While researching how to answer people’s questions about the donor Pot came across some troubling information. (Thanks, internet!) She found groups of adult children of anonymous sperm donors discussing how it is unfair to children to use an anonymous donor. These young adults are pissed. There is a documentary made (I’m guessing more than one but I didn’t look too hard) and in the reviews for the documentary people (including prominent feminists) referred to this as a human rights violation.
As people who are using an anonymous donor that had us panicked. Is what we are doing a huge ethical problem? We thought about this group of people and who they represent. First, donor conceived children who aren’t pissed aren’t necessarily going to take to the internet to talk about it. Second, most of these people were in their young twenties. We broke them down into two groups and addressed concerns of both.
Group one: people who were raised in a heterosexual household. These parents would have used a donor for a variety of fertility issues. I’m not sure how heterosexual households handle telling children they came from a donor but I can get a kid being upset if they grow up thinking they have a biological connection to someone only to find out later they don’t. I respect people’s choices concerning telling their kid no matter what they are and didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about this group of folks.
The second group of folks is queer families. I think that in some ways queer families have it a bit easier in this regard because at some point your kid takes a sex ed class and figures some things out. But how are donor conceived children in queer families hurt? Looking at the age of the people voicing these concerns I wonder what their lives have been like. How hard it was to grow up in the early 90’s with same sex parents. I also wonder how hard it was to be asked questions about being donor conceived and to exist in a world where people have little understanding of that. I am so grateful to the families that came before us but can’t imagine their struggles trying to find answers to the same questions we struggle with. In a different time, or even the same time in a different place, I can get why these children would be upset.
I think about our life and our community. There are huge advantages to living in a hippy town – I doubt there will be many people our child interacts with who have not met a donor child. We live in a wonderful and supportive community and while I am sure our child will get questions I am also sure that they will have support from their family, friends and teachers. They will be loved and supported.
I think about our family, both biological and chosen. I think about how excited their grandparents will be to know them. I think about the aunts and uncles they will have near and far and they kids they will grow up with, many of whom exist in queer families. I think about the talks we will have and the communication that we want to flow through our home. I know that they will have questions and I know that they may be angry but I also know they will have so much support. In the end I ask: Is it an ethics violation to have a child who is so fiercely loved?