Social Question

tranquilsea's avatar

Do you think that children of sperm or egg donors have the right to retroactively demand the identities of the anonymous donors and win in court?

Asked by tranquilsea (17660points) October 25th, 2010

I guess this was bound to come up as these children reached an age in which they would care. But for me this is different than adoptive parents and children. The donors donate to help people conceive. They donated under the contractual guarantee that they would remain anonymous.

The children who result from sperm or egg donation should, and mostly do I believe, have access to medical records of the donor.

Perhaps the donor contract should change and allow for donors to allow possible children to contact them. But that should happen from here on out. I don’t believe that children should be able to strip anonymity away. Also both parties should be in agreement to revealing of identities.

If you were the judge would you allow a plaintiff to retroactively acquire the identy of their mother or father?

How do you think this would effect donation? Would it dry up? Would the donors care?

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64 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

If they donors wanted not to be anonymous, they would… not have been anonymous. It’s a bummer for these kids but I don’t see any reason why they would have a right to this information.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Not only that, I think it should be mandatory that they know.

Imagine, I’m 19yo, I donate sperm, someone uses it, they have kids. I then go off an have kids too, 20 years pass and my kids are now grown up, so are the kids that came from my donated sperm, they meet up by chance, they have kids, and the kids come out with severse health problems because of the lack of diverse dna.

EDIT: just to point out, biological claims carry little weight to me when compared to the weight of claiming to have raised someone. at least in my school of thought.

All of us in this thread have more or less identical DNA, so just because someone has my genes does not mean they are my child. as they say in spain, the pairent is the one who raises the child, not the one who makes it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I can imagine situations where this medical information would be vital but I don’t think the name or address of the person (donor) in question should be revealed, at least.

Sgt_Pop_McTart's avatar

Many children are faced with the reality that they will never be able to meet one and sometimes both of their parents for various reasons. I believe that children of donors are mostly interested in finding out who their “true” parent(s) is because they feel that it is more-so possible to find out (there are records of the event that can be traced) and ultimately, I would imagine anyway, they feel as though there is some kind of secret being kept from them.

One of their parents knows who the “real” father/mother is (in a sense), and that could make a child feel very left out-however, in my opinion, the fact of the matter is, the donors stayed anonymous because they felt that it was best for them. The child/children are just going to have to come to grips with their reality. Sometimes we are not blessed with answers- and there is no information that supports the idea that having their questions answered will help them feel any better than they feel without knowing.

As for the idea of running into someone who’s DNA was remarkably similar to theirs and possibly causing some kind of adverse birth defection, not only is that very unlikely, but you probably run the same risk of that very thing happening to you by coupling with a complete stranger.

Coloma's avatar

It’s a complex situation that I have no personal experience with, but….IMO, yes, I think everyone has a right to know who their parents are even if their ‘parents’ were nothing more than a bit of genetic information that came from a test tube.

Medical history, mental health history, all very important.

I think that it is the epitomy of selfishness to with hold this info. from those children that wish to know their backgrounds more in depth.
If someone is willing to give the gift of life via donating their eggs or sperm part of that ‘gift’ should include the consideration that the test tube child might have a need to know and that being prevented from this knowing is anything but a gift.

Aaaah science….so devoid of humane handling in this case.

Sgt_Pop_McTart's avatar

I don’t understand how these children would not know the genetic information of their donors? Is that not part of the process? Do you not have the ability to gain some kind of understanding about your donors background when it comes to health, without gaining their personal information (name, address, etc.)?

JilltheTooth's avatar

22+ years ago an anonymous donor graciously enabled me to have Katawagrey. As a result of going through this process, I got to know a number of donors themselves (never her biological father) who would not have donated without the assurance of anonymity. That said, I would like to see some way that these adult children could attempt to contact the donor, indirectly, with the provider acting as middle man. The donor would have the right to refuse contact if s/he so chose.

I don’t believe the children should have the right to know, but I’d like to see them have an increased possibility of finding out. This could develop into serious “add on” problems as well. Children demanding some sort of (perhaps) educational support, donors demanding grandparent rights, etc. I chose an anonymous donor because I didn’t want to take a chance that someone might try and take my child away.
I’m sending this to Katawagrey so we can get her take on it.
For those curious about how it was:
25 years ago we were given a description of the donor, and blood type. The sperm bank I went to tested for everything they could but we didn’t get a health history or anything like that. I don’t know how it is today, I’d love to hear some more recent experiences.

marinelife's avatar

I think the children absolutely have the right to a complete health history even unto extended family.

