The subject of this virtual visit doesn’t
wish to reveal her identity, like her father, a sperm donor at a Park Avenue fertility clinic on the upper East side of Manhattan.
We only know her as the blogger, “Girl Conceived.” And so, in keeping with her wishes, the details of her story
remain within the perimeters of what she has revealed in her blog: http://connectitblog.blogspot.com/ -- where she speaks with intelligence, experience, knowledge, humor, sadness and a kind of semi-buried bitterness.
some cases like mine you have to come to terms with the idea of never knowing, you just have to have faith that he is out
there. You have to have faith that while you may never meet him, he is a good person. You have to have faith that he is whatever
your mom was told he was like tall, smart, and handsome.....and the only thing you have to go on is yourself…”
-- Girl Conceived.
She is about 30. Though we do not know what she looks like, her invisible image is clear
through a strong and loud verbal voice. She writes of the “Cacophony of Loss.”
At times in her work,
she has to fly. Looking down upon the earth from her window seat she ponders the fact that it is more difficult for her as
a donor offspring to find her father. Her mother was inseminated in the early 1980’s. “At the time,” she
says, “ sperm donation was pretty low-tech and did not involve freezing which made the process all the more sketchy.
Donors were often medical students strapped for cash recruited by fertility specialists associated with their educational
facilities. They would donate the sperm within hours of insemination, if not sooner.”
remember,” she says, “stories my Mom told about finding out she and my Dad could not have kids, how she cried
herself to sleep…how the feeling just ate her up inside.
“She doesn’t realize, but I understand.
It is that very same carnal ache. That heartbreaking urge to [grasp] something so out of reach but so intimately linked to
who you are, that defines the life of a donor offspring. Sometimes I want to scream from the rooftops – ‘where
are you?’ Just let me see this person, understand myself, know that half of me exists somewhere outside of my imagination…”
been looking for her father for years. What is it like? How does it feel? She writes in detail of the experience in many riveting
blog posts. Three, in particular, take you through her pores as she connects with a sperm donor who donated at the same clinic
in which her mother was inseminated. To read them click on her April 10, 2010 post, then her April 18, 2010 post, then her May 3, 2010 post.
am very close to my Mom and [am] by no means insensitive to the heartbreak infertility issues can cause. My only concern is
that the ‘learning process’ needs to occur pre-insemination, so parents can fully understand the consequences
of anonymous donation completely before they opt to move forward.”
Here is her May 16, 2010 post:
A mother considering artificial insemination......
By Girl Conceived
During a brunch in the city, I
and three other women discussed life and family and somehow got to the nature of my conception. Halfway into the meal, one
of the women, a friend of a friend, shared that she was undergoing IVF treatments with donor sperm. It was like someone ran
up to the table and hit me in the back of the head. I was overwhelmed.
Earlier in the meal and prior to her revelation, she had been overly interested in my experience
as the child of donor sperm. While I answered her questions honestly I could sense their was a "motivation" for
her interest that made me a little uncomfortable. She looked very intensely into my eyes when I answered and every question
was followed by another. I later realized that she sort of perceived me to be her unborn child 30 years from now.
I imagine if my mother had the chance to speak to someone like me prior to conceiving
via AI, she would have been very similar. What I find the most troubling and perhaps a little perplexing was that as
she sat beside me reviewing her latest trips to the doctor, it sounded incredibly selfish. She was in her late thirties and
single after divorce. She saw her time as "running out" and without a partner she turned to artificial insemination.
I tried to shake my head with familiar understanding but I felt a surge of emotion just beneath my calm.
At 29, I understand the aching desire to have a family and pressure to conceive. With that said,
I don't think it gives me the right to deny a child the right to know genetic lineage through artificial insemination. As
these thoughts ran through my head I felt my hand squeezing my fork tightly from the frustration rising inside me. I
looked down at my plate of breakfast as she went on speaking to all the woman at the table.....I wish I had started earlier...people
said I had all this time...I feel lonely in this... I hope I conceive soon....I have been waiting.....I......I .......
To calm myself down I had taken to counting the number of times she said "I." 27 actually.
She focused a lot on this "right to know" status of her sperm bank - like a soothing mantra. "It's a right
to know sperm bank.....since it's right to know I feel better...the right to know" Suddenly I could
feel that everyone was looking at me. My face was flushed and I stumble for words. "I wouldn't do it" I said.
She looked at me in what I would describe as a mixture of surprise and disappointment. "What do you mean?"
"I mean I wouldn't do it." I paused. "I don't think you have any
idea how troubling it can be later on."
We went on to discuss why I felt
this way. She raised some valid points as to why my situation was different and how the "right to know" would provide
her child with important genetic information and medical history. I couldn't help but think to myself "medical history? That
is all YOU want to know about the donor...but your child may want more, may want to see the crook of his smile or understand
the subtitles of his personality which she shares...." While I think she took my points to heart I could feel a
certain resistance to truly engaging anyone who disagreed with her. I think her desperation to have a child...that instinctual
"bell" that rings in the back of a woman's mind was ringing too loud for her to truly weight the realistic terms
of her future child's existence.
I believe this desperation - this almost carnal
push to procreate- is the driving force of the artificial insemination business and the most erosive force against the
rights of donor offspring.
Having a child is not a right; it is a privilege.
I would argue that, in contrast, we all have an inalienable "right" to know our biological parents and that right
cannot and should not be signed away by another individual endeavoring to have the privilege of a child.