I recently read the post by Kelly Wendel on PVED in which she defends her choice of creating a family using third party conception. In her post, she cites different authors who argue against third party reproduction and ART in general, and I have read none of these. Truth is, I don't have that kind of time to waste right now. I have a 2-month-old to raise. But reading the post made me think about the hoopla related to third party conception, mainly the crap being issued by the religious right. There are, I believe, interesting and legitimate issues to be pondered with third party conception. Issues that I have pondered hard and long on this road. The potential for abuse is high in a situation where money is paid for human organs/tissue, and Mr. A and I had much to resolve internally before we were able to do DE in the US. When we started down this road, we didn't think we would go ahead and pay for gametes. But life experiences bring you to different decisions. As a general rule, I don't believe women are being exploited in donating their eggs, but I think some women potentially are. I don't think the industry as a whole is exploitative, but I think it has the potential to be. I obviously had to be ok with our clinic and the way we believed they treated donors; but ultimately, I had to trust that they were well treated without knowing for sure.
In the time I've not been blogging and not been commenting in the last week (sorry, lovelies, I've been going for long walks with my girl and spending less time on the computer), I've been thinking about this idea of third party conception and what it means to me these days.
At this point, third party conception has become symbolic of something I am working on in my life: accepting help. Not just begrudgingly, or shamefully, or because I am so broken and dying and won't make it without help. No. Just accepting help because I need help.
Like everyone on this green planet, I need help sometimes. Because of my particular psychology, this is a challenge. I should be able to handle it all on my own. I was an enormous burden for my mother as a child, and so burdening others is something I fear like the plague. I will bend myself into all kinds of non-Augusta shapes to avoid burdening others, lest they start thinking I'm annoying and abandon me. Asking for help is part of that pattern.
In this quest to have a child, I've had no choice but to ask for A LOT OF help. I've had to ask for eggs. Twice. Once from a friend and once from a stranger. And most importantly, I've needed to receive their gift. With my whole grateful being, my job has been to just receive. Fuck, that's hard.
I haven't told you much of the story around the birth and the postpartum circus. I think I will, but it's a bit epic and I need to keep digesting it before I lay it all out here. But I'll say here that Mr. A and I needed a lot of help during that time, and we received more than we could have ever asked for. Two women friends of ours gave us breast milk so that we could feed Gummy in the early days when I was trying to breastfeed but wasn't producing milk. Three different sets of friends took Gummy in overnight when I was in hospital. One of our friends breastfed Gummy on an overnight, because she had lots of milk to give to her daughter and to mine. Another friend who is a midwife came to spend the day with me at the hospital after the postpartum hemorrhage so that she could help me sort out what had happened and what could happen as a result (ie try to avoid a hysterectomy if possible). Meals were delivered twice a week for 5-6 weeks after the birth so that we didn't have to cook.
So when I think of third party conception and people getting their panties in a knot about how wrong this might be in the eyes of their chosen deity, I feel like yawning in their face. That stuff is so esoteric to me. How about we look at what love and altruism really mean on this earth at this time. For me, there is something divine about the gifts I have received, from the egg donor, and from all the people who have supported us as we struggled to have a child.