Thursday, July 9, 2015

Adoption, Donor Conception, Both, or Neither? (Part 3)

In summary, here is how our daughter's embryo donation conception differs and is similar to both traditional adoption and gamete donation conception.

How our daughter's embryo donation conception differs from gamete donation conception: 
1. The embryo donor conceived offspring does not share genes with either of her/his parents.
2. The nature of the embryo donor conceived offspring's conception is not marred by material gain or purposeful creation into a subpar situation.
3. The embryo donor conceived offspring has one group of genetic relatives - both donors and siblings - that if found, are found in one fell swoop.

How our daughter's embryo donation conception differs from traditional adoption:
1. There was no legal proceeding to form a familial bond between us and our daughter.  Likewise, there is no involvement of social services judging us worthy - or not - or suggesting how we ought to parent.
2. Our daughter has never bonded with any of her genetic relatives.  She was born to the woman who carried her and who is parenting her.  There was never any separation or loss of current relationship. 
3. Due to my current spiritual views, my daughter didn't come into existence until her pre-embryo implanted in my uterus.  It was my body that nourished her into life; she is quite literally made of my own flesh and blood.

That said, there are also similarities with both.

How our daughter's embryo donation conception is similar to traditional adoption:
1. She does not share DNA with us.
2. She was conceived in love by a married couple who agonized over their decision to place their remaining pre-embryos with a different family.  (Yes, I realize many birth/first parents are not married and some adoptees were sadly not conceived in love.)
3. She has a limited, manageable number of genetic relatives which she may or may not be able to locate and develop a relationship with.

How our daughter's embryo donation conception is similar to gamete donation conception:
1. She has genetic relatives "out there" that she may or may not be able to find and develop a relationship with.
2. She was born into our family.  She can easily keep her donor conception private if she so chooses because I was pregnant with her and still nurse her.  She also resembles my husband physically.  
3. She was conceived with the help of artificial reproductive technology.

Why does it matter if I consider our daughter's situation that of adoption or donor conception?  Going into embryo donation, the distinction was important to me because the Catholic church taught against any form of artificial reproductive technology and embryo donation was a sort of loop hole that I was able to accept while maintaining my religiosity.  

Now that I am no longer religious, both options are neutral to me.  So the main thing is just figuring out whose voices I need to be listening to in order to understand what my daughter needs from me regarding this unique aspect of her identity.  After looking over these comparison points, I see that it is not as simple as simply "choosing a camp" - adoption or donor conception.  Our daughter has things in common with people from both camps.  And until there is a sizable enough group of adult embryo donation conceived individuals, this is as good as it's going to get.

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