Posted by: DD | September 4, 2007

no. 513 – If Biology Didn’t Matter

. . . your fertile neighbors would stock up on BCP and adopt “all those babies that just need a home.”

. . . birth mothers would never mourn the decision to place their children for adoption.

. . . birth fathers would never have to be informed of an adoption intent.

. . . Open Adoption would become just a loose term used when someone’s under aged daughter’s baby is adopted by Aunt Jane.

. . . abortion wouldn’t be controversial.

. . . the discovery that your frozen embryos didn’t survive the thaw wouldn’t send you to your bed in tears.

. . . no one would care if left-over embryos were destroyed, used in medical research or adopted.

. . . you wouldn’t have to wonder if it’s worth $400 to store the frozen sperm of your cancer-surviving husband for just one more year.

. . . you wouldn’t budget to buy enough donor sperm to not only create one baby but to have enough to try for a sibling in the years to come.

. . . there wouldn’t be the heartbreaking decision made by couples to chose a child-free life after years of failed treatments.

. . . there would be no such thing like a site that spews such claptrap as third-party reproduction is nothing more than high tech “baby trade”.

. . . there would be no need for artificial reproductive medicine or its technology and those advancements would never be realized.

. . . you wouldn’t be here . . . if someone didn’t care about biology.

For many of us who have had to face failed treatments, third-party ART, or adoption, we must somehow be allowed to mourn the loss of that biological link without guilt; yet celebrate the creation of something completely unexpected and foreign and beautiful, in our own way.

Understand that Biology and it’s importance does not mean it has to be your own.



  1. It absolutely is important. There is definitely a grieving process to knowing that your child doesn’t share your genes. That you won’t look at your child and say “He has my eyes; she has my chin.”

    Any time there is hope, there is also loss. ART gives us hope while taking away our privacy, our control, and sometimes even our genes. Grieving the loss while celebrating the hope is important to all of you.

  2. Well put.

    Biology cannot simply be dismissed, but it doesn’t have to be the end all and be all either.

    It’s such a personal thing that no two couples (or two individuals for that matter) are likely to come to making their peace with it the same way.

  3. That blog you linked is a bit distressing. I better not add it to my bloglines. Oh hell, you know I probably will.

  4. What a lovely post. Of course biology matters. It is not ALL that matters, but it’s something that I think many people take for granted. Thankfully the majority of people can reproduce without outside assistance and with their own genes being passed on. Some people need help, and some need help and gametes.

    I was really worried that I wouldn’t love my son, until my therapist pointed out that I love my husband even though I’m not related to him (interesting thought!) I wish with all my heart that my son was half me and half my husband, but I’m truly grateful that he’s here at all; something which wouldn’t have happened without the extremely generous donation from my sweet cousin.

    Hang in there, DD. Go through the process whatever way you need to. You can’t get to the glorious day without going through the cold, dark night. You’re in my thoughts.

  5. Well said. I can’t imagine what a tough time you must be going through. take care

  6. DD, where do you find these sites?

    I obviously need some serious googling lesson from you 🙂

    I wonder what kind of people they are to write such drivel.

  7. With all the blogs I read, there are sure to be some rather interesting links. The one above came from Eric-DI Dad.

  8. Perfectly said.

  9. Amen sister.

  10. DD,

    Although I find some things on that blog to be a bit odd, there is a lot I agree with, speaking as an adoptee. I know that you and others in the blogosphere are pretty respectful of biological roots and being honest with your children.

    But in real life, very few people are. 2/3s of people who use donor gametes in ART say they will be honest beforehand, but in reality 90% of them lie to their kids. (And the kids find out later anyway, I’ve spoken to some of them…shit, nightmare) And that is the public reality that that blogger is fighting against.

    I can’t tell you how incredibly defensive and dismissive of biology almost every adoptive parent I’ve ever met is. I think I’ve only met 2 or 3 who ever even SAID they thought biology mattered. And these aren’t adoptive parents from years ago, these are current adopting parents.

    Drives me nuts. They say such awful things to me when they find out that I have found my birth mother. Really really shitty.

    And the money issue? We’ve emailed about this, but yes, again, it really can be a problem for the children who result. I’ve often wondered if a better solution would be for the government to pay money directly or an income supplement of some kind for surrogate mothers and egg/sperm donors. (They started to do this with live organ donors here in Canada for income replacement/expenses.)

    I do know that the resulting children from all of this have only rarely been asked their opinions, even though egg donation has been going on since 1979. And sperm donation even longer. Why not?

    Maybe blogs like this will get people thinking about it more, even if the discussion feels sad.

    I hope you’re okay.

  11. I know we have discussed this before, and I too havea draft post about it. Perhaps I will finish it someday, but it is missing “something”.

    Speaking as someone who is in fact mourning the loss of a biological child and simultaneously proceeding with international adoption, I could not agree more with your post. In my draft, I describe this feeling kind of like the mythological god Janus (for whom January was named). You are looking ahead with happiness and anticipation of waht is to come, but still looking behind you with a sense of forelorn loss of what didn’t materialize and what is no more. I think I will always live my life this forward/rear facing way from here on out. It doesn’t mean I will love my adopted child any less – they are two separate issues.

    Perhaps I will finish that post….

  12. Thank you for this post. I really needed it. In fact, I know I will need it again so I’m bookmarking it.

  13. I was overwhelmed with the ignorance of science on that blog. In truth, donor egg conceived children have two mothers because of something called metagenetics. This is a very new field, but if you do some PubMed searching you will find that though the base DNA is from the donor’s egg and the sperm used, the actual expression of that DNA comes from the in utero environment.

    This has been seen in both animal and retrospective human studies. Environment – including, in utero – determines how genes are expressed. If you use a close relative’s genetic sequence, the chances are that you will be very closely related to the child.

    I am not even going to start on her ignorance around the social practices of adoption in history. It was rarely called adoption, but it was rather common for families to “give” a child to a childless couple if they had “too many mouths to feed.” That child was considered the child of the childless couple. It is one of the things that people just don’t know about.



  14. I’m just so… confused… by that site. I just don’t get her viewpoint. At. All.

    Great post!

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