Who Should Decide What Is Best For A Donor-Conceived Child?

After a digression to address one particular question that was posed in comments on an earlier post, I want to return to an the substance of that post.   I’d like to get a little more focus on the specific topic I hoped to raise.

I’ll start here by recapping my assumptions and my point.  I want to try to be clear about my reasoning because while I am fairly sure that many people disagree, I don’t know exactly what the points of disagreement are.

I start with some statements taken from the Victoria commission report that recommended ending anonymity for pre-1998 sperm donors.    They are contained in a single paragraph of the summary which you can find at page xx, right under the banner head for chapter 3 and, not surprisingly, they are discussed in some detail in Chapter 3 itself.

I’ll just copy the paragraph from the summary here: 

 Not all donor-conceived people want to know who their donors are, or desire more information about their donors. However, donor-conceived people who want to know who their donors are can experience distress when they are unable to obtain information about them. This distress may be exacerbated when a donor-conceived person learns of the circumstances of their conception later in life.

I will identify these as assumptions, but I think I could offer to prove them.   If I can find some donor people who want to know their donors and other who do not want to know them or have additional information, then I think I’ve proved the statements true.

Now with these assumption in mind, let’s consider a person who is donor conceived.   Should they have access to information about their donor?   This might be easy to answer–if the access is available, then the donor-conceived person can elect to get the information (if they want it) or not (if they don’t).   So far, so good.

But what happens during the early years in the life of a donor-conceived person?   If there is access, who makes the decision about actually getting the information?

In general, we do not allow children to make important decisions on their own.   Five-year-olds do not pick their schools by themselves.   Ten-year-olds don’t make medical decisions on their own.  I’m not saying you don’t give kids input (and I’ll come back to that) but they aren’t the actual decision-makers.   The decision-makers are the legal parents of the children.

If we treat decisions about getting the donor information as we would other decisions, then, the legal parents would decide if the child gets the information (and if they get it, the parents decide how and when, too.)

But of course we could treat getting information about donors differently.    If we do that, then we need to identify someone else to make the decision about whether to get the information.

One possibility is to make a uniform decision that all children get the information whether they want it or not.   What this amounts to doing, I think, is saying that the government decides that all children need or should have this information.   I find that precedent rather alarming.   Whatever rationale is offered to justify this intrusion of the government into what is typically a private decision making process needs to have some clear limits lest the government use the rationale to take over other decision-making from parents.   It also seems to me to be inconsistent with my starting point–that some people want/need the information and some do not.

Another possibility is to designate someone or some agency to make individualized decisions about this topic for each child.  Again, this is a important deviation from existing practice.  I wonder, too, if this is practical in terms of time/effort in trying to determine what is best for particular children. But most importantly I wonder about why we might hope that some bureaucratic agency would do a better job of it than the parents.

Without trying to ordain the direction of discussion here, I do want to say a word or two in defense of parents generally.    You can call me optimistic but I think that most parents–including people who become parents via ART and adoptive parents–want to do right by their kids.   They want what is best for them.    When kids have deep needs and strong feelings, most of the parents I know–no matter how they came to be parents–try to respond.

If I look back at history, it seems to me that adoptive parents who hid their child’s origins often did so on the advice (albeit misguided advice) of professionals.   And as the advice and support systems have changed, it seems to me far more common (though not universal) that adoptive parents are honest with their kids.    They are honest because they believe it is better for their children, because they are supported in that path, and because adoptive parents are less stigmatized and more respected than was once the case.

Thus I do not assume that saying that decision making should rest with the parents means that children will not know about their origins or about their donors.   And in fact, I know many families who have used third-party gametes and have developed a variety of ways of acknowledging their children’s origins.

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82 responses to “Who Should Decide What Is Best For A Donor-Conceived Child?

  1. When laws have been changed for adoptees so they can get their OBC which is pretty much the same info as donor it is solely for the adult adoptee. Some states it is 18 and I think another is 21 and RI I believe is 25. Also to note that in each case the adoptee must initiate it so that it alleviates any concern on an adoptee receiving info when they didn’t know they were adopted.

    Anything before that would have to be at the parents discretion. I would assume they kept the donor profile and could request an update from the clinic for general stuff?

    • Thanks. I always wondered about that–the access to birth certificate age. So is it right to think that a parent could decide not to tell a child and (at least theoretically) the child might never find out? But if the child does know, then the child can request information when she/he turns 18 or whatever the right age is? So then it is critical to ensure that parents do tell their kids, right?

      I think at least some (maybe a lot?) of thought has been given to how to encourage parents to tell and it seems (from that study I posted a link to, which I will get to in my own post today) that it is largely successful.

  2. So I am talking about how I’d like the world to be and I’m going to reference laws that work to my advantage in proving my point because I want to donors to have the same obligations as people so I want to demonstrate that they are people, likewise I want donor offspring to have the same rights as the children of people do so I want to show how donor offspring are like children of the person who donated. I want to get rid of that part of the UPA that says that donors are not the parents of their offspring because they are indeed parents in the physical sense and the act should at least be changed to say something like biological parents who meet the definition of donor according to blah blah will not be recorded as the legal parents of their offspring or something like that because that UPA clause is in conflict with other portions of the UPA that specifically entitle children of unmarried parents to be in contact with both parents for accurate family medical histories and a sense of heritage and tradition and that can’t be gotten from a pretend stand in parent qualifying under the act. Those things the UPA says children are entitled to can only be obtained from the child’s biological parents.

    Now that act acknowledges that men are fathers before they are found and identified by whatever means. So it is most definitely referring to biological fathers. It infuriates me that donor offspring are excluded and made to have false records and its all legal.

    • The way the UPA is drafted makes everything turn on the manner of conception. If conception is via intercourse there’s one set of rules. If it is not via intercourse, then the provider of sperm is a donor and not a father. (See the definition section.) Perhaps even though we do not agree on much we can agree that this is a remarkable way to draw a line. It isn’t at all clear to me why a very small detail (the manner in which the sperm arrives in the vicinity of the egg) should have such vast legal consequences. Doesn’t look like you are any happier with this than I am?

      • No I am no happier about it than you are. However the UPA opens by saying that the goal is to ensure that children are supported by their fathers and mothers because the parents and family medical information ongoing is important for the child and because having a connection with their parents is important for a sense of heritage. That can only be obtained from genetic parents and its clearly not possible to get from the legal father of a person whose father was a donor. Its not fair and its a double standard right in the middle of an act that tis suppose to be some big hug for children of unmarried parents and yet donor offspring fall into that category of unmarried parents – oh but wait a donor is not a father….that is the the problem that has to change otherwise how come donor offspring don’t deserve that sense of heritage and medical info ongoing?

        • One thing to remember is that in many ways parenthood–or at least fatherhood–has been legally constructed for hundreds of years. What I mean by that is that the law and not genetics has defined who is a father for a very long time–at least in Western European cultures.

          I’m not at all saying you have to like this, but for centuries, men who fathered (in the genetic sense) children were not legal fathers or could choose whether or not to legitimate them–which is to say they could choose whether to be recognized in law as a father. I do not mean for a moment to suggest that this legal tradition is good. I just want to point out that it is the background against with the people writing the UPA wrote. If some genetically related men have not been recognized as fathers for generations, then it is not hard to continue a statutory structure that does not recognize all genetically related men as legal parents.

          By contrast motherhood has seemed more “natural”–generally assigned to the woman who gives birth. The recent evolution of the UPA (the 2000 version (short-lived) and the 2002 version (most current) show some of the strains that ART have brought to this framework.)

  3. Julie said: “So is it right to think that a parent could decide not to tell a child and (at least theoretically) the child might never find out? But if the child does know, then the child can request information when she/he turns 18 or whatever the right age is? So then it is critical to ensure that parents do tell their kids, right?”

    1. Yes, theoretically the child might never find out but even a simple request in the US from an adoptee to obtain their long-form birth certificate and the game is up because they will be denied. Or the AP’s forgot those musty old adoption papers in the attic and after they die and their kids are clearing out the house…(that happens more often than you would guess)…

    2. Yes, after they reach the age required in the Open Access state the adoptee is the one to apply or choose not too. When the law changes though it isn’t always broadcast well enough even in state, and some who could and would find out years later and sometimes too late which is sad.

    3. Yes, very critical they be told – the sooner the better so it is always known.

    Tons of research has been done on telling. I am assuming my parents were told to tell and they first adopted in the 50’s – although the game would have been up soon enough as they were pretty public people in the town…either way they are would have told because being truthful is part of who they are.

    • Every study I’ve seen (which isn’t a huge list, but still) concludes that telling kids they are adopted is better than having them find out on their own at some critical moment in their lives. This might actually be a point of a wide agreement.

      I imagine there are a few kids who live their entire lives not knowing they are adopted and are perfectly happy and of course, they’d never end up in the studies. (There are probably also some kids who think they are adopted but aren’t, and they don’t show up either, but that’s a whole other discussion.) But it seems to me that with the increasing access to DNA testing and laws about openness, etc., the odds of your kid being one who will never find out are both small and diminishing. This must be part of what adoptive parents learn in counselling, and if you know your kids will almost certainly find out, wouldn’t you rather be the ones to tell them? (Of course, I could probably make the same argument about sex education–kids will surely learn about sex in time–and yet parents put off sex ed.)

