« Breathing | Main | Exploring boundaries »

January 23, 2010



First of all, I think it's great that you're planning to give Squeaker a sibling, and also that you're up for trying a DE pregnancy.

That said, I've been thinking about your post for a bit and I guess that I do think that attempting to 'adopt' a non-white embryo is both going to be a bit of a challenge and also perhaps introduce new issues into your family. My guess is that any fertility clinic, and also donor family if it is an 'open adoption,' are going to be highly skeptical of your request for a non-white baby, any race. And while I definitely understand wanting Squeaker to have a sibling who will share his experiences, including his racial ones, I think that you run the risk of putting Future Baby (FB) into an even more awkward position. While adoption is well-understand and it is fairly easy to explain to Squeaker why his birth parents couldn't raise him, I think that FB would face even more questions and for the first 5, 10, 15 years of his life that might be really hard to answer. Even well-intentioned friends/teachers/parents of friends might ask about his 'birth mother' and he'd have to explain that he was adopted/but only sort-of because -you- gave birth to him, etc. I just think you may be placing your future child in an even more uncomfortable situation than a simple adoption or same-race embryo adoption (in which case it would be his choice when and where to reveal that his biological parents are different than his birth parents). Even more so as Squeaker and FB get older and they start to ask questions about abortion, and especially if you land up with an open adoption with a family who chose to donate their embryos because of a strong pro-life belief which you do not share, the questions are a lot for a child to face, whereas explaining that someone was adopted as a baby is far easier to convey.

I do think that fertility treatments raise so many race questions. When we were planning to do IVF, we were seriously considering a shared cycle with a (gay) Ashkenazi man, meaning that his children (with my eggs) would have blended into our family photos whereas my children (with my non-white husband) obviously stand out. We decided that wasn't an issue for us, but I did worry that if our egg donation was 'too open' it would become an issue for my family because they would have an easier time bonding with babies who looked like the rest of the family. Which is just to say that these issues are complicated and obviously you need to decide what will work for you and Squeaker.


Rachel, I love that you shared these thoughts ... and I've pretty much had them all. Yes, the complexity is kind of mind-boggling. Yes, there would be issues to deal with in our family. And, most importantly, yes, it would be a challenge to explain the process/how/why to FB.

As for the fertility clinic being skeptical about the request, there are agencies that represent mixed-race donors who represent (on the website at least) that the race of the recipient doesn't matter. Which is not to say that they might not be uncomfortable once faced with a real situation like this.

The one point that you raise that I hadn't considered is the likely conflict between pro-life views of a donating family vs. my personal beliefs. Will need to think more about that.

Obviously, FB's issues should be my primary concern (as opposed to my own selfish wish to experience pregnancy) ... I get how it would be complicated. But then I've never met a mixed family that wasn't complicated somehow.

I'm glad you were so detailed in your response. Hope others feel free to do the same. Obviously, this is nowhere near a firm decision and I'm looking for feedback from a community I trust with these difficult concepts.


I have no personal experience of my own (as a parent) to contribute to this but I do have an adopted brother who is not white and as he has gotten older (he is almost 12 now - my mom was 50 when she adopted him) I know he is aware that he doesn't look like the rest of us. I have another adopted brother as well but he too is white. My mom recently remarried and her new husband has an adopted child, also not white though not the same race and culture as my brother. In any case, I wonder if it feels a little better for each of these kids to no longer be the only one who looks "different" in the sea of whiteness that is our family.

When I look at these kids I don't see their race or color, I just see two really good-looking kids, but that is because I know them. I do notice it when I look at other families that I don't know and it is nothing more than curiosity but I wonder - is he adopted? is one of the parents a different color? It doesn't matter to me, I just do that thing that maybe we all do where we have the need to categorize (...or maybe it's just me?). Also, I think it is all well and good for me to say "I don't notice" when it comes to the color of my brother's skin, but he notices and how has that felt for him all these years to have no one who mirrors his image?

I would hope that adoption agencies would be sensitive to this kind of thing in terms of a parent trying to be sensitive to their child's potential future experiences though I can see too how it could be misused by people who only want blond haired/blue eyed babies or some other notion of the latest "cool babies" (a la Madonna, Brangelina, etc.).

I wish your family the best in coming to a place that feels good and right for all of you and as for the rest who are curious (myself included) or judgmental or holier than thou - eff 'em.


I'm just starting the process myself -- from the other side -- I want to donate our "leftover" embyros to someone.

I'm sure you already know about http://www.miracleswaiting.org/ , a clearing house for potential embryo donors/recipients. I think it costs something like $150 for potential recipients to sign up.

Anyway -- I think it's a wonderful idea.

The comments to this entry are closed.