Monday, January 29, 2007

Who Am I?

I remember listening to Dr. Laura way back when, and someone wanted to try to find their adoptive parents in order to understand their medical history but their adoptive parents were against it. Dr. Laura mentioned that she lost a number of relatives in the Holocaust so lost family history, medical and otherwise, and really you move on. Now Dr. Laura wasn't, I don't think, trying to be heartless. Her point was that medical history, while helpful, is not the be all end all we tend to cider it. And if you want to meet the people who contributed to your genetic identity, that's one thing. But if you think it will bring you closure, or completeness or necessary medical information, you are fooling yourself.
I recognize that I am not adopted. While I occasionally wished that I was a foundling unrelated to the people I grew up with, my genetic connectedness to them was abundantly clear. So, I am forcing my sensibilities on a situation I will never be able to understand. But.
There is proposed legislation for Virginia* to ban anonymous sperm and egg donation. The person who brought this to the attention of the legislature is herself the result of an anonymous sperm donation. And after hearing about someone discovering some interesting medical history, she tracked down her donor. And therein lies my point. Donors who want to or are willing to be found - can be. And some parents choose to use an anonymous donor. And they should be able to.
I would also like to point out that, from the looks of the "Montel" show, there are a number of children not conceived with a donor, who also don't know who both parents are, so we are only looking at a piece of the puzzle here. (Yes, I know, as my old manger used to say, we focus on the parts we can control...)
Clark, who is in contact now with her donor parent said,
"If anonymous gamete donations were made illegal, then it would force the potential donors to seriously think about the repercussions of their actions, to think about the possibility of someday coming face to face with their biological child, and they have to be OK with that."
And that is the problem. People who agree to be donors do just that - they agree to be donors. They are not agreeing to be parents. They are agreeing to help someone else - whether a one, two, three, or ten parent family - be parents. And by changing the legislation they may well limit the people who wish to become donors. And that helps no one that I can think of.

Thanks to DCist for the link.