  4. Julie the whole problem with the legal parents of donor offspring being allowed he right to make decisions for them is that the person with the real authority ditched out and is letting someone else play house with his kid! The only reason these people have any legal standing as the child’s parent is because the father has failed to do his job and was too chickensht and cowardly to face the child and his family and his friends and a court of law to say “I can’t take care of my child please help me find a good home for him or her” He did not take the time to even make sure that who ever is raising his offspring is the kind of person he’d like to spend an afternoon with since he’s allowing them to raise his offspring for 18 years. Don’t you understand that how people come to be legal parents matters. Genetic parenthood for all its faults is not something a person can purchase so in that regard its beyond reproach and has to be the starting point in the chain of authority. They are the only people we know for sure did not buy their way into a roll in that child’s life. Buying ar roll does not mean your doomed to fail at it it just means your only there because someone else lets you be there and so your not actually in a position of authority over the situation your just being allowed the opportunity to present that way. So if a person buys the absense of a child’s genetic parent I don’t think they ought to have any parental authority that is like getting the fox to watch the hen house! Its bad enough they came to be in possession of the child through marriage and snuck and somehow got the law to make it seem like a real parent child relationship on paper but to give them the authority to decide if they’d rather not tell them? Think about that, think about having all your permanent relationships legally severed and then having someone who is not related to have their name on your birth record as if they were a permanent blood relative only because they happen to be married to your mother. Other people get to keep their relatives and have step parents but these kids are forced to live a lie like its totally no big deal that their mother had the gaul to wreck their life that way or that her partner in crime had the chops to go along with it then top it off with the fact that none of it ever would have happend had their biological father behaved like a man making a baby instead of a frat boy making a buck and playing a prank for a couple of chuckles. He owes his offspring an appology even if they have fantastic lives for not taking his responsibility for them more seriously because he and their mother are ultimatley the parents and whoever else tags along for the ride is there with their permission if they are there at all so again authority to decide not to tell should not be in any of their purview. They’re all woefully out of order acting much too like the sun with everything revolving around them and them pretending that its the child that really maters. Such a crock of self serving pablum.

    • Here’s the main question I see–if the legal parents do not make the decision then who does? It sounds to me like you want to invalidate the status of the legal parents as legal parents–because of how they acquired that. I’m not sure where that leaves things for the child. Or maybe you want to have them be legal parents in all regards save this one–where they lack legal authority? The latter approach does still leave the question–who does decide when and how to talk to a specific child?

      Placing the authority in an absent person (the genetic parent) isn’t going to serve these kids well. Placing it with the state doesn’t make me happy, partly because I cannot see how it would work. Can you sketch that out for me?

      I think where you are heading is someplace that is fundamentally different, isn’t it? It’s ending use of third-party gametes as we know it, right? Nothing wrong with that as goal (though it isn’t my goal), but it is a much more radical change than just ending anonymity. And it means we’re having two different conversations here. Here I want to think about what it means to end anonymity without changing the basic framework of ART and you are talking about changing the framework, right?

    • Marilynn,

      The donor conceived child would not have been conceived by anyone at all in all probability if it were not for the fact that a donor woman decided to donate (rather than let her body discard her egg/s a particular month) or the donor man had not decided to knowingly ejaculate into a cup (rather than his hand, a tissue or a maybe, a (any) woman at that given moment. Women have hundreds of thousands of eggs they are born with and men, as you know, billions of sperm. So, the chance that any donor conceived child would even exist as a living human being in incredibly small, pretty much zero for that particular egg or sperm, were it not for the person deciding to let that cell go to a person who will give that cell life (simply put) at that particular moment…these cells would have otherwise ended up in the garbage or the toilet, where the majority end up without us ever thinking about it…or even in a nameless one-night-stand with someone they drunkenly meet in a bar and with whom they have no intention of helping to create a life or wanting to know of any resulting genetic offspring.

      My point is: please do not assume that the donor, when they donate, has ANY intent whatsoever of wanting to be a parent or loving family member of a living breathing human being resulting from the cell they decided to give away or exchange for compensation (because otherwise it would have naturally been discarded by the body anyway to nothing).

      Do not assume they have any emotional connection to the cell – which is all that it is at the stage they decide to knowingly give it away or give in exchange for compensation. Do you have an emotional connection or are even aware of the egg or eggs that your body discards monthly?.

      There is no actual child taken away from either female or male donor. It is only a child, if successful IVF with that cell takes place and that is not a given either. And, that person is only a person in the end because of the biological (not genetic) mother who carries and ‘builds’ the resulting person/physical body, in her womb. That is the woman who is the parent.

      The donated egg was the ‘architectural blueprint’ they received onto which she could ‘build’ that human being with her own flesh and blood, and that woman will be the person who has the emotional connection to the resulting child, she is the woman who actually wanted the resulting person/child…NOT the person who donated a cell. If the donor felt she was the “real mother” there would have been no donation to begin with, for money or otherwise. Hard to accept perhaps, but simple. That makes neither donor or receiver bad/good/right/wrong, it just is the result of us being human and making human decisions…the outcomes of which often are not straightforward. That goes for reproduction, politics, the economy, you name it.

      Also, millions of people are conceived though sex under dubious, irresponsible/drunken circumstances all the time. The resulting persons often will have no idea who their genetic father was/is and many will not even realize their dad is not their ‘genetic’ dad as another man may have raised and loved them (just as good as or better than the man involved in the one-nigh-stand ever might have been). Do they wish they were never born because of that? Would ‘you’ rather say “no thanks, I’d rather not have been born” than at any cost delude yourself that your donor loves and misses you and so do their genetic relatives? Many people who are adopted go out searching for that ‘real mother or father’ who they believe must truly be missing them and are devastated due to their lifelong separation when in fact, the majority of those reconnection do NOT work out….that is reality. Both birth parents in adoption cases and those children find that in fact, their fantasies of what their ‘real parent’ were like and reality were nothing like what they imagined and they realize that their parents, who raised them and who actively embraced them into their family, loved, nourised, and raised them ARE in fact the real family they thought were out their in their fantasies.

      Just because a person knowingly/soberly donates a cell which may or may not help create a human life does not mean that person has any interest whatsoever in being a parent or ‘family’ to the child born of it. It does not mean that that donor’s relatives either has any desire to know of or take on board a person conceived through the act of donating a cell. You do not become ‘family’ with someone by sharing DNA, you are simply related……more closely than the rest of us. And the rest of us are often also related, just distantly.

      As the children, whether given away through adoption, cell (egg/sperm) donation, or, even born to but separated from irresponsible (genetic AND biological) parents we all like to have a rosy idea that our parents, and their genetic relatives really wanted and loved us, and that when and if they were separated from us that the genetic parent is devastated…Who says it’s like that? It is out of self-comfort we like to convince ourselves that this is how it is – they they (the donor) feels emotionally connected to us – the person resulting from their cell donation and that their genetic families ‘miss us’ too – when in reality that may be and is most likely very, very far from the truth.

      I know that this all sounds very callous and cold, but this life. Sometimes we just have to accept life (or you will not be LIVING life going around digging, over-analyzing, searching for utopia). We are humans and we often take quick short-term, beneficial-to-us-at-the-time action without much thought or any emotional deep soul searching when choosing to do things that may actually have deep emotional consequences for others later on (i.e. the resulting child in this case).

      I think it is more harmful to go around fantasizing and convincing oneself that one is ‘missing’ from somewhere, that one’s ‘real mother’ or ‘real father’ is out there missing ‘you’, because the reality is that in all probability neither they or their genetic family are. It just IS like that and there will never be a solution or the happy ending in our fantasies.

      For better or worse, a decision was made, most likely for compensation because that person had a need – perhaps student fees, wanting to have cash for a trip somewhere, or for any reason where they wanted or needed money or simply to do a good deed without thinking of any deeper lasting ‘negative’ circumstances.

      The donor is not ‘the saint’ in this equation in the sense that as the resulting child you wish to idealize them as such. True, 2 “wrongs” (or 3/by 3 parties) do not make a right, but you can drive yourself crazy and spend your life focusing on things you cannot solve or sort out. You will only be miserable by assuming that what are in reality ambivalent strangers out there on his planet are your ‘real parent’. Let it go. Life is too short. Be grateful you were born, as we ALL should be, however we came to be.

      These problems are when you put them in perspective, small and very much a ‘rich nation problem’ when you think about the millions of children is less fortunate countries who are sold by their “loving” (=real) parents to slavery/child labor, to beg on the streets or simply discarded because they are a child too many, etc etc..there is a lot of REAL misery out there. Some of those poor kids would probably LOVE to have a ‘legal mother’ who nurtures and unconditionally loves them. ❤ .

      • There’s a great deal to think about here. I do think you’ve highlighted one of the fundamental points of disagreement that recurs in these discussions. I think there is an essential difference between giving up an egg and giving up a child–and you do as well.

        But for someone who starts from the position that genetic linkage is all important, they aren’t so very different. The egg–wherever and whenever it is used–will produce a child that is the child of the woman who provided the egg. Thus giving up the egg for someone else to use is the same as giving up the child–because you’ll get to that eventually.

        It seems clear to me that not everyone experiences giving up an egg as giving up a child. (I wonder if we can all agree on that?) And I think that people who think about giving up eggs as the equivilant of giving up chlidren should not give up eggs.

        Sometimes it bothers me when people here insist that giving up the egg is the same as giving up the child because it seems to me an effort to impose one way of looking at things on everyone. It seems to me disrespectful of women who do not think that giving up an egg is the same as giving up a child. Why are they not entitled to make their own judgments about whether that equivilance exists? I do think I know the answer that would be offered–because their judgment is wrong and the children conceived with the eggs they provide will be harmed by the mistake they are making–but obviously I have problems with that response and so I am left with feeling that it fails to accord respect to the women who do not see the same equivilance.

        • “It seems to me disrespectful of women who do not think that giving up an egg is the same as giving up a child. Why are they not entitled to make their own judgments about whether that equivilance exists?”

          Um because they signed multiple release forms that specifically state that they are giving up parental rights to the offspring they are reproducing to create. The papers actually say that they relinquish all rights upon the birth of any children born of their donated genetic material. The difference between a woman just donating her eggs for research of some sort and a woman donating her eggs for reproductive use is that part where she signs promising to not raise her children or assert any parental rights.

          Them relinquishing their parental obligations and rights to the offspring born of their donations is NOT MY OPINION, its a documented fact and its really frustrating to try and have a debate when a signed contract can’t even be admitted into evidence to prove my point. You just pretend as if it means nothing. How is this – the donor knows full well that they are giving up a child and the recipient knows full well because they don’t want sperm or eggs from someone who wont give up their child at birth.
          Forget it I am sure your tired of talking to me too.

