January 31, 2007

Moms by choice, but not single by choice

There is a new fashion today in the repro tech world: single women who have decided to go ahead and have children despite their inability to find a suitable male mate, are now flocking to donor sperm and calling themselves "single moms by choice." I guess this is supposed to make them seem empowered and in control, as if their situation is really a "lifestyle choice". I guess it's even supposed to make them sound cool - they got what they wanted and they didn't need - or seemingly even want - a man.

The truth is though, that they aren't really single moms by choice. They did choose to be moms, but they aren't single by choice. They are, sadly, single because they have not found a life partner, despite longing for this.

A new article just came out about them here: http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/atlanta/stories/2007/01/17/0118bctxsperm.html

In the article, one of these moms says: "I searched for Mr. Right, but could never find him, and I really wanted a child," she said. "I have never been the one to do things conventionally. So, while it was frightening, it was a no-brainer. I was going to have a child, and this seemed the best way."

Another one of the women says that her path was similar:
"For most women, having a child on their own is plan B," "In high school I dreamed of getting married and having kids," she said. "And I have not abandoned that idea. I have the rest of my life to find a husband, but I do not have the rest of my life to have a baby."

Children hurt when their biological parents are missing from their lives

In a recent article in The Guardian, a woman who discovered she was donor-conceived at 50 years of age says:
"A lot of people think they have a right to have children, regardless of whether the child has any information about their father. It's within this context that you still get people fighting for anonymity among sperm donors which, in light of experiences like mine, seems incredible."
Also from the article:

"This is often coupled with an unresolved sense of loss. People say you can't miss what you haven't had, but no group of people reveal this as being more misguided than people who long to know their paternity. "If it hasn't been worked through - possibly because there is still the hope of one day finding the father - this unmourned loss can occupy a huge inner space of a person's psyche," says Trench.

In many situations, people have not lacked a father figure in their lives, albeit not a genetic dad. Indeed, few people wanting to know more about their biological fathers say they are seeking a paternal relationship. They simply want some questions answered."

Read the full article here:


January 27, 2007

Looking for sperm on Craigslist

A lady recently advertised on Craigslist in Austin, Texas, looking for a sperm donor. This is a part of what she said:

Attention Austin gentlemen! My name is “Katherine” and I am a 38 year old single woman. I have been on a 15 year search of a husband to no avail. I was eager to marry so I could start a family; however, have recently set the search of marriage aside for a greater one, the one of becoming a mother.

Where you fit in: Two words: Baby lust. I desperately want to have a biological child. Therefore, I am in search of a sperm donor...the old fashioned way! I am willing to pay you $2000 for the first time encounter, and $500 for each additional encounter, in the event the previous one(s) did not take. This encounter would be dependent on my monthly ovulation cycle.

(click here to read the full post on a bioethics blog).

Well, what can I say. Anything is for sale these days.

January 26, 2007

Struggling with Infertility

Yesterday, Oprah had a show on 30-somethings in America, and one of her guests was Jenna, a 34-year-old woman who is struggling with infertility. Click here to read her story on the Oprah website and to view photos. This woman has tried everything, including IVF. She has spent over $40,000. Nothing has been successful so far, but she is not yet giving up.

In watching her story, it struck me how she had such a deep sense of entitlement to children. She already had a big house, she already drove an SUV in preparation for having children. She seemed so single-mindedly determined that she would have children at any cost, because that's what she has decided she wants in life. It was all about her, her, her and what she is supposed to have, have, have.

Speaking as one who does not yet have any children, but who hopes to have them someday, I certainly understand the desire for children. However, there is something unhealthy about this desire taking over our lives to the extent where we are willing to do ANYTHING for it.

January 19, 2007

Olivia's presentation to Canadian Committee

The following are excerpts from a presentation that Olivia Pratten, a donor-inseminated child, gave to Canada's Standing Committee on Health in 2001. At the time, Olivia was 19. She appeared before the Committee in an attempt to open up Canada's assisted reproduction laws, so that anonymous sperm donation would no longer be allowed. Unfortunately, the laws were not changed. Olivia said:
After all, an anonymous system violates our human rights, as stated in article 8 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to “undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity”. Canada ratified this convention in 1991.
...To begin, the donor is not Dad to me. I have a Dad. However, the genetic tie that I share with my biological father cannot be minimized or made to disappear. I carry it with me. It is visible in who I am and what I will be. I have obviously inherited heavily from my mother's genes when it comes to colouring and appearance. Nonetheless, in terms of personality and interests, there is little I have in common with her and that side of the family—but I still love her.

