Saturday, June 19, 2010

Waiting (in several different ways)

I'm stuck at home this beautiful Saturday morning, waiting for the meter reader (and when they say "between 8 and noon," I'm expecting him at 11:58), so I'm using the time to putter around the house. And, apparently, blog.

Quick thoughts before moving on to some articles that have appeared recently...

The last few weeks of pregnancy appear designed to:

1. Make you long to go into labor.
2. Make you not really care exactly how they get this baby out of you. C-section? Bring it on! Right now! Don't even wait for anaesthesia, doctor!
3. Make you appreciate your pre-third-trimester bladder capacity, however tiny it might have been at the time.

Enough said.


There have been a rash of articles lately about donor conception, based on a study done by the Commission for Parenthood's Future. The survey has concluded some very negative things about donor-conceived children, including confusion, depression, and other problems. (They also find an increased amount of issues with adopted children.)

There are problems with the survey. The organization that did the survey is a conservative group (including being anti-same sex marriage, and thinking climate change is bunk), so the possibility of survey bias is certainly there. People on one of my discussion lists have pointed out numerous issues with the survey itself, including how the survey sample was chosen (self-selected, rather than random), no control group used, the structure of the questions themselves, etc. Even to a stats amateur such as myself, there seems to be smoke and mirrors going on there.

After all, facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.

Even if you write off the survey organization themselves as hacks, though, it's worth considering the information, and the effect your choices have on your offspring. Do I think it's ideal to raise my daughter as a single mother? I do not. And, for the record, I have not given up the hope of finding a partner to share my life with, and to hopefully be a father figure for my child. (I don't think I'll give up on hoping for a partner even if I'm old and toothless in a nursing home, thanks.)

But for now, it's her and me. I hope I can rear her to be smart and confident, and to understand that however she was conceived, it was with a whole lot of love. I'm also going to make sure she meets other kids in similar family situations; I'm trying to stay active in my local single mom group for that reason. (It's also good support for me!) Families are all different shapes and sizes, and just like I want her growing up knowing people of all genders, races, ages, etc. and thinking that's completely normal, I want her growing up seeing that "family" is not a one size fits all definition.

Now, I'm using an "open ID donor," so I've made a choice that will allow my daughter to initiate contact with her donor once she's 18. I don't expect that this will make everything perfect, of course, but she'll know that I didn't close that door for her. (And, unlike one of the authors of the study, I will always be honest with my child about the circumstances of her conception. The truth will always out, whether it be donors or adoption, and secrets destroy. You just can't lie to kids.)

I'd love to see a rigorously conducted and peer-reviewed study on donor-conceived children of single parents (along the lines of the recent survey that showed children of lesbian parents have done extremely well-- look at the construction of that research vs. the CPF survey). (Note-- this link also provides info on the donor conception survey I'm discussing.) I'd like this very much.

But until we get that, I'm going to read the less-rigorous surveys for the information, but take them with a very large, and very crunchy, grain of salt.

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