          • I’m not at all convinced that there is any legal meaning to the phrases you refer to in the forms. Indeed, I’m pretty sure there isn’t–because the way the law is structured in most of the relevant jurisdictions is that these women never have any parental rights to relinquish. (This would be my point, I suppose, on a technical legal level–they do not ever have parental rights.) If they did have parental rights, it’s not clear to me the form releases would be a proper way to relinquish them anyway.

            The fact that women sign the forms in order to be egg donors doesn’t tell you how they understand what they are doing. It does tell you that they have no expectation of raising any child as a result of the egg donation, but I think we probably agree on that point. To learn how the women understand what they are doing you’d have to actually interview them–which is something that Renee Almeling did, I believe. And certainly all of the women I’ve talked to who have donated eggs think about it as donating eggs and nothing more. None of them think they’re giving up a child. Frankly, if someone thought they were giving up a child, I rather doubt they’d be an egg donor.

            • excuse my last post i see your trying to address the agreements they sign thank you

              • Having read your thoughts on it I’d say you have more of a leg to stand on with sperm donation than with egg donation because sperm donors are specifically stated to not be parents in the UPA. I think that law is discriminatory, but it’s the law nonetheless and that is, it seems to be the basis for your point. The law and just the law saying they have not parental rights to give up.

                The law does not say egg donors are not parents on that federal level and it does not say that here in California explicitly either. In fact this issue is germane to several local lesbian custody battles as you well know that were ultimately decided in favor of the partner who donated the egg that they should at least share custody despite the signing of any agreements to the contrary. You might say that is because the donor invested some time raising the child and so it is more of a defacto thing but the law in california says that the genetically related woman is the mother also which is the basis of that famous surrogacy case decided in favor of the genetic mother rather than the woman who gave birth. Anyway its not as clear cut in the law so that is why they have the agreements, right?

                From the standpoint of the born individual who is most definately not the offspring of the woman raising them but rather is the offspring of a woman who donated her egg, how should they view the situation? What are the facts in front of them? They are the offspring of a woman who supposedly agreed to reproduce with someone she did not know and supposedly agreed not to raise the resulting offspring once they were born and they are that resulting offspring she agreed not to raise. She chose to create them and chose not to raise them. Those are the facts. Also the agreement was not investigated by a disinterested third party to ensure their bio parent was not paid not to raise them or to ensure the fitness of the people raising them. It is not unreasonable for me to point out the disparity in treatment between donor offspring and others who are not the offspring of those raising them.

                I’m interested in the legal aspect of it but I wonder how it feels to be the person raising donor offspring that clings to this legal technicality to prove that the child they are raising was not given up by their bio parent? I mean they are raising someone else’s offspring so they must believe that they got permission to do that from that person even if they have no written proof. I’m pretty sure that people raising donor offspring would not want to raise someone else’s offspring if they thought they did not obtain that person’s permission. So if your the offspring of a donor and you know that they supposedly gave their permission to give up not just their gametes but the children created from their gametes do you really think that person won’t look at that the same as having a bio parent give them up?

                You keep referring to how the gamete donor thinks of it. They don’t think of it as giving up a child. They don’t think of themselves as parents, they never intended to be parents. But plenty of people with offspring arrived at that condition without ever intending to be parents. Plenty of them don’t think of themselves as parents and yet the law seems not to care what they think – they are parents because they reproduced and so their offpsring deserve to be supported by them. Why do donor offspring not deserve their bio parents support? Is it because someone else lined up to take care of them? So is it that people deserve the support of whoever feels like raising them? What if nobody does? What do people deserve when nobody wants to raise them? Should someone have the obligation to take care of them anyway before they become wards of the state?

                If they have bio parents who are not raising them it means the people raising them got them with or without permission from thei bio parents. If they have permission the bio parent gave them up if not then there is a whole other problem.

                I guess your trying to say that people raising donor offspring did not get permission to raise the donor’s offspring from the donor. You think having their genes makes it like they become him and therefore have total control over his reproduction and the resulting offspring.

            • Julie said: “Frankly, if someone thought they were giving up a child, I rather doubt they’d be an egg donor.”

              Exactly! If a woman chooses to give an egg to another woman to grow in her body rather than let it go to waste, where it would otherwise go – either not ever being ovulated or just shed that month – what’s the problem? It’s her CONSCIOUS choice, not an accident or theft or a child that she really wanted. Like I also questioned earlier, how many of us women think of the egg/s we shed every month as a lost child? To be more to the point, we flush down the majority of our eggs down the toilet or it ends up in the household rubbish once a month. It isn’t a child. It was a cell that was not used and would have otherwise died. Also, with egg donation, the eggs are brought to maturation by hormonal injections – those eggs would not likely have ever even have been matured/ovulated during that woman’s lifetime otherwise either as we don’t mature/ovulate/shed every egg we’re born with, only a fraction.

              So, aside from the donor usually not thinking of her donated eggs as ‘her children’ that she’s given up and wants rights to even though they would have been ‘built’ by another woman who actually gave them life…..there is almost zero percent chance they would even BE children to anybody at all under without the donation having taken place (i.e. if IVF was not used with that particular egg at that particular time).

              A bit of a silly comparison, but if I donated a kidney to someone, assuming I did not have a gun to my head when I did it and was not insane, it would be beyond ridiculous if I then tried to tell the recipient of “my” kidney how they should live/eat/breath etc and treat “my” kidney and that I must be the person who can legally decide over the health and life of that kidney. At that point, it would be THEIR body keeping that kidney alive and nourishing it. It is then a part of THEIR body”. That’s it. End of story. Everyone would agree I was insane if I considered it my kidney at that point or if I claimed I had a right to decide by what diet that kidney was nourished. I.e. If I was unable to part from my kidney emotionally or had any doubt I couldn’t trust the recipient to take care of it, then I would not have donated it. This is very different and a bit of a silly comparison also in the way that the kidney is already a living organ produced by an earlier conception at that point….An egg is not a human, there has been no conception and statistically it’s not likely to have been ‘turned into a child’ by the woman who gave donated that egg.

              You also cannot donate an egg and several years later think you can turn up and proclaim yourself ‘real mother’ to a small person who has no idea who you are. What would make anyone think that the child would look at the donor, recognize them and call out ‘Mommy, where have you been all this time, I’ve missed you??”. In their mind, they have a mother they bonded with from birth and who nurtures and loves them and who is their world. To think you by DNA default have legal rights to make decisions for that person is in itself to me a display of irresponsibility as it would be shocking for the child, disruptive to it’s life and cause it great distress in all likelihood to suddenly have a stranger enter the scene and upset the safety and security that child knows with the only mother she’s ever had or known. If a person were able to do that to a child, they’re probably not fit to be a parent – legal or otherwise.

              Should rapists who “donated” their DNA to their victims also have parental and legal rights by default? (I am NOT comparing egg donors to rapists here but I hope you can see what I consider the craziness of assigning parentage/family and assumed emotional connection to an egg/sperm simply based on DNA). Women become egg donors when they are raped and a child is conceived, you could say – should that woman, by contrast, be FORCED to raise the resulting child?

              You cannot assign people to family by DNA like that nor can you call a cell a person with consciousness.

              • Aimee
                You’re not going to be willing to see that they might be hurt by knowing their bio mother created them but did not want to raise them. You don’t see how that might make them feel unimportant when other bio mothers do want to raise their own offspring. They will learn in school that gestating a baby is not the same as building one. The cells of the woman the egg came from will reproduce inside the body of the woman who gestated them, she is building nothing she is providing a place for them to grow and offering them nourishment. That’s all. She is not their biological mother they don’t share her biology her cells did not reproduce to make them. They are not related to her. That woman can call herself their bio mother all day long to make herself feel better but it won’t make it true and they will learn that they can’t argue that lie with her, let her believe what she wants to believe. Its sad how donor offspring and adopted people dance around the feelings of the people raising them. Its burdensome. Prepare yourself or not. Your choice.

              • Aimee you are a proud woman as am I. I respect that . I don’t comment here to hear myself talk I am surrounded by donor offspring who were raised in households that aspouse the very line of thinking that you advocate for and I am telling you that at least some of the people raised with that line of thinking live on eggshells in fear of upsetting the people who raised them. They don’t want to hurt their feelings and they undertake searches behind their backs. They feel rejected by their parents who abandoned them and no amount of love or daily care and boo-boo kissing by the people who intended them to exist makes them feel any less rejected by their parents.No amount of legal lingo loopholes can change the fact that their parent did not care enough about them to stick around and gave them away as a gift to people they did not even know. No amount of attention and love from the women that gestated them can make up for the fact that they are sequestered from their genetic kin. Not only do these gestating females raise children who are not their own offspring, if they maintain that these people have lost nothing of significance they will be raising individuals who detest them and fear them and feel totally disconnected from. If you are a woman raising donor offspring, and you want to have a deep and meaningful relationship with them you should be open to the possibility that you are looking at this from your point of view not theirs or the rest of society. They were given up by their mothers and that is how they will feel about it most likely. It is unlikely that they will feel as you do, but possible I’ll give you that. I am saying this because its 1) logical and 2) I know a whole lot of donor offspring that feel this way. Personallly. I know a whole lot of parents who were donors and they crave their children. Their families are mad at them. This is not universal but its not uncommon there are more parents who were donors on the dsr almost than their are kids for crying out loud. Why? Because they let their offspring be raised by strangers and they are worried about them.

                Don’t underestimate the feble minded backward oldfashin=ond thinking of parents who realize they left their hands of strangers.

                Good luck though. I mean whether you change your mind or not it would be nice for you to have a good relationship with the children your raising

              • I object to the comparison with rape here! It is offensive and displays extreme ignorance as to the seriousness of the crime of rape! Asides for being innaccurate- rapists in many locales, whose identities is known do have the right to come forward and claim paternity. There offspring, offspring’s mothers and so forth often does refer to them as father simply because of the DNA. If their parental status is withheld it is not because they are not fathers, but because they are DANGEROUS VIOLENT CRIMINALS.
                Please try another analogy. You are comparing apples and oranges.

