It is finally here, Mother’s Day weekend. I celebrate my 3 little beauties and the journey it took to get them! #Infertility #SpermDonor #GENdMOM
It is finally here, Mother’s Day weekend. I celebrate my 3 little beauties and the journey it took to get them! #Infertility #SpermDonor #GENdMOM
I have created a private Google+ Community called “Families Created using Donor Sperm and Donor Eggs” for Children, Parents, Grandparents, family Members and those who have Donated Gametes so that Families can be created. There is no judgement here, I am neither for nor against anyones choice in regards to wether they used known donors or anonymous donors. I want this to be a place where we can meet as like minded people as we have all chosen the same thing as the parents of donor conceived children and our children are all a result of that. My hope is to be able to meet some really great people and to provide information as I can about relevant news pertaining to DI and all that revolves around it and to also provide a forum where families and individuals who have donated (or those thinking of using or donating gametes) can come and talk and share.
Please check it out and ask to join if you want to be a part of a growing community.
I really believe that we need to talk more and share more about PostPartum (PostNatal) Depression. It is something that I know many moms do not want to share with others for fear that we will be labeled bad, evil moms. It is very misunderstood by those who do not suffer from it. I recently found this great support group on facebook and wanted to share the information with all my readers out there. If you suffer, please hook up with on the group, it is a very honest platform with absolutely no judgement, just lots of virtual hugs and kisses.
By the way I am not an administrator for the group nor the creator of the group, I am just a mom who is finding refuge in the group!
The group is fully closed to create a private space for people to talk from the heart without anyone other than members seeing what they write,
The group is supportive and non judgmental
Genuine feel of care and compassion for others
All the members are/have lived with PND
A non professional support network
I recently read a blog post over at Oliviasview Blog titled “Relative Strangers: what grandparents think about donor conception” and it prompted me to finally write a post myself about the role of Grandparents in the life of Donor Conceived Children. I have thought about this many times, to be honest most of the time I see my kids with my husbands parents as they are the non-bio side of the equation, and my thoughts are always filled with awe and amazement. His parents are have been nothing but supportive, loving and extremely present in the lives of our children. One would think nothing out of the ‘ordinary’ if they were to see the kids interacting with them.
Growing up I had a cousin who was adopted and I always remember my Grandmother treating him differently, I never once saw her show him any affection, as a matter of fact I am not sure I ever even saw her address him directly, and he knew it! I suppose I had a bit of a fear of something similar happening to my kids. But to my relief it has not turned out that way. Perhaps it is the difference in generations and the difference in what makes up a family these days. Our family makeup is a very eclectic one. There is divorce on both sides, remarriages, step-sisters, step-moms, step-grandmoms, step cousins, aunties and uncles who are non-bio….and on and on. So our kids have already been born into a family that has a varied past in blended families and members of the family who are not biologically linked but very much a part of our everyday lives.
A while ago I stumbled across an article that spoke about parents of those who chose to donate sperm or eggs. I never thought how they may be affected by the notion that there were going to be an undisclosed amount of biological grandchildren born to strangers. Their DNA, their Grandbabies and they would never get the chance to know them, to even know if they existed or not. I sat with this thought for quite sometime, trying to figure out how I felt about it, that my kids not only had the grandparents they see but that they have an entire family they will never know, not just a biological dad or half-siblings they will never know. They have aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. Then I shut it all off, it is all very overwhelming, and if I feel that emotionally entrenched by it all, I can only imagine how my kids are going to feel as they get older and start to realize the extent of their DNA and the lack of information they will be able to know about it.
On another note, and one that caught me pleasantly off guard, there is yet another category of Grandparent in the mix. I have been in contact with 2 of our children’s half-siblings. One of the moms is a Single mom and she contacted me so that she would have the information to be able to give to her son if and when he wanted it, she stated that she was not particularly interested in extensive contact. She did however facebook friend me and through that avenue we are able to share pictures of the children and keep tabs on daily life. A short while after she friend requested me I got a request from her mother, the Grandmother. She also was very polite and not wanting to be intrusive be she asked if she might be able to be a facebook friend so that she could also see her grandsons half-siblings growing up. It struck me that in creating these children using a sperm donor we have thrown a monkey wrench into so many different family scenarios, and I will admit that in making our decision to use a donor I never once thought about the extended families on any level, in my mind it was all about us.