I do not think they have the right to contact the donor or even to know who the donor is without that person’s permission.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@poisonedantidote ; I just read your post, don’t know I missed it! I have addressed that (albeit remote) possibility with Katawgrey, she has always known of her origins, and knows that there is a slim possibility of meeting up with a half-sib. That issue is more about responsible parenting than anything else.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JilltheTooth Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Personally I think it’s important to know about the medical history of the donor(s). The other info should be up to the donor’s discretion.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Coloma : Science has enabled us to have these wonderful children. I do not consider that inhumane.
@Adirondackwannabe : That would, indeed, have been a plus, maybe it’s different now, one can hope!

Pandora's avatar

Yes. I look at it this way. If you don’t want trouble to knock on your door 18 years later, than don’t look for trouble. Keep all items in your body at all times. Thank you and have a good day!

KatawaGrey's avatar

I am one such child and I must say, I do not think that I have a right to know who my biological father is. That is patently ridiculous. Do children of one-night stands have a full medical history? How about adopted children? How about children who were abandoned by a parent? Children whose parent(s) died? What about them?

Truthfully, I was interested in tracking down my biological father a few years ago. I tried to contact the doctor who performed the procedure as the sperm bank itself had closed down and did not receive and answer. Okay, fine, that’s it. I had no need to know, I just wanted to meet the guy and see if he had freckles and a teeny nose like me. As for medical history, well, yeah, I think if there are any nasties in the medical background, I should know about that but other than that, no, I don’t think I have a right to know who this person is.

@Pandora: What an awful thing to say.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora I have to side with Jill’s view that they are a gift. Look what Jill brought into this world.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe : Yeah, I sure got a good one, didn’t I?

Pandora's avatar

Not saying they are not a gift. Simply saying that gifts have a way of sometimes being a problem later. One should face that fact when donating. Nothing in life is guaranteed. If a person doesn’t want to be tracked down years later than don’t do any thing that will make people possibly come looking for you. Its that simple. The only thing in life that is 100 percent guaranteed is death. Everything else is a gamble.
However, a child being born into this world has the right to know who and where did they come from if they so desire. It isn’t fair to enter them into a contract that they never gave consent to.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora My apology for making that personal. I should have left it generalized. Can’t disagree with anything you said. Good point.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Pandora : Can I assume that your firm stance on “fair” in this situation is predicated on personal experience? Or just the random concept of “fair”? Parents make decisions and “contracts” every day that their children can’t consent to; vaccinations, food choices, whether their parents will or won’t divorce, whether step-siblings are added to the family, where they live, whether or not the family has a pet, etc. etc.etc. as I said in an above post, the bottom line is responsible parenting.

Sgt_Pop_McTart's avatar

@JilltheTooth That’s exactly the way I see it as well. We all have to accept what we have been given and try to make the best out of what we have. As I said before, we can not always be blessed with answers. It’s only natural to feel as though you have the right, but the entirety of the situation is far more complex than simply wanting to know the truth for yourself.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I’m just curious. Aside from myself, is anyone else on this thread a child of sperm or egg donation?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Or even know one? Or the parent of such a child? (I’d actually love to know, it’s always interesting to me to share stories).

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JilltheTooth @KatawaGrey You two are the only mother daughter team I’ve ever come across. I know of one person that’s having a baby in a few moths that was the result of a donor’s sperm, but no other donor related children at all.

