Monday, 24 August 2009

looking at donor insemination in the early years

Since discovering about my own conception earlier in the year, I’ve been looking into the early practices of donor insemination. Obviously there was an ethical purpose to aid fertility but no one gave much thought to the effects on the children produced in this way. In fact, I’ve learned that there was a definite policy by some doctors to suggest that no one outside the parents should be told.

Some of the practices such as the secrecy of records are questionable. Medical students in particular regarded this as a way of making money, rather like the US blood donations in the past, so how effective the screening really was I don’t know – or even how sterile the conditions were. Before sperm could be frozen, donors were given sterile bottles to fill at home and deliver on a regular basis to the clinic.

However, what if there was a shortfall? Women were required to take their temperatures daily to ensure optimum time for ovulation and then travel to the clinic for the sperm donation by syringe. Although Dr. Reynold Boyd certainly interviewed both potential parents carefully and tried to match the paternal physiology and mental background, he does not appear to have always been successful as far as appearance.

One of the most usual ways in which children have discovered their origin is because eye colour was not carefully matched. Even basic studies in school biology lessons reveal that blue eyes are recessive genes and some children have been told highly imaginative stories about their eye colour. My mother tried to convince me for years that mine were grey instead of blue. The reason for my blog is because I understand the climate of secrecy years ago, I really don’t want to be part of this. I would like my identity to be open and honest and I regret that I shall never know who my father was or perhaps if I have any siblings – the latter is a very real loss.

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