This is my first blog post, where I share negative emotions associated with being a donor child. The post is about how I have sometimes felt lonely.
I was the world’s most wanted child. My parents struggled for 6 years to have me, and I was a little miracle. The last egg, which had been frozen several months and just had to be “cleaned up”, as my mother says. They had lost hope and were almost through approval for adoption. But then I came along. Therefore, I received special attention and affection from my parents when i was a baby.
Then after 22 months the twins came into the world. Not only they were there two of them, but they are also my father’s biological children. This was due to the, at that time, new ICSI method.
I was very jealous that i now had to share the attention!
My parents have never treated us different. To both of them, we are all equally their children. We were very old before the idea that we were half siblings, struck us for the first time. Probably because it never felt like anything other than family.
Do you disagree or not? In this blogpost, I would like to bring attention to making room for different attitudes and perspectives with respect for each other. I think it’s important that you can express yourself and your opinions. That people then disagree and argue something else is, of course, totally acceptable.
Since I started to share my story i have experienced a lot of really positive feedback. It means an awful lot when people write me and share their thoughts and concerns. Please continue!
However, there are also many who disagree with some of the things I think and argue. It is again fully understandable and perfectly fine that they have another opinion.
My problem is when people think it is wrong that I am happy to be a donor child of an anonymous sperm donor. Trying to convince me that it’s wrong to feel that way. And that there are many who do not feel like me and therefore i should not go out and tell that i am satisfied with my situation.
In the video you get a little insight on my experience of life as a donor child.
I also give my advice to present or future parents of donor conceived children.
A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks and therefore i haven’t had the time to write this outline before now!
On 3. of May I attended The Cryos Symposium 2019.
This was the first time I had to speak to a big crowd like that. That it was also in English and something very personal did not make it less nerve-wracking..
But what an amazing experience! After the first minute or so the nerves disappeared and I could just tell my story.
I was given the opportunity to talk to a lot of incredible people. People who have worked in the fertility industry for many years, but who rarely see the outcome of their work as adults.
It led to a lot of exciting talk and acquaintances.
A few days before the symposium, I was contacted by a danish journalist who wanted to know what I was going to talk about at the symposium.
On Friday, BT published the article about me being a donor child.
The entire article can be read – HERE
Unfortunately it is in danish, sorry.
I also wrote a post for the Cryos blog – Read it Here!
In light of the tragic events the recent days, I remind myself to be thankful for me and my family.
Family is something that has always been there. You can easily forget to appreciate it until you lose it or can’t start one yourself.
Is blood in fact thicker than water?
I am interested in the concept of family. What is a family and who is part of it? What does it take to call it a family and does biology define a family?
Today there are traditional nuclear families, solo mothers, 2 moms or dads, rainbow families, families where children are adopted, families with foster children and many more..
The list is long, but how is a family defined today?
A quick Google search provided the following
A family is a group of individuals who are mainly united through kinship – both biologically and through marriage.
For example, from a social anthropological point of view, the family has both biological and social functions:
-reproduction, the production of survivors and the continuation of the genus.
-Socialization, the family gives the children the basic Education and lecturing them on the norms of society.
In many ways, I think it is a very old-fashioned family view. Today i couldn’t say that the consisting of biology and kinship was what made family.
In fact, the word family comes from Latin and means household, which includes all those living under the same roof. Perhaps we should go back to this definiton. To me it sounds more realistic.
What makes a family in your opinion?
To me, family is more emotions than biology. I may not share biology with everyone in my family, but in my heart they are 110% my family. Biology plays no part her and I love them very much. I do not tell them often enough, but today I will remember to do so!
Do you remember telling your family that you love them? It is so important both to yourself and them. You never know what tomorrow brings and it can never be said too much.
Love From me – Emma
Also read the paper The Blank Spots where I write about genetics and to look like his family-click here
There is a lot of debate whether it should still be possible to make use of anonymous sperm donors in Denmark. In this post, I will share my thoughts and experiences. I am a child of an anonymous sperm donor, as there were no other options when i was conceived.
Anonymous = Bad
The general perception of the population is that anonymously equals something bad. We would like to know as much as possible about everything, and to many it is unthinkable choose not to know.
Statistics shows that couples consisting of a man and a woman are more likely to choose an anonymous sperm donor. Whereas solo mothers and lesbian couples are more inclined to choose open donors.
In a couple consisting of a man and a woman, I understand the choice of an anonymous donor. Especially from the man’s perspective. It is a big compromise when you give up your own biology to have a child. Possibly sharing the title as dad at the same time is perhaps too much.
The point of view
The most used argument against anonymous donors is, that it is not in the children best interest. Some believe that it is a human right to know your biological origins and to have the opportunity to contact them. I do know that this is a need for some donor conceived children. Nothing bad about this.