Pandora's avatar

@KatawaGrey Nope not a donor.
@JilltheTooth Not a personal issue with me. I simply think contracts such as these are one sided with no regard to the child. Yes, parents make choices and contracts all the time for their children but when doing so, it should be in the best interest of the child. I’m not seeing how keeping one’s identity benefitting the child. Besides which, we make contracts and decisions for our children till they are adults. After that it has always been their decision on how to proceed in life.
Any reason this decision should well extend their rights as adults?
If I lend a vehicle to a friend and I tell them that my brakes aren’t working so well, that does not mean that they give up the right to possibly sue me if my brakes fail. Even if my friend doesn’t sue the city or someone else can sue me because it was my vehicle.
I had the responsibility of taking care of my car and making sure it wasn’t on the road till it was serviced.
My intentions may be nice but it doesn’t excuse me from my obligations just because someone else was driving it.
Same with having a kid. The kid grows up and may feel disconnected and want to know family history. Why would their rights to know be considered any less than the donor. Kid had no choice in being made the donor had a choice in donating or not.
I don’t understand people wanting to hide such things like it is a dirty little secret. Nothing shameful in helping another family. Unless you do it while marry and without the consent of your partner. Than tsk, tsk and too bad.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe ; Yeah, contrary to all the press, we’re a pretty rare breed. Most people still want to go the old fashioned way. Go figure, huh?

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Pandora ; The examples I gave above do extend into the child’s adult life. I know the system isn’t perfect, but I firmly believe that a deeply wanted child starts out with an advantage. @KatawaGrey ‘s donor was donating because his wife was infertile, they understood what it was like and were very altruistc, I thought, in choosing to help someone else. I agree that to be safe, one can choose not to donate, but there’s no guarantee anywhere in life, so a donor child that goes on about it not being fair isn’t that far from one who says “I didn’t ask to be born!”
Edit to add: Contracts such as these are done with every regard for the child, BTW.

Pandora's avatar

I understand that this is an issue that can be very personal for both the donor and the parent, however, I’m sure it is a very personal issue for the child when they are grown.
I just know as an adult. If I found out my parents were not my biological parents, I would want to know about them as much as possible.
Not because I would want to replace my parents or cause problems but so I can have a better understanding of my own genetics. And one day when I have children, than I can explain to them what possible traits have been passed down.
Also some genetic problems don’t show up till later in life. You biological mom may develop cancer in her 40’s and her mom in her 50’s. But during the original information, the donor’s mom and herself have not developed cancer and where thought to be really healthy, or Alzhiemer.
Family history takes time to develop.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Pandora, this started out as a PM to you, but it occurred to me to put it here instead.

I don’t see it as cloak and dagger so much as protection for the child. Those things go two ways, and a donor could well expect some reciprocal “rights” as well, that could seriously disrupt the life of the (even adult) child. Like I said, the system isn’t perfect, and I really would like to see a middle-man arrangement in case the donor was willing to be found, or the child was. There may be such things in place, now, it was a long time ago that I did this. Every Single Mother By Choice that I know (and I know more than most) agrees that a classic nuclear family would have been preferable, but for one reason or another wasn’t in the cards. I don’t know about all other donor recipients, but in my case and all the others I know it was a long thought-out process making such a decision that was implemented only after considering this very issue as well as many others. The donors I know also wonder if they have children out there, and are curious, but know they have helped people. In a perfect world, none of this would come up.
I think my mother has the impression that I had some extra time on my lunch break and decided to get inseminated because I was bored. :-)

JilltheTooth's avatar

I agree with your above post,ultimately it’s all a crap shoot and we just do the best we can.

Joybird's avatar

No. The only time it should even come up is in questions of relatedness in romantic relationships. And so given the day and age we live in perhaps genetic testing should become mandatory before anyone has children. Cause who knows if the person that you are falling in love is isn’t a half sibling by sperm donorship? You couldn’t possibly know that. But releasing the confidential donor info isn’t the answer.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Pandora we’re all born into situations for which we had no right to dissent or modify. That argument is a non-starter.

I liked @poisonedantidote‘s answer, though I didn’t fully agree with it. He raised a valid point about ancestry that could possibly have an effect on one’s own offspring. I agree that the likelihood of problems from that happening are minuscule, but present. And I think @JilltheTooth had the proper response: You give your own child the most information possible as part of “good parenting”. (That’s not quite enough, I think, because of the possibility, however remote, that the mother could die during childbirth or any time afterward before the child could be informed, and where is “responsible” parenting then? And the types of possible donations are becoming more and more convoluted, too. ‘Back in the day’, sperm donation was the only possibility. Now we have egg donation, in vitro fertilization, surrogate mothers, etc. Who knows how far this can go?)

