I’ve had the good fortune this week to read two excellent posts on the complexities of donor sperm. Both blogs are taking part in a round-robin on the subject, and I feel called to respond. You can read the original posts here and here.
Like both blogs suggest, I think that I’ll have shifting ideas about our sperm donor(s) as time goes on. I know that, for me, thinking of the donation as a life-giving gift (much as I would think of donated blood, organs, or marrow) is helpful in circumnavigating the feelings of insecurity that having a third person (a strange man, no less) involved in the construction of our family brings up in me. But I suspect that the Rabbit (or other children) might not feel that way about him in the long run. And we’ll have very limited control over that.
Obviously, the narratives we construct surrounding the donor when Rabbit is little will likely be influential in his burgeoning self-identity. And I certainly trust that, having spent time as a solid, two-parent family, the fear of the donor as a “third-parent” will fade (as, I suspect, will the fear of our adopted children’s birth parents). However, it’s hard not to imagine taking stuff personally (children’s curiosity or attachment to their genetic lineage; interest in and care for a symbolic father who donated his sperm, or an absent birth mother who carried a child inside of her).
Though I know that R will have/does have her own struggles in carving out her NGP niche – which will take time, trust, and experience to find peace and stability within – I worry more about my character defects in this regard. I think that R is wired to be more open, more adaptable, more interested in others’ subject-positions. And while R is also fiercely protective of our family, I am more prone to defensiveness and jealousy of anything that I perceive as a threat to our family. So I worry that the process of accepting the evolving narratives surrounding the other adults who (by-proxy) join our family lineage may prove exceptionally difficult at times.
I do think, though, that the Donor Sibling Registry doesn’t stress me out too much. I think of it as a resource on a shelf. I have no desire to post to it, or to seek out other genetic siblings, but I do like knowing it’s there (if ever we had a medical reason to seek it out, or, if later in life, our children are compelled to look into it). Just my two cents…