As someone who has had to personally come to terms with never having a genetically related child, I often ponder how much of an influence genetics have on a person's behaviors, interests and aptitudes. It is the old "nature vs. nurture" debate although I think that is a poor phrase given that it is pretty well established that it is both nature and nurture. With the current study of epigenetics - how a gene's activity is influenced by environment - the issue becomes even more muddied.
It is an important issue when it comes to alternate means to family building - whether it is through the use of donor gametes or through adoption. I think most of us would prefer our mutually (if there is a partner) genetic child. How easily an individual or couple is able to accept or choose this alternate path depends a great deal on how they (and sometimes the extended family) feel about the importance of genetics.
Since I follow many donor egg blogs as well as a few donor sperm and donor embryo blogs, I have seen this question answered many ways. From the couple who decides no children is better than a child that is not the product of their genes to the couple who jumps right on the adoption or donor gamete bandwagon at the first sign of trouble to everything in between. I am always fascinated by the reasons behind these decisions.
As time goes on, I hope to bring together varying opinions and personal choices from the donor egg and donor gamete community to present here on Bridges, but first I would like to hear from our readers.
- Why do genes matter in building a family? What would be hard for you? What was hard for you if you have faced this question?
- Why do they not matter? Was it or would it be easy for you to let go of genetically related child?
- If you have both a genetically related child and an non-genetically related child, what is the same? What is different?
- How do genes matter? How much of an impact do you think genetics has on a person's behavior, interests and aptitudes?
- How do your thoughts on the last question influence your thoughts on the previous ones?
Kami is the contributing editor for Donor Eggs. She writes daily at The Other Side where she covers life with her new daughter, LB, the little butterfly.