The IVF generation …

is coming of age:

“When she was 32, my mother — single, and worried that she might never marry and have a family — allowed a doctor wearing rubber gloves to inject a syringe of sperm from an unknown man into her uterus so that she could have a baby. I am the result: a donor-conceived child.

And for a while, I was pretty angry about it.

I was angry at the idea that where donor conception is concerned, everyone focuses on the ‘parents’ — the adults who can make choices about their own lives. The recipient gets sympathy for wanting to have a child. The donor gets a guarantee of anonymity and absolution from any responsibility for the offspring of his ‘donation.’ As long as these adults are happy, then donor conception is a success, right?

Not so. The children born of these transactions are people, too. Those of us in the first documented generation of donor babies — conceived in the late 1980s and early ’90s, when sperm banks became more common and donor insemination began to flourish — are coming of age, and we have something to say.

I’m here to tell you that emotionally, many of us are not keeping up …”


7 thoughts on “The IVF generation …

  1. Dear Jeff,

    I organise Relative Values and found your entry hard to walk away from as I am an adoptee. Therapist Nancy Verrier has written a book called Coming Home To Self. Amazon do it. and her work may well ease the pain somewhat. She’s a compassionate woman and her work is jargon free, which I find vital.

    I think it apalling that there is one rule for some and another for others regarding details on birth certificates. I really do. You may well wish to say more, or some thing else, anyway.

    The adults involved have access to the information of their origins after all, and as each donor-conceived person’s journey may be too individual to sum up here, I could not fine tune this letter to you with certainty that I am saying the exactly right thing, but Nancy Verrier writes for “those of inauthetic backgrounds” – her words not mine, so much to come to terms with and/or rise above for people like us.

    I anticipate some wag from the fertility industry plonking some remark here, as if therapy makes donorship okay – but far from it, the fact that donor-conceived people can need therapy, and comfort, while everyone else is involved living a satisfying and fun life and taking it for granted, just goes to show how raw the deal is for us.

    The injustice makes me fume, yours, Stella.


  2. PS The salient part is in the chapter about finding out who you are, by listing your likes and dislikes, which may sound merely twee, but at least you gain an angle on what you are truly about, and become your own person. I can’t stand maths, for example, but enjoy writing, and as you compile the list (her suggestions as to its contents make for quite a long list, actually) you do attain an insight into who you are, as opposed to anything else, which detangles the nature/nuture contrast that science touts as irrelevant, although to us it is very relevant indeed.

    If you have difficutly getting the book, I can write out the chapter here, or email it to you privately.

    That certain sense of rejection, and my own issue about self-respect (or its lack of, more like) were improved by developing a circle of freinds who liked me, and understood me without debate, and some I know have gone onto creating their own familes, getting married and so on, which gives one an emotional haven ultimately.


  3. i just thought therapy would help, reall, as you said you were not keeping up to speed emtionally. And enjoy griping about the fertlity industry. I hope it helped. Maybe it will help others. I am just a campaigner for open records who never shuts up.


  4. Oh, I see what happened. You thought I was the author of the words in the post. Actually, I was merely quoting from an article written by someone else. If you click on the words “is coming of age” at the top you can read the rest of the article.

    I am not donor-conceived or adopted, but am concerned about those who are. It seems that donor-conception creates even more problems than adoption in terms of identity. Adoption is an attempt to fix or restore a broken situation; IVF/donor-conception is to deliberately CREATE a broken situation. The Catholic Church has been warning the world against IVF and “the fertility industry” for generations, but no one seems to be listening.

    Sorry about the confusion, Stella. And thanks for your comments. They will perhaps be helpful to some readers.


  5. And considering that half of IVF treatments fail, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (as big as America’s NBC) item on thier Breakfast News a couple of weeks ago, the fertilty indistry are probably panicking as they are selling an illusion that would probably get them fined by any advertising standard watchdogs, so they have to dress up thier propaganda as desperate parents’ comments.


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