I have not read the 341 comments written to the NYTimes in the 30 hrs since this article posted. It does tell you that people are very opinionated when it comes to pregnancy and fertility treatment, highlighting the distinction between having an abortion, making a heart breaking choice, and choosing reduction over having twins..
No doubt, people are opinionated about how children are conceived as well as how they are raised, defining who they are raised by and what makes a family. I first thought the Theresa Erickson story this week was just inflammatory language that I am used to seeing in headlines about third party reproduction. Then I saw that it was a real news story but got quickly sidetracked before I really got to read the details. I figured she pled guilty to whatever she did wrong and that says something positive for whatever it's worth. Then I got a call in the middle of the night about what went on all week that I was in the dark about. I was not on vacation or living in a cave for the week, I just was not paying attention to the fertility world.
I'm not being cavalier about the situation, but I will leave it to the legal and ART experts to blog and comment on regulation, and what Theresa actually did wrong in all of the details. But someday I'm going to have to explain the juicy headlines on this topic and more to my kids.
Fear not, I have not discussed this one yet with my kids. But they did attend the workshop of The NYC Gathering that Theresa attended in June 2010. She and I were both written about by "Shark Tank Girl" the next day. I was a 2-time guest on Theresa's radio show, once about talking to my kids about their donor conception and the other about the film Eggsploitation (yes, I get the irony). I have been written about and written to by some pretty mean and angry people who have no regard for who I am or the well-being of my kids, and that's what I would like to talk about today.
One of my biggest worries about donor parenting, and I have yet to see the mental health professionals that I have come across so far be able to address this, is what will all this news do to my kids? For example, I was told when the Shark Tank Girl had written her piece about the workshop, to ignore it, it will go away. I don't believe bad press goes away. I have only seen one item posted to the internet that I couldnt find again, knowing that it was purposely taken down I could probably make a phone call to get it. Thats a different topic, just making the point that the internet is forever, there's no way around it.
I worry about how my kids will feel when they see that I was associated with this person-and I'm not even saying she's a bad person because I certainly dont know the whole story and will reserve judgement on the big picture of what went wrong for Theresa for a while, thats not what I'm writing about here, and I'm not even just talking about Theresa. I'm talking about the headlines in general, the spin, the opinions of people who never agreed with egg donation and surrogacy or even IVF in the first place. I'm talking about the people who will never again look at me or us as regular people just like them. What do you expect will be the effects among the kids who are the product of what other people perceive as unethical, taudry, commercial, commodified, exploitative, etc, what do you think will be the outcome of using those labels?