Our personal story is just one out of a towering pile. We have decided to share it to make the implications of the social experiment called donor conception visible to others. Affecting generations of people, it’s not only time to name but also to address the injustice that is inflicted on those involved.
My name is Stephanie Raeymaekers. I am a donor conceived and also the chairman of the Belgian DC organization Donorkinderen vzw. For twenty five years I thought that I was the biological child of a man I knew as my father.
I am the result of an insemination with donor sperm. The treatment was suggested to my parents by a fertility doctor when my father’s sperm count turned out to be too low and my mothers’ desire of having a child too big.
The sperm supplier was chosen based on features he shared with my father. A substantial sum of money was paid, hormones were administrated and in May ’78 my mother’s womb got filled up with anonymous sperm. She got pregnant with triplets: 2 girls and a boy.
My parents were advised never to tell the truth and to pretend that we were biologically related to the both of them. The doctor assured them that in time any awkwardness would fade and that the illusion would become a welcomed reality. But the lie never completely covered a painful truth. On the contrary, my dad has never been able to accept the fact that we are not biologically his.
For 25 years we yearned for and chased after his love, not knowing why we always seemed to hit a wall. His constant rejection left permanent scars on our souls. It also affected our family life. So many things went wrong. It resulted in children who had to grow up fast. Burdened with a large amount of emotional baggage we were sent out to walk our path in life.
At the age of 25 we uncovered the truth. It came as a shock but it also brought us a huge amount of relief: finally we knew we weren’t to blame for the repudiation we had suffered from. But it also opened the door to all sorts of questions: about our true identity, origins, biological relatives, medical background, …
It took me twelve years to somewhat come to terms with this. Inside of me strength awoke to counter the industry and policy that promotes the creation of damaged human beings. With premeditation they are being deprived from fundamental information about themselves. Most politicians and many fertility doctors do not only wish to remain blind for the harmful repercussions it inflicts, they refuse to act in the best interests of the donor conceived. Nevertheless it’s the donor conceived who faces not only the biggest impact, but is obliged to undergo inevitable implications that are automatically generated by the complexity of this practice. Many of us have to walk through life with a half or completely false identity.
My personal quest to find my biological father and siblings moved to the background. One of the lingering questions in the back my mind and in my heart, was if my brother, sister and I shared the same biological father. Yes, we are triplets who have shared the same womb. Usually it’s logical to assume that we would have the same father. The possibility that this would be otherwise seemed too small and almost absurd to consider.
But over the years I have gathered a lot of knowledge that taught me that is naïve to accept a presented reality as the actual truth. Especially when the message comes from a manipulating industry.
Last Friday we got the result of our DNA-test: it turns out that my sister has another biological father than my brother and I. Without any doubt it is now proven that we were conceived by administrating a cocktail of sperm from different men. DNA does not lie and offers us another fundamental piece of the jigsaw puzzle that should have been ours from the start.
It is a turn of events that leaves me gob smacked and disgusted. It rearranges and shifts my foundations but also redefines our relationships once more. And although the bond between my sister and I is strong and will never change: my sister is suddenly my half sibling.
Suddenly our family tree will have multiple different branches. It hurts to know that she shares the half of her being with other people. A part that she doesn’t share with me and vice versa. It makes me sad, but also very angry. It’s a bonus thrown in by an industry that doesn’t care how it affects neither the people they produce nor the families they helped to create. Hiding behind donor anonymity, they found the perfect excuse to block any form of responsibility. Leaving questions about accountability, lack of ethics and human dignity unanswered. Nevertheless thousands of innocent children are directly affected and defined by their actions.
Anonymity is nothing more than a cover up for potential lies. How many more need to suffer because they are deprived from vital information about themselves? And how many parents need to be misled before we actually try to ban this injustice from this world?
Steph and Sophie