General Question

deaddolly's avatar

What would you do in my place?

Asked by deaddolly (3431points) September 29th, 2008

In the late 80’s, I chose to have a child via artificial insemention. Donors were anonymous. It was the best decision I’ve ever made: she’s my best friend and I’m very proud of the young woman she’s become.
I was always honest and open with her about my choice, ever since she was little. As she got older, she’s expressed interest in possibly meeting her ‘donor father’. I tried contacting the cryobank, but it was closed long ago and records seem to have disappeared. I belong to a Single Mothers by Choice organization and am listed online as parents wishing to meet donors. What is the collective’s opinion? If you were the donor, would you want to meet any offspring?
By the way, the donor was married and had 10 children. His wife signed him up for the donor program…lol
Thanks for your opinions!

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28 Answers

cookieman's avatar

If I was the donor, I would be very reluctant to meet your daughter. I’m sure he went the anonymous route for a reason. Furthermore, as the father of (at least) 10 children, I’d imagine is legs to rather busy.

If I were you, I’d also be reluctant to have my daughter meet him. The fact that she turned out wonderful has much more to do with your abilities as a mother than his genetics. There is very little chance he will live up to whatever expectations she may have.

My daughter is adopted from China. Her birth mother is completely unknown to us or any involved agency. I also worry about how to handle it when/if my daughter becomes interested in her.

cookieman's avatar

“life” – I meant life…not legs.

Although they may be tired also.

deaddolly's avatar

lol, thanks cprevite. Yes, I’ve oftern wondered if the donors ever think of any offspring they may have produced. And, thank you for your kind words. BTW, my daughter looks EXACTLY like me and has a personality similar to mine. Freaky, eh?

EmpressPixie's avatar

If I were the donor, I would have no interest in meeting your child. However, I would be willing to do so (and not be rude or whatever) if she felt really strongly about it as long as it wasn’t too much of a problem for me. Like, for breakfast one weekend or something where I didn’t have to travel far. Because basically I would feel like I was doing a favor for a total stranger.

I would also be MORE than willing to keep her up to date on health issues in the family if anything important develops that she needs to know about.

JackAdams's avatar

I have a tendency to agree somewhat, with the comments made by cprevite, in that the donor chose anonymity for a reason, and probably isn’t interested in any contact with any additional offspring, other than the 10 he already has.

I can identify with your daughter’s angst, if she has some. I also never had a father or “dad,” and I know I would have loved to have had one, but my birth mother didn’t want to keep me, so she placed me for adoption.

This makes me a person who has never known my biological mother or father, because neither of them wanted me.

And, to this day, I’m struggling to try to figure out what I must have done, to make either of them reject me, as they did.

It’s rough for a child to overhear someone say, “They didn’t want him, so they got rid of him.”

deaddolly's avatar

@jACK There may have been reasons behind your mother’s giving you up. At any rate; you should be proud of what you have become. They’re the losers, not you.

Yes, it was rough during the father/daughter things at school.
And, I chose anonymity for a reason too. I didn’t want anyone to pop up out of the woodwork and lay claim to my child. I think she wants to just see him and she’s interested in meeting his family. I’ve got mixed feelings, myself.

@empress I did get a lot of health information during the initial screening process. But, yes, that would be nice to know. Things change.

JackAdams's avatar

The health issues are also a concern to me, because it would be harder to find a suitable bone marrow donor, for example, not knowing my biological family.

dalepetrie's avatar

I see a few facets to this.

#1 – your daughter is 18, it’s her choice if she wants to go down this path, it’s no longer your choice. I can see things from her point of view, there are many reasons, some could be health related as JackAdams points out, but likely more importantly to her, the emotional reasons. If she wants this, no one should deem themselves more qualified than her to judge her reasons. If a person feels an emotional hole in her life, well, she needs to fill that hole, even if it might not seem objectively to be the best thing to do.

#2 – As her mother your responsibilities are first and foremost to support her/be supportive of her, and second, to give her any information that might be useful to her decisionmaking process and to trust her to make the right choice with it.

