Readers Speak Out Regarding a father’s concern that his wife, who long-ago donated her eggs to two women, refuses to tell their grown children, in case they hear from half-siblings (April 12):
Reader #1 – “I’m a donor-conceived person (discovered at age 36, after I’d had a DNA test. My parents confessed before I received my results).
“Yes, the writer’s children should be told about their potential half-siblings from their parents, lest they find out and resent their parents for keeping it a secret.
“Most donor-conceived offspring are extremely curious about the parent who gave us half our DNA.
“In the We are Donor Conceived Survey of 2018, 97% of DC respondents believe their parents’ secrecy is wrong, 78% are against anonymous sperm or egg donation and 96% believe we should be able to learn our donor's identity: See https://www.wearedonorconceived.com/guides/we-are-donor-conceived-2018-survey-results/).”
Reader #2 – “I found my biological father several years ago. He hadn’t told his children – about 100 of us - that he’d been a donor.
“It’s easy for a donor-conceived sibling to reach out to any family members (siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles), make contact and seek/start a relationship.
“That’s why these facts should be disclosed by "donors" to their families before they’re surprised.
“This sperm-donor is my father. His "donation" was actually a naive way to make money after he was convinced by the business proprietor of a fertility clinic that he was doing a wonderful thing to pass on his genes.
“It was amazingly wonderful for my parents to be allowed to raise his child (me) with no strings attached, but for me it was abandonment.
“He sold his legal rights to know, love and protect me.
“I see his face when I look in the mirror, and in the faces of my children - a sad reminder that he didn't love me enough to raise me.
“Giving away parental rights will cause me grief for the rest of my life.
“The woman who donated her eggs has already rejected her children once by sending them off to another family, though she thought she was being kind.
“I wish that she could put herself in their shoes and realize the crippling pain that she’ll be inflicting if she chooses to reject them a second time.
“They are her children, even if she chose not to parent them, and they’ll forever be bonded to her whether she wants to see them or push them away.
“Many donors end up deeply regretting giving away their children.
“There are complicated feelings on both sides. It’s time to face the reality that it’s complicated and often very painful to grow up in a situation where your biological mother doesn't want to know you and doesn't want your siblings to know you exist.”
Reader #3 – “I'M HORRIFIED!
“I’m about to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) with a donor egg. It’s been a heartbreaking, painful, miserable journey to finally get to this glimmer of hope.
“If this tiny ray develops into a healthy baby who I sustain with my body at first, and then with all my love and care, heart and soul, I’d be devastated if a stranger came to my door to offer my child a shiny, new family (replete with siblings).
“That child is already a member of a family that wholly accepts him/her as one of their own.
“I have no intention of disclosing the circumstances of my child's conception (what parent does?) unless a medical need arises.”
I’m an active 84-year-old man sharing sporting activities with a 28-year-old single woman.
We get along fabulously, and l treat her like my granddaughter.
Would it be inappropriate for me to say to her, that if l were 50 years younger, I’d ask her out on a date?
Yes. It’s inappropriate. Even if you don’t mean to act on that desire now, despite the almost 60-year age gap.
It’s also counter-productive, because you’d make her uncomfortable, even wary, that you might be revealing romantic feelings for her.
The very use of the word “date” implies a chance at romance, even if you already know that the actual likelihood of that happening is miniscule.
If you wish to continue the friendship, stick to enjoying the shared sports activities.
Otherwise, what you think would be a warm compliment to her, could become the cold reality that ends up dividing you two, cancelling your main comfortably-shared interest.
Tip of the day:
With donor conceptions more common, everyone involved should consider whether openness is healthier than secrecy.