Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Using Donated Sperm and Egg vs. Adoption

I received the following letter as a comment to a post - and I think the topic definitely warrants a discussion. Please share any thoughts you may have.

Dear all, I have azoospermia and my wife has ovarian failure. I am considering using a sperm bank + egg donor and my wife would carry the baby for 9 months. We plan to tell the child, since an early age, that he/she is adopted - the details would be gradually revealed. I plan to pick a sperm donor with adult photos available, as well as ID OPTION (OPEN) - when offspring reaches 18 yo the identification details might be released upon request (of the child). Egg donors info (including adult photos) are pretty much available at the agencies, very different from sperm banks... there are even albuns with many high resolution pics...! My wife thinks it would be easier to go for adoption but the thing is that it usually takes so long for an adoption process to be complete (up to many years). Please, I would appreciate comments and/or insights on this situation. Tks a lot.


Leah Goodman said...

To me, a child from donated egg and sperm would not be adopted. I see no reason to tell the child that s/he is adopted since the child never had any other parent/s. To the donors, these were just random cells. Since you can choose donors with similar racial features (eye color, hair color, skin tone) to the parents, the child can look like the parents - the only situation in which there would be any difference is for medical history (yes, this is not trivial), but the child doesn't need to be responsible for his/her medical history until much later in life, and therefore doesn't need to be told that s/he is from donor cells until later in life.

The pregnancy is just as much of a pregnancy no matter how it begins, and the child would always be only yours, since the genetic "parents" never even met each other.

*this is obviously only my opinion. I get that other people may feel differently.

Bea said...

Hi Leah! I'm going to disagree a bit. It's true it doesn't have to be explained in terms of adoption as there are key differences (although I don't see the harm if it is easier for the child to understand), but the telling early is supposed to help the child feel comfortable with their identity as a donor-conceived person (letting them assume until later would be a real shock) as they get to deal with and process it as they go along.

As for which to choose... I think this is a really personal decision. There are ethical and practical issues no matter which path is taken. I would start looking at message boards, blogs, adoption sites, books, etc etc - gather as many different viewpoints on the situation as possible (including the views of adopted and donor-conceived children, as well as their parents). By the time you have read eleventy billion pages, you will know which issues you are prepared to deal with best, and where your priorities lie.


Anonymous said...

My closest friend and his wife have been trying to have a baby for 3 years. So far they are unable to conceive even in a clinic. They do not wish to go all the way with IVF as it feels too unnatural to them.

They have 3 attempts left (only 6 allowed) to make it work, but it seems very unlikely. I have offered to be a donor for them as i love them both more than anything or anyone else in the world. And I want so badly for my friends to be parents.

the husband, to whom I am closer, has said that he doesn't want to use a donor or to adopt as he would always feel like he was raising a stranger's child. I told him this way, he wouldn't be raising a stranger's child, but a child born completely out of love. I also stated that I would not try to be the "father" or anything like that.

In fact, I am offering that this can be done completely as a secret between me, my friend and his wife. No one else would ever have to know that my friend is not the biological father unless they choose to tell.

My friend's reaction so far has been to say that he fears it wold 'muddy the waters' in our relationship. My response to that is that there are no waters left to muddy. He and his wife both know how much I love them (in fact they are already the beneficiaries of my life insurance and the heirs to my will, and health care power of attorney). We share a spiritual life together and are closer than I have ever been to anyone. Yes, I am in love with my friend, he and his wife know this and have known it for a while, that is not going to change whether or not they decide on me being a donor, so, yes, all those waters have already been tread.

I will never have children of my own, and they aren't likely to have them either unless they go with a donor. So, if their final attempts (going into a clinic and injecting) don't work, I really hope they'll decide to use me a donor. At least then they can tell everyone they conceived naturally, the child is 100% theirs (no one need ever know but the 3 of us), and the child would be conceived entirely in a loving relationship.

what do you think?

I'm posting on a few threads trying to get advice and/or experiences to better grasp the situation