26 August 2006

More on donor-conceived persons

Very thoughtful blog from Buffalo Girl. Found via Family Scholars, which has been running some posts about the topic.

It's so sad.

We seem to be in a time when the conclusions of those who think for a living and have carefully done research are either unknown, or disbelieved. We have torrents of news and noise coming at us via the airwaves and Internet, but one gets the idea that we're missing whole huge hunks of the wisdom we need to live fully this great life we've been given.

For example, there is a group that insists that:--
The child has the right to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up within marriage: it is through the secure and recognized relationship to his own parents that the child can discover his own identity and achieve his own proper human development.

That seems like a perfectly reasonable statement. Unpopular, these days, but hardly the fruit of some half-baked ranting. Instead, it represents conclusions drawn after careful, slow consideration of all the aspects of the problem, moral, philosophical, physical, anthropologic ... but we refuse to listen. Instead of respecting the moral equivalent of "don't touch that stove or you'll get burned!", we stubbornly insist upon doing these things, rediscovering only later that there really are consequences:
Just like the other six babies she has borne, this one will go home with a childless couple who paid Jill £12,000 in expenses to be their surrogate.

If her past experiences are anything to go by, Jill knows what is in store once her job is done.

She will return to her two-bedroom flat in Brighton, where she lives alone with three rescue cats, and cry her eyes out, telling herself that she is simply feeling hormonal and it's not the baby she weeps for.


Jill's remarkable story can't help but raise some disquieting questions about the morality of surrogacy; questions those involved appear reluctant to confront.

In their desperate quest to become parents, do the childless couples who seek out women like Jill ever know just how emotionally needy or damaged they might be, or question their true motives? And if they do know, do they care enough to think twice about proceeding?
--quoted by Genevieve at feminine genius; source here.

* * *

“As I have said many times before and will say again, it does not matter how or why or for what outstandingly noble reason we were given away, back, forward or bloody sideways by our natural mums, it is still perceived by most as abandonment and there is a deep and unabiding loss.”
(source) --Sara at Umbilicly_Challenged

The ones who defend the children's rights go on to show that they understand the fears and pain of those who resort to science to get children:

The suffering of spouses who cannot have children or who are afraid of bringing a handicapped child into the world is a suffering that everyone must understand and properly evaluate.

On the part of the spouses, the desire for a child is natural: it expresses the vocation to fatherhood and motherhood inscribed in conjugal love. This desire can be even stronger if the couple is affected by sterility which appears incurable. Nevertheless, marriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child, but only the right to perform those natural acts which are per se ordered to procreation.(57) A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child's dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, "the supreme gift" (58) and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception. (emphasis in the original.)
It is understandable if one cannot agree with this stance; but it is reasonable, I think, to request that one seriously read and consider the statements and evaluate the reasoning behind them.

Parents have no right to a child.

The child has the right to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.

Not the kind of thing one hears about the topic these days. Magazines, doctors, and TV dramas all urge one to believe differently from those statements.

In charity, I suppose that many parents who resort to medical means of conception may never have encountered the alternative ideas about "best practices" for a whole, fully human, life.

Sadly, some parents are so focused on what they want that they completely forget that The Baby is going to be a human being, different from them, and complete with instincts and needs and desires which they've thwarted to fulfil their personal goals:
"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. I’m sorry but you just cant do that. We are your kids. 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? For 25 thousand dollars or whatever? You don’t bond with us when you are carrying us and you deny that we are yours because you have deluded yourselves and deny who and what we really are. That is so totally not right that I can’t believe anyone would think this is normal!And why are you doing this? For the most part its money from what I understand. Some of you have already admitted that in other posts. Would any of you do it if you did not get compensated for it? Or maybe if you didn’t get that feeling of belonging or acceptance that you never had as a kid? 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."

The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, "the supreme gift" (58) and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents.

Read it all.

May God have mercy on those of us who have failed to trust our lives to God's love, and in our pride and ignorance have reached out to play with the pretty, warm flames.

And let us remember that a whole education does not consist of censorship; i.e., removing certain texts from the curriculum which have fallen out of favour with the current fads of thought. Instead, all the main schools of thought must be presented. Because, in the end, it's not some abstract thing we're dealing with, but life and our ability to live it well. Instead of thinking we know what we're doing - we who've had so little training in even how to think, much less what others have learned before us through centuries of observation and hard lessons - we need to get constructively lazy about life, and spend hours reading the thought of those who went before us, and respect that thought. We do not want to suffer the lack of children, so we take steps to avoid it, without having sufficient education or depth of thought to begin to imagine what it will do to those who bear the consequences of our actions:
I cannot control people's actions and I'm not trying to. In the end, people will find a way to justify their actions no matter what they do. I am just glad that there are people like you out there who wish to be more informed to make such a life-altering decision. Donors are not saving lives (of recipients), they are **creating** lives. Many people do not realize the intensity of the situation. My biological father is sick and tired of "the whole sperm donor thing" but it is my life. Though, in reality, it is irrelevant to any success or failure I will have but it is nothing less than significant to define my background, where I come from, and how I am treated, as something miraculous, taboo, unnatural, and medically supernatural.

No one knows better than donor-conceived people that blood does not make two people family... so why not save a life that is already on this earth and adopt?

...But that's just me.

--quoted in a post on the Buffalo Girl blog

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