            • But they do need to give permission or else the eggs can’t be used in a way that results in a child they have the right to. Remember the wrong embryo IVF mixup case? The couple who got the wrong embryo was told their only legal options were abortion or have the baby and give it up, because the biological parents wanted it. There’s no law that automatically gives rights to the person or people that get someone else’s egg absent that paperwork and consent. There is for sperm in some jurisdictions, but not for eggs that I’m aware of.

      • My parent's donor is my father

        Aimee,
        As a “donor” conceived person, I am deeply and profoundly insulted by what you insist must be a truth. This is fundamentally degrading of every intentionally conceived disconnected person who feels that their parent’s donor IS their father and/or mother. Don’t force your reality down our throats. You ALL need to respect that this reality you want us to believe (in order to justify this practice) is not one that really is true for many (or at all). This practice, as a whole needs, to respect that fact and should acknowledge that there are serious, very very very serious ethical problems involved with it (and the forced script) as a whole.

        • I think it is good for us all to remember, as you point out here, that on a lot of these topics there is no universal experience. it’s the classic “your mileage may vary.” It seems clear that people who are donor concieved have a range of responses. Personally I do not mean to be at all dismissive of these responses nor would I suggest that one is right while another is wrong. The question (for me) is what we do with the information that people have these responses and that requires me to think (and sometimes speculate) about why you get particular responses and whether we can shape policy to minimize harm.

          So for example, if it is clear that children will be told of their origins when they turn 18, I think (as has been suggested by others, too) that this will generally encourage parents to tell children themselves. And if parents are counselled and given support and resources then I think they will be more inclined to tell children earlier and more frequently in age-appropriate ways. All of this, I think, is to the good. I also want to think about why parents don’t tell their children or tell them only reluctantly, because I’m inclined to think that the more the parents are ashamed of or uncomfortable with their choices, the more they will convey this shame/discomfort to their kids.

          I won’t go on here, but I wanted to be clear that I think one can recognize the range of responses and still move forward with discussion/thinking/proposals.

          • My parent's donor is my father

            Julie, I’m afraid that all of this from a “legal” standpoint, absolutely all of it, is about the adults and what they want or what they think the script should be. The offspring, like me (and there are many of us who feel this kind of loss and disconnection), can rant and rave but in the long run, no “law” is going to made in our favor in the US – I hope I’m wrong but where is the hope?. That sounds very cynical I know but here in the US, that hasn’t ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (the wild wild west of repro-tech) I just don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I know you are all about the parents and their rights rights rights but can you do anything to help us (the intentionally disconnected)? Please?

            • My parent's donor is my father

              Or are we just collateral damage in the war waged by self centered adult “rights” to do what ever they please and desire? Don’t judge!

            • I disagree, but I do tend towards optimism. Consider the arc in adoption. We moved to a system where there is increasing openness and better access to records for adopted children. Not perfect, I know, but there has been change.

              I think that there has been change in adoption and that there may well be reason to expect similar change wrt donor conceived. This is because it isn’t only the adults involved who people care about. Many people care about the well-being of the children involved. Indeed, I think the best arguments for change in both cases is that it is better for the kids.

              And even if you think it is only about selfish adults–these are selfish adults who want to be parents. Many–and I’m confident most– of them want the best for their kids. They want their kids to be happy and healthy and all the rest. Isn’t that why many people now choose to use sperm providers who could be known to their kids? That’s not selfish–that’s thinking of the well-being of the child-to-be.

              All of which means I wouldn’t be particularly suprised to see legal change in the US. Maybe not the UN Convention–but that’s a more complicated story–I don’t even know what all is in there. And there’s a lot of UN conventions we haven’t ratified for all sorts of reasons. But change is surely possible without that.

        • I’m sorry you feel insulted. We can agree to disagree. But likewise, you cannot expect that you are any more or less entitled to ‘shove your opinion down anybody else’s throat’ either, as frustrating as that may be for you.

          Whether you like it or not, there are donor conceived children who do not feel as you do. Do you feel that they ought to hate/resent their non-DNA parents for having brought them life through their part in that process, just because? (just because you feel that way).

          Even for billions of non-donor-conceived persons in this world, this is not how it really was, but rather for them they weren’t even intentioned or wanted. They were possibly even forced, which I imagine being the child of forced conception would be very traumatic indeed = not wanted or intended. On top of that, statistically they are more likely to be having to live in poor conditions, perhaps digging through garbage, to survive or forced to beg by their poor parents, or worse, as a result of being orphaned in a third world country. Donor children are wanted perhaps more than any other children, by the person who received the donated egg/sperm. Donor children are totally a first-world “problem”. If you want to choose to look at it as a problem, as it seems.

          So, keeping these things in mind (whatever way we arrived here), focusing on the positive things about being ALIVE, being here and most likely in a privileged part of the world, isn’t that a more productive and positive way to choose to perceive one’s place here than focusing on or looking for/digging for things that are negative, probably fantasized ideals that we will never get to the bottom of or find as for so many non donor persons also, and just live the life you do have?

          How does your donor, or the man you consider your ‘real father’ feel the same as you do?

          Is it better to not have an idealized start as a human or to not have become a person at all? As hard as one’s beginnings may be to come to terms with, is it not better to accept that that is how it was?

          We all have different opinions, experiences, etc that shape our perceptions of this issue (and all issues in life)…and you have no idea about mine. We all have heavy burdens in our lives that we have to ‘carry’. We can choose how we perceive them and how we let that improve/destroy the rest of our lives or other’s lives.

          • No this….what you said to her is Bull Sht Aimee. I am so sick and tired of hearing intended parents smarmy line of questioning about whether they’d prefer never to have been born, completely overlooking the fact they could just be treated fairly. Ever thought of that? Huh? Maybe since they are born they might have a birth record with medically accurate parentage that serves as a health record for them rather than a badge of honor for men and women getting away with the big lie. Oh yes they gave birth right – they had the permission of the mother of the child to do that.

            Remember this a person’s parents are the first in the chain of command – their actions determine what happens to their child. Anyone else that winds up raising their offspring needs their permission to raise their kid. If a person needs someone else’s permission to raise a child they are not that child’s real parent. They are not the first in the chain of command. Growing the baby is something the mother may allow another woman to do – that pregnancy experience is not that woman’s because she bought the egg that experience is granted at the descression of the woman whose child will be carried and delivered its her offspring she call’s the shots she’s the mom. She may never lift a freaking finger for her child and it will always be her child and other people’s parenthood will always be at her descression and the descression of the man who reproduced with her
            I have had this discussion with women who carried egg babies and they think the child would not exist were it not for them. The child most definately could exist without her – she was not even necessary in the process there was no need for her to gestate that embryo her pregnancy was a novelty for her benefit anyone else including the egg donor could have gestated that embryo and popped out a baby with essentially the same outcome provided she was not so unhealthy as to mess up a perfectly good embryo. These women don’t realize that their husband’s are also allowing them to gestate their embryo and raise the resulting child because he could take his embryo that is related to him and decide he does not want his wife to carry that embryo, he might want his new girlfriend to carry his baby. The woman who delivers an egg donor baby is at the mercy of the egg donor and her husband unless its a double donor baby and my heart breaks for those people. They really got shafted.

            My father is my parents donor is a personal friend of mine and their family is so overjoyed to have them in their life. That should have happened to you Aimee. You deserved it. Do donor offspring not deserve it? It would be nice if they’d appologize to you. I’m sorry but I have not encountered any people that were not at least willing to speak with the relatives looking for them. I think odds are in the favor of searching you just might get something good and its better to know than not know. The own their own truth.

            • M,

              All I can say is I feel sorry for you and those like you. And I feel grateful that you are also a minority with this bitter and twisted viewpoint. After some digging, out of interest, I am finding far more donors and donor conceived persons who are happy with both donating their eggs (they do NOT consider their eggs their children any more than their blood something they own after they donate that either) and young adult donor conceived children who are not, spending their energy and life being angry, bitter and twisted. But, it’s a choice. We all choose whether to be happy persons or angry persons. Perhaps you should try to make a decision to be more open accepting and happy because before you know it, your time on this earth will be up like the rest of us and then it won’t matter so much what and who your DNA was made up of (how about looking at it as HUMAN DNA).

              Choosing how to perceive a situation – negatively or positively, angry or happy applies to every situation and person.

              Good luck to you. I hope you eventually find your way out of the “I am a victim” place where you are now.

              • uh… aimee you have no idea as to whether M is a happy accepting person or not. the fact that a person says that something that happened to them was wrong and causes them grief really says nothing about whatever else is going on with their life. And no, if we believe that something is wrong, we should not accept it.
                I also suspect this insulting outburst might have been provoked by those of us passing judgement on Aimee’s personal life as well. so perhaps we should leave our personal lives out of it and focus on general rules.

                • My parent's donor is my father

                  kisarita, thank you for this reply to A on M’s behalf. Especially this: “And no, if we believe that something is wrong, we should not accept it.” BUT I completely agree with you that this outburst might have something to do with passing judgement on Aimee’s personal life a well, which is equally wrong.

                  • Thanks for rising to my defense Ki/MPDIMF. I don’t think anyone said anything to cast aspersions on Aimee’s personal life. She partially explained her own history not being raised by her parents and I wanted to understand more about the particulars of that because there might be an angle of logic she could relate to but had not yet considered that would change her mind. Had she not brought her personal life into it I would not have had the impitus to pose questions about it. In fact I think I was playing really nicely with her. I even got the contracts she requested that say the donor is giving up their children. I got a few of them as a matter of fact.

      • My parent's donor is my father

        Aimee, There is always always always going to be a worse case scenario but it’s simply ignorant (selfish and arrogant) of the truth to use that to justify a fundamentally natural wrong.

        Truth/Fact: Sperm = father, Egg = mother, Womb = gestational mother
        Why truth is being rescripted: Social = parent?

        • I don’t think I can accept these as truths. If you want to say sperm donor = genetic father that’s fine. But as we’ve discussed on the blog many times “father” (unmodified) is at best an ambiguous term. Does it mean legal father? Social father? Genetic father? Not only to different people use it differently but even one person might use it differently at different times. What I mean is, context matters to many people. If a doctor asked, I might assume that she/he was asking about genetic relationship but if a parent on a kid’s soccer team asked, I wouldn’t make that assumption at all.

