Looks like another DI family is getting themselves into a legal mess because tougher laws are not in place and those that are in place are not fully understood. I was made aware of a situation in Kansas after reading a post Kansas to Sperm Donor: PAY UP! on Danielle Ellwood Dot Com’s blog. Many things rush to my mind when I read a post like this, but the most prevalent one here is: “Seriously, you looked for a sperm donor on Craigslist….egads :(”
I should preface this post by pointing out that I am in no way able to properly dissect the laws that are in place now or speak intelligently enough about them to make any sense of it, as I have no legal background. However, as a mom to 3 donor conceived children all by the same anonymous donor I can speak with what I feel is complete intelligence on what reading cases like this does to me and how I feel it will impact my children in the future.
Some examples that come to mind of what I refer to as the ‘muddled waters of infertility law and media portrayal’ are:
The Olivia Pratton lawsuit. A Canadian case where a British Columbia women is fighting for donor conceived offspring to have the same rights as adopted children that will allow them access to their biological parents records. The court initially ruled in her favor, only to later pull the rug out from under her and overturn their previous ruling. She must now take her case to Canada’s top court and continue her fight. What does a decision in her favour mean down the road for all those men who donated and were promised anonymity? How does it affect my children’s ability to find out who their donor is? Is it fair? Insert mass confusion for so many here………
Another Canadian example of how laws just can’t seem to be made, enforced or even decided upon, was the creation of the Assisted Human Production Agency in 2006. I remember sitting with a group of women as we were having a meeting about an upcoming conference I was part of that dealt with New Reproductive and Genetic Technologies. When the news trickled into the meeting that this Agency was being created, there was a collective sigh of relief, it felt like this agency was so welcomed and would be just the ticket to whip our floundering fertility laws into place. However, as with most things government the road was to be muddled and long, or short as it turned out to be. ON october 1st of 2012 the Agency was shut down due to ‘budget cuts’ but in the 6 years they functioned, there was very little done, and as Macleans.ca reported: “Those who work in the field weren’t surprised by the AHRC’s demise: founded in 2006, the agency has been barren for years.” I can recall the numerous amounts of news media over the past 6 years about the agency and all of it was negative, and it seemed that the bottom line was that nothing was getting done. In a National Post article it was said: “agency finally opened its doors in 2006, but soon became a butt of complaints, seemingly achieving little of its mandate, while Prof. Baylis and two other board members quit in protest.” What more is there to say….except if the people in our government who have been put into place to figure this out and create some hard and fast laws for our fertility industry can’t even get their act together, how in the world are we as regular ol’ folk suppose to get it?
I think that further confusion is being bestowed on the general public as sperm and egg donor issues become more mainstream in the media with movies like “The Kids are Alright”, and tv shows such as “Seed”. If you are a person who has been blessed with the joy of a child(ren) created through egg or sperm donation I think you will agree with me that these shows and movies miss the mark in portraying the true reality of all that comes from having or being a child off donor gametes. For both those who are experiencing fertility issues and those who are not, seeing hollywood’s portrayal of what life is like in these blended families may cloud your judgement from the truths of what it is really like. My fear is that those who want to have children will think that in the end it will all be honky dory and everyone will forgive and forget, and for those who sit on the outside and look in, those who have never experienced infertility and the longing for a child, I fear you will see these shows and think that life that has been created via sperm or egg donation is tormented, troubled and morally wrong. Confusion abounds when “Hollywood” gets involved and starts to tell their version of our stories……
I truly believe that until the fertility bigwigs are regulated and strict laws are put into place, the world of infertility will remain like the wild west, lawless and corrupt.
But what of us, those who are despartley trying to have a baby, I would wager a guess that most do not even know that fertility laws are so lax and that because of this we may one day end up in court fighting for something other then the fairytale. I get it, at the moment you want that baby, you could care less about the laws or the future impact they may have on you or your children, or that anonymous donor you chose. But if you choose to know one thing, know this….Cover Your Ass, do your homework, put emotions aside for a moment and think about the legalities of what you are entering into. I myself am guilty of not thinking ahead and pandering to my need to have a baby allowing all sense of reality to wash away, I have blogged about it numerous times before. Today 4 years and 3 kids later I deal on a regular basis with all of it. Every time a case is heard and ruled on, I wonder if it could change the contract I entered into, for good or bad. I think about having to tell my kids and wondering if they will hate me for it all one day. I wonder if my marriage is strong enough to withstand the years and emotions that are coming. I have given up the fairytale and am loving and living the reality.
I guess it comes down to so many unknowns and so many misconceptions (no pun intended)!
AND I QUOTE the National Post once again:
“It’s a mess,” said Sherry Levitan, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in the area. “The industry is just tied up in knots. Everybody is worried abut the next phone call. People are very nervous because nobody knows where the line is.”