For example, I've always had an uncanny sense of direction. No matter where I am, without a compass, I can always find where I want to go and I can point to where north is. Neither my mother nor anyone else in her family has this ability. It's little idiosyncrasies like these that are always on my mind.

Over the years, I've tried to create sort of a visual image of what the donor might look like. We come up with, well, she's tall and I'm short, so I think he must have been short. We also think he probably has big hands, because people tease me about having big man hands—and I have smelly feet.

It's things like these that I'm constantly thinking about, and I'm always left pondering, trying to put the pieces together of who this man was and how this relates to who I am today. If I could somehow know who he was, it would not alter the essence of who I am. I know that already, but it would alter the way that I look at myself. Everything I already know about myself would be put into a different context, and I believe my perception of things would be altered.

It's almost like putting on a pair of glasses because your vision is no longer 20/20. It's frustrating, because everyone else can see things in the real light, but those of us who were conceived through anonymous gametes are left trying to figure out what's going on. It's a continuing feeling of unfairness and exclusion.

As a bit of a personal story here, when I was in grade 5 we had to do a family tree and a report about where our ancestors came from. I remember the feeling of exclusion and sadness I felt when I watched my best friend, Skye, fill in her family tree all the way back to the 1600s, alongside the family story that her surname indicated they were merchants. When it came down to me to write out my family tree, I looked on in envy at hers. I couldn't bring myself to write down my Dad's family.

Little things like these throughout one's lifetime serve as a reminder of what I and other DI offspring don't have and probably never will have—for example, talking about genetics and heredity in a high school biology class, or walking by a genealogical section of a bookstore. Perhaps it's having a friend show you a piece of jewellery that has been passed down through her family for generations. It is these things that people who know their true genetic heritage take for granted and quite often don't even realize the significance of. DI offspring are left to ponder for themselves who these missing relatives are.

Sometimes when I'm in Vancouver I wonder whether I pass him on the street. When I meet someone who was a UBC student around the time I was conceived, I look him over and wonder, could he be my biological father? What I do know is that there is an undeniable piece missing that I'm always subconsciously trying to find. And why should I when other Canadian citizens do not think twice about their genetic puzzle? Most of them don't even realize or appreciate what they have.

To continue creating future offspring with an anonymous system, knowing these facts, is unacceptable and irresponsible. Moreover, to give offspring so-called euphemized non-identifying information feels like a slap in the face, and from my point of view, I'd call it taunting information. Basically the message is, we know who he is but we will not tell you. Imagine the humiliation of walking into a government office and having someone who does not know you tell you this. Many offspring feel that this information belongs to them, so why should they have to go to a complete stranger to justify, knowing that they have the key to the donor's identity? What a horrible feeling it would be knowing that you're close yet so far away from ever knowing who this man, your biological father, really was.

Non-identifying information, I believe, is a joke. It's like making a gourmet meal, then putting it in front of me, and then telling me I cannot eat it. Even if I had the opportunity to have non-identifying information, I can tell you that it would not be enough. It would be something, but the desire to know who this man was would still be there—and I still have no dignity, as I have no say in the matter. The control and decision-making is still in the hands of the infertile couple and the donor.

The most glaring example of this that I saw in the draft legislation was that the donor can consent to having the information destroyed. Personally, I find this quite disgusting. That information is not just his information, it's my information. I carry it with me. I carry it in my genes. It will affect my family. I believe giving him this power is not right; it's unacceptable.

Another thing, while referring to the draft legislation, I came to conclude that Health Canada has been leaning towards the creation of a dual system. This is when couples can decide if they want an anonymous donor or not, and donors can decide whether or not they want to be identified when the child comes of age.