But why take away the possibility af anonymity fore those who do not?
I dont have the the same need. I think it is a big relief that he is and was anonymous. This meant fewer considurations about if i wanted to know and meet him or not. A lot more questions would have had to be dealt with, had he been open.
If you choose to use an open donor, it is very important to ensure that the child has realistic expectations. And also to be there for them if they get disappointed. That is my biggest fear.
The Argument that the child can choose themselve with an open donor is good, I agree. But I find it easy to forget how many thoughts and concerns it kan cause the next 18 years.
Honesty is more important than biology
My position is; Why change something that works? The results hasn’t been great in the countries that removed the possibility of anonymous donations.
Also I don’t think this is the most effective way improve the wellbeing of donor conceived children. If this is the aim I think honesty and openness is way more important. This i wrote about in the post; Tell your child. I find it more important to make sure that the child is not surprised by the news of their genesis. In that case, I think fewer would feel the need to know about their donor.
Then there is the question if anonymity is at all an opportunity with the development of DNA testing. Should We instead focus on taking better care of our donors?
Please tell me your thoughts and opinions in the comment below!
Read about my relationship to my donor –Click here
I have chosen to write this post about what I call the blank spots. The blank spots are for me the things that I can’t answer or know anything about, because of my status as a donor child. These are small things that has played a part in my life. The blank spots are situations I my life that i think only happens to donor children.
Who do I really look like?
It is no secret that I was very concerned about these thoughts when I was younger. I think everyone remembers that they have been compared with their parents. People have commented on who you look like and who you certainly don’t look like.
Naturally, this mean a lot to me.
A phrase like “God you look like your mother” also made me think about how my donor looked. What traits I had clearly from him and which were just mine.
Who looks like who is often smalltalk, but can have great significance. I know it meant something for me. I spent a lot of time thinking about how my donor looked. Whether I had his nose or eye color or height?
For me it was a wonder, not grief. We as a family has always talked openly about these things, so I just felt that I was a little cool with my mysterious traits.
Genetics – What do I have with me?
Genetic is one of the places where I think the donor can cause many unanswered questions. For a period I have worked in a genetic department, and I have always had both knowledge and interest in genetics in general.
As a donor child I have 50% genetics which is unknown.
We got very much aware of this Just a few years ago. Here we found out that I was lactose intolerant. It is an inheritance you must have from both the mother and father to become lactose intolerant.
And just as far as these hereditary qualities are concerned, I have been confronted on several occasions with the lack of knowledge of the donors genetics.
At the doctors I’m often asked for diseases of family in different occasions. Again here the blank spots made me unavailable to give the full answer.
But is it so bad?
I could not find any other than these 2 points in my life where I really felt that I was a donor child meant that I lacked answers. Therefore, I can only conclude that it hasn’t been a major loss for me so far.
Who knows maybe it can change it. But right now I live in happy ignorance and find myself well with it in my life right now.
I am very happy to hear your thoughts and experiences. Please write in the comment box below the post!
I have spoken several times in my speeches about my donor as “a nice man” and I will now explain. I don’t know if it’s something you’ve noticed at all, or have been wondering.
In any case, it is quite deliberately, as it is exactly how I think of him.
When I had just been born, my parents made a children’s book for me. It was a book that was about their struggle to get ME. A book explaining why and how I had come to the world in this way. It was a happy book that we often read as bedtime story throughout my childhood, and in this particular book was the first time I heard about “him” my donor.
The book says, “a man whom Mom and Dad do not know would gladly help, and he gave sperm enough to come on Mother’s eggs. And soon Mom was pregnant. “
This small phrase should prove to be of great importance. For me he has always been the kind man who helped us when we really needed help.
And Now there is probably someone who sits and thinks “Well He has got money for it! It’s not unselfish at all. He probably did it just for the money “To yo
u I will say; Yes, but what does it change? I
think it is wonderful and very appropriate that he has been compensated for the time he spent on donor his semen.
It is not something that just takes 2 minutes, there is a long process of approvals and screening.
To give something as precious as his own semen, to a stranger couple whose greatest desire was to have a child. It is in my eyes charity.
For me He has done us a giant service, and one I will be eternally grateful for. I will never be able to repay this generosity he has shown, for I do not want to meet him. I hope in my quiet mind that he can feel my gratitude and that the world is smiling at him on his way.
So to all you sperm donors, anonymous as open, it’s a huge gift in the donor and in deserves THANKS! Whatever The motivation was, it is a selflect act and an expression of great charity.
Well but back to my children’s book I would say that I think just that this one little phrase has made that this is what I think and feel about my donor. I thi
nk the rhetoric around the donor can have a huge impact on the child relationship with him in the future. I am in any case convinced that my gratitude is reflected in the positive rhetoric that has always been about him in my family.
