Sunday, 9 May 2010

Identity

Who am I?

I am an Israeli, a Jew, a woman (a single woman), a holder of an x political view, a veggie (though not 100%), a nature girl, a curious book loving person, a black haired brown eyed person on the shorter spectrum of adults, an adult. And the list can go on and on and on.

Are any of these because I was born to M and D (mum & dad..)?? Sure. My black hair comes from my father, as well as my curiosity, while my height probably comes from my mother.
But am I who I am because I inherited these certain genes?? Would I have been a different person if I had blue eyes? Or is my identity more than the set of genes I inherited? Does the fact that I grew up with M and D, regardless of the genes pool, have no voice in the making of me?

There was now a "docu" film about the missing identity of donor conceived kids in Israel. Let me just preface by saying that here there is only anonymous donations (and as there is no code given to mothers/donors, it is quite impossible to track down a donor or even half siblings). This film (with the original name of - The Lost Kids of the Sperm Bank) caused a lot of stir in my SMC forum. There were these really disturbing promos (which not having a T.V I haven't seen myself, only know from the discussions, but I did make it a point to see the film), like showing this young woman crying saying how everyone has the basic right of knowing who their "daddy"* is. Like she has a missing part of her identity because she knows very little about half of her genes. And it's not this young woman that was disturbing, more the showing of it as the promo to their film, showing again and again how you are not a complete person if you don't know the full story of your genes.
Truth, the film was much less worse than what it looked like it would be (and maybe it was somewhat edited as some stuff that was in the promos didn't appear in the film itself), but it was still very much one-sided. Still talked about the wrong of having these kids grow up without any knowledge of their biological father. They mentioned quite a lot the "phenomena of the black hole of anonymously sperm-donor conceived children", hmmm.. while I never heard of such a phenomena, are you implying that all kids conceived from anonymous donors are lacking a major part of their identity!? (and shall I ignore the little astronomy I know in which black holes actually sucks and absorbs everything, and is not something that is lacking??) . And I really didn't like how it ended - talking about the distress of these kids.

And yes, I agree that it can matter what you are made of, if only to fill this basic human curiosity, and not being able to provide my daughter with any such info of her other half, pinches me greatly. But I do not think it is the whole story of who we are. I don't think a person would necessarily be lacking in their identity if this information is missing from them. I do believe it is very much the parent's role to make their kids feel whole and complete however they were created. I don't think the 'no dad' issue should be pushed aside and ignored, but I also don't think it should be made into a big deal. I do not think these kids are in distress. An identity, in my eyes, is what you have, what you grow up with, not what you do not have.


* my quotation marks, because could a person who injaculated into a test tube and got some $$ from it, ever be considered that child's dad? And I have high regards to my daughter's donor (obviously he didn't do it for money but out of pure kindness of his heart!), but I still would never consider him my daughter's dad.

6 comments:

The Turning Of Paige said...

Wow, I'd love to see what those film makers would do with my donor egg/donor sperm situation.

battynurse said...

The whole thing about the donor conceived who are so angry about their beginnings is very difficult for me to understand. Would they truly rather not exist? Because if their parent hadn't taken the step they took using donor gametes they wouldn't exist. It's not like they would still be the same person they are now with more information or a daddy. They wouldn't exist. I do understand having curiosity about ones genetics (heck I have it since I'm adopted) and I can also understand where there are some women who maybe enter into SMC because they feel they have no other choice and feel guilt about it or raise their child in a manner that shows some regret or guilt about their origins. I also see though people who get married and have children and then for one reason or another one of the parents leaves the picture and the child is parented by a single parent. Starting off with a father does not guarantee that the father will always be there. And yes a sperm donor doesn't automatically make a daddy. It's just so sad to see people blame all of their life problems on something that can't be fixed or changed. It's like it gives them permission to not change themselves or heal.
Sorry this is so long but it's something I have very strong feelings about.

S.I.F. said...

I totally agree with your last little bit! Donation does not a father make!

Me Plus One said...

It's the age old question of nature vs. nurture...I think the media focuses on the negative side & reports on the children who are struggling because that makes good tv...we miss out on hearing about the millions of donor children who have no issues & are perfectly well adjusted.

Dora said...

My take is that the donor conceived children who are angry are ones whose parents were secretive about it. And as Me Plus One said, we don't hear about the ones that are doing just fine.

MommieV said...

http://www.choosingsinglemotherhood.com/

Mikki Morrissette devotes some space to this idea in her book. She agrees it can be an identity issue for us to know where we come from, but she talks to children of SMC's and - if handled positively and appropriately - donor-conceived children don't seem to suffer major identity issues.

I'm still struggling with how to handle that conversation when my Wee One is big enough to start asking. In a way, I can just say that we have a "known donor" and "mommys friend helped her have a baby". She doesn't need to know the "knocked up" stuff until later. Much later.