Yesterday, I was reading one of my favorite blogs Regular Midwesterners, when I came across a comment that caught my attention and linked to a page that basically said if you were not “IVF-made” or adopted, then you should consider yourself lucky. Let me stress for a second that this page was linked to by a reader of Regular Midwesterners and is not affiliated with the site itself.
The blogs linked to from that original link, which I refuse to post here, were full of entries arguing against the use of donor sperm, eggs, or embryos and against adoption. I find it especially interesting that the first page even used the term “IVF-made” when the real point was to say that not being raised by both of your genetic “parents” is the problem. This, to me, already pokes holes in the validity of the argument, when you consider that IVF technology is often employed using the sperm and egg of the couple intending to raise the child. I am not saying that people are not entitled to their own opinions or feelings, but these blogs were what I would consider inflammatory and over-generalized, and the statement “ivf-mades and adoptees are adults like you, but not happy for the gift of life or feeling grateful or lucky to be adopted – candidly, you are lucky to not have either of these starts to your life,” in particular actually made me quite angry. The best I can do, since I am not an expert in the field of reproductive technology or the long term effects, is to tell you the story of two people who stand in direct contrast to the statement I quoted above – myself and my wife.
I do, in fact, consider myself lucky! Imagine for a moment that my parents had not so desperately wanted a child… It is not as though they made the decision to use donor sperm over having a child without assistance. It was obvious after nearly a decade of trying without assistance that they were not going to have a child that way. During that time, they also had a failed adoption attempt. They had so much love to give and wanted to share that with a child. So they sought out help. I had an amazing childhood. My parents were/are incredible parents, and now my mom is an amazing Granny. I have no doubt that had my father been given the chance, he would be over the moon at holding the title of Grandpa. I cannot imagine them not having had the opportunity to raise a child of their own, and I count myself lucky to have had them as my parents. I do not feel “abandoned” as some of these bloggers claim they do, because some stranger deposited his sperm in a specimen cup and donated it to be used for my conception. I actually feel quite the opposite. I feel loved and wanted, because my parents, the ones who raised me, wanted me badly enough to go to such lengths. Why would I feel abandoned by a sperm donor who quite frankly, I’m sure had sacrificed sperm for much, ahem, less noble causes?
As I have mentioned before, my wife, “Mommy” was adopted. I cannot speak for her directly, but I will share some of the things she has told me that make it very clear she is grateful to have been adopted and would disagree with the above statement as well. She has told me that she does not feel abandoned. This is someone who was left at an orphanage by her birth parents. She doesn’t feel abandoned, because she was chosen. Her adoptive family had all these children to choose from, and they picked her. She was wanted. She also feels fortunate, because at the time of her adoption, she was not doing well in the orphanage and required medical treatment including a blood transfusion. Her adoptive family took her in despite her illness and made sure she had what she needed. Even after adoption, she did not have an easy childhood with the loss of her adoptive mother to a terminal illness. She still feels grateful to have been adopted. She would love to find her biological family, but that desire is not mutually exclusive with feeling fortunate and is definitely not an indication that she feels abandoned.
So color us happy, grateful, AND lucky – all those things we’re not supposed to be as the product of artificial insemination with donor sperm and as an adoptee. I hope this entry gives comfort to those of you who are raising children whom you have adopted or have conceived with the help of reproductive technologies and/or donor sperm. We don’t all grow up resenting those who gave us life or gave us a home. Some of us will be forever grateful and love you all the more!!
Note: This post was read and approved by Mommy before publication.