          I’d make the same objection to egg = mother. But “womb =gestational mother” is one I’d accept.

          It’s not that I don’t think that concepts like “truth” have a place in discussions here, but I think many of the ideas we talk about–who should the law recognize as a child’s parent, say–aren’t in the nature of “true/false” questions.

          I’m also not sure what you mean by “a fundamentally natural wrong.” Do you mean to invoke some idea of natural law–a law that exists outside of human agency that decrees what is right/wrong?

          It’s not unreasonable to invoke natural law but it is quite controversial. Not everyone accepts the idea that such a body of law exists as a general matter or that it governs parent/child relationships. My general view (frequently expressed here) is that the parent/child relationship is largely socially constructed. At times in history those who are genetically related have been recognized as parents but at other times they have not. Today in the US people use a hugely varying set of rules about who is/is not a parent of a child. (I’m using parent in the unmodified sense there intentionally.) I understand your assertion to be that one set of rules is right as a matter of natural law, but I think this is a proposition many would debate. Thus, I don’t think it is particularly ignorant, selfish or arrogant to debate it.

          • My parents donor is my father

            There are all kinds of “fathers” with adjective qualifiers (I had MANY different kind of fathers) but only one original/natural father – with the very rare exception of a child who is naturally conceived with the dna of 2 natural fathers. There are all kinds of mothers with adjective qualifiers but only one original/natural mother (egg/gestation) until the invention of IVF where a natural mother (egg/gestational) was split into egg and gestational. But there is nothing natural about that or any of the new twists on this natural original truth.

            • I think your statement about there being only one original/natural father is in the nature of an opinion rather than a statement of fact. (I presume that you mean to say that it is the genetically related man, yes? If I’m wrong, then I think the rest of this might be off on a tangent.)

              If you said instead there is only one genetic father per child (except in those rare cases you mention) I’d agree. But I don’t even know what an “original father” is. And to the extent “natural father” is a term used in law, it covers a lot of ground–sometimes the natural father is genetically related and sometimes he isn’t but is married to the mother and there are other possiblities as well. I don’t however, think you mean to use “natural father” as it is used in law. Instead, I think you mean to use it as an equivalent to “genetic father.”

              Here’s why I think the language matters so much here. My persistent question is how we should assign legal parenthood. I think you might take the position that it should be assigned according to the provable genetic relationships. That’s certainly a legitimate view although it isn’t one I agree with. It’s also a clear standard. If you substitute “natural” instead it only introduces confusion–and if what you mean by a natural parent is a genetic parent, then I’d rather go with the clear term that everyone will understand the same way.

              Similarly, I really don’t know what “original parent” means. You mean at the beginning of a child’s life the parent they start with? As a matter of law? As a matter of social fact? Or do you mean in the deep origins of time, who began as parents? Remember that many societies for ages have used definitions of parenthood that do not match up with genetics.

              I think perhaps what you mean to say is that the genetic father should be recognized as the father because that is natural? That’s one view of things certainly–but it isn’t anything more than one view.

              • My parents donor is my father

                “My persistent question is how we should assign legal parenthood”

                This is the fundamental root of our disagreements Julie. For the record I am a big fan of yours but I am not and never have been about the “law”. As you know, I am labeled as “donor conceived” by LAW but that term is just about the “laws of man” and I reject that term as a fundamental natural reality. We are coming from two very different perspectives. No I did not mean to add an adjective to the label of my father . He is my father. Period. My dad was my first social father, my step father was my second social father, my uncle was more of a social father than an uncle, my father in law has been more like a father than many of my other fathers and my husband sometimes even acts like a father of sorts…I’ve mothered many people besides my children, including my own mother…..and on and on. I have only one father, one mother the adjective I’d give them is simply “natural” even though they did not conceive me via coitus. I love many people and they all matter. It’s not about the law though. Never has been.

            • The debate of what is natural or not opens up another whole “can of worms” that’s hard to know when to close or draw the line.

              Chemotherapy is also not natural, neither is insulin – the way it’s produced to help diabetics, natural. The contraceptive pill is not natural either. Should we stop using all of these things?

              Crops are as a matter of course grown from genetically modified seeks to make them pest resistant or for farmers to have higher yields, to be able to provide more food for more people. Should we stop that too?

              The water out of our taps is not natural either, it has chemicals added to it. Should we stop that?

              Organ transplanation is certainly not natural either. Should it be stopped?

              As with most things science related (and otherwise), while they are new or new-ish there is first ridicule, then resistance/anger, followed by acceptance and/or even taken for granted.

              • My parents donor is my father

                I draw the line at natural human connections and dignity. I don’t think that should be a matter of “choice”.

                • My parents donor is my father

                  Or to put it another way, everyone has free will (aka: “choice” which is all relative – or non-relative given your “choice”) but love and truth is eternal and unchanging. The more we try to move away from that fact/reality via “choice” (and rely on “law”) the more we loose our sense of connection, roots and human dignity.

              • Its just fine for people to raise children that are not their own offspring. But it is always a tragedy when it happens because it means the child cannot be raised safely among the members of their own family. This is a loss even when it is safer for them, even when they will have a better life with strangers than thier own family it is tragic that their own family was not able to take care of them properly. To not recognize that these people deserved something from their parents who made them is rude. To say your parents who made you owed you nothing is rude. It would be rude to you and every other person on earth that ever wondered what made them not valuable and important. Why don’t they care about you the way other people’s parent’s care about them. Because they are fkd up that’s why. Because something is missing that instinct that desire to protect their young that is normal. Yes you sucked it up and dealt with it. The people who raised you did not commission your abandonment. Your parents had no incentive to leave you alone. They just failed naturally. That is so incredibly sad. What if the people who raised you orchestrated your abandonment and hid you from your family members because they wanted you all to themselves like a little doll. They took care of you so they had total control of you. Your identity and contorol of what information you had and did not have. They controled reality changed who you were allowed to be related to…The people who raised you had no hand (sounds like) in making it appealing to walk away from you. It was bad what happened to you its just as bad for donor offspring. I’m telling you this is how many feel despite the fervent hopes and valliant efforts of people who read the Donor Conception Network handbooks on telling and talking. Telling them only means your telling them the truth that they’ve been fkd over it does not mean they have not been fkd over. Prepare yourself for the possibility that they will feel this way because its logical. You may get lucky…but it will be total luck having nothing to do with logic. I wish you luck. I am not a grumpy cantankerous judgemental creep I enjoy helping people find what they are looking for because what they seek is theirs and always was. That is why I would never take a dime I pay for it all myself. They can trust me and I trust that what they say is truth. Listen. keep this in your pocket and remember as they age that they may not think how you do no matter how hard you try rebellion is a right of passage into adulthood. If there is a hole in your argument they will find it and run with it. Be ready or you might really get your heart broken.

              • It does get frustrating does it not? See this really has nothing at all to do with what they call reproductive technology. People want for the world to focus on what happens before birth, the various kinds of conception and reproduction and blah blah blah.

                In the end these doctors assist men and women in reproducing children for infertile women and sterile men that have health issues preventing them from reproducing or have no partner to reproduce with. The donors agree to reproduce with these people and with other donors and they agree to give up any children born as a result. They are compensated for the time used to perform these services but not for the services themselves. Some of the services are performed after the birth of their offspring.

                There is nothing unnatural about any of it. The child is born and is not the offspring of the people who intend to raise them. The child was the object of a contract that went into effect the day they were born – their bio parent agreed to give them up. Its not complex.

        • Like with religion. Your truth doesn’t have to be my truth or anyone else’s and you/I will never sort that out. That’s our wonderful human nature and the privilege of democracy and free speech. We have to accept the different views and accept that it’s ok to have different views and things we consider truths, or non-truths.

          I do not see sperm = father or egg = mother. Neither sperm/egg can be a person without a womb. The womb grows the child – the sperm ALWAYS comes from a ‘donor’, whether through love or otherwise.

          The person you consider the mother, egg=mother, if she was/is a donor, has CHOSEN to NOT not give that egg potential life, through herself. So, there would be no life for that egg without someone else’s womb. The womb that really wanted them.

          No, I do not feel “shame on that woman who actually gave that egg life and gave birth to them and nurtured them” where the other alternative would have been no fertilization = no life at all.

          • actually aimee there is one other option – that the woman whose offspring is born to the woman who wishes to raise her offspring…they should all be made to cooperate to give the child everything the child deserves like legal recognition as a member of his or her own family. The alternative does not have to be non existence it can be an existence where adults think about someone other than themselves and consider needs other than their own. Raising her offspring is not enough. Not nearly enough. Cooperation to allow the person to be who she or he really is and be part of the family of however many families she wants to include in that child’s life but not to step out and walk away. Not to take and keep a child as if they were related. No they need to be required to cooperate. You can’t play it like the child is a foundling disconnected from the universe and the person who stumbles upon the poor orphan is clean and pure and innocent. whoever has a hand in preventing a person from meeting their obligations to their offspring has done a very bad thing. Help people act responsibly when they have reproduced. Ask yourself why the child deserves less than that and ask your self why you’d be willing to give them less than they deserve. Is it the only way? No. Its not . Unless a person opens the door one morning and finds a baby with a note pinned to it’s blankee people obtain other people’s offspring to raise either ethically or not so ethically and if they paid someone not to raise their offspring they’ve entered unethical territory.

            • If a donor wants to remain anonymous, how do you force him or her not to remain anonymous?

              Just as we can’t force people who gave their children up for adoption after birth for whatever reason they felt they had to or chose to, I don’t think we can force donors who, for example, feel their own family is complete but they want to help another couple have a child, to be involved with a resulting child if they do not want to and that is a condition of their donation?

              I believe in the US egg donors can be paid quite a lot of money, but remember, in other countries in Europe, for example (not third world countries I’m talking about here) they are not compensated other than with fertility drugs or such a small fee that it would hardly be an incentive for the money’s sake…that is to avoid making the money an incentive. i.e. nobody paid them ‘for their offspring’…the donors did it only because they want to donate egg/sperm.

