So, last week I stayed at my mom's house while Carl was at church camp with the teens. (For those that aren't avid readers, I can't stay anywhere overnight by myself...yes I know, I'm a scared-e-cat.) Anyway, she has the bunny ears not the cable tv. No big, I watched the bunny ears for 22 years. So, I had to watch Oprah for a week. I was surprised that I actually caught two good episodes that didn't have to do with fashion or celebrities or giving away un-Godly amounts of materialist crap. However, I want to preface that the word "good" here means that it caused me to think and question and got the cogs in my head a turnin'.
Episode #1: Lisa Ling did a special report about couples who are paying women to be surrogates in India. Obviously the couples have fertility issues. One of the couples that came on the show had already spent over $100,000 in the US to several different doctors and gone through several different treatments and hadn't gotten pregnant. They had considered adoption, but wanted to have a biological child. They found out about the surrogate option in India which is roughly $6400USD. They have made 2 different trips for about 3-4 weeks at a time and will make one more for 1 month when their child is born. The amount of money the Indian women make from carrying just one child successfully (the success rate is about 60%) is enough to bring these women and their families out of poverty and change their lives. The documentary showed the house where one surrogate lived before and the home where she lived now with her family. Most women are surrogates only once. I've never been pregnant. I don't know if I have fertility issues. I also am open to adoption. Since I was in middle school I wanted to foster/adopt children. So, I just don't understand the longing, craving, obsession, and extreme lengths that some couples will go to in order to have a biological baby. I don't understand the insane amount of money they will spend to "roll the dice." But I am extremely uneasy with outsourcing a pregnancy to another country...even if it could change that woman's life.
Martha Stewart's daughter was on at the end of the show. She's 42. She spends over $28,000/month to try to get pregnant. In 2 months she could pay off my college debt.
*In Oklahoma County alone, there are over 15,000 children, ages 0-17 ready and waiting to be adopted by a warm and loving home. Adoption isn't free, but it's got to be a lot cheaper than trying for something that may not be able to happen. And yes I said county, not state. There are 76 other counties in the state, and 49 other states.
Episode #2: This episode centered around the first sperm donor babies who are now all grown up and asking lots of questions. There were several sperm donors on who were offering their view and opinion. One guy said when we was donating, he looked at it like donating blood, he just got paid for it. Um...except that donating sperm means giving the potential for human life, not just transfusions. Don't worry, the guy is only a pediatrician with 9 "donor children" as their called. He also doesn't call them his children because he didn't go through the physical act of conceiving them. Dude, you are their biological father! They have your physical characteristics! Remember your sperm? They carry your DNA. Aren't you a doctor?! Oprah interviewed 4 "donor children" and talked with them about the questions they have and why they want to know who their father's are. Most of the kids interviewed were in their 20's. They knew their dad was donor "24H" or "4Qs2"etc, but no name, no medical history, no family heritage, no nothing. All of them expressed an emptiness and a void and longing to know a side of them that they feel they can't know without knowing at least a person from that side of themselves. Some of them have been connected with a 1/2 sibling or relative in someway. Some have found their donors and been received very well, but most have no answers and have grown up an only child being loved by a single-mom.
Do you think it's selfish of these mom's to use a sperm bank to have a baby if they know the child will grow up without a father and will eventually ask questions and want answers? It sounds similar to a child that's adopted that eventually wants to know about their birth parents...not because they don't love their adopted parents or love them any less, but because they need that piece that hasn't fit for so long to fit if it can. I think it has to be similar for "donor children." There's a piece that's not fitting and they're trying to find the right piece. The only problem is, there's hardly any resources to link them to their piece. www.donorsiblingregistry.com is the only one going right now. They've linked over 4,600 siblings and donors so far. It's a start.
I don't know how I feel about all this. I do know it keeps me up at night. And it doesn't keep me up at night because I'm thinking of ways to change people's minds. It keeps me up at night because our society is still treating life with disregard and keeps coming up with ways for people to get what they want without thinking of the consequences.