Sunday, April 16, 2017

DC Post: Battling Negativity

Lately I have, unfortunately, had to distance myself from parts of the Donor Conceived community. It is a sad separation but I feel that it is also a necessary one. I am relatively new to the process of opening up about myself, my struggles, my successes, and my identity. It is only in the last year or two that I have truly become vocal about my identity as donor conceived and I am still not the best at describing what that means, or even understanding it fully myself.

Perhaps, that being said, I am simply uninformed about the reality of donor conceived life, maybe I should be more bitter or more angry or more negative toward the industry that led to my conception and my birth. Let me backtrack.

I have been assailed of late by a slew of negative articles and comments about the donor conceived industry and same sex couples who use reproductive technology (such as gamete "donation" or surrogacy) in particular. While I realize that there are great improvements to be made and changes that need to be made for the well-being of the DC (access to genetic connections being the least of them), I have become increasingly distanced by the open hostility displayed toward parents. Maybe these parents could have used a different method for fertility (although unless the children are born through "normal" sex and raised by at least one of their biological parents someone is going to complain). Maybe I am being too lenient in understanding the parents and it is tempering my "righteous anger".

Who knows.

The end result is the same: I am not bitter or angry about being donor conceived. Am I upset that I do not know half of my biology? Yes. Do I wish that the laws were not so very convoluted and backwards, essentially giving those donor conceived fewer rights than normally conceived and (in some places) adopted individuals? Yes. Will I work to change those laws? Yes. But I will not rear up against parents who have chosen donor conception with righteous anger because it solves nothing. Instead I will work to educate these parents on the importance of honesty and the value of biology. I will encourage them to accept and foster their child's emotions about their identities so that, perhaps, the next generation of donor conceived have the answers that previous generations have been denied.

I am not saying that there are not times when I wish I had more answers or that I am always as happy as can be with my situation but I am who I am, I cannot change that and all anger would do is make me bitter and lessen my effectiveness in making change. I will fight with determination and passion to change the process of donor conception and surrogacy for the next generation but I will do so without anger at the parents who have given birth to us. I will condemn the corrupt policies and processes that have led to the system we have without alienating those who decided to use that system in ignorance. I can still feel betrayed by my ignorance of my biology without letting it define my life or turn me against who I am, because even if I am ignorant of it, it is a part of me and I refuse to betray myself.

I will fight my battles with kindness and understanding, battling myself as much as the system, to enact true change. It is impossible to stop the process that has begun but we can change how it proceeds if we are just willing to rise above ourselves and look to best future for all involved because stubborn anger and negativity can only get us so far. True positive change can only come from compromise and understanding.

*I previously had an image from We are Donor Conceived here but it was brought to my attention that it was sending the wrong impression about the community (which I genuinely love) so I decided to change it.


  1. It is those that are full of anger who shout their hurt into the internet. Hearing back echoes from other hurt souls they assume everyone shares their world view. However the vast majority of people are content or even grateful for their conception and so get on with their lives in silence. The internet is not a true reflection of public opinion. You should not appologise for a lack of anger.

    It can be sad to not know a person who shares half of your dna, but consider this; I have cousins I have not seen in over 50 years. Each shares 25% of my dna. Recently on Facebook I looked up a couple and realised that shared dna did not alter the fact we were miles apart in geography and life experience. I think some donor conceived children project all their hopes and fears onto an absent father because his absence creates a blank slate upon which they can draw. Children with fathers in their lives are far less romantic in their assessment of their progenitor.

  2. This is a question of values and not a question of identity. Some donor conceived people have certain traditional values about the genetic or natural family and they maintain those values even though it creates (IMHO) a certain amount of self-hatred. I was raised with the idea that biology matters but it's not the only thing that matters. That is still what I believe today. I have a certain amount of pain but I want to try to mitigate that pain for future generations while they want to ensure that no one ever experiences their pain again.

    It's a classic reform vs. revolution situation. I'm firmly on the side of reform and I do not apologize for it.

    I've heard some stories about narcissistic or unloving parents that make me understand why some donor conceived people consider their parents selfish. I don't feel that way about my parents at all and I don't think their stories represent most parents.

    At my work, I met a donor conceived person from a same sex family who is 20 years younger than me. She was able to find and meet her donor as an adult. Her parents are her parents, her donor is her donor and for her, all the pieces are in place. She's not part of these conversations because she has no need to join a support group around this issue. What about the people who aren't in the room because they are not traumatized?

    Her experience, my experience, your experience and the experience of those who are very angry are all true and valid. There is no one valid DCP experience. In the end, we each have to live our own values and not allow others to speak for us.