Bottom line, you may have reservations, and you should share them with her, but make it clear you’re just giving her the information she needs to make the right decision, and only she can know what that decision is. If she makes the decision to seek him out, then you should support her in her efforts in any way you can.

As for the anonmymity of the donor, as long as you’re not bringing legal liability and such into it (i.e., she’s not going after an inheritance or something), then that person has every right to reject her if she does find him, but he can’t expect that it’s not at least a possibility that something may have come of his “donation” and that some day he might be contacted by a previously known offspring. And though a person might even feel bad for the guy in terms of the violation of his privacy should it come to that, where does your loyalty lie…to your daughter, or to the anonymous donor of the sperm that created her? I think the choice on that one is crystal clear.

deaddolly's avatar

@dale Thanks. Yes, I would support whatever decision she chooses. And I have looked for her, but as I said, there seems to be no information. I know a little, but not enough to locate him.
If I were the donor, I’d be curious…but that’s about it.

poofandmook's avatar

I think that it would probably mean more stress than not for your daughter. The guy is anonymous for a reason. He doesn’t want her… he wanted someone else to have a child. If he wanted her, he would’ve had her with his wife. Is your daughter prepared for the probable rejection if she finds him? What if he’s a prick? What if he’s a racist? What if he’s a felon? Ugh. I’d stick with the good parent and leave it at that, if I were her!

deaddolly's avatar

I do know certain things about him; he is a college grad and respected business owner in Wyoming. They tell you characteristics, health, ethnic background etc.

Nowadays you can narrow it down to the exact qualities you’d like. Things were just starting out in the late 80’s—I had a difficult time finding a doctor who would insemenate single women. Now it’s much more common.

dalepetrie's avatar

I’m sure a PI, if one could be afforded, would be your best route. There seems to be enough information to work with, but your typical person on the street could never find it.

deaddolly's avatar

Yeah, I know I’ve tried to find out more. I don’t know…she hasn’t mentioned it in awhile, I just want to be prepared if she does again. I’d support her no matter what she decides. I think the older she gets, the more she understands.

JackAdams's avatar

Let’s assume that the donor is still living in your state.

How many people do you estimate, have 10 kids in their family, and reside in your state?

That should narrow-down your search, considerably, assuming that it is true that the donor fathered 10 biological kids of his own.

wundayatta's avatar

I’d want to know what my genes had done. I’d want to meet the girl. I’d be happy to find out that I had helped someone. It would be fun to see if there was anything she did that was like me.

fireside's avatar

I think the main reason that adopted children want to find their birth parents is because of issues with self-identity, perfectly natural for a teenager.

Make sure you support her personal growth and search for self as that will benefit her most in the long run. This looks like a good book in that respect, but I haven’t actually read it.

Did you say a business owner in Wyoming, with 10 kids, about 18 years ago – GULP! – (just kidding)

RandomMrdan's avatar

This question made me laugh…I use to be apart of a donor program as well. I donated for about a year and a half.

And I can say, I would never want to meet any of the children I may potentially have. I donated for money, it was easy, and also, it is helping families have children who may have otherwise not been able to get pregnant.

Judi's avatar

My daughters father was basically a sperm donor, since she was a wonderful by-product of an irresponsible affair when my self esteem was at it’s lowest. Even though he chose not to be involved in her life I never once said a negative thing about him, because I had seen how parents destroy kids by bad mouthing their other parent and I thought it was selfish and appauling. So, my daughters circumstance was similar to your daughters. When my first husband died she wanted to meet her “real” dad and I made it happen. They met once, she met her brother once and that seemed to satisfy her. (she was 8.)When she was a teenager she again said she wanted to contact her father and again I made it happen for her. This time they talked on the phone every night for a couple of weeks. Later she asked me, “Mom, why didn’t you warn me that he was such a self centered egotistical jerk?” I told her that it wasn’t my place to make judgment on her father. She respected me more and she knew that I loved her more than I disliked her father.
I guess my point is, your daughter could be very disapointed in who she meets, then again, she may have a need to meet him, especially if she has all those sibblings out there. My daughter (now 28) recently found her brother on the internet and is forming a relationship away from her father. She is an Aunt and he is an uncle and they never even knew it! I am happy for her.

deaddolly's avatar

@fireside and Jack Yes, 18 years ago, wyoming and a business owner. and he was supposed to be a very gentle man that resmembled a ‘Grizzly Adams’ type character.
@daloon….exactly I would too.
@randomMrDan Great, I knew I would find a donor here! lol I can definately see your point, but aren’t you the least bit curious?

