Thursday, 21 June 2012

People Without Fathers

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The Brave New World envisioned in Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic was constructed around an atheistic future in which family ties were essentially nonexistent. Disturbingly, today's world is increasingly reflecting that vision. The combination of medical technology and the rise of amoral secular humanism has allowed children to be born without a father, in the accepted sense of that word. Sperm is collected, stored, and provided as needed to women who wish to have children without a conventional father. This allows the would-be mothers to pick and choose from potential fathers — and, of course, to dismiss with the institution of fatherhood completely.

Mothers who “got in trouble” are nothing new in America. A perusal of periodicals from 80 years ago reveals information on hospitals and homes for young women who had become pregnant but had no man willing to marry them. These unwed mothers were treated compassionately by religious and philanthropic groups, although their promiscuous conduct was not condoned. The resultant babies were sometimes raised by the mother, who might find a good man to marry and step into the role of father; or often the babies were placed in homes for adoption, in which case the identity of the mother was not revealed.

Many studies over the last half century have clearly demonstrated that the traditional method of having and raising children, in a home with both a mother and a father, is by far the single best predictor of a child's happy and healthy adulthood. Moreover, studies have consistently shown that even when the parents are not together, the involvement of the fathers in the lives of their children is crucially important to the well being of the children.

Such is not politically correct feminist or progressive thinking however, as those born of “fathers” represented simply by a specimen from a sperm bank have discovered. These now-grown adults have found callous indifference to their desire to know who their fathers are.

Alana is such a person. When she sought information about her father she was met with scorn:

I thought it would be so easy to arrive, state the obvious that children need their fathers and everyone would be like, 'Oh, my God, thank you for reminding us!' But there is a huge monster of money and people desperate for children who don’t want me to make it harder for them to buy and sell children.

She told LifeSiteNews that she was met with ridiculing comments such as, “Too bad you weren’t the load your father flushed down the toilet.” She added, “People are extremely vicious.”

Alana is the founder of the activist organization The AnonymousUS Project, whose mission statement reads in part:

The Anonymous Project is a safety zone for real and honest opinions about reproductive technologies and family fragmentation. We aim to share the experiences of voluntary and involuntary participants in these technologies, while preserving the dignity and privacy for story-tellers and their loved ones. ...

We honor and are forever thankful for the courageous minds among the donor-conceived who have worked tirelessly before us for justice and education on the ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) family experience. ...

We hope that The AnonymousUS Project will fill out the conversation on reproductive technologies. We hope it will inspire more truth and transparency. We hope it will help shape healthier families and happier people.

Jennifer Lahl, creator of both the documentary Eggsploitation (about human egg donation) and the parallel film Anonymous Father’s Day (about children conceived from donated sperm), told LifeSiteNews that she has noticed a hostility by many in society toward those victimized by what she calls the “commoditization of children.” She also has observed that that is a difference in sympathy for children conceived by donated human eggs and for those conceived from donated human sperm:

Just from the work that I’ve been doing ... there’s a lot more sympathy toward [exploited] egg donors than toward [sperm] donor-conceived children. When I show Eggsploitation, there’s an overwhelming, "oh my gosh, this is horrible, we shouldn’t do this to young women," versus, when I show Anonymous Father’s Day, it’s like, "Well, so what? We’ve all had bad upbringing experiences.”

The sperm-donation and egg-donation industries in the United States are big business — about $3.3 billion dollars a year, and are supported by many in the gay and lesbian community who view such artificial procreation as “cleaner” than the conception of children through normal sexual intercourse. There are no firm figures on the number of babies brought into the world each year in America through sperm donation, but estimates place the figure between 30,000 and 60,000.

The effect upon the lives of people brought into the world this way can be tragic. For instance, Barry Stevens was conceived from a sperm donation at a clinic in Britain, one of about 1,000 half-siblings fathered at the same clinic. When Stevens was 18, the stepfather whom he had known his whole life died in an accident. He then decided that he wanted to find out who his real father was; however, he got nowhere.

How did that feel? Stevens put it this way: “I’m one of the first produced by science and not sex."  There was no sexual act that produced me."

It seems clear that treating human life as if it were livestock or goods has had a very real impact in today's world.  

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