Why I’m angry about being donor conceived

By Bethany K.

Donor conceived people are sometimes criticized for being angry. I am one of them, and I’m ok with that. On a broader level, it is a social justice/human rights issue, and I get upset about it like I do about other instances where civil or human rights are violated. I also get upset about how, especially in the US, it is about profits/money, and the interests of the people created often come last.

On a more personal level, I was upset that I didn’t know who my father was and had limited information about him (his hair and eye color and that he was intelligent). Having people ask me what I was, and not being able to tell them because I didn’t know myself, was infuriating. But, it went beyond not knowing his name or his family tree/ancestry. I was upset that he didn’t raise me or take any responsibility for me after creating me. I wanted to have a parent-child relationship with him because he is my father. ( I have that now, by the way.) On a moral level, I don’t think someone can donate away their parental responsibilities, and it bothered me that he thought he could and that my mom preferred that he do so because she wanted me all to herself.

I was angry that I had to worry about incest when I was dating. It sucks having to wonder if any potential suitor is a sibling.

I am angry that I do not know all of my siblings, and that I missed out on decades with the ones I do know. Plus, the sheer number of potential siblings is overwhelming, and even if I found them all, it will be too many people to actually have meaningful relationships with, even if everyone wanted it.

I am upset my grandparents died before I could meet them. My grandma was alive when I found my father, but she died within a month of me finding him at the age of 92. She was too sick to meet me before she passed away. All I have are stories about how she was such a great grandma and would have loved me if she knew me.

I was upset that my mom risked my health. I’ve known of donor conceived people who have died or had serious health problems because they didn’t have an accurate health history. That could have easily been me. My mom was willing to risk the health of the baby (me) she so badly wanted. As a parent, that is mind boggling. Before I found my father, I got a little ragey inside when she brought up her side’s health risks and how I needed to do X, Y, Z. I feared what being ignorant of my paternal side meant for me.

Most of all, I get angry when people think I should be grateful for all the negative aspects of donor conception and the heartache I experienced from it because I wouldn’t exist without it.

I don’t think anger is a bad emotion, especially when you have something to be angry about. Giving myself permission to feel it has been healing. It has not prevented me from being happy in other areas of my life. My anger doesn’t consume me—it spurs me to share my story, and hopefully opens some minds so things will improve for donor conceived people in the future. 

Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash