There has been a recent (heated) conversation on the Donor Sibling Registry Facebook group page about the Parent-On-A-Chain Jewelry.
When POAC founder Jennifer Moore first introduced the idea to me last summer, I liked it. I then ran the idea by our Board (a former sperm donor, another mother of a donor child [LGBT], a donor-conceived person, and a mental health professional) at our annual meeting last summer and they all thought it was a great idea, too. They all agreed that the DSR could get behind it, especially since some of the profit would be donated to the DSR. I also ran it by a lot of other people (all stakeholders) in the donor community and received only positive feedback.
The DSR was created to facilitate and celebrate the connection between half-siblings. Many people proudly wear these necklaces to do just that: celebrate the connection that they have with their half-siblings. Some donor-conceived people have felt the need to get their donor number tattooed onto their skin — a sperm donor number onto a foot, an egg donor number onto the back of a neck. I imagine that for most donor-conceived people, they’d prefer to wear a necklace, rather than get a tattoo.
Some donor offspring have recently expressed their dislike of the necklaces, and I do understand why. But I also acknowledge those who might wear the necklace instead of a tattoo to acknowledge the importance of the missing/unknown one-half of their ancestry, genetics, and first-degree genetic relatives. Or they might wear the necklace to celebrate the bond that they have with their half-siblings.
We’ve conducted quite a bit of research on donor-conceived people over the years, from many different surveys, some with as many participants coming from outside as inside the DSR. There is always a huge variance in how donor-conceived people view their conception — some are very angry, some are just fine, most are somewhere in-between, and many vacillate at different times in their lives.
For parents whose children don’t struggle or who are not angry, it can be hard to understand why some donor-conceived people are so angry. So, with regard to the necklace, some offspring see it as a celebration of the connecting they’ve had with half-siblings. Some see it as an important statement about their profound connection to their unknown biological parent, and that number is the only solid representation of that missing person that they have. Some see it as both. And some offspring don’t like the necklace, because they feel that it’s somehow celebrating the act of deliberately cutting one off from one’s genetic origins.
“Just a note to say my son loved the necklace. He wears it all the time. I told him that the donor is part of him, just as I am. He cried! He proudly refers to him by number in a way he didn’t before. In some ways it’s like he now carries his father with him.” —Mom to a donor-conceived child
“[It’s] a reminder that half of us is nothing but some arbitrary number.” —A donor-conceived adult
“My daughter’s reaction to it surprised me. She held that necklace in her little hand as if it were a link to her donor. She liked it.” —Mom to a donor-conceived child
“I think the necklaces are really sweet.” —A donor-conceived adult
“This necklace is in poor taste.” —A donor-conceived adult
“I would get the necklace with my number and my sister’s name that I found through DSR. I would also get one for my sister as a gift, with our number and my name. We have given each other presents with our donor number on them ever since we found each other.” —A donor-conceived adult
So, I get it. For those who see the necklace as a negative, don’t purchase one. For those who see the necklace as a positive, we invite you to check out the options.