I feel that to create a system of anonymity alongside one of openness is unconscionable. A class of marginalized citizens will be deliberately created—DI children without knowing their genetic origins alongside other DI children who do and more Canadians conceived traditionally. What shame and isolation the child created in anonymity will feel. We have to ask ourselves, why are we even thinking this is acceptable?

The feelings of unfairness and exclusion will be even more compounded in a situation like this as the child realizes that their parents had the opportunity to choose an identifiable donor, but instead chose the path of secrecy, shame, and deception. I can only begin to imagine the distress I would feel towards my parents if I knew they could have chosen a different route than anonymity. I know, however, this was not the case.

I would like to see a system where donors cannot donate unless they are willing to be identified if the child requests this when he or she comes of age at 18. When the child, who is now an autonomous adult with rights equal to those of every other Canadian, feels ready, he or she can go through a bureau or something of this sort to make contact with the donor. The donor enters the program knowing this before donating. After all, he entered into this voluntarily; as offspring, we never asked to be put into this situation.

And from my many discussions with DI offspring over the years and with others who are adopted, I can tell you that at the core we share the same issues and desires of wanting to connect with that lost parent. In this day and age, we recognize the need of adoptees to know their genetic heritage. I wonder why, then, in light of all the research in the area of adoption, an anonymous gamete system in any form would even be considered. I've yet to meet an offspring conceived anonymously who says, “Gee, that's just wonderful. I'm so glad I'll never have the opportunity to know.”

On the contrary, these people are some of the most passionate advocates for openness. When talking about this issue, I often hear the debate of right to reproductive choice thrown in by the medical profession; however, I never made the choice not to know who my biological father is. I find it infuriating that my choice of whether I want to meet the donor has been taken away from me. The point is not whether I want to meet him, it's that I have the choice to do so in a dignified manner.

...I argue it's better to have an accountable, slightly smaller system than a large, unregulated one—a system where the priority has been that the supply must meet the demand for the infertile couples at the cost of considering the needs of the resulting offspring, who have been treated like commodities in a baby factory.

As a society, I believe we must balance our compassion for the pain of the infertile with the consciousness of not manufacturing babies just to ease this pain without thinking of the effect on the lifespan of the resulting child.

...Bill Cordray, an adult DI offspring and a personal friend, described the experience of genetic bewilderment in better words than I could and I quote him here:

Who am I? That is a basic question that everybody asks, and most people form their identities seeing their mirror images in their own family, as well as by environmental influences and social attachments to people. A major key to everyone's identity is their genetic blueprint, which most people can read in the faces of their family and can see in the photographs and stories of their ancestors.

As people conceived through assisted reproductive technology, we share the same struggle for full identity as adoptees. Medical professionals rarely look beyond the microscopic view of zygotes, gametes, blastocytes, embryos, or the ultrasonic images of the foetuses to see the human face of the people they create. Their primary focus has been the pain suffered by infertility patients. They've not considered the need of the children, who are the central reason for their profession.

That's the end of the quote. At the end of the day for the doctor, it's just the job. These issues are a mere professional debate. But for the other DI offspring and myself, it's our life; it is we who have to live with the decisions made for us before we were born.

...I can ask each of you to put yourself in my shoes. Could you honestly say you would be satisfied not ever knowing who contributed to half of your identity?
Read Olivia's full presentation here.

Read more about Olivia here: http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/observer/story.html?id=f0257a1a-b7d4-4872-a1b2-06747a933fd6

A donor conceived man experiences long-suppressed grief

This is from the blog of Damian Adams, an Australian man who was conceived using donor sperm:
I used to feel grateful for my existence and even proud of being donor conceived. But now that my own children have opened my eyes, my mind and my heart to what was missing from my own life was I able to truly see what my origins had deprived me. Nothing can fix the sorrow I feel for my own loss and the loss experienced by other donor conceived children.
And in another place, Damian writes:
...The rights of the most vulnerable party, in this case the child, should always override those of the parents. In the instance of children, they have an inalienable right to know their biological father and mother. Yet many would be parents would like to believe they have a right to "have" children. I would strongly argue that no one has a right to have children. We are not some pet that you can bring home from a pet-shop and then "own". No one should use children to fulfill their own desires at the expense of the child. To be able to have children in your life is a privilege. Unfortunately it is not one that everyone can enjoy.