So I think that the donor’s anonymity has to be preserved, because that was the contract they agreed to. But I also think that the database of “ancestry” should be comprehensive enough that chances for the situation suggested by @poisonedantidote are made vanishingly small.

In any case, with DNA testing capabilities increasing the way they are, costs decreasing, and that type of biometric data storage and comparison increasing at a near-exponential rate for all of us, the amount of “privacy” we can expect in the next 50 years or so from such transactions may be moot.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@CyanoticWasp : Just FYI, a bunch of us in my Single Mothers group even considered the possibility of the “death” scenario. I wrote a letter in the event that that happened. At the end of my pregnancy I was pre-eclamptic, and faced the possibilty of having a stroke or dying during childbirth. I made sure that enough people knew exactly what the situation was ( I told everybody absolutely everything) with the understanding that my child would be informed. We all do the best we can, but like I said above, ultimately it’s all a crapshoot.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Excellent, @JilltheTooth. Looks like you had your bases covered.

Zaku's avatar

No, the identity isn’t necessary. Donors should give relevant known health information, but identity should not necessarily be part of that.

Donors could have the option to set the anonymity level, too.

Prospective mothers should have all of the implications explained to them in detail.

wundayatta's avatar

There was a time when we were trying to have children that we considered sperm donation. I was absolutely uninterested in having some anonymous sperm donor. I wanted to know where my child was coming from. I wanted be able to see things in his or her behavior and gain some understanding because I knew the bio-father.

In the end, we settled on my best friend. I think we went through a couple of rounds of turkey basting or whatever. It didn’t work, which was a good thing, because eventually the technology that allowed me to have bio-kids came around.

Having said that, I think that if a donor wants to be anonymous, then that wish should be honored. The guy is doing you a favor. Don’ t look gift horses in the mouth, my mother always said. If you break the standard of confidentiality, how many guys will be left to donate?

The lack of medical records or a child? Hmmm. Let me see? Sorry kids. Gotta go with a child on this one.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I have no idea how to say what needs to be said. I had a whole answer about how it feels to be a child of artificial insemination but I have a feeling that it would have been disregarded.

@wundayatta: Good answer. I appreciate your response a lot. Thank you for answering. :)

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m going with @wundayatta on this one. If I was involved in anything like that, I would like to know the sperm donor upfront.

I do not believe and anonymous donor should be compelled to have his identity revealed.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Well, I agree with @wundayatta, too, except that once the child comes of age, he or she has his own rights, and hence the (apparent or likely) court case that prompts the question. And I still agree: the confidentiality of the original contract should guard the donor’s ‘actual’ identity, but it may be necessary for a court to decide what information the now-adult child is able to have short of an actual violation of that contract, and then find ways to deliver that and stay in compliance.

nikipedia's avatar

@KatawaGrey: For what it’s worth, I’m still interested in hearing it…

JilltheTooth's avatar

@wundayatta : So glad you get it, so sorry you had to go through all that, so happy it turned out so well for you! I, too, wrestled with the known vs. unknown donor question, and ultimately decided on unknown for a variety of reasons. Being female, and being the only one making the decision, it was obviously less difficult for me.

To actually address the question itself, if I were the judge in such a case, I would make the decision based on the best information available to me. The issue of medical information is only one part of this, but I would think very long and hard before releasing any medical information without the express consent of the person whose information it is. Remember, folks, medical information is confidential. If release of that information was part of the original contract for donation, and the donor had waived confidentiality for the issue (child and/or children) of the donation, then fine. Otherwise, we’re entering some very dicey territory. If said information reveals potential harm to the potential offspring, the donor would not be deemed acceptable in the first place. Sperm Banks are only able to operate with any effectiveness because of TRUST. I had neither the inclination nor the ability to test the sample each time I was inseminated, so I took a big leap of faith each and every time I went in. I had to trust that they did everything they said they did to ensure the healthiest sperm because one problem, well publicized and they shut down.
Again, let me reiterate that I can only speak to how it was in the 80s, but the issue of Medical Confidentiality is still relevant.

perspicacious's avatar

Yes. Half of the offspring’s genetic makeup came from the donor. The offspring should have the right to know who their parents are. Yes. Yes. Yes.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@perspicacious : Are you the child of an anonymous sperm donor? Are you the parent of such a child? Are you closely involved with either? If the answer is yes, I’ll assume you’ve thought a lot about this and had a lot of inside information to support your post that you simply don’t feel like sharing. Fair enough. If not, your post reads like a flip knee jerk reaction and that you didn’t bother to even read and think about the posts on this thread.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@perspicacious: I know who my parent is. She is the woman who posted above me. I have no other parents.

