Having bid a less-than-fond farewell to our first potential embryo recipients we began to review the dozens of new requests we had received from parents-to-be.
We had specified that we would only donate to a Jewish and/or lesbian couple. Yet the vast majority of the requests we received were from Christian heterosexuals. The second most common group requesting the embryos was single heterosexual women.
Why did so many people write to us who were the exact opposite of the demographic groups we were requesting? I chalk it up to several factors:
Obviously there is a far greater number of straight Christian couples than Jewish lesbian couples. There is also a much larger group of five-foot-tall women than of seven-foot-tall men, yet short women rarely waste their time or that of others by trying out for professional basketball teams.
2) FAILURE TO READ OUR LISTING
We got several requests from people who had clearly not read our listing. I assume they simply spammed every donor on the MiraclesWaiting site. One couple described themselves as conservative, in their 30's, high-caste and from India. There was no other message or description in their email! This was the only couple to get no response from me. Despite their high caste.
3) SUPPLY AND DEMAND
For every family with embryos to offer there are thousands of hopeful recipients on waiting lists who wish to receive embryos. Among those thousands are a minority who prioritize their own desires over those of the donors. They probably write to everyone with embryos to offer hoping that even one will respond favorably.
What these people don't keep in mind is that embryo donation is an emotional issue for donor as well as recipient. Each time I received a request I thought "are these the parents for our embryos?" Then we would read their emails, hear their pain, desperation and hope, and have to write back crushing those dreams once more.
We rejected all such applicants out of hand because they had considered only their own feelings and needs. We also felt uncomfortable with heterosexual recipients because they have so many other options for starting a family, primarily adoption of existing children. That is an option that is extremely difficult for gay parents to access.
While many want the experience of pregnancy and breast feeding, we wondered if some of the straight couples who preferred embryo donation over adopting a child were not organized enough to go through the adoption process, or perhaps knew that they could not pass it.
4) A FEELING OF PRIVILEDGE
The straight Christian couples who contacted us (despite our stated preference for gay Jewish recipients) may have believed themselves to be better parents than the gay couples we sought. Straight people seem to assume they will be good parents, whereas societal prejudice makes gay couples question their own suitability to have a child. The straight Christian couples who contacted us clearly thought they were so superior to the average lesbian Jewish couple that we might pick them over such a couple. Since we are, ourselves, a lesbian Jewish couple, we did not find this flattering.
There was a final reason inappropriate candidates gave for contacting us despite our stated criteria. I will go into this in more detail in a future post.