Rarely does FirstMother find ourselves in agreement with the religious right, but a law change in England brings us into rare, but direct, connect. As of April 6th, 2009, fathers will no longer be necessary in England, according to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Read about it at the UK's Sunday Times.
Well, of course some of that male sperm will be necessary, but men--not even "anonymous" men--do not have to be listed on the birth certificate. Single women undergoing fertility treatment will be able to name almost any other adult as their child's second parent on the OriginalBC. The individual so indicated as the "second parent" does not have to be a male or biologically related to the offspring. Now we are all for gay and lesbian rights, but come on! This falls into the theater of the absurd.
The Act excludes "close blood relations" from being so named on the OBC. I suppose this means that a woman's brother or father can not be a "second parent" (this sounds incestuous, just writing it), but what this ridiculous piece of legislation does is subsume the needs of the offspring to the preferences of the biological mother. And that offspring will then have an even harder time finding out whom he or she is descended from, when the day comes that curiosity springs in the heart, and come it will. Sound a bit like any other adoption legislation that was not written with the "best interests" of the child/adult in mind? I can think of one.
Critics claim family values are being further devalued, and though I am not a fan of what "family values" has come to mean, let's have some common sense and consideration of an individual's right to have a family tree--and the ability to find that tree--like the rest of us. For it is a given that this weird birth certificate will make it even harder for some individuals to one day figure out where their DNA came from, unless the "first parents" are willing to spill the beans about the true "second parents," ie, the fathers or sperm donors. This law is no more than a legal codification of a bad practice. It further strips the kids born at IVF clinics of a legal route to learn their complete and true ancestry. It is the legal obfuscation of truth in conception.
We do know--from many sources, including sister blogs--that some women/mothers are not willing to impart this vital information, and even go so far as to hide it. This weird legislation undoubtedly came about at the behest of the gay and lesbian community; we have pretty much stayed out of the fracas over such adoptions, since we at FirstMother are not fans of adoption per se, gay or straight, international or domestic. In fact, since allowing gay adoption further increases the number of all adoptions, we are against it in most cases.
England has some good rules in place--no more than two embryos can be implanted at a time (no octo-moms from implanted zygotes), sperm can not be a salable commodity (which has led to a huge decrease in the availability of anonymous sperm, figure that)--but this one oversteps the boundary of decency and common sense--lorraine