Monday, March 25, 2013

Definitions of Family.

Working late one night in 1996, I grabbed a fax off the machine and my life forever changed. We got faxes often, companies and non profits hoping for free PSAs on the station, but honestly most of them were thrown away.  This one with its bold "CALL FOR EGG DONORS" caught my attention.  You could donate your eggs?  I took it over to my co-worker and said "did you know you can donate your eggs?"  She immediately replied "that is HORRIBLE."  Hmmm.  I kept my mouth shut, but her immense hatred got me thinking.  I didn't think it was horrible, in fact I thought it was amazing.  I did some research and read countless stories about women who more than anything wanted a child but couldn't, and how that affected their esteem and their lives. I thought about it for a few days and then discussed it with my parents and Joe.  I knew early on I did not want children, but after reading the stories of the childless I suddenly felt selfish, sitting on this ability, this gift, and just choosing not to use it just because.  With my parents' and Joe's support, and without telling my co-worker, I signed up, went through the emotional, physical and intellectual tests, and ultimately donated my eggs twice.  The first time resulted in twin boys, the second time with twin girls.

I am immensley proud that I donated my eggs and helped two couples have children. Because I had experience with egg donation and the IVF process, I offered to help Sandy when she was trying to conceive. I am forever thankful for my donation because essentially it is the reason I have Sandy and Miller in my life. Over the years I have hardly given any thought to the biological offspring of mine, because that is what they are, offspring.  I am no more their mother than they are my children. I signed away my right to ever find them, but they have the right to find me should they wish, but I figured this would never happen.

A close friend of mine had an accidental pregnancy when she was 15 and decided to give the baby up for adoption. We have talked several times over the years about this decision and she has since had two gorgeous children with her husband.  The other morning I got an email from her; her ex had forwarded her the link of a woman 22, who was looking for her biological parents.  My friend wanted me to look at the pictures; did I think there was a resemblance?  The facts checked out, could it be her child?  I looked at link and immediately sent her a text "without a doubt, that is her".  She looked so much like my friend in some pictures, and yet others I could see the father.  The girl is undoubtedly a blend of the two of them and the likeness jumped off the page at me.  There is no doubt in my mind.

My friend is going to connect with her biological daughter; she always knew this day would come but the reality is a bit scarier and she is working out the details of how, when and what to say.

Being on this website that is a collection point for adopted children and parents, made me think about my own decision and wondered if there is an egg donor registry.  I did some searching and while it is not anywhere close to the structure of the adoption site, there is an online collection point for donor and children of donors. You have to pay a fee to be listed, and all that you give is the time you donated, the city and donor number if you have it.  I do not have that and don't remember ever knowing it.  I have no idea how many donations were made in Charlotte in the last 16 years, but there are only three donors listed, so obviously this is not a very popular thing to do.

The first set of twins will be 16 this year, the second set only 14. I have a few more years before this would even be a possibility. And honestly, there is the chance that the mother never told the children they were donated.  Since the mother does become pregnant and gives birth, and it was the father's sperm, there is the chance that they never told the children they were not 100% genetically theirs.

I think it would be neat to see them, if there is a resemblance, do a little nature versus nurture experiment, but that is all.  I donated the eggs, I am not their mother. I know that and should a child come knocking, that is what I would tell them.

I do think it raises an interesting discussion though regarding the availability and tracking of egg donors and similarly, sperm donors, meaning there is none. If you are a child born of an egg donation, you really have no resources available to find the donor. Whether it be for health reasons or just out of curiosity, it is interesting that an adopted child is supported in a search for birth parents but donor kids are not.  Maybe this is just a function of time, egg donation is fairly new and the children are just now hitting their 20s.  There are a few more options for children of sperm donors as that system has been around much longer and has been revolutionized over the years. It is going to take someone who is a egg donor baby, who is curious, and has the desire to create a system to be logged, or worse yet, create some legislation that will unseal documents.  Until then it will just be the few that seek out the limited resources that are available.

For me, I am not willing to spend the money to put myself out there. Maybe this is selfish and maybe it only really punishes the child who presumably just wants to know who I am. But I chose to donate anonymously because I believe that family isn't defined by genetics.  If one of my offspring has the energy and patience to find me, I will meet him or her.  But until them, I hope they cherish their families, because those are the people that are really important.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

February Music...Gimme More, Gimme More!

Another strong month of new music and the introduction of some new techno-folky bands that I like a lot. Another first for me in February was seeing George Clinton and the P-Funk. I had no idea how much of this music and lyrics have populated mass culture. It was a great show and one that I am glad I was able to see, as I am not sure how many more concerts George has in him!

Happy and Down the Road by C2C - Little French tecnho band that I instantly fell in love with and bought everything.  These two are my favorites by far for their toe-tapping goodness.

If So by Atlas Genius - I continue to love everything by these Aussie guys and am glad they finally released their EP. 

One Way Trigger by The Strokes - It's techno. It's poppy. It's addictive.

Kangaroo Court by Capital Cities -  I wasn't kidding about the techno influence in this month's songs. These guys are coming to town soon and I hope they are as good in person as their recorded stuff has been.

Spotlight by Leagues - This is one of those songs that I instantly loved and somehow reminds me of summer.

Hero by Family of the Year- departing from techno to simple and sweet, Hero is a great song and worthy of being on a coming of age soundtrack a la Garden State.

Demon to Lean on by Wavves - a bit too much like Weezer but something about the edge in his voice makes me like this.

Heavy Feet by Local Natives - A haunting song, an oddly sweet video. 

Do the Right Thing by Dog is Dead - I am a big fan of Dog is Dead but they really haven't had any commerical success in the US.  I can't even buy them on itunes yet. Also listen to Teenage Daughter.