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Saturday, 02 December 2006


Is this psychologist someone who has dealt directly or studied specifically, donor issues? I'm really surprised myself that he would think the donors would be the guardians...maybe he thinks the donors are "known" or relatives...

The first question was a little odd as well, but as I thought about it we all have to deal with parenting styles whether it's with people we know or don't know. I mean we each have opinions about the parent with the unruly child in the grocery store; or the parents at the park, because ultimately we ALL have different parenting styles.

If you adopt, you don't name the birth parents as legal guardians. I don't see why this would make any more sense with donor gametes.

I guess if the donors are relatives, it may be hard not to choose them. Though even in that case I might be reluctant, and feel the need to keep distance.
I'd fail the psychologists test, most likely.

Those questions are very odd. We didn't get anything like that during our psych evaluation, though I suppose that's apples and oranges since we were working with an egg donor. Still, that does seem to betray ignorance of how the whole process works.

Those questions seem inappropriate. Of course, though, I wasn't too thrilled with some of the questions the social worker asked us prior to giving us the green light to pursue donor gametes.

I really don't know how I feel about people pursuing donor eggs, donor embryos, or adoption being held to a higher standard than the fertile or even garden variety infertile. In lots of ways I think it's bullshit. In another way, I think everyone having a child, fertile or not, should ask themselves these questions.

Hmm, seems you have a psychologist who believes in the primacy of the genetic link over anything else. Strikes me that a more appropriate suggestion is that whoever you have as a guardian knows and is agreeable to maintaining whatever contact plan you've set up with george and martha.

Sounds like things are proceding apace. What's next?

I agree with your other readers -- and yourself, I think -- when I say that I would hardly assume that gamete or embryo donors are logical guardians.

There is one exception, and that is the one you pointed to and the situation I find myself in. And even then it's complicated.

I have one (hard-won, oh so hard-won) child who is, amazingly enough, from my and my partner's genetic material. But that child was a one-off. (I won't say "miracle child," cause the phrase makes my skin crawl, but let's say laboratory lottery kid.) And right now, our plan and hope for another one hinges on my sister's genetic material. It so happens that I really LIKE my sister, and I had told her before we embarked on this path that I hoped she would be the guardian of my child if my partner and I were to die. Now I don't see why it would be any different if I had another child, one issued from one of her eggs. And yet I am aware that this is a situation I really don't want to arise. Not simply cause I'm hoping to hang around and see this (and possibly that) kid for a while longer, but because I think the psychological complications of such a guardianship would be tougher than having a known-loved-available-and-yet-physically-distant-aunt-and-donor.

Like you, I plan on being open with any child issued from donor material (and if it doesn't work with my sister, I'll keep trying with whatever other found footage I can muster). I'd prefer that there be an open relationship so that everyone's curiosity and insecurities can be appeased as much as possible. But there remains a line between parenthood and donorhood that I think is important to respect. I'm not building a "village family"; I'm building my family with some help from the village.

That said, and my strong difference of opinion with your psychologist expressed, I suspect (and hope) that she can deal with your your own difference. When my partner and I met with the psychologist, before my sister went in, I found I didn't always agree with her opinions, but the fact that she seemed willing to admit to them already hinted to me that she felt she was dealing with capable adults. And although her "approval" was necessary to progress to stage II at the hospital, and although it was clear she had often enough not approved, she had also clearly "allowed" people with different attitudes: those who planned on being open with their kids, for example, and those who planned on keeping mum. So it was important to remember that she is entitled to her opinions as much as we were, but that her opinions were not the basis of her approval.

As an aside (do I deserve an aside after going on for so long?), I'll tell you that we live in northern Europe, and parents' attitudes towards donor material varies here according to lattitude. So it seems the further north you go, the more parents tell their kids. French parents, for example, are more unwilling to discuss donor material with their kids than are Belgians, who are themselves less likely to discuss it than the Dutch.

Finally, finally, and most importantly, I want you to know I am so hoping it works for you.

