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Donor conceived or pre-conception adopted

From ISOGG Wiki

What do you call someone who was conceived by artificial insemination?
This personal perspective contributed by a reader takes a new look at the tricky subject of terminology.

So here’s the thing – I’ve always, from the time I discovered that I was created by the sperm of a stranger (to my Mum) being artificially inseminated into my mother found the term “your donor” problematic. Honestly? I find it deeply offensive. It absolutely enrages me. Every time.

You see, I DON’T have a donor – I have a biological father and a biological mother. My biological mother is also my birth mother and social parent, the one who brought me up. I have another father, my social father, my Dad, to whom I am not biologically related: the man who (illegally for the times), put his name on my birth certificate and brought me up. (And that’s another thorny topic altogether!)

When I was created, people like me were sometimes called AI (artificial insemination) babies or children. It was scientifically and in every way accurate, if less warm and fuzzy. It wasn’t manipulative or disingenuous… it was exactly what it said on the box.

Over time, the terminology has changed… we’re now commonly called donor-conceived people… DCPs for short. It’s the quickest and easiest way to explain our origins. It’s also inaccurate.

Researchers and campaigners feel pragmatically obliged to use it so that the wider world understands what they are talking about. This suits the mighty and extremely profitable fertility companies and recipient parents extremely well. It’s propaganda of course … it promotes the idea of third-party reproduction being a warm fuzzy “gift”. And so the atrocious terminology “your donor” has also come into use.

Except that… no third-party created person has a donor. We all have biological parents – just the same as you and you and you. The difference is that we are conceived by artificial means and you are conceived as a result of a man and a woman having sexual intercourse.

In my case, my biological father did donate his sperm to a clinic. But my parents had to pay for that sperm and at that point the sperm became a product, a commodity. Without money changing hands I would not exist. At the moment of conception, the man and woman who created me became… already were my biological parents. Nothing more and nothing less. There was no “donor” in it.

Here’s the difference though. I (and every other third-party created person) is created with the premeditated intent of us being separated pre-conception from one of our biological parents. From 50% of our gene pool, our heritage, 50% of our identity…

And what of my social father? Well, as Dr Sandler who ran the clinic where I was conceived in the 1960s wrote in the British Medical Journal on November 11th 1973 (page 1372) when talking about the necessity of thorough screening of potential “candidates”, the provision of children by this means was “after all semi-adoption” That was true then when married couples only were allowed to be treated. And semi-adoption is still the case where couples are involved although there is now a huge (and profitable) market in third party reproduction being made available to single people with no “adopting partner”

Regardless of the nature of the families created, the fact remains that we none of us have “donors”, we have biological parents and my view is that they should ALWAYS be referred to as such.

So don’t you think it’s time we ceased using this incorrect, manipulative and deceptive term “donor conceived” for people like me? At the very least, I think there is a pressing need in dialogue to stop talking about donors and start talking about biological parents in relation to the thus created children.

Personally, for now, I prefer to say that I was pre-conception adopted by my Dad. After all, it’s the truth, isn’t it?