Symposium on Reproductive Tourisme in Europe

On Friday the 17th of March our chairman Stephanie Raeymaekers was asked to present a statement at the international Symposium on Reproductive ‘tourism’ in Europe

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“My name is Stephanie,  I am a donor conceived from Belgium. I am what the industry might call an old-school product. I am the result of one of the first options in line of their created catalogue to provide adults with a child whilst lacking own decent functioning gametes.

Back in the days, flights to foreign ‘baby shopping’-destinations were much more expensive and diversity in goods very scarce which lead my parents to see a fertility doctor in my home country. The doctor ran a private practice where he started the first ‘official’ Belgian sperm bank. My parents paid, and the doctor earned, a lot of money for the conception of me, my brother and my sister. You see, I am part of a triplet. At the beginning  of the children mass production era package-deals came unannounced.

I would like to add to my personal story that last summer we uncovered that in fact we were conceived by the insemination of cocktail of sperm samples of at least two different men. My triplet sister has another biological father than my brother and I.

Before I launch my statement, I would like to introduce it by this legal case.

In France two baby girls were switched at birth by a human mistake. Both parents went home with the wrong child. When one of the girl’s skin became darker as she aged, the father started to assume that his wife had been unfaithful. A DNA-test showed that indeed the child wasn’t his. The couple divorced and the mother fell into a deep depression. Eventually she also did a DNA-test and that’s when the truth was discovered.  Shortly afterwards the daughter, and the other family – who till that day had no clue – were then informed about the switch.

Both girls and their families went to court in 2014 and in 2015 the court ruled as followed:

  1. It acknowledged that a fundamental, almost irreparable damage had been inflicted upon the girls and their biological family due to the separation from one another
  2. Financial compensation was awarded: the highest amount went to the two girls. By doing this, the court clearly recognized that they are the ones most affected by the caused injustice
  3. The rest of the financial compensation was then divided amongst direct family members, with even a compensation for the brother who had grown up with the wrong ‘sister’.

For me donor conception is a practice where children are separated from at least half of their own biological family. With embryo-donation and surrogacy it is even worse:  favorable ingredients are selected, bought and shipped to the clinic/place/uturus the consumer prefers, creating children who will be raised by adults – with possibly no biological connection to them – only because these adults were the ones who ordered and paid for them.

In the case of the babies who were switched, the separation occurred by a human mistake. In donor conception, there is no mistake: children are deliberately created with the intention to separate them from their biological parent(s), many siblings, grandparents, … the rest of their families.

So here comes my statement:

All donor conceived should receive at least financial compensation for the fundamental damage that is done by separating them from their biological families and true ancestry. The two parties that must be held accountable are:

  • The doctors/industry: they are the ones profiting the most from the child creating/trafficking and selling.
  • The government: not only do they allow, they facilitate the practice which sets out to separate, discriminate and psychologically harm innocent citizens. By allowing this practice they are equal responsible for the further dehumanization of thousands if not millions of human beings.

 

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