Along my travels through the interwebs I have bumped into the term ‘Epigenetics’, now I am not going to even pretend I am scientific enough to dissect the actual studies behind this term, but I will say that I know on the surface it is about the old argument of nature vs nurture. For the past 4 years I have closely watched my children and tried to figure out if the traits and mannerisms they are demonstrating are coming from me – nature or my husband – nurture? As of this day I cannot tell and a lot of the time I wonder if it really matters, does it matter why they laugh a certain way, or stand a certain way? I could wonder forever, because they have family they will never know, and maybe it is the Mother of their sperm donor who stands like that or laughs like that, a Grandmother they will never know!
This story scares me. The donor we used, although anonymous and found through proper fertility clinic channels is a man who’s wife was unable to have her own children. Although our donor stated in his profile that he was donating sperm for the extra $ I wonder if he also had other reasons such as this man did, perhaps his own urge to procreate??? I can only imagine what this does to families who used him as their donor and were hoping to keep him as an anonymous figure in their lives???
The heartbroken wife of a politician who secretly acted as a sperm donor behind her back says he has left her to be with babies conceived with other women.
Speaking from her home in the United States, Kathy Johnson says her husband Bill has returned to live in New Zealand where he donated sperm to at least 10 women without her knowledge.
“He wants me to move over there. He’s not coming back.
Tom Blackwell at the National Post Reports “Illegal purchase of sperm, eggs and surrogacy services leads to 27 charges against Canadian fertility company and CEO”. Well, Well, Well seems like Canada’s legal system is finally enforcing a law that has been in place for 9 years and has been ignored or at least seriously disregarded for the bulk of that time.
I wrote a blog post titled ‘Buying and Selling Eggs, Sperm and Embryo’s is a Crime here in Canada!!!‘ almost a year ago when the story of CEO Leia Picard and her agency Canadian Fertility Consultants (CFC) first came to light in the media. In that post I wrote “I think that the unfortunate thing here is the fact that not many people who use donor sperm, eggs, embryos or surrogates really know or care what the Assisted Human Reproduction Act is or if what they are doing is potentially illegal, lets face it, no one has been arrested for it yet let alone charged.” Well almost one year later that last statement is no longer true as we now have a case where charges have been laid. However, I believe that the one about people using donor gametes and not knowing/caring if its illegal still remains. As consumers of sperm, eggs and surrogacy, I feel that a large number of us are very ill informed about the laws, or even the fact that there are laws. I myself have had many discussions (almost arguments) with individuals who do not believe me when I tell them that one cannot buy such baby making ingredients here in Canada. The response from them is usually the same, they all seem to purport a story where they have a sister, who had a friend who’s aunt bought sperm at some clinic, who’s name they cannot remember, but they know it was in Toronto and they know it was not illegal! *SIGH* But really as your regular everyday citizen who has no experience with infertility is so unfathomable to think we would not know what the fertility industry laws are, let alone know anything about the Assisted Human Reproduction Act? That is where I then find fault with the clinics, they have a moral and ethical responsibility to those who are new riders on the roller coaster of infertility. They are the front line people who ‘should’ know the laws and who have an obligation to inform their clients of these laws and moreover be truthful with them.
It’s a shame to think that a statement that was made in Mr. Blackwell’s article by Sally Rhoads-Heinrich, whose company ‘Surrogacy in Canada Online‘ which offers a similar service would possibly ever come to be true here in Canada. “It’s a really sad day for Canadians, and for the babies that won’t be born,” said Ms Rhoads-Heirich of the charges. “If we have to cease working, it means they’re on their own and more subject to being taken advantage of … They’re just left with Kijiji and Craigslist.”
Sad indeed, but let’s be clear here. Illegal is illegal. We may not like the laws that our countries put before us and in this instance finally start to enforce and punish those who break them, but we have to abide by them. We as Canadians do not have our hands tied behind our backs, we are able to speak freely and lobby our governments for change if we do not agree with the legal system.
Looks like another DI family is getting themselves into a legal mess because tougher laws are not in place and those that are in place are not fully understood. I was made aware of a situation in Kansas after reading a post Kansas to Sperm Donor: PAY UP! on Danielle Ellwood Dot Com’s blog. Many things rush to my mind when I read a post like this, but the most prevalent one here is: “Seriously, you looked for a sperm donor on Craigslist….egads “
I should preface this post by pointing out that I am in no way able to properly dissect the laws that are in place now or speak intelligently enough about them to make any sense of it, as I have no legal background. However, as a mom to 3 donor conceived children all by the same anonymous donor I can speak with what I feel is complete intelligence on what reading cases like this does to me and how I feel it will impact my children in the future.