RandomMrdan's avatar

@deaddolly, I am curious a bit…I suppose, as long as I wasn’t really obligated to supporting that child, I’d be a bit interested in meeting her and seeing what my genetics helped create. It might get a bit strange though if she wanted me to be some sort of father figure.

deaddolly's avatar

@judi That’s a great story (not the jerk part)! I think a lot of this whole thing is about my daughter’s fear that I’m getting older and may not be around forever. She constantly tries to mother me about eating right etc. We have limited relatives, so if I’m gone; I think she’s afraid of being alone. Knowing there’s someone else out there, esp the siblings, is of some comfort to her. Just knowing it, I think.
I think you did a beautiful thing, by letting her find out on her own what her biological father is like. Hard as it may be, some things they’ve gotta do alone.

Darwin's avatar

@JackAdams: It really isn’t that your birth parents rejected you. It was more that they were wise enough to understand that they couldn’t raise a baby at that point in their lives. It wouldn’tbe fair to either the baby or themselves or even their families.

My children were both adopted and we have explained it thusly to them: There are two basic jobs that parents have to do. The first is to create a child and the second is to raise that child to adulthood with all the tools they will need to be successful.

Most parents can do both jobs, but sometimes a particular set of parents can only do one of the two. That is when they need to find a second set of parents who can do the other job. And that is what we did. We had the time, money and desire to raise children but couldn’t make them. Our kids’ biological parents were able to make children but because of age, family situation and lack of financial resources they couldn’t raise children well. As a result they sought out and chose us to be their partners.

While enough years have gone by that all our birth parents have made their mark in the world, none of them have had any other children. We believe that they don’t feel the need to raise children of their own and are glad they found the right partners for raising the children they did make.

So don’t feel rejected. Instead work on feeling glad that the parents that made you were wise enough to assure you a good future. Treasure the folks that have spent many years helping you to realize your potential.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t choose to seek out your birth relatives. However, be aware that friends of mine that have done so said that while their biological families were good people and looked just like them, they were not the folks who loved them for decades and helped them realize their potential. As one friend said, “They were nice folks, but they weren’t family.”

deaddolly's avatar

@ Darwin excellent answer. We don’t know all the details w/ Jack tho.
I think adoptive parents, in most cases, are wonderful. They are parents because they want to be. Most ppl take more time deciding what to order at a restaurant, then deciding how to raise a child.

scamp's avatar

If it were me, I’d want to leave the donor to his privacy. I wouldn’t want to upset the apple cart with my daughter. I can understand the curiousity, but I think that will pass in time.i think a relationship at this point in her life would be awkward and strained.

But I am kind of biased. My feelings are no dad is better than a bad dad. My wasband was “around” until my daughter was 17. But he was never really “there.” My daughter refers to him as her DNA. which means Dad Not Available

deaddolly's avatar

@ scamp Those are my feelings too. I had a dad, but he was like a slient fixture in the house. Never took us anywhere on his own or talked to us much.

scamp's avatar

@deaddolly I’m sorry you had that experience also. I gave you some lurve as a way to share a hug. I’m glad that you have such a close relationship with your daughter. I am very close to mine as well. Daughters like yours and mine are truly a blessing. She is the biggest joy in my life.

deaddolly's avatar

@scamp…yes, they are. Exactly why I said I would never trade my life, in another question. I honestly don’t know what i would do w/o my daughter. Lurve right back at you! Thank you!

scamp's avatar

You’re very welcome!

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