Another young woman mourns for her surrogate mother

Still not convinced? Here is a recent post on the blog of Sarah, a 19-year-old woman who is the daughter of a surrogate, like Brian in a post below.

A Grief not allowed

I am very sad today, with a grief that is not talked about. It is not allowed. Because I had two loving parents. I am not granted asylum. I am not allowed reprieve. Well...what the fuck are you complainin' about ?? You got everything you wanted. You had so many presents at Christmas and your birthday that it was supposed to buy your happiness. You were supposed to forget about your mother. You had everything. Why would you want more? WE GAVE YOU EVERYTHING.

I had everything....everything but my mother. You just can't fix that. Sorry.

A biological father regrets losing his children by donating his sperm

It's worth reading the incredible witness of an Australian father, Michael Linden, who learned the hard way. He is the biological father of Myfanwy Walker. They finally found each other after she searched for him for years. Michael writes:
Would anyone of you here ever give away or even sell your children?....

I did. And so have hundreds of other men in this supposedly civilized country of ours.

Since the mid-1970s something of the order of twenty to thirty thousand children have been born in Australia by means of donor insemination. The vast majority of these children do not know it, but for all of them there is a man somewhere with whom they share the most basic biological connection. These men are their fathers.

Whether they realized it or not, what these men were really doing when they gave away their sperm was giving away their unborn children. Indeed, this is the sole purpose of the practice of donor conception: it is not so much the provision of the means of fertility to the infertile but the exploitation of those who are fertile in order that they provide the infertile with the child that, as it is usually so plaintively phrased, they desire.

Yes, it is true: I never held my lost children in my arms when they were just born as I did with the three daughters of my first marriage.

...But this does not mean that I cannot feel cheated, and at times even angry that – even though I cannot deny my utter responsibility in choosing to donate – I may never get to meet those three remaining young women who are just as much my daughters as those I raised.

Just like some donor-conceived adults of my acquaintance, I am sometimes struck by a passing person in the street or elsewhere, by a fleeting resemblance, by a flash of recognition. And I wonder…

...I have been criticized – and even sometimes by they who are otherwise firm opponents of donor conception - for publicly affirming in the media that I am the real – by which of course I mean biological – father of my medically conceived children.

Most recently on a Four Corners episode dealing with donor conception my statement to that effect was dramatically counterpointed with the opinion of a social father. He was of course shocked that I should dare to reclaim fatherhood for myself in this way. But for me to have stated otherwise would have been to condone and further propagate the lie.
Please visit Michael's blog, from which this excerpt was taken.

Also read about the story of Michael and Myfanwy at the following links:


January 18, 2007

The Pain of the Children Speaks for Itself - Son of a Surrogate

I just had to post this excerpt from the blog of Son of a Surrogate. This is who he is: "My name is Brian and I am the son of a traditional surrogate, a biological father, and an adoptive mother." His blog speaks for itself:
Then came the time last year that J's real mom had her second child. Bev was 35 or 36, somewhere around that. I have never seen the boy unravel quite like he did that day. After we returned from the hospital, Jason and i sat beside each other on the bed. I knew something was wrong because when J chews the inside of his mouth, something is bothering him. I just didn't know how deeply it went for him.

I innocently asked, "So J, whaddya think of Connor? Isn't he an absolute doll?" The dam burst, the levy broke and the floodgate blew apart at that moment. J, sobbing the hardest I have ever seen anyone do, flung himself across my lap, clutched my knees, and wept into my stoneblast Levis. "WHY DIDN'T SHE KEEP ME?! WHY DIDN'T SHE WANT ME?!" he wailed. Over and over he repeated these two things until the dam broke inside myself. I was taken back to the time when I first met my siblings and how badly that stung. Seeing the family photos, all happy and smiling, but I wasn't there. I was missing. I knew exactly how J felt. My mother didn't keep me either. My mother didn't want me either. No matter how much our other parents did, our real mothers did not.

I bent over and sobbed into J's tee shirt. 2 barely grown men transformed back into the raging, grieving infants taken from their mothers and replaced with substitute mothers. No matter how much love we were given, it wouldn't take away the pain of losing our 1st mothers. I felt a connection to J that superceded anything physical or mental. It was a spiritual connection with a grieving brother.

