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Monday, November 9, 2009

Dr. Decker Donation and the Transfer of Loss

I spent time emailing on the Donor Sibling Registry today and I can't help but feel like this is futile. For those of us that were conceived during and prior to the early 1980's its tough to make connections. At that time sperm donation was pretty low-tech and did not involve freezing which made the process all the more sketchy. Donors were often medical students strapped for cash recruited by fertility specialists associated with their educational facilities. They would donate the sperm within hours of insemination if not sooner.

In my case it was Dr. Decker's NYC Park Avenue clinic on the Upper East Side. What is ironic is that while I am sure his name warmed the hearts of the families he helped have children, his name fills my heart with loss and anger.

In this Houston Press article entitled "Donor Babies Search for Their Anonymous Fathers" a child of artificial insemination, Nancy LaBounty speaks to exactly this loss:

"I just think it's a transferring of loss," Kathleen says today. "The parents are pursuing this, and by going through anonymous donation, they get their dream of parenthood. But then that loss is just transferred to us."

She is exactly right. Artificial Insemination, if not dealt with correctly and thoughtfully is the transference of loss. I know my parent's felt incredibly loss and unhappiness when they found out they could not have children and this loss was somehow alleviated when they participated in artificial insemination. The loss was not resolved, however, but delayed and transferred to their child.

I often read blogs and post by parents of donor offspring that claim the relation is only biological and "unimportant" compared to the bond with the parent that raised you. Yet, if it is unimportant and so inconsequential then why the need for insemination? Why not just adopt? Why do so many women with husbands unable to conceive children opt for donated sperm? The answer is that is important to those couples to have at least some kind of genetic relation to their child. Why then is this desire from the child so easily invalidated?

It's so hard to talk about this without coming across as an ungrateful child. I do love my parents immensely but I don't agree with their actions. It is not the artificial insemination I am upset with, it is the anonymity. How can you create a life with so little knowledge of person that contributes the DNA alive in every single cell in their body.

I just don't understand?

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