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November 12, 2014


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I know this is an old post but I want to comment that giving your own definition to an existing word like mother or father that already has a definition that everyone commonly understands according to dictionaries and text books is just a sneaky way of lying and not wanting to accept responsibility for it. Imagine a man having an affair keeps telling his wife the girl he's seeing is just his friend or that he has his own definition of cheating so when caught he can say he was not lying she is his friend and by his definition what he's doing does not constitute cheating. It's the worst kind of lie because the liar will never give their accuser the benefit of admitting they did anything wrong.

If words did not have spellings and meanings everyone agreed upon then it would not be a a language because words would not be understood to mean the same thing to the listener as the speaker. If a test at school asked what is the term for a male with offspring you know what the correct answer would be and you know it has a correct spelling. The answer to that question won't be 'silent partner'. How will a person feel about carriers that refuse to give them the minimum respect of referring to their parents as parents regardless of he fact that according to every text book and common understanding!ng of the word They won't admit it. Imagine if they point to a birzh record that names them even though they actually don't fit he definition of the word. It's going to seem like a lie because it is. It's going NZ o seem like he people raising them think they can become something they are not by acting as if they are. Reality is that their parents are heir parents whether they behave like parents or not. So from the perspective of the person on the receiving end of linguistic gymnastics it's just an way to diminish he importance of who they really are and who heir family is so that they can make themselves take on the roll of their family instead. It's a horrible mind game for people to endure.

I spena lot of time helping gamete donors and their lost kids reunite. Please give those families the respect of not making up new definitions of words to make them seem like something other than just family parents kids and siblings grandparents aunts uncles and cousins nieces and nephews. They are the real deal even if they never met. You may not want to use the term mother for a woman who donated her eggs but maternal DNA comes from who? She does not even have to give birth and a woman is always the mother of her offspring that's the truth. So then saying anything to the contrary is a lie.


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Now that I'm reading the comments on your NYT post, I see how adoption is pretty divisive of a term for embryos. I humbly admit I did not fully understand. I think it's a really good exercise for all of us stuck on this island to see how people on the mainland consume information about infertility. On one hand, it makes me angry and defensive; on the other hand, I get it. It's a "weird" thing most people don't ever have to think about, so it must seem pretty "out there", which is a reaction I forgot I myself used to have before being kidnapped and brought to this island. I think what you're doing is amazing for all of us because you are helping to give us a voice in the mainstream. I'm really thankful for that.

Don't Count Your Eggs

Heather--I really like that. Provider is a great word! Thanks. KB-- agreed. I prefer embryo donation but I think the word adoption or adopted does make it easier for others to understand. Technically I guess it isn't really an adoption. But saying "we did embryo donation" sounds odd. We received a donated embryo maybe, but that kind of sounds like someone wrapped it in a box and left it under a tree for us...I think when Momo is finally here she'll be our baby and that will be that. It will be easier for everyone for us to just say, "This is our baby!" Tami--she is our little gift, isn't she!


How about using the term provider? Sperm provider, egg provider? Describes the action they performed without the conflicting terminology (paid donor, biological dad). I think it also might sound better to the child of such a situation since provider also carries with it positive, caring connotations in our culture - say like the provider of the family or care provider. Whereas donor is often just anonymous, and often easy, giving and tied to so many things - blood, money, charity, etc. To me, provider seems to allow more room for the purposeful actions, and possibly difficult decisions that may have been involved in this journey, while still limiting the role to exactly what it was, a provider of part of what created this new person. Just a thought.


When I've tried to explain to people that this is an option, I've found I see the "aha!" moment in their eyes when I say "embryo adoption" for some reason. Like "donation" makes their brain immediately think of egg donor, and then I have to re-explain that I'm talking about an entire embryo. And "adoption" immediately allows them to understand that, like 'traditional' adoption, it is an option for growing a family, and the baby is simply adopted "earlier" (again, for lack of a better term- I feel like I'm cheapening this by trying to explain but I hope you see what I'm getting at). Not sure if any of that helps- I'm just coming at it as an outsider who's tried using the language to explain it as an option that we too may face.


When you referred to her as your "gift" it makes perfect sense. And it's something a child can understand at an early age.

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