March 07, 2008

We deserve to be conceived in love

A wonderful new blog has caught my attention (thanks to a comment here by its owner). Lindsay, a donor-conceived young woman has started a blog called "Confessions of a cryokid," and it is an incredibly worthwhile read. She is open and frank, and goes into detail. For all those infertile adults (and other adults) who are considering using donor gametes in their quest to have a child, this blog shoud be compulsory reading.

Lindsay begins the blog, appropriately, with her own personal story. I was deeply touched by her description of her own conception:
"On May 24th, 1984 in a small town in Northeast Ohio I was conceived. There was no candlelit dinner or even conversation between my parents that day. In fact, they had never even met. My father was probably sitting through a college lecture in Georgia and had no idea that 1,000 miles away his own biological daughter was being conceived in a doctor’s office."
What a wistfully sad description of the most sacred moment in a person's life, their own beginning. It is obvious even from these three first sentences that this lovely young woman feels a regret that her own, biological parents never loved each other, and never even knew each other. Rather than a loving and special act by her parents, her conception was a mere technical procedure performed in the cold, sterile environment of a doctor's office. There is also an obvious sadness that her own biological father did not even register the fact that his own child was coming into being.

The infertility industry may say what it will, but the children speak for themselves. It is clear to me that the human heart longs to be conceived in a special way that, above all, involves love between the biological parents. This is not the first time I have read such descriptions from DI-conceived people. I remember reading something similar from Katrina Clark and from Narelle in Australia. Conception does not necessarily require intentionality by the parents, but where love is missing, where the parents do not even know each other, one feels that the "specialness" of their beginning had been somehow violated. We long to be conceived from love!

The infertility industry tries to twist this fact around. They say, "My child was indeed conceived from love, because I loved this child - even before it was conceived!" Of course, they are fighting straw tigers with this argument. The child is not asking that it be loved before it was even conceived. This does not even make sense - after all, how could the parents really love *that* child, before it was even conceived, before they knew who it would be? More truthfully, they loved the idea of having a child, any child, whoever would come into being through their efforts. The fact is, we desire to be conceived from love between our parents, not love "for us" before we are conceived.


Lindsay said...

Thank you for all your praise on my blog. I really am trying to make a difference and I hope in time people will see what I have to say and realize that I'm not the only one who feels this way. Thanks again :o)


John Howard said...

Hi, I just found your blog, via Lindsay's, via some other blog, and wanted to thank you both for making your voices heard.

I work trying to stop repro-tech also, focused mainly on getting a law passed to stop genetic engineering, but also to restore marriage as the only right way to conceive children. I'm trying to re-link these subjects in the public mind.

EggAndSperm blog

I hope you agree with me that same-sex conception is a bad idea that hurts children. It's easy to get caught up in gay rights sympathy and feel that, in theory, it would be a way to get around the problems of DC and adoption, but I'm hoping you'll agree that we can give equal protection and equal dignity to gay couples without having to accept same-sex conception technologies.

Anonymous said...

Um, I don't really want to think about my parents having sex either though...

John Howard said...

Veronica, have you looked into same-sex conception yet? I want to warn you about it, to make sure that you don't inadvertently lend support to the concept of using "female sperm" or "male eggs" to same-sex couples. It is NOT a better alternative to DI conception! The fact is, the only good way to conceive children is within the marriage of a man and a woman, using their own sperm and egg, and we have to oppose every thing else equally. But especially, we should oppose experimental genetic engineering techniques that have yet to be done. I don't support DI conception or any intentional extra-marital conception, but at least it isn't taking the step into genetic engineering and further commodification and design of children. I hope you will agree, and let me know what you think soon.

Veronica Thomas said...

Hi John,

Thanks for your comments on my blog. I hope you don't mind I've added a link to your blog. As far as same-sex conception, I've blogged in the past about how children need both a mother and a father, and how they need especially their biological mother and father. So, this would rule out same-sex parenting, because two women cannot replace a father, and two men cannot replace a mother.

As far as creating a human embryo from two female gametes, one of which would have been engineered into a sperm, even the scientists recognize that this would be highly unethical. Human beings cannot be treated like guinea pigs for scientific experimentation.

John Howard said...

Thanks, that's great. The repro-tech companies will try to use the problems of donor conception to push their solution on same-sex couples, so I'm glad you are more than just anti-DC but truly anti-repro-tech in general. We need to make sure other anti-DC people understand the dangers and aren't manipulated.

thanks for the blogroll link too!

Anonymous said...

The problem with the concept that the children need to be conceived in love is that there are large numbers of children conceived in stupidity (naturally by having sex) in the form of a one night stand. Natural conception doesn't guarantee that the parents love one another or that they will be around for the children for the long haul. Another problem with the whole thing against donor insemination is that the option is for that person (Lindsay included) to just not exist. Since if donor insemination hadn't been used then that particular sperm and egg would not have met and therefore the person would not exist.

Anonymous said...

The title of this thread alone only proves the point that there is personal angst on the part of the blogger (regarding her own personal struggle with infertility). I feel that everyone deserves to be conceived in love. I also feel that everyone deserves to conceive in love. Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want. The good thing is, if one wants to conceive a child, it is done in love whether or not repro tech was used.

Some opt to remain happily childfree.

Curious Reader

Veronica Thomas said...

Hi Curious Reader,

I just don't get your comment. The fact that I said that children deserve to be conceived in love shows that I have personal angst? Pardon me if I don't see the connection there.

The point I was making was that the only type of conception that fully corresponds to human dignity is a conception that involves an act of love between the parents. To see the further connection, read Lindsay's blog, where she, as a donor-conceived adult, wistfully describes the lack of love in her own conception. It is heart-wrenching to read, because it shows how we naturally long to be conceived in love, and how we instinctively mourn the fact when our parents did not love (or even know) one another.

Beth Gray said...

I found your blog tonight. I respectfully request that you remove your link to my blog, "Hard Boiled: A Donor Egg Blog." I'll accept your attack on my own choices but I want no association between my blog and one that labels my beloved children slaves, consumer products, pets, and disposable because of their method of conception. -- Beedrew

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