February 06, 2008

Bone marrow can become sperm

A few days ago I wrote about how the British government wants to take out the reference, in their laws, to children needing a father. My question was, are men passé?

Well, it turns out that again in Britain, scientists have discovered how to turn women's bone marrow into sperm cells!

This is no longer mere science fiction. Men and women appear to be losing any need for each other. We have already lost a need for each other in almost every way in normal life, and now, we are losing a need for each other in the most elemental aspect of all, human reproduction.

I view this is a very sad development indeed. Not just for the sake of men, but especially for the sake of the children who will not have fathers - due to parenting by lesbian couples or single women, or, perhaps one day, due to the fact that even their own genes come only from two women.


Anonymous said...

As a mother of twins conceived via donor sperm, I'm sorry to have come upon your blog from a dear infertile friend of mine.

You absolutely disgust me. How dare you stand on your high horse and judge those of us who would like to experience the joy of parenthood using reproductive technologies? How dare you decide that we are part of a "slave trade" because some of our husbands/wives and/or life partners aren't blessed to have their bodies produce sperm/eggs?

We, the infertile, have every right to walk the very painful and tiresome journey to parenthood via the means we've "chosen".

Until you've walked a mile in our shoes on our path, shut the hell up and get a real hobby outside of judging people about something you have no clue about. Reading some stupid journal or wherever you gain your stupidity is nothing compared to living the hell infertility places us in. Get a life!

Veronica Thomas said...

Hi April,

Thanks for visiting my site. All negative comments are accepted here (except very foul language), but the best kind would be the ones that actually invite reasoned debate about an issue, rather than just mud-slinging and ad hominem attacks against me as a person.

To answer your rhetorical question: how do I dare to "judge" those who use repro tech?

Let me qualify by saying that I do not necessarily "judge" the infertile parents who have used repro tech, especially if they simply did not have enough information to make the right choices. Many people realize only afterwards what they have actually done.

However, I do "dare" to say that using reproductive technologies in certain ways is simply unethical.

You say that infertile people have "every right" to do, basically, whatever they want in order to get out of the "hell" of infertility.

No, they do not. The rights of parents are limited by the rights of their children. Infertile adults do NOT have the right to walk all over the rights of their children, just in order to get a child.

Unfortunately, in the area of reproductive technologies, the rights of adults come up against the rights of children. The two "rights" clash: the supposed "right" of the parents to have a child collides with the child's right to know and be raised by its biological parents - a right that was recognized as universal in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Where the "rights" (actually desires) of adults clash with the rights of children, it is the children who must win. Infertility is not an "Ace" card that trumps the rights of the child. Infertility may be a living hell, but does not, and cannot, justify harming the child.

Infertile adults experience a lot of pain - but they do not have the right to heal themselves by inflicting pain on someone else - namely, their eventual children.

As far as your argument "until you've walked a mile in our shoes..." What makes you so sure that I haven't? As you notice on my blog, I am a married woman and we do not have children.

So before you start speaking for all infertile people and saying things like "We, the infertile,..." take a moment to realize that not everyone on your side of the fence necessarily agrees with you or even supports reproductive technologies. Do you think that all infertile people have to support repro tech, or think that it is good?

Maybe some infertile people don't use their personal situation as an excuse to do whatever they want, regardless of the cost to others.

Anonymous said...

So it is better to not exist at all, than to have to come to grips with being raised by a single parent? Or by two loving women? Or by two loving men?

Because that's what you're advocating, that many, many loving families should not exist.

Veronica Thomas said...

Hi Lucy,

In some ways, wherever there is life, it is glad to exist. I think few people would say that they would rather have never been born at all. Even the children conceived from rape are often happy to be born (I have even come across some online groups of these, and also individual webpages such as http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/)

Nonetheless, at least one DI child has already said publicly in the media that he is not happy that he was created in this way. In 2006, 23-year-old Tom Ellis wrote an article in The Indepenendent (in Britain) saying, among other things:

"You can't put a child or an adult into a situation like this and tell them that all you need is love and care, because it's not true. You need the genetic links, too....This is something that causes a great deal of pain - and that shouldn't be allowed....It is difficult to say this in a way that doesn't shock people or make me sound psychologically damaged, but I don't think I should have been born. I can't compare living under these conditions and not living at all, but nobody should ever be created under these circumstances."

In my opinion, "love" does not make up for intentionally hurting a child forever. To give a wacky yet analogous example:

Let's say that I can't have any pets because I am allergic to the hind legs of pets (I know this sounds crazy, but let's just pretend). However, I REALLY REALLY want a pet anyway - I feel like I can't live without one. So in the end, I convince some vet to create a cat for me in the lab - and to intentionally disable that cat from its conception by creating it without hind legs.

When I take my new kitty home, I am so happy to finally have a cat. I love that cat. I spoil it. I shower it with love, Fancy Feast, daily brushing, and everything else that a cat could possibly want. I even get it the best prosthetic hind legs, so it can run around and have fun like all the other cats. In fact, most of the time they look the same and act the same as other cat legs. The other cats - and my friends and family - probably can't even tell that my kitty's legs aren't real.

Under these circumstances, would you say that the cat should never have been born at all? Perhaps, looking at your beautiful and fairly happy cat, it's hard to say, because life is such a beautiful thing. Perhaps even the cat can't really say, because she really doesn't know what she is missing....but she probably does feel that she is missing something. Sometimes, this cat may well gaze longingly at the "real" hind legs of the other cats, and she may wish that she didn't have to wear her prosthetic legs every day - because as good as they are, they just aren't *quite* the same, are they.

But even apart from what the cat would say, let's look at my own actions here.

Wouldn't you say that what I did was selfish and wrong, and that I should not have done it, and the vet - or the government - should not have allowed me to do it?

Anonymous said...

I think the cat analogy is flawed. You presume that ART children are hurt by definition. I don't agree with that view. They exist, whereas they wouldn't have otherwise.

Rebecca and Tom have one thing in common. They did not ask to be born.

Rebecca is happy, though she was conceived through rape. Should we then condone rape beause this one person (or 10 or 100) born out of it is happy?

Tom is not happy, and his one case is enough to condemn all other cases of donor conception?
I'm sure you could find a Jack or Jill out there who IS happy, though conceived through donor sperm.
Back to condoning donor conception then?

Tell me, which child asks to be born? Did you ask to be born?

Happiness or unhappiness is not predetermined by the manner of conception alone.