I continue to struggle with understanding the need to go to any lengths and by any means to become a parent. But what I will never understand is the disconnect between this passionate never-ending quest to become a parent and yet at the same time have this inability to understand the best interests of said children.
It does not make any sense unless it is solely a selfish “all about me” mindset. To me if being a parent meant that I would go to any lengths to achieve my goal, the only thoughts I would have would be to ensure that every second of every day that my child was alive, he or she would be protected from physical and mental harm. Doesn’t that make sense?
A recent thread on a forum shows me that for many, the quest to become parents over shadows the needs, rights, or well being of the said end product. What they - the potential parents WANT is all that matters. To those who want to be a parent, are parents through adoption that get it, they are the best and should be commended.
When you use ART as the method for procreation, be it sperm, egg, surrogacy or any combination thereof, you are doing it with the intention to create a child. Doing that you are choosing to intentionally wipe away all traces of ancestry and kinship, things you obviously hold dear as you want to procreate. You are doing it with intent to fulfill YOUR WANTS and DESIRES. The following words struck a deep chord within me.
With intentionality, life is not somehow randomly unfair; somebody made it that way on purpose because they wanted it to be.
As an adoptee, I am told on a frequent basis that life is unfair and to simply accept status quo and get on with life and be grateful I am alive. Never doubt that is what I do. At the same time, I do my best to raise my voice in an advocate position of how life impacts an adoptee as well as a donor conceived person (albeit although I am not a dc, I can stretch my adoptee feelings).
If a person chooses to intentionally create a child through ART they must thoroughly examine the ethics and morals of this method and take their WANTS and NEEDS out of the discussion, and focus solely on the life they intend to create. That “person” may live for up to 100+ years and may have children of their own and so on and so forth. The entire lifetime of the child they intend to create and their children must be taken into account.
The focus should include at least the following as a starting point.
Family medical history. 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree relatedness family members with at minimum 1st and 2nd degree relatives. Diseases follow specific transmission patterns that can skip generations, and can be either recessive or domininant. Learn about patterns of inheritance. Common arguments state that prior history does not help in today’s world of science, these arguments are myths. Even if you do not know the “specific” disease someone had or died of, the organ or organs involved provides subtle clues as to the direction the doctors should be focusing on. Many diseases have symptoms that could point to any number of distinct diseases that impact many different organs, knowing the organ previously impacted by other family members is the best starting point. Hereditary diseases do not just show up in childhood, there are adult onset conditions as well. They have not yet found the gene or genes responsible for all diseases, you cannot use tests to make up for family history. Your child’s children may inherited a disease that skips generations and will be impacted by the choices YOU make in creating YOUR child today. It is a responsiblity you must be ready to accept. Medical history is never static, it is fluid and evoles and must be updated as new knowledge becomes available, it never ends.
Knowing where and who you come from. There should not be any anonymity in ART. The person created at the age of majority should have the right to all information.
If a person is willing to provide sperm or egg or womb, they should be willing to meet the person they helped create and answer any and all questions that person has. No one can force or require a relationship but respect for who they had a hand in creating should morally and ethically require at least a meeting and answers to questions. If they are not willing to do this then do you really want their genes and nature passed on to your child or the surrogate nurturing your child? Inheritance is not simply disease, it is also how that person acts as a human being that is passed down.
No Secrecy. The person you are creating deserves to know how they came to be. If you cannot see that then you do not deserve to be a parent. Yes, it is that simple. If you will not tell your child when they are small then don’t create a child.
Education of what other donor conceived feel. This does not include what other parents tell you how their children feel. You must talk to adults who were donor conceived. You must open your mind and not label them as “angry” or “mal-adjusted” – they are telling you about the down side of being donor conceived. They will also tell you if they had good parents, if they love their parents. You must understand the conflicting emotions of loving the life you have and the feelings pain and the void that also ride alongside those feelings of love.
It is what it is and if you are going to create a child through ART then you must be willing to accept that your choices can, and probably will evoke those feelings. Do not stick your head in the sand when as a child they do not show any negativity to how they were created, the true feelings are seldom told until they are adults.
ART is not something that should be done without an incredible amount of soul-searching, research and education.