JilltheTooth's avatar

that’s my girl!

JilltheTooth's avatar

Come to think of it, even a spouse has no right to medical information, unless the partner is either unable to act for him/her self, or has passed away, as I understand it.

tranquilsea's avatar

For me the thing that I would worry about is that if there was a judgment that retroactively revealed men and women who had donated then that could very possibly result in people thinking twice about the donor process.

I think that it is wonderful we live in a time where women/couples wanting to conceive have this option. As I stated before, the donor should give any pertinent information with regards to known health issues. If the donor wants to remain anonymous then they should be able to remain anonymous.

I would hope that any judge who sat in front of a case like this would uphold the original agreement.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@JilltheTooth the reason I temper my answers on the side of allowing more and more information to pass to the child is that we’re talking about a genetic heritage that, as time goes on and more information is discovered about the human genome, becomes more and more valuable. And it may seem like splitting hairs, but I don’t equate “genetics” to “medical information”. We don’t know where medical science will be in even five or ten years, much less the 80 years or more that today’s baby can expect to live.

And since nearly every “naturally conceived and born” child knows his heritage to a greater or lesser degree, including his or her parents and their history, and who would almost universally accede to any request for genetic testing or information that was required to allow the child a full, healthy and happy life, it seems only natural to allow “as much information as possible” to flow from the anonymous donor, whose name and (as I say) “actual” identification must remain closed, if that’s what was intended.

Pandora's avatar

@CyanoticWasp “we’re all born into situations for which we had no right to dissent or modify.
If we all thought that way than why would we have operations to better our life, or fight civil right laws or even try to get a better education when we come from a poor family. Everyone has the right to improve their life one way or another or to try to change it somehow if that is their desire. No such thing as never have the right to fight or change ourselves or our lives.
Maybe in Cuba but last I look, we can do almost anything we want so long as it is legal.

Nullo's avatar

Excellent question!

I would say ‘no,’ since the other biological parent went out of his/her way to have the kid, and so ought to have been able to wait for favorable circumstances. Suing would seem more than a little criminal.

I am reminded of Arthur Dent, Trillian, and their daughter Random.

Seaofclouds's avatar

While having the past family medical history would be nice and beneficially, I don’t think a donor should have to give up their anonymity for it. Instead, if someone really wanted the information, I think there should be some kind of system set up where a mediator would get involved and ask the donor for the information and then give it to the child. While there are benefits to having a past medical record, there have been so many advances in medicine and we are finding the genes that are linked to diseases before the diseases are even present. Knowing a family member had diabetes or heart disease may increase the urgency for someone to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but honestly, if they are that concerned about it, they should be maintaining a healthy lifestyle regardless as to what their family history says because something could hit them that did not affect their relatives.

Once a child is old enough, they have a right to seek out their biological parent, but the biological parent has a right to keep their identity protected. I think they basically cancel each other out.

wundayatta's avatar

Or how about you keep back a few million sperm cells for analysis later, should it seem advisable. Or if that isn’t feasible, a cell sample of some kind. Then the child will have something that could be analyzed if it seemed necessary, and the donor could remain anonymous. Freezing a few cell samples isn’t much harder that freezing 250 million sperm cells.

perspicacious's avatar

@KatawaGrey Every one of us has two parents and we have the right to know who they are. You may certainly choose to not obtain the information. I can’t imagine not having the information for my benefit as well as for the benefit of my own issue.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@perspicacious: You may have two parents, but I only have one. She raised me, took care of me and continues to look after me to this day. Just because some guy jacked off into a cup doesn’t mean he is my parent. I have dealt with narrow-minded people like you my whole life and I hate to say that you people still bug me but you bug me a whole lot less now than you used to.

