It’s all relatives

Many of you will have read Peggy Orenstein’s cover piece in this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Your Gamete, Myself.” For those who didn’t, or who just now linked to it and balked when you saw that it spans nine pages online, here’s a synopsis: Orenstein, an astute writer on matters feminist and maternal, looks at the medical and social evolution of egg donor conception. She interviews several families (mostly the mothers therein) who conceived their kids using donor eggs. She talks to doctors at fertility clinics, and weaves in anecdotal notes from her own journey to motherhood. Throughout, she explores the ethical and emotional ramifications (to parent and child) of donor egg conception. She muses about how, in ways both like and unlike sperm donor conception and adoption, donor egg conception blurs the “bright lines” that ordinary, “biogenetic” parenthood draws around parents’ “genetic, biological and social relationships to their children.” Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I have an answer, though you’ll have to wade through my own thicket of paragraphs to find out.

Those queer and queer-cognizant readers that do mosey through the entirety of Orenstein’s piece might find themselves nodding and murmuring in assent to this or that point, all the while waiting patiently for the moment when Orenstein would of course consider how queer family-making sheds a bright light from a fresh angle on the myriad emotional issues she’s examining. After all, we couldn’t be bigger boosters of alternative conception, both via egg- and sperm-donation. “Ah,” these readers might have said to themselves as they watched paragraph after paragraph slip by, “the sly dog! Orenstein’s holding her big guns ‘til the last section of the article!”

And many of these readers will have, like me, scratched their heads when they arrived at the end of the piece having never seen the word “lesbian” or “gay” in print. Well I have just one thing to say to that: Nyalikungu lesbianlesbianlesbian!

Okay, maybe I have more than one thing to say.
[Read the rest of this post over at LesbianDad… ]


No Comments

  1. A really thoughtful, well written response. Thanks, Polly.

  2. No kidding!

    This article was furiously discussed on my gay-adoptive-parent listserv. Straight people need to stop whining about their lost entitlement and ask us how we do it, because we have been doing it for a long time.

    (And adoption was represented very stereotypically badly in that article too.)


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