Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Letting go

When I have the transplant my DNA and blood group will change. What is fascinating is that sometimes for a period of time a recipient can have more than one DNA. But I must admit I am a little loath to let go of my DNA because it holds so many unanswered questions.

Many people when they reach a certain age, and particularly when they have children, are fascinated about their family history – not just dates and family trees – but more the genetic traits they have inherited and which will be passed on down through future generations. It is that aspect which has interested me. Naturally we look at our children and try to see family resemblances. Since I never met Raymond’s father and have only seen one photograph of him as he died many years ago, I have assumed that any physical, emotional, mental traits which I could not attribute to family members I knew, must relate either to him or my paternal grandmother who died before I was born.

When you discover that you are only related to half of the family you thought you knew, you lose an enormous part of your cultural heritage. It doesn’t matter how close you are to your maternal family, they are only half of the equation. A multitude of questions arise, not least about the risk of genetic disease or the prevalence of certain conditions.

Some male donor conceived adults can at least trace their paternal ethnicity because they have both x and y chromosomes but females are less lucky. Perhaps they will be able to do that at some time in the future. There are one or two television programmes in the pipeline which will assist the young donor conceived to trace their parentage following changes in the law. This will be particularly ironic for those thousands and thousands who will not be able to do this.

In the meantime, I must let go of my old DNA and my blood group and take on a new persona – thanks to a wonderful donor. I am grateful to the medical profession for attempting this procedure which could cure me. I do, however, hope other medical professionals will take more care in the future about how they approach infertility. Too often this has meant that in solving the parents’ problem they may well be storing up many problems for the child who is created. It is not enough to be wanted; one has to belong.

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