Saturday, November 29, 2008

Seven Core Issues Identified in Adoption

Seven core issues are now recognized in adoption for birthparents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. These include:


Several of these core issues apply to donor conception, too. I will explain the ones that seem, in particular, to relate those of us conceived through gamete (egg/sperm/embryo) donation. My focus here is on the produced children, although I realize that these affect all parties involved in donor conception.

Donor conception, like adoption, would not exist without loss. Parents have frequently lost their dream of having a child due to infertility or other circumstances. In the case of couples, one parent loses the opportunity to have a child sharing a genetic bond. Additionally, the donor-conceived are intentionally seperated from half of their genetic families, whether temporarily (for the first 18 years of life) or permanently (through anonymous donations). Some of us have been forever denied information about our heritage and medical histories, too. In other words, the loss initially experienced by our parents through infertility has been unintentionally transferred to many of us.

Similar to adoptees, some donor-conceived people also experience rejection. Although the "donors" are most often well-intentioned and good people intending to help another family, the resulting offspring may wonder why their biological parent intentionally severed ties with them. Even though the donor never wanted to be in a parental role, some of us still view that person as being far more important than just a "donor." Assuming our donors are married with children, we are equally related to them as are their children through marriage yet we are denied any type of connection with all of them. In some ways, this feels like being a second class citizen. Others may point out that we are very wanted by our parents who sought donor conception, which is true, but we are nonetheless rejected/abandoned by someone who may be very important to us.

We, too, are potentionally set up for grief, yet we are expected by society to be grateful. While many, if not most, of us are happy to be alive, we must grieve over never knowing a biological parent and our own history. We may also grieve over never knowing our aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, and cousins. To some of us, this realization feels much like experiencing the death of someone close to us.

Donor-conceived people, especially conceived through anonymous versus known donations, may wonder about the other half of their identity. Some feel incomlete and lack feelings of well-being. Questions may develop, including: Who am I? Where am I from? Where do I belong? What relatives do I look/act like? What is my heritage? Many of us have no way to obtain answers to our questions.

Like adoptees who had no control over being placed up for adoption, donor-conceived had no part in the decision to be a result of reproductive technology. Again, feelings of lack of control applies more to those conceived through anonymous donors. Long before we were born, our parents, clinic, and donor made a decision on our behalf that we would never be allowed to know half of our genetic family. We are a product of this contract, yet we had no voice or ability to advocate for our own needs.

Ending all anonymous donations would reduce many of these issues by taking the needs of the "children" into account and providing them with information that most people simply take for granted. Mistakes were made in the past, but at least they can be corrected for future generations. However, change will not occur until our voices are heard instead of pushed aside.


prazim said...

The key doesn't seem to be to end anonymous donation, but end donation altogether.

If the unwanted/inconvenient unborn in this nation were carried to term and given up for adoption, there would be an estimated 50 million people today who would have been available to be placed in loving homes, and contribute productively to our society.

The participation in the creation of new life is a holy gift from God and should not be treated as another money-making opportunity for those who would be gods in their own minds.

Lindsay said...


I think you have gotten this post completely wrong. Abortion has absolutely nothing to do with what Kathleen is talking fact it is just the opposite. We are saying that as donor conceived adults, we have many of the same issues that adoptees have. Adoptees DO have issues, and "saving" children from abortion with adoption does not help the problem but rather exacerbate it.

prazim said...

Having feelings about life experiences is part of being alive.

There is a particular coldness to donor conception, and it is heartbreaking for those who began in that way, however, as you have breath, there is something for you to accomplish in this life that no one else can do - in spite of and perhaps because of your painful beginnings. God brings a greater good out of all evil which He permits.

I must say, however, that to suggest that someone is better off being killed by their own mother (by way of procured termination) rather than be adopted because of potential feelings about having been given up for adoption, doesn't make that baby better off. It makes that baby dead. Every single human life is precious and unrepeatable.

What I am saying here is that if we begin by recognizing that every single person has a right to life, and is a gift from God, then it is a natural next step to ensure that child whose parents cannot care for him, be placed in a loving, qualified home. So many suffer from infertility and spend every waking moment longing for a baby of their own to love and nurture. But even if that were not the case we are beholden to a higher authority who commands us to love one another as ourselves. No intended good outcome is ever justified by contrary means.