The letter I am not sending will not go to the Editor of the New York Times, which published an article in their Science section titled, “A Mother Learns the Identity of Her Child’s Grandmother. A Sperm Bank Threatens to Sue. The results of a consumer genetic test identified the mother of the man whose donated sperm was used to conceive Danielle Teuscher’s daughter. Legal warnings soon followed.” (by Jacqueline Mroz, 2-19-19 )
The article begins:
Danielle Teuscher decided to give DNA tests as presents last Christmas to her father, close friends and 5-year-old daughter…..
But the 23andMe test produced an unexpected result. Ms. Teuscher, 30, a nanny in Portland, Ore., said she unintentionally discovered the identity of the sperm donor she had used to conceive her young child.
The mother of the donor was identified on her daughter’s test results as her grandmother. Excited and curious, Ms. Teuscher decided to reach out.
“I wrote her and said, ‘Hi, I think your son may be my daughter’s donor. I don’t want to invade your privacy, but we’re open to contact with you or your son,’” she recalled. “I thought it was a cool thing.”
Only four paragraphs in and I’m already banging my forehead against the kitchen table.
The letter I am not sending might start out something like this:
Re the “A Mother Learns the Identity of Her Child’s….” article, I was embarrassed by regional association to read that the woman violating the agreement she signed with the sperm bank is from Portland.
Ms. Teuscher is patently too vapid and stupid to raise a child.
She may have “unintentionally” discovered private information, but are we supposed to believe she then “unintentionally” proceeded with an invasion of a stranger’s privacy – what, did her evil, meddlesome doppelganger forced her to write that letter?
The fertility industry, like all businesses these days, is facing challenges in adapting, legally and ethically, to new technologies, including those involving genetics. The sperm bank business was founded on the premise that, as the article points out, “…sperm banks can guarantee anonymity to donors, and promised that there wouldn’t be any relationship with offspring unless the donors wanted.”
The sperm bank from which Teuscher purchased the sperm sent her a letter, threatening her with financial penalties for “…flagrantly violating the agreement she’d signed by seeking the identity of the donor and contacting his family,” and stated that they would “…seek a restraining order or injunction if you continue with this course of action in any manner.”
Ms. Teuscher’s reaction? She said she “didn’t remember reading that fine print” when she signed the sperm donation purchase contract, and that she was “devastated” to receive the letter. “I thought, wow, I just messed this up for my daughter. The letter was awful. I was angry with the bank, and I was upset about the donor.”
We’re supposed to believe that Ms. Teuscher didn’t recall or understand the basic tenet of ANONYMOUS sperm donation –and that, golly gee, such “fine print” just escaped her memory? She’s not talking about absent-mindedly checking the I agree box re the terms of an iTunes update; she is referring to the legal document she signed relating to the circumstances of conceiving her child – of using genetic material from a donor, who as the article states, “…made a donation in reliance upon anonymity.”
The whole article reeks of WTF?!?!?-edness from the mother’s side. Another factor which doesn’t pass the smell test is the dis-ingenuousness of Teuscher’s claim that she doesn’t want to violate anyone’s privacy – which is exactly what she did when she contacted a stranger (the donor’s mother) without her permission! 
What most frosts my butt is how Teuscher attempts to excuse her actions via having a benign intent – as a “present” for her daughter.
Ahem. I – along with most people, I’d wager – understand the very human emotion of curiosity. So why can’t Mrs. Kravitz  – I mean of course, Ms. Teuscher – simply admit that she wanted to snoop for information to which she had legally agreed she was not entitled to know?
An adult cannot sign away the rights of people who didn’t exist (i.e., a child conceived via donor sperm) when that adult entered a contract. Thus, Teuscher’s daughter may, when she reaches legal age and if she is interested, search for her biological family information to the best of her ability and within legal bounds.
