making babies

Sunday 13 December 2009

I’ve long questioned the idea of donating eggs and sperm, especially with many children available for adoption and the population continuing to grow.  In many cases you get one “part” of the new baby donated (read “purchased”) and the other piece is used from one of the parents that are intended to raise the new child (though many times these manufactured births bring about multiple babies).  Sometimes both parents can use their egg/sperm but a surrogate must bring the child to term.

I know there are probably lots of arguments to be made, some I’ve probably not heard of, but for now, I’m not much in favor of doctors/scientists “creating” or “manufacturing” children.  Firstly, there is so much expense ($$) required to create a baby this way it seems to be a big waste, especially when there are plenty of children already born looking for a good home!

Why don’t people want to adopt?  There are plenty of reasons, I’m sure, but often times I think it comes down to selfishness and the desire to have a “blood child.”  Adopted children are often times looked at by society as “less than” “natural” children.  Until we find ways to better this ideal, the push for non-adoption practices will continue.

I could ramble on about this a lot more, I’m sure, but I want to take some of your reading energy to the NY Times article titled 21st-Centutry Babies — Building a Baby, With Few Ground Rules.  There is a lot there, though not necessarily a lot about some of the issues I brought up.  I do want to pull out a few quotes from the article that point to some of the issues I have with this practice:

“Ms. Kehoe handpicked the egg donor, a pre-med student at the University of Michigan. From the Web site of California Cryobank, she chose the anonymous sperm donor, an athletic man with a 4.0 high school grade-point average.”

“… it is now essentially possible to order up a baby, creating an emerging commercial market for surrogate babies …”

I think this is a great topic for conversation, so please, leave some comments and come back to read others!  (Now, click to see making babies, pt. 2!)

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Wednesday 21 May 2008

After being linked by a few other blogs in the recent days and seeing my numbers just a bit, I figured I should maybe write a new post, since I haven’t written one (at least for my blog — the reason here) in a while and have done only a few in May. Before I get on, though, I’ll point you to one of the blogs that pointed to me (and maybe how you got here).

When I started discerning doing the work I committed my time in April and May to, I was a bit worried. I was worried about my safety, some, but probably my biggest worry was how my parents would react and whether or not they would accept and support what I was thinking of doing. (Mind you, this was way before I had a concrete date in mind and things were much more abstract — think November 2007.) Shortly after Thanksgiving, I visited the church in Chicago where I still hold my membership and discussed with my pastor (and friend) my concerns about the future but also the call that seemed to be getting stronger to really take another step in working toward peace and justice. I shared my concerns about possible estrangement if I felt a call but my parents wouldn’t support me for whatever reason, but also that I knew if I was feeling a call, I should be following that, right?

A few weeks went by and I returned to my parents’ house knowing I had to have the discussion of where I was at and what I might expect in terms of support from them. It was an emotional and tearful conversation as I shared how I was still discerning at this point in time but that I was truly concerned for my parents’ feelings, too, and was worried about fracturing our relationship and the possibility of having to choose between doing something I felt called to do and the relationships I held so dear. In the end, my parents affirmed that, though it might not be the easiest thing for them (and I might mention for me either) to accept, I should prayerfully continue to discern my call.

I think it was during that conversation that I told my mom that I knew, if worst came to worst, she’d share my story in a way similar to Cindy Sheehan, but I’d of course pray that wouldn’t be the case. I shouldn’t be surprised that even before I returned home, my parents were already sharing my story in a way that makes me more proud than I know how to express in words. I think they would say it’s an honor to have me as a son, but I certainly feel it’s an honor to have them as parents and am reminded even more so when I read words like those found in the blog mentioned above:
“Pastor Dana Bjorlin serves as a chaplain at St. Vincent and St. Anne hospitals in Toledo, and I have come to know him as a generally steady fellow. When he came to the microphone to share his son Eric’s experiences as a peace worker in the Middle East, he was overcome with emotion. When his wife, Peg, whom I’ve come to know as a generally cheery lady, observed a Circle of Truth exercise in which people role-played various folks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she was overcome with emotion.”

When I think back on it now, I question whether it was ever really “support” that I doubted or feared would be there. In 26 years I should know better, I suppose, than to question my parents’ love and support for me and my path, wherever it may lead me. I guess sometimes things need to get a little complicated for us to be reminded that there are certain guarantees in life. For me, one of those guarantees is loving and supporting family members, no matter what.

I pray the same for you.