' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Who's the IVF Daddy? Opps, I only have a 'second parent'

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who's the IVF Daddy? Opps, I only have a 'second parent'

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 or given anonymity (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

And here's a PS from Jane:

The only relevant Origins USA position is in a draft paper regarding gay adoption. The paper says that gays should not be denied the opportunity to adopt a relatives' child just because they are gay. So it's a pro-family preservation paper, not a gay rights paper as such.

Gay adoption of newborns puts increasing pressure on the adoption industry to supply babies which in turn increases pressure on women to surrender. For the same reason, Firstmother is opposed to women over 40 adopting.

This Heather Has Two Mommies nonsense is bad in another way. It re-enforces in the public's mind that genetics is irrelevant; that the legal system and medical technology can wave a magic wand and nullify the laws of nature. This can lead, and perhaps is leading, to the re-distribution of children from the have nots to the haves, from the undeserving to the government-sanctioned deserving. It bolsters the arguments of adoption promoters and social workers who want to terminate parents' rights at the drop of a hat.


  1. "Gay adoption of newborns puts increasing pressure on the adoption indusry to supply babies which increassed pressure on women to surrender."

    I respectfully dsagree with you Jane. Same sex couples have historically adopted "hard-to-place" "special needs" children from foster care, in particular HIV children.

    In private domestic adoption, mothers for the most part get to chose the parents of their child. Those who are OK with choosing a same sex couple - what's the problem?

    I do not see that they are adding to the demand, except perhaps internationally. But even if they are, why should they be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation?

    My position is very clear: No one has a "right" to adopt and so I am opposed to their quest for that. Otherwise they can compete with any others who want to adopt and I hope they are equally unsuccessfully if they re involved in any coercive adoption, and I wish them the best of luck if they are willing to parent a child who would otherwise remain in foster care.

  2. I agree with Mirah on this, gays and lesbians should have the same opportunity to adopt that straight people have. No more, no less. It should not be an issue. What matters is how ethical, open and non-coerced the adoption is, not the sexual orientation of the parents as a deciding issue.

    They should also be able to marry like other couples. Bigotry is stupid, and it kills in some instances.



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