Saturday, November 14, 2009

Postscript on Genes

A year or so ago, there was a NY Times article about a several families who all had children from the same sperm donor and who tracked each other down. While they were curious to meet him (but I don't think he felt the same), they were just as curious to meet each other, to learn about the traits their children shared and commiserate a bit (I think I remember that several of the children had similar medical issues.)

When we chose a donor, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I would be able to locate any other children that our donor contributed to. We saw photos of two children who were born through our ED; however, they are Indian and apparently their parents intend to keep the facts of their birth a secret. Since we're leaning toward only having one baby, it would be really nice to have a connection with a half-sibling or two or three. However, as our pregnancy went on, I realized that these siblings would be located around the globe, so it might not be very useful for our child to know that he had half-siblings in Australia. But given how fast and easy global communications are, and since my blog seems to have a global reach, I'll just put this out there: if you used an ED from Mumbai named Neha, could you drop me a note at Maybe we'll just decide to put the information in our back pockets and not do anything about it for 5 years, but I owe it to Micah to at least ask the question.


  1. Good on you Steph. This is a really brave and incredible selfless call to make.

    you're a great mum!


  2. Our child is only to be born in March but I also think sometimes about the anonymity of the ED. I just hope that in 15 years or so the clinic and/or the law in India has changed and that at that time our child will get the chance to connect to it's biological roots.

    But to me the genetics have never been so important. In fact I believe that it is unhealthy for everybody in the process to give it too much attention. I grew up in post Nazigermany where education about race and blood steams still is a mayor issue. Today the terms have changed. Educated people would hardly openly show their prejudice against "people of color". Today it called "genetic" or "biological" and not "blood" or "race" anmore. But these terms are all the same to me.

    And since our children are partly from Indian decent we will probably see much of that. So? We will learn how to deal with that.

    Since my husband and I are a gay couple the choice for "natural parenthood" was never on the table. For more then 2 years we have tried to adopt a child from Africa. I lived there for almost 4 months and got connected to one orphanage in particular. I will never forget this one girl who was begging me for love and would not let loose.
    For us adoption was "naturaly" the first attempt. Of course I would have loved a child that was given to us just as if it was mine. There is not a shadow of a doubt in the very last corner of my mind that I would have done just that. Love it as if it was mine. Who cares
    about this genetic string? Not me!

    Now things have changed. Adoption didn't work since homosexuals are not good enough for adoption in Africa or Germany and we moved forward towards surrogacy. Now all these people ask us: "who is the sperm doner?" But why do they do that? At the end of the day we are both going to be the "real fathers" to this child. I feel a little sorry for the people who ask and also a bit insulted. These people seem to think that the one of us who is not the sperm doner is "less of a father". And of course this is not true. This child would not have been born if it wasn't for us two.

    Not the ED and not the surrogate started that journey to have this particular baby. This baby is ours.

    The world radius of the child will expand year by year. From the crib to the house to the family to the kindergarten to the school to the town. I take it as my obligation to include India within this radius. I believe India is a part of this child and vise versa. To what extend this is true is not for me to decide but for the child to discover on it's own. And it's perspective to that might change during it's life several times. I am looking forward to be a part of that journey and I wish to assist and help as good as I can.

    So, getting in contact with the genetic mother may become an option or it may not. I hope it will be one. But even if not, I want the child to get to see the broad variety of Indian Hindu and Moslem women.

    I went to East Africa because this is where we all are coming from. Our ant sisters came from a land that is now called Ethiopia or Somalia or somewhere in that region. And we are all brothers and sisters as far as I am concerned. And as far as genetics are concerned, we have 99,999% in common. To me it is bizarre that people focus on what divides us instead of what we have in common.
    If I compare my genetic oldest brother with my best friend, it is obvious that I have so much more in common with my friend then with my sibling.

    Does that all makes sense to you?
    Take good care and don't worry too much.