Something horrible happened to us at birth. We lost our mothers. They did not die, but they might as well have been dead because we lost them in the capacity of mother and to a tiny baby, that feels like death. They are all we ever knew and suddenly, they were gone.

How ignorant it is for us to think that babies don't feel or don't remember. Study after study comes out to reveal how aware we really are and how bonding begins before birth.

...Why is it that I get blasted for being the child of a surrogate and an adoptee? Because I am not grateful? Cuz I don't kiss the ass of surrogacy and adoption? Kiss the ass of the industry?

It must threaten you. I must threaten everything you are and everything you stand for to make you write some of those bitchy things to me. I must scare the piss out of you to get so damned defensive. It also hurts, because you care nothing for the feelings of the person these arrangements affects the most - the child.

If my mother was killed in a horrible accident on her way home from the hospital or if she perished in childbirth, I would get all permission to grieve I needed. When I expressed my rage against the forces or thing that killed my mother, you would all give me all the sympathy in the world. I would be allowed for me to grieve, be angry, to rage. Well my mother died as my mother when the forces that be took me away from her. However I am not allowed to grieve because that force was called surrogacy and those people who took me away were called Intended Parents. It's becoming like a sacred cow. Poor poor infertile couples. Ungrateful adoptees. Acquiring that chikd by any means available is far more important to what is actually DOES to the child.

It's bullshit. Pure garbage. Its disenfranchized grief and it is self-perpetuating. No wonder I just don't "get over it'.

So John and Paul were wrong and Aretha was right. Love isn't all you need. You need respect, too. And respect is something I never got. Neither did Jason. The first disrespect came when you took us from our mothers and you gave us a substitute. AS IF we had no feelings. AS IF we wouldn't notice.

Well, we did notice. We'll notice for the rest of our lives.
To read more by Son of a Surrogate, also click here. Here is some taste of what else he says:

How do you think we feel about being created specifically to be given away?...I don’t care why my parents or my mother did this. It looks to me like I was bought and sold....You can pretend these are not your children. You can say it is a gift or you donated your egg to the IM. But the fact is that someone has contracted you to make a child, give up your parental rights and hand over your flesh and blood child. I dont care if you think I am not your child, what about what I think!

...Lets look at this from our point of view. Here is our biological mother our flesh and blood the woman who would naturally be raising and loving us totally denying that we are her child. ...We’re your kids just as much as your own kids, but yet you only think of us as some sloughed off egg that you are giving to a substitute mother who no matter how much love she has just can’t be the same as you? ...How do you think that makes us kids feel? You may be able to deny us but we don’t want to deny who you are. That makes us feel very rejected. That leaves a hole in our hearts whether we admit to it or it manifests some other way like in depression or a fear of getting close to someone else.

...What makes us different than the children you love and raise? Because in your mind you have to think of us as somebody elses kid so that you can keep your sanity and take your compensation. What about our brothers and sisters, the kids you didn’t give away in exchange for money? What if we want to know them and they know us. You can tell them we aren’t their brothers and sisters, but they know the truth. We all know the truth.

...And what about all of the lies told to the kids and their families about who they are. What about all of the sperm and egg donor babies who will walk around looking at faces wondering who their biological parents are and if they could be Joe Schmoe walking down the street because he has the same jaw line. Is it fair to take away our identities? Would you like that done to you?

...Our biology is a part of us, it’s the very first part of us and you have no right to lie about it! Not to us, not to our family either. What you do isn’t all about you. That is so selfish. Its all about us, the kids of surrogacy.

When I was 6 I asked my adoptive mother if she really was my mother. She loved me and I knew she did, but she never felt like my mother. She felt more like a loving nanny and I sensed this even being so young. She started to cry and I felt bad for upsetting her so I didn’t ask any more. But I always knew. Kids always know.

I am mad at them both for not thinking about how I would feel about being taken away from my bio mother and family and having my biology separated like this. I am angry with my mother for denying me and treated me like nothing but an egg and a $8000 paycheck.