I hope more donor children have and in the future will get it like me. I hope the post does not enter any of the toes-it will never be my intention. I just share my thoughts and experiences in the hope that they can be of benefit to others.
Several have written to me about there their own children and worries for when they have to start school. They think a lot about how it will affect their children that they are donor children. They worry despite knowing they have done everything possible to prepare the child in the best way.
This is why I want to tell you something about my school years.
First of all, I want to tell all the worrying parents that i have never been teased about being a donor conceived child. In fact, it has meant incredibly little to the other children. Despite the fact that it meant a lot to me in these years. It meant something in this period, as a lot is going on with children’s consciousness and understanding in the school years.
I want to tell you about my first experience of being donor child and a little bit different.
Family tree of a donor child
When I was about 2 grade we had to draw a family tree. My mother knows a lot about genetics and family trees, witch meant that it was something I had heard about at home. I knew that mine was different and difficult to draw, because “The nice man” (This is what we named the donor) was in the picture too.
As the proud little girl i was, told my teacher and the rest of the class about my complicated family tree. My mother has told me that I have always felt it was my duty to enlighten people that I was a donor child. And also what it would mean to be a donor child. I suppose you can say that continue doing that with this blog.
But my teacher was not so excited about my story. She called my parents to tell them that I was making up stories in school. She thought i was just trying to get attention. My parents explained her that it was i fact the truth. That I actually had another biological father that we didn’t know and that i was something we talked a lot about at home.
It was, of course a different time and people knew less about donor children than they do today. I think this was the case with my teacher. I think she was very surprised at how much I knew. But also that I was proud to be a donor child and that i went around telling openly about it, even as a little girl.
The other children in the class
For the other children in the class, it meant absolutely nothing. I don’t think they even understood what I was talking about. What it meant that my parents had to get help fro another man to produce me? In their eyes was a child just like them and no different.
They certainly didn’t mention anything, but I still felt special in the good way.
It was more likely an unpleasant experience for my teacher than it was for me. I don’t think that it was something I thought about afterwards. But she had learned something new and I had enlightened her or at least that was how i felt.
A common feature of donor children who know about donor conception from childhood is, that they a greater knowledge about family relationships and parentage than ordinary children. This is because it is something families of donor children have to talk about at home to understand how things work.
Therefore, it is also an advantage that the adults who work with these child on a daily basis, know just a little bit about their background. This would be to understand these children better.
I think both me and my teacher could have benefited from that.
I hope this little tale can bring a bit of calm to some parents out there!
Briefly about me
As an introduction to this blog, I would like to tell you a little about myself. My name is Emma, I’m 22 years old. I was born and raised in Aarhus with my mom and dad, and two younger sisters who are twins. I’m currently studying to becoming a nurse, and I’m halfway done. And oh, by the way, I’m a donor child. It is something that I’ve always known. My parents told me openly about it ever since I little. My mom says that I’ve always had the right to know. Maybe she’s right. In any case, this is exactly what I want to tell you in this blog.
Why do I make this blog?
It began about a year ago when a friend of mine asked me about my experience of being a donor child. She and her girlfriend planned to use of a sperm donor, but they felt they were faced with so many unanswered questions.
That started a lot of thoughts in my head. That maybe others could benefit from hearing from a donor child. And hearing what it has meant in my life. Therefore, I have chosen to tell about my upbringing and how it has affected me throughout my young adult life.
In general, I think that in our society, there is a lack of knowledge and positive stories about donor children. The media produced a one-sided picture of what sperm donations in fertility treatment mean. But perhaps it’s not all that black and white.
I don’t tell my story as “the right one”. I’m just another perspective into how it is to be a donor child.
What am I working on?
I am currently writing a book, about my experiences and knowledges as a donor child, in collaboration with Anne who is a journalist. In the book, we have invited experts from different fields to participate. The book will therefore be a mixture of my personal experiences and stories, but also good advice from researches, doctors and psychologists. I hope my book can help future parents who needs assistance from a donor, but also to help donor children and donors. I would like to share a more positive view on the life of a donor child, and I’m ready to share own experiences.
In this occasion, I have been asked to speak at the Cryos Symposium in May. At the Symposium there will be people attending from all over Europe. They all have something to do with the fertility industry. I have to give a presentation on who I am, what we have done in my family and what it has meant to me that my donor was anonymous. Other than that, I’m going to sit in a discussion panel with some of the other participants at the symposium.
Both projects are both incredibly exciting but also very nerve wrecking. I just hope that I can make a difference.
That a brief telling about who I am and why I’m doing this blog. I sincerely hope that you will find it interesting and keep reading in the future.
Hugs Emma Grønbæk