Monday, January 3, 2011

No, Actually It Was Never Easier

Filed under Revering Pasts that Never Were, we have this screed against assisted reproduction (i.e., IVF, surrogacy, etc.):

At some point, anticipated and even feared by some parents, every child asks the inevitable question: “Where did I come from?” That question is endemic to humanity. The question of our own biological origins is eventually inescapable. Our existence requires an explanation, and the question takes bold form. The answer used to be easy.

That is, the answer was easy in terms of biology. In some form, the answer took the shape of a story about two people, one male and one female, who came together and made a baby. Mommy and Daddy made a baby. That story was both true and universal. For most of human history, there was no alternative account. The answer given by parents in 1960 was the same as that given in 1060 or in any previous year.

Except not. Keep in mind, the number of children, in the US, conceived through assisted reproduction* is quite small. Reproductive assistance is prohibitively expensive, for one thing, and most people don't need it, for another. You know what number is far larger? The number of children being raised by men not their biological fathers who don't know they aren't the biological father**. That's a complicated explanation of someone's existence. A certain number of women have and raise their rapist's child, as well. That's not something I would ever want to explain to a child. That's complicated. A wee bit more complicated, to me anyway, than "Mommy and Daddy (or Mommy or Mommy and Mommy or Daddy and Daddy) had trouble making a baby so they got a doctor to help."

You know what? What is so complicated about "Mommy and Daddy (or Mommy or Mommy and Mommy or Daddy and Daddy) had trouble making a baby so they got a doctor to help." You don't have to explain the exact intricacies of IVF to a child. It's not like a small child would understand that if you did. I just don't see the necessity for pearl clutching in this situation. Oh, right, evangelical Christians. They're just not happy if they don't have a death grip on a string of fake pearls.

*Major league reproductive assistance like IVF and surrogacy, as opposed to less dramatic assistance like hormonal therapy. I don't think anyone has a problem with hormonal therapy. Yet.

**Unfortunately, the MRAs have taken over on this one, so a google search turns up a number between 1 in 25 and 1 in 5. I somehow don't think it's 20% of all children, but it is more common than IVF successes.

1 comment:

  1. Just for you, little traitors…


    we're this far from nuking all of you....

    the X-MAS vacuum cleaner for the atheists....

    shermer, randi, myers, pz, dawkins, harris

    why does everyone always want to PUNCH you, shermer?


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