Monday, October 25, 2010

Artificial's not all rainbows and sunshine, either

Barbara Kay:

Many people assume that sperm donor children are very like adopted children in having to come to terms with their bio-heritage. But in fact they are worlds apart. Adoption is a very well-regulated non-profit institution. The whole point of adoption is to find a loving family for a child who already exists. The rights of adoptive children are jealously guarded by trained social service people, who actually make adoptive parents jump through criteria hoops no ordinary
prospective parents would ever have to face.

By contrast, sperm and egg donation take place in an unregulated marketplace. The focus is not on the child – or rather the potential child – at all. On the contrary: sperm donation is only about the adult wish for a child. In theory this “intentional parenthood” means the conceived child is especially wanted and valued. But what it often means is that the child is wanted and valued by the mother. Intentional parenthood is also (mostly) intentional fatherlessness. There is enormous arrogance in the very idea that a child can be just as happy with half a biological identity as with a whole one, and that “fathering” can be reduced to a purely anonymous piece of DNA.