Sunday, September 26, 2010

donor conception

For a while now I have been researching variety of reproductive options. In the case of lesbians pregnancies it can't just "happen". In the case of a single, economically disadvantaged lesbian with unclear immigration status the possibility is even less realistic.

I have been always a very strong supporter of free choice for women. A woman should be able to decide whether to have children or not. I support both women who decide to never have children or perform an abortion as much as these who find fulfillment in bringing a number of children to this world. It should be the woman's (together with her partner if she has one) decision, based on various factors important to her and those around her.

It is maddening when people call single by choice mothers that they are selfish or that they harm their children. That a woman must have a man to even think about having a baby. I hate that it's often assumed the only reason why they want a baby is because they want someone who would love them unconditionally, like a pet.

For centuries women were left to take care of their babies. No matter who was the father or how the baby was conceived, if it was planned or not, whether the mother wanted it or not, it was assumed she had to take care of it. No obligations of that kind have been expected from fathers. A father who abandons his children still has friends, is respected and doesn't face any social stigma. And if he pays alimony all is good and done. Now let's look how the society treats a woman who resigns from motherhood. She is ostracized, her femininity is questioned, she is belittled and disrespected. Her moral standing is criticized and her mental health under suspicion.

I have always felt that if a woman wants to have a child, no one has a say, unless there is a serious risk involved - then an advice could be offered. It seemed to me that the only reason why single by choice mothers are criticized was because they made the choice, they showed autonomy and stood for their reproductive rights.

With all of it I thought the option of lesbian pregnancy using donor sperm is a good option. Maybe not perfect, and it would be great to find a donor who would like to participate in some way in the child's life, but still pretty good. But recently I stumbled upon opinions that creating life that way is evil and morally wrong. And it was expressed by children conceived that way... That conscious decision of bringing a child with no known father is hurtful and traumatizing.
I've never thought about it that way. My mother doesn't know her father, and knows only the name of her biological mother. But of course it wasn't a conscious decision, that was war and its consequences.
I do know my father, but hardly know where my family came from, who were my ancestors. And yes, I would like to know- but I don't find the lack of knowledge hurtful or traumatizing. My mother also seems pretty ok even after years in awful communist, post-war orphanages before being finally adopted by a single woman.

Is it really so bad? Is it selfish? Is it traumatizing? Is it worst than a child who is born from a one night stand? From bad relationship that ended soon after?
Personally I would prefer to know that my mother wanted me so much she chose to use donor sperm, than to know it was a random guy or some jerk who abused my mom and didn't want to know about me. But of course it's all speculation, I do know my father, who was in long relationship with my mother.
And what about couples who use donor sperm? When a child has two parents, but one might not be the biological one. Are genes really that important?

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