Coloma's avatar

@JilltheTooth

I think it’s awesome that childless people have the option to give birth and raise a child through donor banks, but, I still stand firm that those that wish to know their backgrounds more in depth should have that right.

perspicacious's avatar

@KatawaGrey That’s a personal problem you have there—it doesn’t mean the rest of humanity who understands that we all have two parents is narrow minded. You obviously feel some sort of insecurity about your conception; you shouldn’t. I don’t doubt you have a great mom and wanting to know who your biological father is would in no way be a negative statement about your mom.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@perspicacious: You misunderstand me. When I say “parent” I mean “someone who looks after me and raises me and loves me.” Clearly, you mean “person who contributed to your genetic make-up” which are two completely different things.

I see what you did there, by the way. Nice turnaround to try and make me feel like and asshole.

perspicacious's avatar

@KatawaGrey My answer was completely about genetic makeup—not about being a good mommy or daddy. I don’t know why you ever commented to me when you hadn’t read my answer: “Yes. Half of the offspring’s genetic makeup came from the donor. The offspring should have the right to know who their parents are. Yes. Yes. Yes.”

KatawaGrey's avatar

@perspicacious: I did read your answer. However, I disagree. A child has no right to know who both of his/her parents are. Medical history, yes. Identity, no.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
wundayatta's avatar

Hang on a second @KatawaGrey and @Adirondackwannabe. I don’t think you have to defend your opinions. You know what you know.

@perspicacious clearly has some strong opinions, since she feels she has to express them in terms of rights. I don’t understand what, exactly this right is, @perspicacious, nor where you think it comes from. Why should society support a right to know who their parents are? I can see that there might be some advantages to it, but enough to make it a right as powerful as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

What does “knowing who” mean? Should children be given their address and phone number? Or are we talking about a description of them? Are you suggesting that children have a right to meet their bio-father in person? Does this mean the bio-father is obligated to meet with them and talk to them?

@KatawaGrey and I may not get along sometimes, but if this right of your were adopted by society, I think there’s a good chance she wouldn’t be here to disagree with. Why would you want that?

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m somewhat amused that some of the people here think that anyone with access to both bio-parents knows the whole medical history. Really? Do you know that your cousin has a hereditary heart condition but has always been a health nut so it never developed to the point that it was diagnosed? Or that your mom may have passed down the CF gene to you but nobody knows it because in your family no one has procreated with another carrier? Or how about that pesky Tay-Sachs gene? I found out after my daughter was born that that few generations ago my father’s family converted from Judaism, who knows why…but they did. I have a host of Eastern European Jewish ancestors, and nothing in my phenotype to indicate that. My educated and intelligent parents didn’t tell me about that when they found out I was going to a sperm bank, it wasn’t deliberate, they just didn’t think about it.

And do we really want to open the genetic testing door in the courts on this issue? Is the next (fairly short) step to compel a bio-parent to donate a body part if s/he is the only match? As a person with only one functioning kidney, I have given this a lot of thought. Not being faced directly with such an issue, I would like to believe that I would first walk into the emergency room with information and donor card in hand and blow my own brains out to give my daughter a needed body part rather than compel, through the courts, a stranger to do that. I’d love to find the person, and ask, sure, but, to mix metaphors here, once the door is opened, the bell can’t be unrung.

@Wundayatta states the concept of “rights” perfectly. Thank you for putting it so well.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JilltheTooth As someone that doesn’t know anyone on my dad’s side of the family, I don’t get it either. My dad’s family disowned him and my mom when they had me. They didn’t like the fact that my parents got married, but kept in touch until I was born. Then, my grandmother (his mother) came to visit my mom in the hospital and refused to hold me or anything. My aunt (his sister) held me once and then gave me back to my mom. My grandmother then said I was not her grandchild and her and my aunt left. They never were in touch with my parents again. The only thing I know about my dad’s side of the family is that his dad committed suicide.

Also, we are just not getting to the point were people are open and honest with their family about their health (especially mental health). It use to be that illnesses weren’t discussed, so knowing what ones grandparents died from was very rare.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Seaofclouds : Very good point. We are generations away from full disclosure inside tightly knit families let alone extended families. Strangers? I don’t think so, for a long while to come. My grandfather died of cancer, nobody knows what kind. @Coloma mentioned mental health history…yeah, like we’ll see that in any foreseeable future.
@wundayatta put it so well: The lack of medical records or a child? Hmmm. Let me see? Sorry kids. Gotta go with a child on this one. He really gets it.

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