Like, you, these questions throw me for a loop. You wouldn't name a surrogate mother the guardian if you hired her to carry your child. You're paying her for a service. Who thinks that far ahead when they're still in the "trying to get pregnant" stage of things? I know she was trying to be thorough, but honestly, that's way too far ahead of the horse for any infertile to even put on their radar.

I could see this in adoption before I could see this in a donor egg cycle.

The planning ahead questions totally threw me during our counselling sessions. The idea it might work and there be an actual child was an alien concept at that point. I just kept saying "I need to get to that stage first". And ha!, here we are, almost exactly one year later and funny, not a pressing issue in sight. Me? Bitter much???

In Oz if you embark on Int. Adoption you have to name a guardian - so it can be submitted with your application. I guess the thinking is that you've thought of all situations.

It sounds like this counsellor is applying the same thinking?

Our friends were considering taking up an offer of embryos from friends - the friends had a similar request. That the recipients be the guardians to their children and vice versa. They are not going ahead with this for other reasons, but were extremely uncomfortable with the idea.

We were asked about the parenting style thing - and it threw me for a loop as well.

I've been thinking about this one a lot, because it just seems so odd to wonder about George & Martha as guardians. Seriously, that would have never crossed my mind. It seems that goes against your termination of rights as well. I mean would they make you their kids guardian?Glad you didn't freak them out with all your fertility brilliance.

Wow- that question about guardianship would have surprised me, too. My guess is that the psychologist must not interact with many donor families on a regular basis.

wow, much has passed since I last checked in on you! this is very exciting! not sure I agree with the psychologist on guardianship... seems like as the parents have all the rights to make that decision... I sincerely hope all goes smoothly... good luck with everything!

so much more interesting to think about than 'the holidays'... :P

Interesting. Being a fatalist, I've always thought about who would be guardians for any potential children, but it never occurred to me that a donor might want that role. This isn't an "I'll get them back in case of death" scenario. Bizarre.

those are really odd questions. as others have said, it wouldn't be expected that you would name a sperm or egg donor guardian. very weird.

we had a lot of trouble with picking legal guardians...it took us way too long. it's not something that you should be expected to come up with on the spot.

hi there. i don't know anything about blogequitte, so not sure if i'm supposed to be going back to previous posts to comment, or if i'm supposed to comment under your most recent post. i'm commenting here, since i'm really commenting about this post. and the whole issue of guardianship.

anyway, we met with our genetic counselors today. and apart from recommending donor eggs AND a gestational carrier, we talked about the risks of attempting another pregnancy with my eggs and my uterus.

apparently both dh and i are of the senior citizen set when it comes to attempting reproduction. (yep - life over 40). like your geneticist, we talked alot about genetic issues, birth defects and mental retardation. and as we discussed that - the whole issue of guardianship came up. since we have a daughter, the geneticist assumed that we have named a guardian. and the question came up - would our guardian be willing to be the guardian of a handicapped child? and is it fair of us to potentially pursue a pregnancy that could result in a handicapped child - and put the burden of caring for a handicapped sibling on our current child - who could potentially be in her 20's or 30's when mom and dad keel over.

so i guess i have a choice over choosing the egg donor versus the gestational carrier as my unborn childs guardian. or risk burdening my 2 year old with a potentially handicapped sibling. or what would i ever do if my egg donor gestational carrier unborn child turned out handicapped? like i don't have enough to worry about on my own.

the questions and what ifs just never end.

~daisy mae

I'll be sending an email too, but how come I'm just now finding out you are in the midst of pursuing donor embryo? Girlfriend, we have lots to talk about.
As for your psychologist- I'm frightened and horrified by this. Was this someone your clinic recommended or required you to see? To suggest that the donors have any say in parenting style and/or should be considered guardianship shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the donor/recipient relationship. It is a gift they are giving, with no strings attached. And yes, they should sure you are psychologically fit, but once that's been established and they agree to donate, that's where all obligations end.
What particularly horrifies me is that if God forbid anything happens to you and your husband, your future child should be raised by someone they know/love/trust intimately (eg, an aunt/uncle, best friend of yours, etc)- not "given back" to donors who may be relative strangers to the child just because of the genetic link.

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