Tuesday, January 30, 2007


When we discussed donating our embryos to Jenny and Erin they said they were open to helping their child(ren) from this donation understand their genetic heritage. Did that willingness extend to taking concrete steps or was it more theoretical?

Making it clear that my suggestions were a general hypothetical picture which reflected my hopes, not demands or expectations, I laid out what I made clear was a "hypothetical religious scenario":

"The recipients in my ideal scenario might read up a bit on Jewish culture: holidays, child-rearing philosophies and/or history. That could be from a book like "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee", "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jewish History and Culture" or even just children's books about Jewish holidays. Or they might go to a website like www.jewfaq.org.

My ideal recipients might occasionally go to a friend's Jewish holiday party for holidays like Passover, and maybe do something fun and easy like light candles for Hannukah. They would let their children know that they are part of a Jewish history spanning over 5,000 years.

They would sometimes read story books to them about Jewish holidays and history and let them know it is part of their heritage because of their donors (plural -- the sperm donor is half Jewish so these embryos are genetically 75% Jewish). Sonia has told me that Jews are pretty thin on the ground in your area, so if this would be an exploration undertaken in isolation, we would be happy to answer any questions or serve as a resource about Judaism.

From my perspective, the only Christian church that whole-heartedly honors the Jewish roots of Christianity and teaches about other religions in addition to Christianity is the Universalist Unitarian church. I would be delighted for children in my bloodline to be raised in that church. But if it does not resonate for you it would not meet your family's needs. Again, it is not my right or my intention to dictate anything to potential recipients about how to parent their children. Most people want to raise their children in the denomination in which they were raised. Of all the mainline Protestant flavors, Episcopalian seems to encourage the most thought among its adherents, so I'm pretty comfortable with that too.

I hope I have not offended you too much. If you have questions or feedback please let me know, but really, this is just so that you know what my best-case scenario is. The one thing we've learned from having children is that beliefs, intentions, priorities and plans all change, sometimes day-to-day as the reality of keeping everyone fed, dry and relatively happy sweeps us along."

Religion is such a tricky issue. I did not want to offend these women or boss them around or hit them over the head with Judaism. The issue of "disappearing" a Jewish child or children of my own bloodline was a real concern to me, however. I wanted to reassure myself that the recipients understood my concern, however they chose to address it. Was this asking too much? I waited to find out.