Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Justifying the Decision to Remain Childless June 2, 2010

After posting yesterday’s article about surrogates in India, I came across this Op-Ed piece about a study that looked at the emotional impact on children conceived through sperm and egg donation. Here’s what the researchers found:

“a population that’s at once grateful to the fertility industry and uneasy about the way they were conceived, supportive of assisted fertility but haunted by the feeling of being a bought-and-paid-for child.

Americans conceived through sperm donation also are more likely to feel alienated from their immediate family than either biological or adopted children. They’re twice as likely as adoptees to report envying peers who knew their biological parents, twice as likely to worry that their parents “might have lied to me about important matters” and three times as likely to report feeling “confused about who is a member of my family and who is not.”

And the realities of commercialized reproduction — in which desirable donors can father dozens of children by different mothers, creating far-flung networks of half-siblings who will never know each other — weigh heavily on them. They are more likely than adoptees to say that “when I see someone who resembles me, I often wonder if we are related,” for instance, and much more likely to worry about accidentally falling into a romantic relationship with a relative.”

I found this fascinating and wonder how many parents consider this, and if it’s just one of those issues that will need to be dealt with if and when it arises. I know that when I was faced with the possibility of first sperm and later egg donation, these findings didn’t occur to me. Something didn’t feel right to me, but that’s all that I really knew.

I think that now I am probably looking for justification of my decision to not have a baby by any possible means, but if so, I’m having no trouble finding evidence to support my case.

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One Response to “Justifying the Decision to Remain Childless”

  1. loribeth Says:

    I read an interesting book awhile back called “Everything Conceivable” by Liza Mundy that looks at fertility treatments. She spends a lot of time on donor gametes & the parallels with adoption are fascinating. I think there are a lot of complexities involved in alternative methods of family-building that we are only just beginning to realize & talk about. It’s never as simple as “just adopt” or “why not use donor eggs?”


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