Monday, January 3, 2011

Meet the Twiblings

A long -- but strangely riveting (I kept having to click the next button through all 8 pages, though I should really be grading exams!) -- and interesting and thought-provoking and disturbing and a slew of other adjectives, story about infertility and surrogacy in the New York Times.  The couple actually hired two separate surrogates at the same time to have "twiblings," a rather extreme form of artificial twinning (or is it artificial?).

Though not about adoption, and though the couple rejects adoption, there are some parallels.  The conclusion of the article illustrated that parallel for me:
Plan A — making babies with the tools you have around the house, as they say, the fun, free tools — faded into the background, and Plan B became foreground. I can count the ways Plan B is a less-desirable way to have children — the route seems to take you off the edge of the world and into the land of scrolly dragons. But when you actually go there, the map shifts. The brain’s ability to rewrite — to destinize, as it were — the birth story and turn a barn into a manger is so powerful that Plan B, all its unsexiness notwithstanding, became the best plan, because Plan B created the children that we have and are convinced we had to have.
Lots to discuss in the article, but I really don't have time -- those pesky exams!  I'd be interested to know what y'all think, though.


Anonymous said...

The author was very concerned about her own feelings and about conveying her own perception of the process by which children came into her family. She never indicated whether she thought it would be important for the children to have a relationship with or know much about the egg donor (their genetic heritage!). The author certainly wasn't concerned about keeping the children's personal information private.

I'm always amazed how disrespectful parents can be of their children, especially when they marvel at how arduous their journey to parenthood was. This article reminds me of all of the blogs out there by adoptive parents that so carefully protect the parents' privacy but reveal all about their children. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

"actually there is no biological mother". This woman is deep in that river called denial. If there is no biological mother, then there is no biological father. Her husband is just a sperm donor. I'd wager that he wouldn't see it in those terms. Her children will not see it in those terms.

Anonymous said...

I found the whole article intriguing and, like you, couldn't stop until I finished reading it. We are a couple waiting to adopt from China (LID 02/10/07). While our journey is different I could identify with many of the thoughts, feelings and reactions the author shared. Obviously these parents have decided to be an open book for their children, themselves, and others who can learn from it. I respect their decision to share so much and admired their candidness. While I am always concerned with a family's privacy, I appreciated their willingness to offer details of their obviously well thought out plans to add to their family. All too often when it comes to fertility issues and the formation of family through IVF, adoption, etc., it seems the topic is treated as taboo. While you can read every detail of the birth process and emotions that come with pregnancy, someone sharing their innermost thoughts and emotions of a process outside of that is somehow supposed to be guarded. Well, I for one am proud that someone had the courage to openly share this story, and I am confident that their children will be able to ask questions and get honest answers when they are ready to ask them. Bottom line, this is a story of a loving family who examined every element of the process. It's not my story and not the journey I am living. However, their candidly told story is the best way for others learn of the process and understand their experiences. When so many are facing infertility and are interested in having children they simply want to consider their options, and this is an amazing account of one family's journey.

LisaLew said...

I, like Anon, couldn't stop reading this article.
I was really struck by the forthright discussion, and the mother's complete bewilderment when other people express their concerns about issues such as grieving her loss of fertility and disclosure.

Anon 1 hit the nail on the head - the article appears as if she has a very egocentric approach.

Disclosure to others outside of the immediate family belongs to the child, not the parent. How does she know that her children would want the whole world to know their story as they get older? Developmentally, most elementary school children want "sameness," not a broadcasted difference. Just as our adopted children's stories are "theirs" to tell, so should the children's disclosure wishes of such complex backgrounds be respected.

More: This seems very confusing to explain to a child - surrogacy, egg donation and an open relationship with the donor plus both surrogates. Wow. Now, add in the extreme views of the many opposers reproductive technology who may discriminate subtly or openly against the children.

Yeah, I sure wouldn't be writing an article if I were her. This information is not a "secret," but is her children's PERSONAL INFORMATION!