Infertility (Sort of) Abounds
So I read a bunch of posts in a row which were worth a mention but not worth a whole post. This is the part where I vomit them all out at you.
Who Gets the Say?
Yahoo News had a story about the change in donor anonymity in Australia in 1998. Gamete donations made after 1998 are not anonymous — donor-conceived children can know information on their donor if they choose. Gamete donations made before 1998 were potentially anonymous. Donor-conceived children born before 1998 wanted information on their origins. Before the government changed the rules and made information from before 1998 donations known to donor-conceived children, they asked a group of donors their opinion. Half were okay giving the information to the kids. The other half asked for continued anonymity.
The question then becames whose rights superseded the other’s rights? Is it more important for donors to get to keep their anonymity if they donated believing they would always remain anonymous? Or is it more important for children to get information and understand their origins?
While I feel for the donors and don’t think it’s fair to change the rules down the road — when they donated, they donated with the understanding that they would remain anonymous — I have to side with the children in this case: the only people who had no say over their creation. Donors had the choice to donate (or not donate) their gametes. Parents had the choice to use (or not use) donor gametes. But those donor-conceived children who want their information never made a choice about the way they were conceived. I think they have a right to information that affects them if they want it.
At the same time, I feel the donor’s frustration. Parents are under no obligation to reveal to their offspring that they were donor-conceived, yet donors — the people who provided their gametes — are under a different set rules? And as they say, this violates a contract. How damaging will this be for the donor world in the future if contracts are changed without all parties’ consent? As a side note, half of the donors who were against losing their anonymity were for personally giving their information to those donor-conceived. They didn’t mind that contact or trading of information insomuch as they didn’t want a blanket rule thrown retroactively backwards.
And that’s what Australia ultimately did in the end: they placed the rights in the hands of those anonymous donors. They can choose whether or not to reveal themselves or pass along information.
The Stir had a post that I was certain was going to be IF-related and then turned out to not be… sort of. The title: “I Secretly Hate When My Friends Get Pregnant.”
Oh, I thought, this must be about how they also wish they were pregnant, and how they need to be happy for their friend while still feeling sad for themselves. But no, it’s just an anonymous rant about how friendships change when one person gets pregnant and the other has older children. And then it becomes a mom-petition: the author claims you’re bumped down in your friend’s informal ranking system because your friend will connect with other people in a similar situation.
At the very end, the author acknowledges that she totally gets where childfree people “are coming from when they can’t muster a whole lot of happiness over a friend’s pregnancy.” Except… for the most part… this isn’t why we’re upset. It isn’t about worrying about being ousted from our friendship status by other women with similarly-aged babies. It’s about being confronted on a daily basis with salt when we have a very large, painful wound called infertility, and that salt is being inadvertently shaken (emphasis on the word inadvertently) by someone we love. As much as I love babies, it is sometimes hard to be around babies; seeing that tangible reminder of what I can’t have. But if I want to see my friends, I have to also see that baby. So I deal.
Friendships change as life changes. The lasting ones weather those obstacles and even use them to ultimately climb closer to one another. But not every friendship is worth that sort of effort. Some friendships have a shorter lifespan; which is not a comment on their worth. Both those people who remain with you through the years as well as the ones that are intensely in your life for a short period of time all have a place in the friend continuum.
So I really wasn’t sure what to make of this post.
Social Media: a Feeling-Hurting Space
Amy Poehler had a quote on People.com on how her feelings are always hurt inadvertently (there’s that word again) by social media. We say things, and we don’t think about how they’re being taken by those who read our words in the same way that we self-censor and think through what we say (for the most part) when we’re speaking to a single person, face-to-face. This is not to say that we don’t put our foot in it during private conversations, but there’s a lot more room for those inadvertent hurts when it comes to directing comments to a large group of people simultaneously via social media.
Poehler is talking more about seeing herself discussed online, but it did make me think about the inadvertent hurts of Facebook. And if it’s inadvertent, how deeply do we let it cut us?
What do you think of those sound bites?