              Anyway, I don’t think there is going to be a universal agreement anytime soon, if ever, on things like does egg=child, biological vs. genetic mother, ‘right’ of donor to be ‘real mommy’ and so on. Yet, egg and sperm donation will go on and each donor will have their reasons for giving. Each child will react his or her own way to how they arrived ‘here’.

              I can’t see that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to the situation. A situation which isn’t going to go away whether we hate it or we’re thrilled about it – because not all donors or receivers want the same things and not all children are angry/happy/ambivalent, etc. If it isn’t continued openly, through clinics, it will still continue on the black market (surely, that can’t be better)…there is no going back.

              So, what is the best way to deal with this that works for EVERYONE with all their differences…. ? The first step, of course, has to be that my truth is not your truth and vice versa. We can feel strongly, but we have to respect that others don’t feel the same and will not dance to our/your tune.

          • No, there is no such thing as my truth and your truth. There is fact and there is denial. Donor offspring ton’t have the same rights as people that are not donor offspring. Until the laws change and they are allowed fair and equal treatment anyone who goes out of their way to place people in such a compromised for their own benefit to experience the joy of raising a child is doing something profoundly unfair.

      • Hi Aimee
        Thank you for replying to me. I come here to be exposed to other viewpoints because my worldview was rather limited to separated families that wanted to be reunited. You had much to say, there is much to absorb and so I’ll likely one or two comments back as questions come to me.

        You said something that does not make sense to me:

        “Be grateful you were born, as we ALL should be, however we came to be.”

        That is like telling Rosa Parks “Be grateful you were born, bummer your black, but we all have our crosses to bear. Guess it sucks to be you. You don’t hear other black people complaining about giving up their seats, They’re just happy not to have to walk to work every day. “

        Nobody said donor offspring are not happy to be alive or wish they were never born. They’re pissed that laws protecting the rest of society don’t apply to them (like being pissed that other people can sit in the front of the bus) but nobody seems to give a sht about that. Their health records, their identities, their rights and benefits and civil liberties are the collateral damage to the family building industry; their civil liberties are calculated losses to people who want to keep other people’s children all to themselves.

        • not existing is not a tragedy because if you never existed you wouldn’t know the difference. If not existing is so terrible, then we would be mourning all the thousands of people who were never born because people used birth control. this being said, many people are born in non-ideal circumstances, of which donor conception is only one.

      • On the topic of women having thousands of eggs and men having hundreds of thousands of sperm that would just go to waste otherwise…..You realize of course that when a person decides not to let them go to waste they are deciding to reproduce. They are excercising their reproductive freedom, their right to reproduce and bring offspring into the world. They are choosing to become parents and have children. In the case of donors, they are also choosing not to raise those children. There are ways to go about not raising your own child that are more ethical than others. Typically that involves a disinterested third party investigation as to the motives of the relinquishing biological parent to ensure they were not compensated for not raising their own offspring. It also typically involves a disinterested third party investigation of the people who want to raise their offspring for them to ensure they were not cooerced and that they did not give the bio parent something in exchange for giving up their child. All of that is absent in gamete donation, its all the stuff of private contracts and commerce where the donors offspring are a commodity, the objects of contracts for parental rights.

        You canot say they are not giving up their children when they sign agreements specifically stating that they will give up their offspring if any are born of their donated gemetes. In the case of egg donors the contracts stipulating that the donor will relinquish her parental rights to any resulting children are quite extensive and detailed in nature. Again each and every egg donor or sperm donor who donates for reproductive purposes signs private contractual paperwork stating that they are giving up their parental rights and that they will not contact any offspring once they are born.

        What is the difference between a person that just donates their gametes, for research unrelated to reproduction and a person that donoates their gametes for reproductive puropses? Their agreement to give up their parental rights and obligations to their children.

        You cannot say that they are not giving up their children when giving up their children is part of the terms of their agreements. Its just incredibly insulting to the offspring who live life knowing that their biological parent agreed to give them up and their parental rights up. Its so insulting to say that they only gave up their gametes when they signed contacts saying they gave up a child.

        • I know we have been round this general line of reasoning before, but I want to try again to highlight where I think I part company from your analysis. If a woman provides an egg for someone else to use in IVF, say, it is true that she knows that a child will result from the process and she also knows that she won’t be raising the child. This far we would agree, right?

          The thing is, you will say she is not raising her child. You might also say that she is giving up her child to another person and so it is like adoption, right? (I do not mean to attribute things to you that you wouldn’t say, but I think I’ve come to at least understand your position. Do correct me if I am wrong.)

          I will not say either of these things. I don’t think the child is or ever was hers. She’s giving up an egg and (in my view) nothing more than that.

          The difference (and I don’t think this is surprising) is that you think the genetic relationship is critical, so the fact that she is genetically related makes the child hers. I don’t think the genetic relationship is what makes a person a parent so I don’t think the child is hers.

          I think all the rest of my disagreements with what you say here flow from this.

          • If a woman provides an egg for someone else to use in IVF, say, it is true that she knows that a child will result from the process and she also knows that she won’t be raising the child. This far we would agree, right?

            Yes I am with you so far and vice versa.

            “The thing is, you will say she is not raising her child. “

            Close but no. Requirements for a contract are object, time and consideration.

            There are different objects at different times for consideration given once at the time the first object of the contract is delivered – the egg. Then the object is the embryo which she agrees to let someone else gestate. Then the object is the child which she agrees to let someone else raise.

            You might also say that she is giving up her child to another person and so it is like adoption, right? (I do not mean to attribute things to you that you wouldn’t say, but I think I’ve come to at least understand your position. Do correct me if I am wrong.)


            Thank you for that. I think if a person is not going to be the offspring of the people who raise them it should be handled as an adoption so that those people received the same benefit of a disinterested third party investigation into the matter to ensure that nobody has been paid not to raise their bio child and to inquire as to the fitness of the people who wish to raise another persons offspring. As it is some individuals are not the offspring of the people raising them and they did not have the benefit of the legal protections afforded by court approved adoption. As broken as adoption is, its still affords people some protection against being the object of private trade agreements.

            I will not say either of these things. I don’t think the child is or ever was hers. She’s giving up an egg and (in my view) nothing more than that.

            Let’s circle back to those private agreements. But they say they are going to give up their parental rights to their offspring upon their birth. They agree to do more than give up an egg or the recipient would not want the egg. Can we get to that Julie? You keep ignoring that critical fact and you might want to polish up your response in case your ever trying to prove your point with someone whose opinion actually matters. If they were not giving up their resulting offspring at the time of birth the agreements would simply say they were giving up an egg correct? Is there not a whole industry of legal professionals dedicated to the idea that people need to have contracts with their egg donors above and beyond the releases signed at clinics specifically to cover the minutia related to relinquishing parental obligations and non-contact?

            The difference (and I don’t think this is surprising) is that you think the genetic relationship is critical, so the fact that she is genetically related makes the child hers. I don’t think the genetic relationship is what makes a person a parent so I don’t think the child is hers.

            Well but you don’t live in a bubble and the fact that you think the child was never hers to give up is not good enough for a compelling argument is it? Would you not need more that that if you were explaining that to someone besides me? I know full well that the law is not on my side the UPA says gamete donors are not parents. Wait, the law says sperm donors are not parents. I think that is in conflict with the rights of the sperm donor’s offspring and sperm donors do still sign agreeing to give up their resulting offspring, but egg donors are different aren’t they? Julie? Right? It’s less clear shall we say that they are not parents – that’s how I think you might put it if pressed. That’s why there are extra belts and suspenders for people who want to raise an egg donor’s offspring. Now you’d agree that they are the egg donor’s offspring there is no way around that. You would not agree that they are her children though. I find that line of thought intriguing because I bet you would agree that all offspring are children at some point in their lives. Typically right around the beginning. Would you agree that the donor’s offspring are her children, her, minor offspring, for the first 18 years of their lives? After which I suppose they’d be her adults.

            I would really like an answer to these things Julie, I am trying to learn the justification for these things that seem so at odds with the the law and I cannot learn anything I’m stuck here at this point. Nobody answers these questions. It’s not just you.

          • Well, I guess this leaves me somewhere in the middle. I am not against egg donation, but I do think it is giving up a child from a LEGAL perspective (not always from an individual’s emotional perspective, but legally, I think it is). If the woman is fine with that, then I think she should have the option to donate her eggs. But the signed consent is essential to the process. The act of removing the egg, taking it to a lab to give to someone else, does not automatically take away parental rights. Let’s suppose a woman is drugged, knocked out, wakes up, finds out her eggs were taken without her signing an agreement. To avoid the complexities of what might happen were she not to discover for years, let’s suppose she finds out before a successful pregnancy results. Legally, I am pretty sure she could stop all those eggs/embryos from being used because she never legally gave up her rights to them and to any children that might be born from them.

            • And I know that in at least some states, if she discovers after a pregnancy but before a birth, she can claim the child at birth and the only other option to avoid giving up the child at birth would be an abortion. (I recall this from when there was an embryo mix up at an IVF clinic in the news)

              But I don’t know enough to say what would happen if it was discovered after birth and if how much time elapsed would make a difference.

              • Read about UC Irvine’s fertility lab scandal possibly thousands of children were conceived with the stolen eggs sperm and embryos of fertile patients and sold to infertile patients circumventing the use of actual willing donors. These people lost their children. I think anyone born in the late 80’s to mid 90’s with a mother that was over 35 at their time of birth should have a dna test to determine if the woman claiming to be their mother really is. These people have been fighting to get their children back for years and they are waiting for them. They are very seriously missed. Also check out OHSU sperm donor mix up. Couple of fathers there are fighting for their children and may never get the chance to meet them. Tragic. There are cases everywhere where this happens.

