3rd party reproduction and race - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 07-30-2014, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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3rd party reproduction and race

So i thought I could put our whole infertility thing behind us now that we finally have our long-awaited daughter, but guess not.

We went the anonymous embryo donation route after trying open embryo adoption, international adoption, domestic infant private adoption, and foster care.

Long story short, we went from being totally open about our desire to adopt to now some people knowing we did EA while others may or may not know. I got so tired of the insinuation that any child I would have would not be "really" mine that after our open EA attempts failed, I was done "sharing". We went on hold for about a year, and we considered embracing life as just us two. I told people as much. Then when we got back into the game, I waited until I was pregnant to make that announcement and didn't specify how that miracle came about.

I assumed we could just follow DD's lead after that, since we intend to be open with her about how she joined our family, and figured she'd tell whomever she wanted to tell. Except that I didn't factor in that a toddler can't really discern whether or not to tell someone - they pretty much will tell. And do I want a situation where both she and the relative/friend are surprised that we didn't tell first? Will she think there's something wrong with how she joined our family?

What's more, one of her donors is of a race/ethnicity that is neither mine nor Dh's. We were ok with this as she could still "pass" for Hispanic (my DH's ethnicity) and therefore avoid any unwanted questions, but now I realize that this only works with strangers. I want to celebrate her heritage, as we constantly get comments on how beautiful she is, and it is starting to feel a little disingenuous to ignore the fact that they are commenting on her unique Filipino features. As she gets older (she's only 8 mo), I want her to be comfortable with her identity, both her ethnic and racial identity, and her place in our family.

Has anyone conceived using a donor of a different race/ethnicity? I'm very specifically not asking for transracial adoption experience, as I do not see our situation as adoption. I relate better to those who went the third party reproduction route.

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#2 of 4 Old 07-30-2014, 08:35 PM
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What I have been told is that you just mention donor maybe a few times a year and don't make a big deal about it. Like" your eyes are beautiful, you must have gottan that from our donor. Then drop it. After four you might just have conversations about how some mommies need help having a baby and donors help. I think around 8 they begin to understand . My psychologists said they really won't give a care until about 12. That's when conversation, photo book and talking about if they want to share with other.
I have the title of a book that tells all this if you want to know. I will have to look it up. I'm dragging my feet in just purchasing it.
I did not use donor embryos but did use donor eggs. I am currently12 weeks pregnant. We did try to get a donor that was similar
looking to me but I have no idea what my baby will look like except we have the benefit of them being half genetically my husband.

What a interesting scenario you are in.
Honestly, ignore what I'm about to say if it does not ring true . you should not feel like you owe anyone any excuse for what your daughter looks like. Not even your family. She is biologically yours and epigenetics has played a big role. She's your daughter and there is no lie in that!
My biological son who is 3 looks like me only because he does has curly curly hair that is a characteristic of being of african descent but he really does not look like me or my husband. We do get a lot of comments. Even my mom is always analyzing his looks which get exhausting.! He is blonde and has long curly ringlets. He has rosy cheeks and very fair skin. And his nose is so interesting... Anyway, we do know where all of his characteristics come from but strangers and family can get all caught up in it.
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#3 of 4 Old 08-07-2014, 09:01 PM
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I have a baby from a donor embryo who is an unknown race. To make a long story short, the clinic where I did six IVF attempts (all failed) had a small in-house embryo donation program for their paitents. Before my last IVF attempt, I called to see where I was on the embryo donation list. I was like number 35 or something - still years away. Then they said "but we have some "unknown race embryos that you can have now - for free - nobody wants them" I went on to do my last IVF (failed), but didn't stop thinking about the fact that there was a list of more than 50 women who would rather wait many years to get a baby of their own race, then take one right now that is unknown. I literally thought about this daily until after my last IVF failed, and I called the clinic right away and said that I wanted them. They sent me several profiles (they actually had many unknown race embies). The story was that in the early years of their program they did not keep track of the qualities of the men. So we know that the woman was white but nothing about the dad. We actually have almost no information about them - just their height, her race, and her job. To complicate things, each donor had only like 4 or 5 embies, but they defrost 10 because many don't make it (they were frozen the old way), so I had to choose several different donors. Two embies made it from different donors and both were put back inside me. So we really don't know which one my baby is from.

So, I don't really know her race. She looks white to me. But since there is a element of unknown, we keep thinking we see Asian in her. I am a professor and I teach classes in race, gender, and ethicity, and I give my students this test ever year: http://www.pbs.org/race/002_SortingP...02_00-home.htm So I wonder if my daughter were a picture in that test where she would fall.

I do plan on doing genetic testing with 23andme. In fact, I am hoping that someday it evolves to the point where you can actually find genetic relatives. I have read stories about adoptees actually finding their genetic parents in rare cases through genetic testing. I am hoping for that. At lease with genetic testing I will be able to give her some information when she asks for it, since I really have nothing, and she will surely have questions.

Like Tracy said, I think that epigenetics plays some role. The only time race has come up was actually a few weeks ago. I was at my in-laws house and my father in law said "she has Oriental eyes" I was honestly too shocked that he actually used the word "Oriental" to even think of what he had just said about my child Later, I thought about it and remembered that she is not genetically mine. I do forget sometimes.

We don't go around telling the world how she was conceived, just like we don't go around telling the world that my DS (bio) was conceived while we were drunk on a canoe trip. It just isn't something that we talk about. But we are open with my son (who is 6), and he has a big mouth and has said things about it. Our family does not know. We plan to tell her and let her tell people, even if that happens when she is a blabber mouth toddler. She is only 8 months old, so we have a while.

Mom to DS 12/07 and DD 11/13, plus a bunch of chickens, dogs, and cats.

Moving past many years of infertility and always thinking of my friends in the infertility forums.

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#4 of 4 Old 08-09-2014, 10:55 PM
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I and my husband have a baby via donor egg. The donor has a light brown complexion. My husband and i are african and our baby is light brown, i am brown and my husband dark. I don't explain why he is light, i don't owe no explanation. My family is saying that my baby has my mother's comlexion (she is light brown) and looks like my husband (he is his genetic father). I am so happy that he looks like my husband. People say sometimes how come the baby is lught and we are not. I just smile and say guys go and try to understand genetic..they say oh yes it is complex. I am happy i have my son and the rest doesn't matter. My happiness first.
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