No One Thought of the Children
I was a donor in college. I was poor, struggling, and 19. When I first considered becoming a donor, I had moral reservations even though I did not have religious upbringing. I asked my parents and other family members and some close friends. No one expressed the concern that anonymous IVF was immoral. So, I swallowed this uncomfortable feeling and justified my “earning” $30 per donation with platitudes that I would be helping to conceive a child who will be loved in this world. In this world, where there are so many unwanted pregnancies, I would be helping couples to bring children into loving families. I was too stupid at the time to think through the consequences of my action. I was blinded by the desire for easy money to make my rent payment and by the clinic’s propaganda of happy families. Now, thirty years later, I shudder to think of the confusion and heartache these children have suffered, the feelings of abandonment, the feeling of being unwanted, the wondering of “who” they are. I never even considered at the time that these children might feel unwanted. Nor did I consider the evil of the pornography at the clinic and how it objectifies women. I was a mere object (a sperm source), masturbating to magazines which made women mere objects, and that was my part in this industry which commoditizes children. Further, my visits to the clinic normalized pornography and masturbation, which led to a long struggle with porn addiction and all of the baggage that porn brings to family life.
I am sad for my biological children. Some have attempted to contact me, but I don’t want any contact whatsoever. To some, perhaps I am merely an object of curiousity. To others though, I fear that they would expect me to heal a large part of the emptiness in their lives. I cannot do that. I’m not equipped to do so. The clinic gave me $30 and sent me on my way—it did not give me training on how to handle the shame of being a donor, or how to comfort a donor-conceived child, or how to put together the pieces of the lives shattered by this process.
It’s difficult, too, to have held this secret from my wife and our children. I am a fraud. Sooner or later, a child of mine will grow up and take a retail DNA test and discover that he has God-knows-how-many half-siblings. How do I explain that? How do I explain that I was once so greedy that I would take part in such an evil industry?
Finally, I think about the children who were conceived and born, and I pray for them. I pray that they can somehow forgive me, and forget me. I pray that they find peace, and understand that, sometimes, it’s best to not know who your blood relatives are. Blood doesn’t make someone your family. No one in the world has hurt me or made me feel more alone than my blood relatives. I hope too that they realize that even though people make mistakes, God never makes a mistake and that they are here because He has a plan for each of them.
I also think of the children conceived, but not born. The countless embryos who have been “destroyed.” They are no less human than anyone else reading this. How many of these children are killed every year in this process? I think, with great sadness, of my part in creating and then killing so many new lives.