05 Jun Just to be clear
I have not had the opportunity to read the entire study discussed in my last post. However, I have looked over it, and think that it’s a valuable tool for highlighting the needs and feelings of donor conceived people. It is clear as a bell that many dc people have suffered a great deal either from lack of connection to their biological roots, stigmas, secrecy, or a myriad of other factors.
As someone who has contributed to this problem (as a former donor), I would like to see it fixed as much as possible. I have no evidence that I have any children through donor conception- so it’s not clear that, even if I do, these particular people are suffering. So when I say contributed to this problem, I mean it in the broader sense, that I participated in a process that didn’t fully take into consideration the feelings and emotional needs of those that might be created. At the age of 20 I did this with the best intentions- yes I got paid- but if I had even the slightest inkling that children might suffer for a loss of connection I wouldn’t have considered doing it. This was pre-internet so I couldn’t even just Google to see what people were saying…
Today while thinking about this stuff the term, the law of unintended consequences kept coming up in my head. In a sense every action has unintended consequences. When doctors began the process of assisting in reproduction it is doubtful that they foresaw a world where two people might order eggs and sperm from two other people and hire a third to carry the child. In a sense that’s an unintended consequence. When I was growing up, the child of a psychologist and a social worker, nurture was king. People believed that love and proper child rearing was all that mattered, and that genetic roots were of limited importance. As I’ve written recently, a lot of my film is about how strong roots are- yet I am still confused as to whether some of my feelings and actions are in the blood or the modeling. even with data it’s hard to know. In some sense, the unintended consequence of this upbringing was that I couldn’t even fathom the idea that my genetic material would mean a connection to me or my family to the child born of that …. seed.
While the system of anonymity was likely put in place with decent intentions- those charged with taking care of people genuinely felt that it was best for all involved if secrecy was maintained- the unintended consequence was emotional suffering. Now that it’s clear that secrecy is a bad idea it’s no longer an unintended consequence. It is simply a consequence. It should be very difficult at this point for the industry to ignore the very loud chorus of voices that’s beginning to rise.
When the “my daddy’s name is donor” study came out, it was an unintended consequence that parents of donor conceived people felt threatened by the way the study was put together. Now that this is apparently the case, it is a consequence.
Again, I barely have a horse in the race, but with my limited sense of standing I still would like nothing more than to help everyone achieve the best outcome. As a father of two awesome biological children with my wonderful wife, I know how important that blood connection is. As a former donor who is working on a script about these issues with a dc woman I know what a powerful impact these issues can have. As a friend and neighbor to countless people who are either single mothers, smc’s, lesbian couples, a gay man and a lesbian woman partnering to raise a biological child, etc I know that their feelings are on the front lines of any discussion. So any discussion about the rights of dc people that includes limiting the rights of these people is never going to go forward in a positive way.
If instead every effort is made to think about these people and their feelings even as we discuss the pitfalls and dangers of normalizing these situations then they might be able to listen thoughtfully, and participate in the discussion.
My point here is that even though I have not read the whole study, I have seen that it has upset some people, and that worries me- because I too want as much openness as possible, and I want to see the rights and needs of DC people recognized and taken into consideration.