Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Trying to make sense of my situation

When I explained in yesterday’s blog how I had been conceived it frankly took a bit of courage for someone of my generation. I knew no one who had been conceived in the same way, partly because in the 1940s it was very rare but also because most donor offspring were probably never told so it was tremendously heart-warming to receive an e-mail from someone conceived at the same clinic. I actually wept; it was such a relief not to be alone.

In the 1940s donor conception was a comparatively new technique and the law had only just changed which ensured that such births were legitimate i.e. all the children born of a wife during their marriage were deemed to be the offspring of the husband. Otherwise there is no way that my parents would have ventured into this world.

Unfortunately, in those days it was all very hush-hush. Nowadays so many people have fertility treatment no one questions it. People know the difference between erectile disfunction and a low sperm count so there is no shame involved. However, in the 1940s low sperm count was not really understood.

At all events my parents told no one as far as I know. Only the original doctor knew and certainly not me. At first the shock of this disclosure was extremely difficult. Suddenly the whole concept of yourself, your family, your parents takes on a different perspective. I felt completely turned upside down. As if that wasn’t bad enough I realized that I was never going to find out who my donor-parent was, let alone his nationality. Since my DNA was rare, it was pretty obvious he was not British. Since my birth was not long after World War II and the coming down of the Iron Curtain, there was a strong likelihood of his being Eastern European. All I knew was that the doctor had studied my parents very carefully both physically and mentally to ensure a good match. As I am fair skinned with blue eyes, this eliminated about three-quarters of the world since fair hair and blue eyes are recessive genes.

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