Since the 1970's gays have adopted children both from foster care and as newborn infants. They have also created children through sperm and egg donations, IVF and surrogacy. With courts striking down gay marriage bans, it's likely that more gays will marry and acquire children. The critical question
isn't gays raising children, but assuring that all people, regardless of who nurtured them, have the absolute right to know their genetic ancestry.
'BIRTH' CERTIFICATES MAY CONVEY OWNERSHIP
Gay parents are demanding that their names be put on their child's original birth certificate, regardless of whence came the genetic material that created them. Some states are accommodating them, passing laws that allow the names of same-sex parents to be recorded as Parent A and Parent B, rather than mother and father. In other states, gays are suing for the right to be listed.
|Daddy chaos in film|
So while we in the adoption reform movement may succeed in passing legislation that allows adoptees in all states to access their original birth certificates, these victories do not in any way guarantee all people the ability to know their biological heritage.
That's the birth certificate legal maze. But what of the individual whose certificate of title offers no information about where his embryos came from? Today the new fertility technology is ahead of understanding the ethical ramifications of identity for these made-in-test tube babies.
We need laws prohibiting anonymous sperm and egg donations and creating registries that will allow all adults to learn the names of those whose genes they carry. Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and several western European countries prohibit anonymous sperm donations. At some sperm banks in the United States, sperm donors willing to be named and not anonymous--with the possibility of someday meeting their offspring--are paid more than anonymous donors, but a quick check of the data surrounding egg donation in the U.S. finds that most are completely anonymous, mostly coming from college students, who are paid, on average, $5,000 per donation. Wikipedia notes:
"The combination of egg donation and surrogacy has enabled gay men, including singer Elton John and his partner, to have biological children. Oocyte [immature egg] and embryo donation now account for approximately 18 per cent of in vitro fertilization recorded births in the US....Well over 47,000 live births resulting from donor oocyte embryo transfer have been and continue to be recorded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States."Elsewhere in the world the laws vary. Egg donation may be totally illegal, as in Italy, Germany, Austria, perhaps in reaction to the abhorrent genetic practices of the Nazis. Again, given that there is going to be egg donation, and that people who can afford it will use it, the U.K. has the sanest policy: egg and sperm donation is legal only if non-anonymous, but egg donors may be compensated.
|Why the author had to adopt|
The inborn drive to reproduce oneself is how the world continues to populate, but when these technological extremes continue to explode in number, what is normal will change over time. More and more individuals will not have any idea what their true ancestry is. Perhaps the current interest in all things genealogical is a reflection of that. Today we have TV shows tracing the ancestry of celebrities and regular people, the Troy Dunn franchise, a short-lived network show that traced biological families for adoptees, websites such as Ancestry.com, DNA testing for a mere hundred bucks, and a television show such as the cancelled-after-one-season, The New Normal, about gays and their surrogate, as well as her mother. Adoption? It is everywhere, from TV soap operas to sitcoms such as Mom and heavy dramas like The Black List, to the more obvious ones which advertise in the title, such as I'm Having Their Baby and who could forget--Sixteen and Pregnant.
Are we ever going backwards? No. This is the new normal. This is the future. Despite how babies are made, and though we often feel like two voices howling in the wind, we will continue to proclaim that every living soul has a inviolable right to know her or his one true genetic background, no matter how such individuals were created.--jane and lorraine
Suit: Gay parents want their names on birth certificates
Sperm donation laws by country
Gay Moms Want Sperm Limits in The Kids Are All Right
Action is the sincerest form of thanks (about singer Ricky Martin and his decision to withhold the identity from his sons of the woman who provided her eggs for them.)
The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant by Dan Savage
Savage and his partner were one of the first gays couples to adopt a new born. In this 2000 book, he describes why they wanted to adopt, why they refused to consider an older child from foster care, the process they went through, and how they were picked by the baby's mother.
Lethal Secrets by Annette Baran and Rueben Pannor
A convincing document for openness and honesty when children are created with reproductive technology. It builds a convincing case that lies of omission car create dysfunctional families. For donor conceived children who find out after a long period of secrecy, their main grief is usually not the fact that they are not the genetic child of the couple who have raised them, but the fact that the parent or parents have kept information from or lied to them, causing loss of trust.
WE DO NOT ASK FOR DONATIONS, BUT REMEMBERING US WHEN YOU ORDER THROUGH THE WEB WOULD BE MOST APPRECIATED. AND TO THOSE WHO DO--thank you!