History was made on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 when an international group of donor-conceived and surrogacy-born people shared details of their lived experience at the United Nations. The presenters travelled from all corners of the world to be heard at the event in the Palais De Nations, Geneva, which coincided with the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Videos and text versions of the individual speeches are available on donorkinderen.com, along with recommendations for national and international measures that protect the rights of donor conceived and surrogacy-born individuals.
The videos can also be viewed on Donorkinderen België’s YouTube channel.
Selected quotes from the presentations:
“My birth certificate is a fraudulent document created by a government that does not want to record the truth. I do not need a piece of paper to tell me to love the man who raised me. And as for the man who is my biological father, after 30 years of actively searching I finally met him two months ago. It was like I was looking at myself 30 years from now. The similarities in looks and personality were more than mind blowing. They were life changing.”
“I have a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot which is hereditary in a small number of cases. My parents always told me and my doctors that there was no history of heart issues on my paternal side. Aged 54, I discovered that I was donor conceived. My father was Mr Anonymous. Amidst the shock of discovery was the trauma of knowing I had been giving inaccurate medical history all my life. This was incredibly scary.”
“I was never supposed to know my own identity or half of my immediate family. This is a grave injustice and a direct violation of Articles 7 and 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is high time to honor the Convention, to eliminate all layers of secrecy and shame—to “open source” identity. It is my sincere hope that future children of reproductive technology will be entitled know their full families throughout their lives, and that both social and biological parents will be fully recognized as this is the only way to fully honor both nurture and nature. Identity should not literally be a corporate or state secret. It must be considered a fundamental human right.”
“I blame my biological father for having crossed a medical-ethical boundary by deciding to use his own sperm and conceiving so many of offspring. However, the reason why he was able to do so was because there was a lack in regulation, and insufficient supervision from the government. As a result, he thought he was untouchable. It’s important we learn from the mistakes that have been made. We can only achieve this by making agreements on international level, so we can prevent this from ever happening again.”
“Being denied knowledge of even my siblings names has left me feeling haunted. I find myself looking for them in strangers’ faces as I walk past them in the street, on the train, even in Switzerland. They could be right next to me and I’d never know. I feel disempowered, like I’m not allowed to call this feeling of longing to meet them what it really is, grief. And it feels unconscionable that we could be kept from one another for legal convenience.”
“I’m searching for half-siblings who might not even know they’re donor-conceived. Their names are on record, but the record keepers won’t give me this information, so the only way I can find them is through detective work. I’ve gone through all the official channels, and so far, I’ve had the opportunity to meet two half-sisters. So, if you know someone who looks like me, please let me know.”
Read more here.