Tag Archives: Third Party Reproduction

It’s not Always a “Choice”

This is going to be another one of those pieces where I hope it generates a productive conversation that leads to progress rather than take offense. It’s not that I care if I unintentionally upset people. I care more about being able to create positive change.
Each of our infertility stories is unique and different. No two infertility stories are exactly the same. With the reproduction of two or more people required to create a fetus leading up to 40+ weeks of gestation there are so many factors in each situation that could go wrong. Even when a diagnosis is the same for an infertile female in a couple you still have the male factor with many different possible reasons for lack of conception or potential for miscarriage. Also you have the being able to afford treatment factor. In taking a hard look at this, the options available for one couple might not be available for another couple when it comes to a couple either conceiving a child or third party reproduction.  In some cases there are no options to become a parent through some type of scientific intervention.
When it comes to becoming a parent via non biological or other scientific ways the ability to do so can vary as well. Depending upon where a person lives, their financial status and other personal circumstances (health, marital status, etc.) the ability to to become a parent via adopting isn’t available for every couple or person. For instance depending upon where a person/couple lives and what the laws are for adopting they maybe disqualified from adopting. You could also be in a financial situation where you are unable to afford the costs to adopt and lack the ability to raise funds to adopt. Lastly you could be disqualified from adopting due to a health condition you have.  In some cases a person/couple may not be able to adopt.
When you add in all of that the conclusion reached is that not everyone will be able to become a parent. I say this because personally I’ve been told by others that it’s my choice to be childless and there are options I’m choosing not to go through. They say this without knowing our full story. There are so many other factors in our story that I haven’t disclosed that are personal to us. I’ve also seen other people be told that if they want to become parents they shouldn’t give up in finding a way to become parents.  That is completely unfair to assume unless you know the person/couple’s entire story.
People mean well when they ask those going through infertility if they’ve considered adoption or tried a certain treatment.  If a person is curious about what the couple/person has tried instead they can ask what their options are. It’s a more broad question that gives the person going through infertility the ability to have control of the conversation. They may have options they are pursuing or may have exhausted all options. The only way to know is ask rather than go to one specific option that either worked for you or someone you know.
My point is infertility and our ability to become parents is extremely complicated.  We should recognize that we all have circumstances that give each couple different options. In some cases a person/couple may choose to pass on their options but in other cases the circumstances may take away any option a person/couple has to become a parent. We can’t assume that a person/couple is choosing to be childless unless we know their whole story.
I say all of this not to be bitter for those who have been able to become parents after infertility. I am grateful that people have been able to become parents because it gives those going through infertility hope that they one day can become parents.  It gives me hope that future generations don’t have to go through what so many of us have dealt with.  I say this to help others better connect with those going through infertility and those who never become parents.  Hopefully this piece can help us better communicate with one another.

Generation Cryo TV Series

As big of an advocate of the infertile community and the issues that impact us I am, I am also very interested in the children who grow up in families via adoption or third party reproduction. The only way we as a society can learn as to how to better parent these children is by hearing the voices of adults who were children in these families. So I was very interested when I saw that for once MTV wasn’t doing one of these trashy shows like “16 & Pregnant” or “Teen Mom”. Instead they were going to do a show on a group of donor conceived children siblings who are in search of the man who donated his sperm that conceived them called “Generation Cryo“.

The group of children come from all different types of families. Bree, who is the main character of the show has two parents who are lesbians. She is the child who is really driving the search for their sperm donor. There are two other families who had an infertile father. Though one of the couples was actually able to conceive a daughter after they used the same donor sperm to conceive their son. That was an interesting situation where I would be interested to know what their dad’s diagnosis was. And finally there were two other families with children whose single mothers used the same donor sperm to conceive their children.

The level of interest in finding the man responsible for donating the sperm varies in each child. Unlike donor conceived children in the past all of the children on the show were told of their conception story at a young age and for the most part are comfortable with it. Though the main character of the show appears and one other child appear to have some hurt over their conception. The main issue the show is bringing awareness to is not only donor conception but more specifically anonymous sperm donation.

As a viewer I really feel for the kids that have an interest in who was the man that makes up 50% of his DNA. I don’t think it’s right that they should have to go through an extensive search to find out who he is. But on the other hand thus guy donated his sperm under the agreement that he would be anonymous and not responsible in any way for the children that might have been conceived from his sperm. It’s a very emotional show on an emotional topic.

The parts of the show that hit home for me were the segments involving the infertile dad’s and how much they care for their children but at the same time still hurt from their infertility. I have to admit there were times during these segments that I teared up thinking about my own pain. It was a reminder that regardless of whether my wife and I become parents the hurt will always be there for me.

Overall the show is very well done. MTV deserves a lot of credit for putting together a show like this and not making the show trashy like they’ve done with other shows. I think it’s an important show for people to watch. I hope it doesn’t become a show where people turn to hate and judge infertile couples, same sex couples and single women who choose to build their families this way. Instead I hope our society first learns that changes are needed to how sperm is donated, second that they empathize and support these donor conceived children and third that they realize the demand for children for those who for whatever reason are unable to conceive a child.

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What the fertile world doesn’t understand

This post has been a long time coming where I rail on those groups of people who come across as enemies of infertility. They are the ones who refer to infertiles as being bitter, entitled and selfish. They are the ones who had no problem conceiving their own children yet judge those who are infertile for the decisions they make to create their families. However, I’ve instead decided not to rail on them but to reach out to help them better understand where the infertile community is coming from. Because I’ve learned that ranting and attacking doesn’t make anyone want to listen to you or be empathetic to your cause.

When I first got my diagnosis of non obstructive azoospermia, I did a lot of research on donor conception. One of the groups I came across was one called the Center for Bioethics and Culture network. Their issues range from euthanasia, abortion, cloning and assisted reproduction/third party reproduction. They are against assisted reproduction, which is something that allows couples who are infertile have children. It’s something that their two heads Matthew Eppinette and Jennifer Lahl as well as other employees at their organization never had to deal with and are very uniformed when it comes to the emotional tool infertility takes on its victims.

Please don’t get me wrong, I understand where these groups are coming from. I respect that they have moral and ethical issues with assisted reproduction and I do believe we need to study the long term impacts of these procedures. However, where Mr. Eppinette and Ms. Lahl completely miss the boat is their lack of empathy for the infertile, recognition of the emotional pain infertility causes and why is infertility on the rise. The lack of empathy in their work is evident even though they try to go around it with things like we feel bad for those going through Infertility and will finish off the piece with comments like “Adult selfish desires trumps again”. So that also ties into their lack of recognition of the emotional pain that we go through. They don’t understand what drives individuals to go to the lengths they do to have children. People who have children will never ever understand it. But the least they can do is recognize it.

My biggest issue with this group is that for all the research that this organization does they to next to no research on the rise in infertility and the environmental factors that are contributing to it. Instead Ms. Lahl’s tactics are to shame those going through infertility such as she did in this piece. What she fails to realize is that the majority of people going through infertility are in their late 20’s and early 30’s not their 40’s like she would have you believing. I believe her organization if they truly care about the health of the human race should investigate the companies that pollute and add toxins to our environment that have contributed to the increase in infertility.

As I said earlier I respect this group’s passion I just believe if they were more supportive and recognized certain aspects of infertility that I would support their organizations cause. Their tactics of shaming infertiles don’t gain the support of the infertility community but instead anger it which will lead to both sides becoming enemies rather than working together.