But, puuuuhleeeeeeeaze, don’t think for a moment that it sounds reasonable, as the primary motive or as an introductory/aside remark, to imply that a five year old child would want Santa to bring her a Lego set, a Winnie-the-Pooh book, a Little Pretender Kids Karaoke machine, oh please mamma, some “genetic testing.”
* * *
Department Of Things That Are Painful To Watch
Dateline: last week, Manzanita Oregon, having a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant. The restaurant is empty, save for moiself and a couple sitting at the table directly in front of mine. They appear to be in their late 30s – early 40s; the man is seated with his back to me but turns from side to side frequently; I can clearly see the face of the women who is seated across the table from him. I don’t intend to eavesdrop but they are a mere three feet in front of me and, how you say, voices carry (in particular, the woman’s).
From their conversation I deduce that this is a first date,  arranged after several e-chats via an online dating site. The man is being polite with his occasional comments, even as his shifting posture and body language betray his discomfort and disinterest when the woman goes on (and on) about her dating history. 
The only time I see the man perk up is when the women talks about a recent rendezvous she had: her date walked into the coffee shop where they’d agreed to meet, looked around the room, sat down at her table and, after they’d exchanged introductions he told her he wasn’t attracted to her, and left.
The man keeps looking around, as if wishing to signal the waiter for the check. I’ve already paid my tab; as I stand up to put on my coat I hear the woman announce what she tells herself when “things don’t work out” (which I take to mean, dates arranged online):
“I just tell myself, what the heck, you’ve got plenty of time,
there’s no hurry, you’re not that old yet…”
* * *
Department Of Yet Another Reason To Be Amused In Tacoma
I was in that Fine City ® this past weekend, helping daughter Belle move into her first post-college apartment. While driving from my hotel through a neighborhood to meet Belle for dinner, I passed a white van with the logo, “Christ-based cleaning“ emblazoned on its side doors. I thought it might be a joke, so I did some searching. Apparently “Christ-based cleaning“ is an actual residential maid/cleaning service business, run by a devout – if grammar/spelling/syntax-challenged (as per her Facebook postings)– Christian.
Moiself couldn’t help but wonder exactly how a “Christ-based” cleaning service works:
Y’all just sit back and relax and let Jesus take the wheel mop handle!
* * *
Department Of Yet Another Reason To Smile
Despite the title Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone, I tune in regularly to comedian PPs’ weekly podcast.  One of my favorite episodes was a recent one (Episode 31) in which PP and her cohost Adam Felber followed up on a previous podcast (Episode 27 – Putting Your Best Face Forward). One of Episode 37’s featured guests was a plastic surgeon who specializes in tattoo removal (“how do you get that anchor removed from your bulging forearm before you apply for that job at the spinach factory?”).
The surgeon said that one of the more common tattoos he is requested to remove is the kind situated on a woman’s lower back. Colloquially referred to as a tramp stamp, that tattoo typically features a design of wings and/or spiky objects spiraling out and up from the point just above the woman’s sacrum and/or lower lumbar vertebrae.
Apparently, at least one Sensitive Person ® objected to PP and Felber using the term tramp stamp. I am every-so-grateful for that objection, because it led to the brief yet amusing discussion between the two hosts re alternative nicknames for that particular tattoo, including Whore Mark (a nice play on the Hallmark image, methinks), and my favorite, which moiself finds deserving of a special intro:
* * *
May you understand the difference between your right to curiosity and another person’s right to privacy;
May you never be the impetus for another person’s worst first date story;
May you enjoy imagining every scenario under the sun that comes from hearing the phrase,
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 A person who apparently left skidmarks contacting the sperm bank regarding the violation.
 Gladys Kravitz, a character from the Bewitched TV show, was the quintessential busybody – a nosy neighbor, peeking through her curtains, convinced that there was something strange going on in the neighborhood….
 And my intuition tells me it is also a last date.
 She also includes dating stories about her adult daughter, who recently met someone by chance and is now engaged “…so you see there are good people out there even if it seems like you’re the only one….”
 And, as Jesse Jackson might assure me, I am somebody!