write to say thank you for giving them life.  I write to wish you and your family a healthy and happy New Year. Perhaps one day I can say that in person. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Addressing DI on the Dad Blogs

Over the years I have seen a number of good and great male factor infertility TTC blogs written by men like myself. Some upon conception and birth move onto daddy blogs remaining active in the TTC community or adoption community but these blogs like my own never seem to cross over into mainstream daddy blogging. I am curious why that is the case or whether we even should expect to. 

Blogs like this one owe our existence to the issues that made us and our hearts will forever be tied in some form to those issues. Certainly my blog focuses on DI issues or reacts to life through my own tinted lens. My posts have veered into divorce related issues as my life is now a mix of these issues but it is not a focus of this blog. 

I sometimes reach out to mainstream dad blogs or aggregator type dad blogs to see if they ever have addressed issues like donor conception as it allows me to perhaps further de stigmatize the DI story and perhaps reach DI dads who did not know there are others dads like themselves. I sent the above tweets out this morning. Over the years I have at times been the designated DI blog on one or two of these aggregator type blogs. 

Do I reach out wanting to be a normal daddy blog?  Is this again a desire to not be seen as an infertile dad. Who knows.  I just know I am a dad and this is my place discussing DI and chronicling my life and that of my kids, trying to learn as I go along. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Donor, Dad, StepDad ?

What's a Donor Conceived Child of Divorce to Think

In talking to my son this morning by phone I ask him how his Christmas was with his mom at his grandparents' apartment. I assumed his mom's fiancĂ©e would be there. We talked for a few minutes about how life can be complicated. Not sure how we came to referring to Donor, Dad, and StepDad but he recognized that no matter how many folks are out there always will be only one Dad. That made me smile and his not being with me at the moment a little sweeter. 

How kids process all of the stuff they do is a mystery to me.  Not sure I could process being donor conceived and my parents being divorced and one getting remarried. 

No discussions lately re the donor. We did speak this week of one half sibling where she has had some orthodontic work like mine are about to. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So much to write about...,

I have so much to write about. 

Certainly the experience of watching the last episodes of MTV's groundbreaking Generation Cryo. Thank you Wendy for however you got the MTV folks aboard for the idea. The series has young people talking. Can't tell you how many tweets I have seen, mostly good, where they empathize with the 1096 kids etc. Donor conception I believe as an issue is breaking through and your work got it here. 

I also still need to write up a post with my comments re the Delivery Man movie as it relates to donors with an analogy to the AUS study re donors interested in coming forward years after donating. Certainly I have my comments comparing the movie to the original French Canadian  Starbuck. And also how it brought out issues of donor conceived vs donor rights issues clearly where few sperm donor comedies have done so before. Having a court case as a central plot device sort of does that. 

Told a cousin yesterday of my infertility use of donor conception to create my kids. Thought I had told him long ago. Amazingly very few folks in my extended family even know despite my public discussions and being in numerous articles etc long ago. In truth not my story but the kids so glad in most respects their privacy intact at these ages. 

Will say even though the 1096 siblings are not mine in any way I found myself very happy and proud of them how they presented themselves on the GenCryo show, in their public tweets. These are well rounded thoughtful young adults and they did great. It's a big crazy issue for folks to get your head around and they seem to be doing so quite well. Hopefully all the donor conceived out there can be thankful for that and it will help them all in their personal journeys addressing this part of who they are. 

I look forward to continuing being part of the discussion as a DI Dad for my kids and to represent dads like me as I am able. 

The Dad in Generation Cryo

Eric -

Just finished watching the final episodes. There is a lot I want to say but at this late hour it is pretty much summed up by my saying Thank you. Thank you for putting yourself out there with your thoughts, concerns, your pure reactions. Your participation put a real face on all the men out there in our position. You took some heat on Twitter but that's ok as it allowed again folks to see the raw issues and emotions. Your children are beautiful and smart and caring and that comes from you and you already know that. 