          • I think that there is a difference between parents and offspring as to how parental identity is formed. For a parent to have a parental identity, s/he must not only have reproduced, but be aware of the existence of the offspring. (unlike offspring who are of course aware from the get go that they must have had two parents).
            The egg donor isn’t aware of any existence of her offspring so is unlikely to identify herself as a mother.
            A sperm donor is much more likely to reproduce than an egg donor of course, but even he really has no knowledge of offspring’s existence.

        • Marilynn,
          Difference in views and opinions here and that’s ok.
          Where the comparison between a donor conceived person and Rosa Parks or person of African descent comes into play, I don’t understand fully. As far as I know, donor conceived persons have the same rights as others on the bus, etc in this day and age. You will be referring probably to your ‘right’ to know who your DNA donor was or the DNA donor’s ‘right’ to you. Our differences here again are that I do not view the donor as a parent. I also would not view a man who had a one-night stand with someone and a child came to be, as parent to that child. Easy for men to donate sperm like this. I would consider the man who was man enough to raise and provide for that child, and love it and nurture it, the father. In fact, in some cases it is probably a blessing that we are not raised by our DNA-parents – they are not fitter or greater parents by default of shared DNA, nor does shared DNA mean they WANT to be any child’s parent. Yes, I realize hurtful for the child very potentially but also probably then a blessing as who wants to be the child of a parent who did not want to be their parent?…..This happens all the time just by irresponsible people NOT using donors and not even wanting children…..they just want 15 minutes of ‘fun’.
          A woman or man is not by default a parent because they have sperm and eggs. In the case of a woman, donating an egg is not donating a child. She has CHOSEN to not use her own womb to conceive and grow a person from her egg. And, so she’s not a parent. She is a DNA donor. And I also do not agree that by not letting the egg perish, the woman is deciding to reproduce. IMO she is deciding to let someone else use DNA from her to let them reproduce (to grow a child, from one cell, in their body, with the donated DNA). It is not like adoption (of a child). We can be parents to a child, but not to an egg – there’s a difference between an egg and a child. So, the way I see it, it is logical to also on paper sign to that you are doing what you are doing because you have no intention of being a parent to any child created from your DNA donation and grown by another woman. This is a choice that donor made, to donate a cell with no intention of being or wanting to be a parent (as much as I realize that might HURT to the resulting and later adult child who will be full unresolved/non-resolvable questions and curiosities if they choose to see it that way. Had the donor chosen to, or WANTED to be the parent, they would not have been the donor in the first place. That’s really quite simple. You can only go about raising ‘your own’ child, if there was a conception to start with, with YOUR own body growing the embryo. An egg removed from the body – with consent/by choice of donor – and fertilized by a sperm outside the donors body, GROWN by another womb, does not make the donor a parent.
          There is no difference, IMO, in answer to your question between a person who donates for research or conception, because the donor is not intending to become a parent in either case. They either want to help further science or they want to help someone else become a parent. Therefore, they have no other obligations or parental rights, again because donor does not equal parent IMO..it simply equals DNA donor. I was raised by non-DNA parents because my DNA parents were not in a position to be parents and thank “God” for that (one was unfit the other didn’t want children though didn’t mind having sex that resulted in children). I knew both of them till their deaths of old age. The fact they gave me my DNA did not make them parents by any stretch of the imagination. I know who my DNA relatives are and they are not ‘family’ to me nor me to them. We may have some physical features in common, but that’s it. DNA family does not mean ‘real’, loving family by default. It just means shared DNA. Not the answer some of us seek or want, if we are seeking comfort or seeking to close a void. It just is. It also does not make the ‘real parents’ who raised us, or even a woman who grew/nourished and gave birth to a child of which half the DNA came from a donor less real parents.
          You also said: “Its just incredibly insulting to the offspring who live life knowing that their biological parent agreed to give them up and their parental rights up. Its so insulting to say that they only gave up their gametes when they signed contacts saying they gave up a child.”
          Many children have to live with the knowledge that they were either given up or created in such a way that the donor (or whom you see as ‘real creator’) did not want them. (Or adopted children too.) Of course, I can see there’s real pain there…..but that IS what they gave up, their gametes. Please post, if you can, an actual contract (in PDF) or post a link to a genuine one that states and demands a signature where it says they are giving up “this child”…if someone donates an egg the contract would be wrong if it asks the donor to sign away their child – because there simply is no child at that point – the point when the woman signs the paper. There is only an egg at that moment (at the clinic).

          • I am not against gamete donation, I am planning to use a sperm donor next year to have a baby. But at the same time I believe that the consent is essential to the process. I, personally, am attached to my eggs because they are my potential babies. I would not want someone else using them and raising a child I view as mine, that is my view. Obviously the donor I am using does not see his sperm as his potential babies and is fine with me using it. But I think a contract should HAVE to be signed giving up the rights. Otherwise if a mix up is made someone could lose their biolopgical children they never intended to give up. If the lab has a mixup or someone actively steals my embryo when I have my IVF I certainly do not think they should be allowed to keep it, or that the resulting child would not be my child, just because they managed to get away with it and grow my baby in another body. So I believe that the person who the egg, sperm, or embryo came from should have to sign something giving up parental rights and if that consent was not signed and there was a mixup or theft they should retain their parental rights.

          • Look Aimee now that I read that you yourself were not raised by your parents I see that you have some genuine insight into this issue that I thought you would not have. I want to hug you call you sweetie and say I’m so sorry that they did not give you what they owed you because you deserved better from them. Every person born deserves better from the people who reproduced to create them. They owed you more effort and consideration that that. You know that. You know you deserved for them to do their job and they failed you. They failed you. Im not being pedantic at all your parents failed you and your lucky someone else was there to take care of you that were good people.

            • aimee is it my imagination or do you sound a bit critical of one of your parents, who didn’t want children but didn’t mind having sex that resulted in children?

              • Kisarita, No, not at all. I loved/love them both and when I was younger yes, I would have been critical (as most teens find a reason to be critical of their parents), but now I see them as just people with big hearts and perhaps not the best judgment when it came to some major decisions. They made some mistakes as people, as parents. Most of us do. I am guilty of it too. 🙂

                • but it seems you do view it as a mistake. why is that any different than a sperm donor?

                  • I don’t think taking a decision to be a sperm donor (and by sperm, I mean ONLY sperm not a child) is totally different because it’s been ‘planned out’. For egg donors too. These people have made a conscious decision to donate egg or sperm..made an appointment, taken fertility drugs perhaps, showed up and gone through ‘the procedure’. “Other people” who have children with a person they love (let’s say) MIGHT have planned to have a child together though most of us ‘normally conceived’ children in this world are accidental to some extent. That doesn’t mean unwelcome necessarily, just that a donor has another kind of intent that requires real effort to carry through.

                • Aimee
                  You said you were

                  “I was raised by non-DNA parents because my DNA parents were not in a position to be parents and thank “God” for that (one was unfit the other didn’t want children though didn’t mind having sex that resulted in children). I knew both of them till their deaths of old age. The fact they gave me my DNA did not make them parents by any stretch of the imagination. I know who my DNA relatives are and they are not ‘family’ to me nor me to them.”

                  You’re saying that they did not raise you therefore they were not parents, but you call them your dna parents here which shows you understand who they are in relation to you from a scientific standpoint anyhow. You said that your DNA relatives are not your family nor are you to them. That’s intense. I read this and felt though that you had not lost your right to be recognized as their legal kin…I am thinking that you were not adopted for some reason…were you raised by family members or family friends or were you adopted was your birth record changed? You said you knew both DNA parents until their death of old age. You have to be at least my age for your parents to die of old age, and I’m 40 with older than normal parents. Were you ever out of contact, sequestered or hidden from them by the people raising you as is practice in adoptions from my day and before? Did they hide out from you or hide your existence from your maternal and paternal relatives. I am trying to get a sense of where you might and might not identify with donor offspring.

                  But then you say that you loved them both, you apparently knew them what sounds like your whole life. You say you might have judged them as a teen but now view them as parents with big hearts who make mistakes and they are human you are too. First that is an awesome adult mature place to arrive at if you were not taken care of by your parents. Second I hope you see that you are vacillating between knowing they are your parents and failed you on several levels and saying they are not your parents and that dna did not make them parents. You can vacillate all you want good grief you how could you not be conflicted in your feelings when your parents are nice but very irresponsible? Especially when you were raised by people who were responsible and really deserve the title because they did the work. How much of your conflict is out of a show of respect for all your non-dna parents did? They really earned the real parent title and you feel bad calling anyone else parents because you know how much it means to them to be your parents? They wanted you to be their genetic kid they loved you so much and other people had that connection and did not try.

                  I guess where I am going with all this is that you can comprehend the way donor offspring would look at themselves compared to anyone else that is the offspring of two individuals – and you know what it feels like to know they did not try very hard for you and they let someone else raise you. You sucked it up sure. So should they, sure. Wishing won’t make them turn responsible, no. Do you feel like you deserved better from them? Other people’s parents follow the rules and take care of their kids when they don’t feel like it and they get through it..the law makes them. You say you love them. That sounds familial. Maybe a tiny bit family?

                  Splain so I understand why you believe what you believe.

                  • What you can’t identify with unless your one of them is how the law mistreats people with biologically inaccurate birth records. Many rights to accurate health records and recognition as a member of their own genetic family and all the benefits that come from that are denied them and their identities are inaccurate or are incomplete officially. The law does not have to treat them different than everyone else but it does. That is an entirely seperate thing to be mad about than just being hurt you were abandoned or feeling unloved. Kind of a double slap in the face to feel unloved and un-free on top of it. Its bad enough their parents were not willing to take care of them…why let them hide their identities and hide their families when so much important information about health hinges on membership in that family? Why do their parents not have to record their identity when everyone else’s has to? Do they not deserve what others deserve?

                    You have the capacity to be truly empathetic in these matters an ambasador bridging the experience of the intended parent and the experience of the offspring and the tragic loss of real rights not perceived ones I am talking about UPA exclusions specifically for donor offspring too. If you understood that part of it . I just want you to put on their shoes and tie to walk with your laces all tied together so you can’t run. you knew who your genetic parents were you had the freedom to arrive at your own conclusions based on having access to them personally. Why can’t that be their reality too?

