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The Differences and Similarities Between Adoption And Egg Donation

Posted Sep 10 2009 11:06pm
I had the opportunity to be a part of a panel on a radio show hosted by Dawn Davenport who is the Executive Director of Creating A Family which is a nonprofit organization that provides education, resources, and support for those touched by infertility or adoption.

On the panel with me was a gentleman by the name of Adam Pertman, Executive Director, with the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.

To be honest I wasn't really sure how this was going to pan out. I have heard through the grapevine how similar yet different adoption and egg donation were, but still wasn't clear on terminology or philosophies.

As we began our radio show I was nervous. Here I was with this Executive Director from the Adoption Institute who works diligently to provide leadership that improves adoption laws, policies and practices - through sound research, education and advocacy - in order to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption. These folks are serious about their mission.

They work tirelessly:

•Offering lawmakers reliable information and practical perspectives to improve adoption laws;
•Providing the media with a trusted source of information;
•Encouraging employer support for adoption;
•Reducing barriers that impede adoption of children who need permanent families;
•Researching policies and practices that affect adoption;
•Educating policymakers and the public about the importance of giving adopted people access to information about their origins;
•Developing a legal framework to ensure access to genetic information and a clear delineation of parental responsibility for children born through reproductive technology;
•Promoting ethical standards for adoption professionals

And as I listened to Adam speak I found myself sitting up in my chair a bit straighter and nodding my head. He was saying the very same things many of us find ourselves saying as we go through our own personal DE journey. Both from an adoptive perspective and a recipient mother perspective we both share the same kinds of insecurities.

Will my child love me? Will I make a good parent? Why didn't my body work the way it was supposed to? How long will I grieve regarding the ability to have a genetic child? When my child hears his or her story about their origins will they become resentful. Will my child like his birth mother or egg donor more than me? When should we tell our child about their origins? Early? Late, or not at all?

What I am learning more and more is that those of us having our children via egg donation should really look at, embrace, and follow the adoptive parents module. As it stands DE is where adoption was regarding attitudes and secrecy 30 years ago. And to me that's very sad because there is nothing to be ashamed about regarding having a child via egg donation, it's a beautiful thing and just a different way to create or grow your family.

What separates the two of course is the pregnancy part. In my radio broadcast I touched upon Epigenics, and how pregnancy for recipient mothers is an integral and very important part of the process, and while at the end of the day the goal is to become a parent and raise a child I stated emphatically that it's very important that we recognize and validate this rite of passage for many women.

What we do need to establish is clear and consistent language, definitions and verbiage for this specific kind of reproductive technology. The adoption folks have their language, and it's clear, and concise. DE doesn't have that as of yet. We might think we do, but really we don't. We are still wrestling with what to deem the egg donor and a sperm donor. We know for instance in adoption that the woman who carries the baby and the man who has intercourse with a woman and a child results is a birth father. So what should we refer our egg donors and sperm donors as? Genetic parents? That in itself might seem very simple but how do we know egg donors or sperm donors want to be thought of as parents at all?

Food for thought - yes?
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