The Donor Who Dared To Say Don't

You wouldn't sell or give away your kids, would you? So don't donate your sperm!

Friday, April 06, 2007


The donor cannot possibly have the emotional ties of real parents

I just wrote the following in response to an assumption by Beck, a member of the Yahoo 'spermdonors' group, that a donor cannot possibly have the emotional ties of real parents:

"...that donor cannot possibly have the emotional ties of real parents...It is those interactions that form the emotional bonds. " (her quote)

Beck, I am in the position of both having raised three children over 25 years with a partner and also having met, almost six years ago now, two of the children I fathered as a sperm donor.

With both of these experiences at my disposal I can tell you quite categorically that what you state is wrong. In fact, the emotional ties I have with both sets of children are of equal intensity and importance; though perhaps even more so with the latter since I am constantly aware of the fact that they are the children who I effectively abandoned to be raised in 'a foreign land'.

If you think emotional ties and bonds are solely predicated on the mundane activities which accompany child-rearing then I think you are deluded: or maybe you really need to convince yourself of this for whatever reason? However, if you mean 'ties' in the sense that these activities promote the integration of a family's experience together - the shared ties that bind and hence form bonds, its gestalt perhaps - then I would at least allow you this. But, I think emotional bonds in themselves are transcendent of such activities: they exist along side them but not because of them.

I didn't need twenty tears of shared experiences, nor was I moved by recalling the accumulated dross of 7300 days or so of child-rearing, in order to experience the instantaneous and overwhelming emotional tidal wave of bonding which swirled over me when I met my two lost children for the first time. It was there in their very eyes, and in their long-unacknowledged longing to be re-united with their real father.

We didn't need to talk about this emotion. We all FELT it. We all KNEW that it was there.
We never had to sit down together and recount all the 'calming nightmares, bandaging bruises, sharing holidays, attending school plays, coaching teams, choosing schools and baby-sitters'
in order to better understand this bond which you talk about. Instead we sat down together and looked at all the family photographs in which I was absent: all the days of their upbringing of which I was not a part; and yet still I was: because I existed in them and they knew me, even though they didn't know precisely who I was nor why I was there, nor why they never saw themselves reflected in the man who raised them.

Yes, it was all about loss. But it was also about redemption: for in those first moments, and in all the moments since, my abandoned children and I have been reclaiming our lost relationship and learning to understand ourselves as reflected in the other: their recognizing 'me in them' and being able to re-write their identity accordingly: and my recognizing 'them in me' and hence being properly able to help them integrate me as their real father.

I am sorry, but it is for reasons such as this, that you Beck, and all the people who think like you, are misguided in the way in which you can so blithely dismiss the fundamental bonds which really tie children to their genetic parents. But then, you may simply accuse me of arguing about subtle energies which no doubt you will dismiss as intangible and, hence, not worthy of your obviously materialist inclination

However, "There are more things in heaven and earth, (Beck), Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. "

Wow Michael, great post. From a scientific perspective I think that it is significant that you are able to draw on both raising your own children in the traditional sense and also the children that you donated away and are able to see that they are all equally your children. I wish more people could comprehend that fact.
It sounds like you are a big advocate of biology is what makes up a family and nothing else.
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