                  • Hi Marilynn,

                    I don’t have time to write one of my usual long rants this time 😉

                    Answers, I think, you were looking for:

                    I referred to them as DNA parents, meaning they are where my DNA came from. However, I do/did not view them as parents as how ‘normal’ people probably do, because we did not have that relationship and as I said before, that was a GOOD thing. So, I would even go as far as to say that had I been a child of a donor egg and/or sperm with either or both of the same people, I think I would have preferred to not have been involved with either of them or their sides at all. I would have faired much better with a loving couple who had created me with intent and the endurance to go the distance with raising a child and being to me what I consider ‘real’ parents (the opposite of what I think you consider a real parent).

                    I can understand how easy it is, when a person is donor conceived and is faced with the unknown, to idealize and glorify those they (IMO wrongly) attribute to being their real parents. (what I would call DNA parents, not family…two separate things). You and I then, both being in our forties, probably both know that what will actually be found, if they are found at all, after a long, possibly expensive and emotionally exhaustive search, is not at all going to live up to those ideals and fantasies. You may not agree of course. People rarely do live up to our ideals and fantasies when we’ve put them on a pedestal. So my ‘worry’ is that is it more destructive to go on that wild goose chase and find something disappointing or nothing at all, than accept one’s situation, be grateful for the life and hopefully love that you do have and realize that however big they seem at the time, most things really are not important at the end of the day. Our lives are like a gust of wind, we are small and insignificant in this universe. If we are loved and love we are incredibly fortunate – is the be all and end all that one or two particular people MUST love us? (the dna donators).

                    Yes, I said I loved them both, but not in the way that I imagine people with conventional setups so with conventional relationships to the two people in a loving relationship who had sex to make the baby…I meant as fellow humans, fellow people who meant no harm, made mistakes, could’t live up to standards and ideals and thus, by that by society would have been judged as not fulfilling obligations etc. It doesn’t matter to me. It happened. I happened. I am here, I am fine, I am loved and I learned it takes a lot of effort to harbor grudges and anger and fear and resentment and feelings of entitlement, etc. My OWN philosophy is to just ‘be’…to live and let live and drop the anger and judgments. None of us are fault-free. Some/most battles are not worth it.

                    Life is not fair in many ways but we can rise above that and accept the situation and that we can’t change some things and feel proud of who we are (we don’t need to know our DNA to know ourselves), look forwards, never back…as they say you will never go forwards if you keep rereading the last chapter…..

            • Marilyn, that’s sweet of you. But really, I do not resent my DNA parents in any way and do not feel owed anything. In fact, had it not been for my being separated from them (some would call it abandonment), my life would not have been as good and as colorful as it has been and I would not have been who I am today. I am grateful to them that I am here and grateful I had the upbringing I did (with them largely not being a part of the picture). Of course, I could have chosen to be resentful, find reasons to be angry and feel ‘cheated’, demanded and gone on a wild goose chase for answers etc or owed something…but I truly do not feel that way. As an aside, I think when you have been very sick for instance, as I also have experienced at one point in life for quite a few years…..it changed the significance/importance of those things that upset most of us. The best things we can do for ourselves, in MY opinion – and I don’t expect everyone will agree and that’s ok – is to realize that most things are just not important, let them go. Free yourself from anger and resentment. Accept what you cannot change and be grateful for what you do have. Try to see the good in all and do not focus or give energy to what brings bad feelings, especially if they have no solution. Life is too short. Some of us arrived here or were ‘dumped with a bump’ you could say, but at the end of the day we are responsible for who we are, who we become..I do not believe in blaming circumstances or others’ actions. We can choose to be happy or unhappy, grateful or resentful etc. So, please, no need to feel sorry for me 🙂

          • So hard to find the right post to respond to! That was hard!

            https://www.peasinapodinc.com/forms/Donor_Agency_Agreement.pdf
            Here goes some distasteful language

            “Donor and Donor’s Husband, if any, hereby agree that once the eggs are removed from the
            Donor, they shall have no rights to said eggs and further acknowledge that any and all embryos
            resulting from the use of Donor’s eggs and any children resulting there from shall belong to the
            Intended Parents. “

            Oh but not nearly as painful to read egg donor agrees that any children contractually belong to the intended parents.

            “Donor and Donor’s Husband, if any, specifically agree that any child(ren) born pursuant to this
            Agreement are morally, legally and contractually those of the Intended Parents and they will not
            seek nor attempt to seek to form a parent/child relationship with any child(ren) born to the
            Intended Parents as a result of this Agreement and the subsequent Ova Donation Agreement.
            Furthermore, Donor and Donor’s Husband, if any, will not seek to view or contact any children
            conceived pursuant to this Agreement without the express written consent of Intended Parents. “

            “While the law regarding egg donations is
            unsettled in the State of California at this time, it is the express intention of the Parties that the
            Intended Parents will be the sole and legal parents of any child(ren) conceived pursuant to the
            egg donation and shall assume all parental, custodial, inheritance and testamentary rights and
            responsibilities from any child(ren) born pursuant to this Agreement and a subsequent Ova
            Donation Agreement. The Parties specifically understand, agree and acknowledge that the
            Donor and Donor’s Husband, if any, do not intend to, nor shall they have any rights to claim
            and/or to establish any parental, custodial, inheritance or testamentary rights to any child(ren)
            born pursuant to this Agreement. The Intended Parents further hereby release the Donor and
            Donor’s Husband, if any, from any such rights and/or obligations that they may be deemed to
            have had. “

      • OK last thing before I go stand in line at the DMV
        Aimee I hate to break it to you but most people want to know who their immediate relatives are if for no other reason than to avoid screwing them. I help people who donated look for their kids, I help people that gave kids up for adoption look for their kids. I help people that lost kids to adoption due to their own cavaleer attitudes and negligence, look for their kids. I help the family members of those parents look for members of their family that were separated from them for every immaginable reason and I also help people identify and locate the families they were separated from. Not once in 15 years have I contacted someone that said “I don’t give a fk” or “why would I be interested in talking to some total stranger just because we share DNA” Not once has anyone thought it odd that they were being contacted. Not once has anyone slammed the door in my face or hung up on me. It does not mean they wind up snuggly cozy best friends, it means that people are acknowledged as being part of their own families. Some day it might happen that I’ll find a horribly indifferent parent or child at the end of a search. But that does not mean the entire family will be indifferent. Many people who had me look for their parents ended up bonding more with a now favorite cousin or uncle or sibling and are only luke warm about the relationship with the parent. But its actually pretty rosey Aimee. And they’ll never know if they don’t try. Most people would be bent if they knew their grandchildren were out there somewhere and they had no access to them. Lots of donors get their butts kicked by parents who find out they donated. I mean lots as in lots. Its pretty cruel of you to sit there and tell donor offspring that its unlikely that their own flesh and blood relatives would give a hot god damn about them if they knew they exististed – your wrong. If your brother had 150 offspring, your full blooded neices and nephews all living within 50 miles of where you were raising your kids you’d be pretty pissed off about that. That is of course if your kids were yours genetically. You might also be pretty freaked out if you used a sperm donor from the lab where he donated. Your kids might be his kids too. I think you’d care.

      • the recipient does not use the donors egg to build a child out of her own flesh and blood.

        Julie – you see? I was just talking about this very thing. This woman was led to believe that she could conceive her OWN child with a donor egg, that HER cells would reproduce if she used a donor egg and that HER flesh and blood are the building blocks of the resulting child’s body.

        They don’t share cells or blood or biology at all. The recipient provides nurishment and a place for the other woman’s fetus to develop. That fetus has its own blood seperate from hers and its developing structure is the result of human reproduction the cell reproduction of the people who will have genetic offspring when their child is born.
        The A S R M website is very clear that the egg donor is the biological mother not the recipient. The ASRM is on your side its members profit when people relinquish their offspring to their paying customers so for them to be clear about the scientific terminology is telling. Unfortunately any attempt to use a web address in a link as part of a comment makes the comment not post. If you remove the paragraph breaks and jamb the next lines of text together they make a web address discussing who the bio mother is.

        http
        :
        //
        www
        .
        asrm.
        org
        /
        topics
        /
        detail.
        aspx?
        id
        =
        3634

        • The person in who’s womb that donated egg grows in is the person who is ‘growing’ that child, providing it with the nourishment and environment to become a person. The person who gives birth, gave/gives life to the child and is the biological (but not genetic) mother. The donor decided not to do that; she decided not to herself have that egg fertilized, grown within her own womb or give birth; she is DNA donor/genetic mother, not biological or ‘real’ mother.

          Circular discussion with our different opinions.

          Anyway, no hard feelings. But unlikely the ‘two camps’ are going to ever see eye to eye on definitions.

          • Aimee you cannot make up your own definition of the term biological mother. Its telling a lie. Just go reasd the definition of biological mother on the ASRM website not the websites of egg banks or intended parent’s they are all delusional and believe what they need to believe to get them through the night.

  5. For better or worse, while a child is a child, the legal guardians decide what’s best for said child. When the child’s no longer a child – at age 18 – then an official third party informs them they are entitled to information about their biological father. To those who haven’t been told, this will come as a shock. The legal parents will be strongly motivated to tell their legal children before this deadline.

    I imagine if this was the law where my parents lived, they wouldn’t have even conceived me.

    • I just want to make sure I understand the implications of your last line, above. Do you mean that if people know they will have to tell children concieved with third-party gametes that they were so conceived then some people will decide not to conceive children using third-party gametes, because they won’t want to have to deal with telling the kids? I suspect that is true, but I wonder if (these days) it is a large number of kids. I say this because it seems to me that the desire to have children is pretty strong and might override these concerns for most people.

    • way too much government interference. government should butt out both ways. they shouldn’t actively bar the information from the individuals who seek their own personal data, but calling them up to discuss it is way over the top.

  6. I didn’t necessarily mean my last to have any implications broader than my particular family. My social father is a narcissist who’d sooner die than have his infertility exposed. Hopefully, if there have to be broader implications, those like him would opt out of DC.

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