Yes I am angry. Yes I feel cheated. Yes I feel that my parents and my mother did not take my feelings into consideration when they entered into this arrangement, but I feel that they are all good people just really misguided and did not stop to think of the ramifications. It’s a shame and it sucks for me. Hell it sucks for all of us. I don’t mean to come off that you (the surrogates and the intended parents) are bad people either. It looks like you are all good people with good intentions and a lot of love but all the good intentions and love in the world wont change the defenition of right and wrong. It won’t change how the kids feel.

I don’t know what the solution to infertility is. I hope they can come up with a way for you to all carry your biological children. I just don’t feel that breaking apart a mother and child is the answer unless the mother will cause harm to the baby. Even in those cases, a mother should be able to take part in the child’s life someway and in a safe way. All I am asking you to do is to think long and hard about what you are doing. Consider everything including the way the kids might feel.

My mother came back into my life a year ago but i had to beg and plead with my adoptive mother to let her do so. I just stood and stared at her for the longest time. It was so comforting to see someone who looks like me because I didn't look much like my father. I have her hair and eyes. I have her nose and smile. There was an increible sense of recognition. Just to see her gave me a sense of belonging to the human race. I no longer felt like I crawled out from under a rock or was dropped off by an alien spaceship. I had a mother and she looked like me. My brothers and sister looked like me too. She cried and held me in her arms and I felt like that tiny baby she had given birth to 17 years ago and was holding for the first time. I felt like I finally came home.

Because somewhere between the narcissistic, selfish or desperate need for a child and the desire to make a buck, everyone else’s needs and wants are put before the kids needs. We, the children of surrogacy, become lost. That is the real tragedy.

Reflection on DI Dad's Explanations

There are so many things that could be said about a very honest and open blog entry by Eric Schwartzman. In response to various questions he received, he offered an explanation of why he and his wife chose the donor-insemination route of having children. Here are bits of what he wrote, along with my comments.

In writing these comments, my words are sometimes sharp. However, I mean no disrespect to Eric and his wife, should they read this. I am sure they are doing a great job raising their children, probably better than many other (biological) parents. I have no doubt about their love for their son. However, LOVE is not everything, despite what we hear today. The fact remains that the Schwartzmans intentionally created a child in an unethical way that violated their son's rights. Why did they do it?

"As far as I know and saw the desire of my wife was to bear her own children. The pain I saw during each failed IVF cycle and failed DI cycle was pure. She wanted that biological desire to be pregnant and give birth to a child."

This is one of the common reasons for resorting to reproductive technology. It is, as those reasons tend to be, self-focused. It's natural for a woman to want to experience pregnancy and to want to give birth. It's natural for a husband to want to fulfill that desire in his wife. On the other hand, this is still just a DESIRE. It's not a NEED; she will not die if it is not fulfilled (many other women also do not fulfill this desire). In addition, it is most certainly not a RIGHT, because no one has the RIGHT to another human being. While people do have the right to try, no one has the right to actually HAVE a child. Unfortunately, this strong emotional desire for parenting has now been taken to the level of trumping other people's fundamental rights and needs - like the right of a child to its own biological parents.

"Why was it important for my wife to be related herself? Because she could and needed to be....She wanted to be pregnant because that biological need or desire was overriding and that she / we wanted to raise a family together as one more facet of the life we wanted to gether."

Interesting...again, this glaring contradiction (sometimes called hypocrisy) has been commented on by DI children. It was SO important to the wife to be biologically related to her child, that she ripped out another equally strong biological connection from her new son's life, just to have it herself. Well, what is her son supposed to think of that? Has anyone thought about HIS "needs" for biological connections to his parents? Couldn't his need be just as strong as the wife's? Eric says it accurately here when he says that her desire was "overriding." In effect, it tanked over her own son's needs and rights. Of course, it was easier to do back then because her son didn't even exist. It's easy to eliminate the rights of someone who isn't even born yet.
"Now onto my rationale of half adoption and reconciling that need to the child’s need (and ours) for kinship. I don’t wholly believe kinship need be via blood. I believe kinship can be gained via loving relationships and shared experiences. Where blood kinship can be found it should be celebrated (via my wife’s family, via developing bonds to half siblings perhaps). Where there are no blood kinships social bonds are just as important."
It's great that Eric also recognizes his son's need for kinship. Yet he follows that with another contradiction: social bonds can be "just as important" as blood kinships. So then, why the need for biological kinship? So where it CAN be found, biological relationships should be "celebrated", but where they can't, they really aren't more important than social ties? So if everything is equal after all, then why are biological ties worth celebrating?

