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What Makes A Mother? *Updated*

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Monday, July 16, 2007

What Makes A Mother? *Updated*

What makes a mother, a mother?

Is it the pregnancy and birth? The adoption papers reading mom and dad's names? The role one plays in a family?

Prior to having H, I felt a fraud, a counterfeit acting a mothers role, though many of my roles when T and M are here are the roles of a mother. Yet I did not conceive, birth or nurture them as babes. So what does that make me? Their stepmother, yes, but does that make me less of a parent? Sometimes I sure feel that way when talking with someone at the park or a stranger conversing.

Think of the stepmothers we've seen on tv and in movies. More often than not they are evil, mean and ugly. In the past, fathers did not get as many rights as mothers and again, more often than not, children saw their fathers on weekends and maybe every other Wednesday.

A lot of people's ideas of stepmothers come from their own history. Whether or not they had experience with a stepmother, whatever media says about stepmothers and the past history.

So many times I am left feeling this need to "prove" myself as a parent. Not to T and M, or my family, or even the kids mom.

Sometimes I've wondered if people who adopt their children feel this infinite need to prove themselves worthy of the parental role and title. Do people question them?

But the most recent thing that has me asking what makes a mother, a mother is in regards to egg donation. Is the egg donor a mother too, though her part was a surgically removed egg? Is the mother who labored and birthed the babe the mother?

Or are both the mothers?

And what happens when the child is asking questions, or what about medical history? Is the egg donors medical history accounted for as well as the birthing mothers medical history?

In college, I used to see all sorts of ads and get mailers about donating eggs for fast, quick and easy cash. While I never did this, nor even know anyone who's done this it leaves me with a lot of questions.

My friends over at Cribsheet/Star Tribune wrote a little about the recent New York Times Magazine story about egg donors and how that affects people later on. I found it amazing, and interesting, yet somewhat disturbing.

Here's my question for you readers, what are the ramifications for these women who are donating eggs for quick cash? Do you think they wonder later on about the "eggs" that could have been? Do you think that is fair to a child?

And what about the mother who births them, do you think she feels any less related to her baby because of the genetics being from the egg donor and her husband?

I really don't know and that's why I'm asking these questions. I just don't know.

What do you think about this very controversial subject?

*edited to add: Just out of curiousity, why do you think sperm donation and egg donation are viewed differently?

And I want to note that I think that putting a child up for adoption is completely different than egg donation, I'm not even going to go into that subject here. I'm more specifically wondering about those who just donate eggs, whether it be for friend or family, or the cash that comes along with it. People put children up for various, various reasons and like my friend Gail, wrote last week, a birth mother really truly never forgets.*


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did something about this stuff last year for a project. (try connecting Invetro to Frankenstein for your English class.) I did a lot of research on it, and I understand that some women are not capable of pregnancy and they want to birth their own child. However, in most cases with invetro it's a donor egg or sperm. So biologically it's only half of one of the parents' and half who knows. And in my opinion, if your willing to birth a child that isn't biologically yours why aren't you willing to adopt. I think about the hundreds of kids out there that want families and couples want to be pregnant. It's a tough situation.

I think if I were to donate eggs it would drive me nuts not knowing where they went, or who they went to, or if they were simply tossed aside. I think if I were to have a child with someone else's egg, I would want the child to know the donor. Like open adoption to an extent.

Those are just my thoughts and opinions!

July 16, 2007 at 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I really want to get into this one.. As me being a birthmother, of a beautiful 32 year old son.I could go in a bunch of different directions on this subject.
One thing I know for sure is that a birthmother Never forgets.. weather it be giving birth and relinquishing that child for adoption or egg donation, not a day of his life have I not thought about him.. I would look at boys around his age and wonder.. What he looks like,is he well,happy, did he have a good life?

As for your question about willing to give birth from egg donation, But not wanting to adopt. It's that Newborn they want.

Just my Thoughts
Love you L.

July 16, 2007 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Mrs. H said...

There is no difference between egg donation and sperm donation---except for the amount of money we pay for the cells!

I don't believe in IVF. Like most things in my life, I came to this through my own sensibilities and found reinforcement in through my faith.

Having children is not a right. Sometimes becoming a parent means that you don't contribute the biological material to that child~but the contribution that comes after conception/birth is just as great, if not greater.

Maybe if we spent a little less time focusing on where the children came from (although it IS important to know, and not forget) we can actually devote the amount of time necessary to raising a healthy child.

July 17, 2007 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

I agree with Mrs. H. There is no difference in my mind as to whether the egg or the sperm is donated (an ironic term since that implies the sperm or egg was freely (emphasis on freely) given since that is what "donated" means). People primarily "donate" for money. I have not nor could do this in good conscious unless it was someone I actually knew - and knew well like a relative. Then I might consider it. I also believe children can have more than one mother role/figure in their lifes....what matters to the child is who cares about them, who provides structure, security, nurturance, routines, - who invests their time with them doing activities, plays, sings, reads to them...puts that band aid on their "owies"...makes them cookies and always listens to them.

Parenting is more than biology although that is important. Parenting is a commitment that I will be there for you and it is unconditional.

July 21, 2007 at 6:32 AM  

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