Some examples that come to mind of what I refer to as the ‘muddled waters of infertility law and media portrayal’ are:
The Olivia Pratton lawsuit. A Canadian case where a British Columbia women is fighting for donor conceived offspring to have the same rights as adopted children that will allow them access to their biological parents records. The court initially ruled in her favor, only to later pull the rug out from under her and overturn their previous ruling. She must now take her case to Canada’s top court and continue her fight. What does a decision in her favour mean down the road for all those men who donated and were promised anonymity? How does it affect my children’s ability to find out who their donor is? Is it fair? Insert mass confusion for so many here………
Another Canadian example of how laws just can’t seem to be made, enforced or even decided upon, was the creation of the Assisted Human Production Agency in 2006. I remember sitting with a group of women as we were having a meeting about an upcoming conference I was part of that dealt with New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies. When the news trickled into the meeting that this Agency was being created, there was a collective sigh of relief, it felt like this agency was so welcomed and would be just the ticket to whip our floundering fertility laws into place. However, as with most things government the road was to be muddled and long, or short as it turned out to be. ON october 1st of 2012 the Agency was shut down due to ‘budget cuts’ but in the 6 years they functioned, there was very little done, and as Macleans.ca reported: “Those who work in the field weren’t surprised by the AHRC’s demise: founded in 2006, the agency has been barren for years.” I can recall the numerous amounts of news media over the past 6 years about the agency and all of it was negative, and it seemed that the bottom line was that nothing was getting done. In a National Post article it was said: ”agency finally opened its doors in 2006, but soon became a butt of complaints, seemingly achieving little of its mandate, while Prof. Baylis and two other board members quit in protest.” What more is there to say….except if the people in our government who have been put into place to figure this out and create some hard and fast laws for our fertility industry can’t even get their act together, how in the world are we as regular ol’ folk suppose to get it?
I think that further confusion is being bestowed on the general public as sperm and egg donor issues become more mainstream in the media with movies like “The Kids are Alright”, and tv shows such as “Seed”. If you are a person who has been blessed with the joy of a child(ren) created through egg or sperm donation I think you will agree with me that these shows and movies miss the mark in portraying the true reality of all that comes from having or being a child off donor gametes. For both those who are experiencing fertility issues and those who are not, seeing hollywood’s portrayal of what life is like in these blended families may cloud your judgement from the truths of what it is really like. My fear is that those who want to have children will think that in the end it will all be honky dory and everyone will forgive and forget, and for those who sit on the outside and look in, those who have never experienced infertility and the longing for a child, I fear you will see these shows and think that life that has been created via sperm or egg donation is tormented, troubled and morally wrong. Confusion abounds when “Hollywood” gets involved and starts to tell their version of our stories……
I truly believe that until the fertility bigwigs are regulated and strict laws are put into place, the world of infertility will remain like the wild west, lawless and corrupt.
But what of us, those who are despartley trying to have a baby, I would wager a guess that most do not even know that fertility laws are so lax and that because of this we may one day end up in court fighting for something other then the fairytale. I get it, at the moment you want that baby, you could care less about the laws or the future impact they may have on you or your children, or that anonymous donor you chose. But if you choose to know one thing, know this….Cover Your Ass, do your homework, put emotions aside for a moment and think about the legalities of what you are entering into. I myself am guilty of not thinking ahead and pandering to my need to have a baby allowing all sense of reality to wash away, I have blogged about it numerous times before. Today 4 years and 3 kids later I deal on a regular basis with all of it. Every time a case is heard and ruled on, I wonder if it could change the contract I entered into, for good or bad. I think about having to tell my kids and wondering if they will hate me for it all one day. I wonder if my marriage is strong enough to withstand the years and emotions that are coming. I have given up the fairytale and am loving and living the reality.
I guess it comes down to so many unknowns and so many misconceptions (no pun intended)!
AND I QUOTE the National Post once again:
“It’s a mess,” said Sherry Levitan, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in the area. “The industry is just tied up in knots. Everybody is worried abut the next phone call. People are very nervous because nobody knows where the line is.”