Fueled by rapid advances in reproductive medicine and the desperate desires of millions of would-be parents, the acquisition of children—whether through donated eggs, rented wombs, or cross-border adoption—has become a multibillion dollar industry that has left science, law, ethics, and commerce deeply at odds.
This book is timely again as a rebroadcast of 60 Minutes was telecast yesterday. It now appears that a previous sperm donor, now a pediatrician, may have over 12 children due to his earlier decision to donate his sperm. Some of the women who received his sperm have a web site; the purpose of this web site is to locate other possible siblings from this same single donor.
Perhaps this is a 'good thing' since we have never truly defined the word 'family' since the 1970s. Family is now all kinds of folks living together or not, communicating for sure, but ultimately connected by love, loyality, and life.
As a 'traditional' family member since I was married in 1963, very young I may add, I was 17, my departed spouse was 34. Neither of us were ever married before or since. Our church and society at the time considered us 'the traditional family unit.'
Two grown children, five grandchildren later, we continue our original 'roles.' We have also included and embraced other folks we call 'family.' They are no true blood relationship to us, still we consider them family. I recently told three of these children from 'our family' they may call me " " my somewhat traditional grandmother name. Name withheld to maintain some annaminity (spelling was never my strong suit)
I post my response to the book, "Baby Business," not to judge nor define technologies abilities today. Rather I seek intellectual reflection. Each of us ultimately must decide what our personal definition of 'family' is. Then it is our responsibility to act upon that definition.
I would hope, and I am an 'idealistic realist' by nature, that love and respect would ultimately be our motivating factors.
I look forward to checking out this book from my local library.
A scary thought, is to think that if you are a person made from a sperm bank, that you never really know who you are related to. Your brothers and sisters could be all over. You could marry your brother and not even know it. Scary!
I find this book absolutely fascinating....What I'm wondering whether it will delve into is, what are the psychological factors which cause some people to be "desperate" to have children, to the extent that they are willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money and time in that pursuit?
I myself only wanted a child for about ten seconds, during some kind of hormonal burst in my early twenties. I have never regretted not having children, as they require (and rightfully so) a parent's complete devotion of time, energy, constant consideration, and large sums of money, to raise properly. As a very young child in a time when professional day care was not the norm as it is now, I was required to babysit (that is, care for in EVERY way, with no assistance) not only my own younger siblings, but many neighborhood babies and toddlers as well. I feel that I "did my time", and now want to devote my time, money and effort to myself.
I also find that I am not alone among many women, an increasing number of them quite young, who are choosing not to have children, and indeed express that they have no interest at all in having them. I will be curious to see if this book addresses the opposing mindsets of those "desperate" to have children, and those who have no interest in devoting their lives or resources to providing for another life at the expense of their own.
NOT that I am against children, if that is what one chooses. I do feel, however, that there still exists a stigma against a woman admitting she does not want, nor intend to bear children; yet I am pleased to see many more brave women speaking up for their right to choose providing and caring for themselves over sacrificing for some assumption and "requirement" of childbearing.
I was hoping for a more objective look at this topic than it appears we are getting. Perhaps it is just because we've sampled so little, but thus far, the preachy tone is turning me off. I know many families who have adopted from abroad, and have literally saved children from abuse and abandonment. These are not bad people, and their children are gaining opportunities they never would have had -- not just for achievement, but love. I'm not sure when we, as a society, decided that we had the right to define who a person could love and care for, but I have had enough of it.
Just read the third read and my opinion is the same concerning this book - I don't consider it "preachy" - but that it is just giving us all the statistics and many different ways of "achieving" a baby and the costs thereof - don't feel it is moralizing at all - but am sure we all have our own different opinions as to the rights and wrongs based on our own sense of "morality" -
My opinion is still that in so many instances, our scientific and technilogical capabilities have exceeded our moral compasses leaving us with the dilemna of "what to do" - perhaps no one could conceive (no pun indeeded) of the complications which have arisen as a result of the "miracles?" that are now possible -
I know the saying that "our grasp should always extend beyond our reach" - but perhaps we should re-examine that thought from time to time -
I am not finding it preachy - but it is almost more scary because it is so objective (IMHO).
Tha author is saying this is what is going on. This is what we can do. This is what we ARE doing.
Are we ready to accept the moral consequences of these decisions? Do we realize there are moral consequences? Do we think, because we are just making a personal decison, there are no larger issues? That we are not making moral decisions for our society at the same time?
Most intriguing book.
I think I 'need' to read this book.
I am an adult adoptee, reunited with my birth family about 6 years ago. As a result, I have likely spent more time than most thinking about this topic.
I am on an email list for adoptees in Canada and adoptee rights come up, obviously, alot.
I think the one thing that must be considered, whether the child is an adoptee or the result of donated sperm and/or egg is the preservation of the rights of the child.
There are three basic parties in all cases.
There are the biological parents, the adopting parents and the child. The only party in the equation with no voice when the "deal is done" is the child. It is vital that this person's rights are considered and preserved until she can make decisions for herself.
Permanently closed adoptions and blind donation are violating those rights in a way that cannot be reversed. If children were taken and placed, say at 6 or 8 years old, and their identities were stolen and hidden from them, it would be intolerable, but somehow it's OK if this is done at a very early age (even better if it is before birth).
This consideration of the rights of the child involved should be the #1 priority in all cases.