It's interesting that Eric says, where blood ties "can be found". As if it was just accidental or something out of their control. The fact is, in this case they intentionally created that lack of kinship, they intentionally bore that kinship hole into their son's life.

"My son knows I love him and he returns that love based on our mutual actions. He accepts my role as father as he knows little beyond basic biology and only can truly appreciate that I am there for him when he needs me to be and that I am an integral part of his life as he knows it....Did he and I need the blood kinship to be father and son? No....Do I know that biologicaly I am not their father. Yes."

Saying something does not make it so...You can re-define the words "father" and "son" to include a man who is willing to pretend he is the biological father. He is willing to take on the role that actually belongs to the biological father, and assume that man's right to raise his own biological child. But he cannot really become that man. However much we twist ourselves into a verbal pretzel, the fact will always be that Eric is only a stand-in for the real father of his boy. His son is carrying the genes of a completely different man and belongs in the genealogy of that other man. His real father has, in a sense, "given him up for adoption" by donating his sperm. Eric is in fact the adoptive father to his son.

Eric's blog is a sad one to read. Don't get me wrong. He is very articulate, the blog is well-written, so interesting and good reading. However, the unethical nature of their son's conception just takes my appetite away. Nothing they can do or say can really compensate their son for that. Even if their love reaches the heavens, it can never replace the genetic father.

How many of us would willingly give up our own father? I wonder what Eric's son would have chosen, had he really been given the choice. Imagine that he had been in the room with the Schwartzmans, the doc, and the sperm donor, that he knew them all and was old enough to make rational decisions. Would he have still chosen to sever all ties with his biological father and be raised only by the Schwartzmans? Isn't it possible that he would have loved his biological father and his biological father's family, and that he would NOT have consented to the fate that befell him?

But he did not have that choice. The choice was made for him that his biological father didn't matter, and that social ties to his "social" father were just as good.

Indeed, he will never really have that choice, because for him, his real father will be an unknown. He will never know what he missed out on. But he will have missed out, because there are certain aspects that a "social" father just cannot replace. And there will surely be a hollow place in the son where there will always be a longing.

A single mom hopes that dads aren't important after all

"I am a single mom by choice, and I had Molly using an anonymous donor from Northwest Andrology and Cryobank....I can only hope that Molly won't grow up feeling like something is missing from her life. I hope to be enough of a great mom to her that she will only feel loved, and not feel incomplete at not having two parents....I truly believe that if you are honest with your children from the very beginning, and focus on all the things that they DO have in their lives, that they will grow up to be healthy, happy adults who can accept, and hopefully embrace, the way they came to be. " --Sandi, the mother of a 2 1/2 year old donor-inseminated daughter
All that children need is...love, health, and honesty, right?

Wrong. Fathers exist in nature for a reason. The fact is, no matter how great a mom Sandi is, she will always be only that - a MOM. She can never replace a father, nor can she ever be a good enough substitute for two parents. It has nothing to do with the virtuosity of her parenting skills.

Nothing in the world can erase the fact that Sandi INTENTIONALLY, for her own selfish reasons, created a child that is completely and utterly deprived of its own biological father. And now, to add to the injustice, that poor child will inevitably be guilt-tripped into pretending that it really doesn't need, want or miss having a father at all.

It boggles the mind how people can mislead themselves in the quest to get and keep what they want, no matter how immoral. People can rip out a whole parent from the lives of children they supposedly love, and still delude themselves that they are doing everything right and providing the best for their children.

Sorry Sandi. If you are single, you were never supposed to have a baby in the first place, as cruel as that sounds. It's not always about YOU. Sometimes it's about someone else, and in this case, it was about your daughter, and her NATURAL RIGHT to two parents - to her OWN, biological parents. You did not have the right to take that away from her, and no matter how hard you try, you can never replace her father in her life.

So as much as you can say you are a "single mom by choice," in fact, that choice never belonged to you, and you had no right to make it.