Again for now I leave you eternally grateful for your role as you in this docu-series. Without you it would not and could not have made the impact it did and will for some time to come.

I am posting this same thank you to my blog to publicly thank you. 

Thank you and best regards and I hope to continue a conversation with you. 

Good night,

Eric Schwartzman. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Follow me on Twitter

Looking for real time commentary re my views please follow me on Twitter via @Eric11714

Friday, December 20, 2013

Test to Reduce Surgery for Infertile Men

Back when we were trying to conceive even before we decided definitively to use donor insemination we tried IVF with ICSI with the goal of finding any viable sperm of my own. According to research science is close to determining via genetic markers if any sperm found would be viable even before surgery allowing decisions to avoid the knife if the sperm would not viable. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advice for Potential Donors

In a comment left in response to a guest post to the New York Times Motherlode blog written by Wendy Kramer of the Donor Sibling Registry and Naomi Cahn titled "Emailing a Sperm Donor: You May Want to Sit Down" the following advice was offered. Wise words any potential donor should take to heart before deciding to donate. 

If the donor didn't want to help create a human being (who likely will have questions about his/her origins as most people do), then the donor shouldn't donate. There is no law forcing someone to donate egg or sperm.

If they want to do it out of the goodness of their heart, then out of the goodness of their heart, they should realize that the person created has fundamental rights to know about him/herself.

If the donor is doing it for money to pay for college, he/she should know the person he/she helped create may have reasonable issues with identity decades later. The donor risks his/her "creation" wanting contact or probing decades later with questions about donor's life and history. the little sperm or egg doesn't stay little, but grows up into a human being with human feelings, desires, and questions.

If donor can't handle contributing to these dilemmas, then don't donate recklessly. Again, it's a choice the donor is making voluntarily and should be properly informed about. It's certainly not the fault of the person who was created with the assistance of this donor.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Recommended Blog Reading

This is Greg's blog and well worth reading. Check out his review of Generation Cryo after watching episode 2. 


I am still having trouble posting URL links using the smartphone blogger function. Sorry. 

Cheers for the GenCryo Dads

I meant to write after last weeks episode of MTV's Generation Cryo but the week got away from me. And by all right I should be in bed as its midnight here in NYC now. 

I will try to write more later but wanted to write about the scenes in each of these last episodes where the dads Jim Bogdan and Eric Jacobson have one on one discussions with their sons. 

In Ep 2, at the golf driving range Jesse's dad Jim wants to discuss how Jesse should not worry how he proceeds with helping Bree that Jim is ok and no matter what Jesse is a Bogdan. It was a touching scene showing that no matter what Jim is there for Jesse. 

In Ep 3, Jonah Jacobson comes to his dad looking to make sure and ask dad Eric if its ok for him to fly to Oakland to help Bree in her continuing donor search. In the scene Jonah indicates he has no desire to meet the donor today or at all. Eric counsels that once the door is opened there is no going back and evokes the fear that if found the donor may want a bigger role and presence in the lives of the siblings. Again it is a hard scene to watch as everything Eric said I know where he is coming from. But again like Jim in Ep 2, Eric puts the wishes and desires of his son before his own feelings. 

Very very impressed how MTV weaves in the comments and thoughts of the parents especially the dads like me. 

Ep 3 does not include any footage of the divorced dad of siblings Paige, Molly and Will. In exchanging tweets with Paige this evening I asked her to convey a message to her dad that he did well and that he should be proud. I indicated I hope my two grow up as strong as the three children he raised. 

Again kudos to the Generation Cryo dads !!!  Thank you gentlemen. 

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

DSR Book: Finding Our Families

The book "Finding Our Families" written by Wendy Kramer, founder of the Donor Sibling Registry, comes out today. Am finally ordering my copy. 

I will try to post later texts from reviews etc. The reviews have ALL been great. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

NYT Op-Ed: Regulate the Sperm Industry

Today's New York Times includes an Op-Ed column calling for the Sperm Industry to be subjected to increased regulation. 


Hopefully the link works as I am publishing this post from a smart phone app.