Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Changing the Paradigm

Currently in our society it would appear as though the needs and desires of the adults are always trumping the rights of the children. When I speak to people they all confirm that the rights of children should be paramount, but yet when we look at our society and in particular the practice of fertility treatment then it is anything but.
We need a shift in the current paradigm where we stop focussing on heartbreak of the infertile, however tragic that is and focus on the welfare of the child that is to be created in this manner. This is not to make light of infertility, but an attempt to protect the rights of the most vulnerable, the child.
How can we defend ourselves by saying that the child will be wanted and loved when unconditional love means that as a parent or would be parent we will do everything in our power to ensure that our children are not emotionally or physically hurt by our own actions. Donor conception can almost be seen to have parallels with Munchausens by proxy, whereby we want the attention and love that a child can give us but to get that we have to create a situation that has the potential to cause long term trauma to that child. This is not to suggest that the would be parent wishes to intentionally hurt the child, it may however be a by-product of the situation that is forced upon that child.
If we afford the protection children deserve than the rest will look after itself, because nothing else really matters.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Should Recipient Parents Undergo Adoption Proceedings?

This is a very complicated question in that some people may not view donated gametes in the same light as a donated embryo. In any context however, one or both of the recipient parents is not the biological parent of the resultant child. So what does that make them? A social parent is a term often used but it is term that does not convey the exact nature of the relationship. In the majority of instances the infertile person or couple will raise the child as if it were genetically their own. They in effect have adopted the child as their own, so why shouldn’t they follow proper adoption proceedings?
A child that has been conceived and carried in the womb of one woman under normal circumstances and then relinquished and raised by another woman or couple is adopted. So why should it be any different if the child was carried to term in the raising mothers womb in the case of donated embryos? Does incubation entitle her to claim that the child is hers even though it does not contain any of her DNA? Certainly the foetus will form a strong bond with the incubating mother, however, that does not affect what is at the core of the child and makes it unique, its genes.
Would gamete and embryo adoption prevent recipient parents from deceiving the DC child about its origins? Possibly not seeing that not all adoptees are told about their status either, but perhaps it may make them think twice about keeping it a secret.
With DC children currently suffering worse human rights than adoptees in regard to knowing their biological parents and heritage (particularly in the majority of states in Australia), by not making recipient parents undergo adoption proceedings the child has had its basic human rights infringed upon simply based on their mode of conception. Forcing the recipient parent or parents to follow adoption proceedings would more accurately acknowledge the true relationship between the recipients and the child while also providing the child with their inalienable human rights. After all it is the child whose welfare should be paramount and over-ride any desires or wishes that any adult has as they by far are the most vulnerable in this situation. This is not to say that adoptions as a whole should occur, as no child should be separated from their family except in extreme circumstances. Yet when we look at the exact relationships within a family that has utilised DC and how these children are currently viewed by the law and the rights afforded to them, then adoption of the gamete or embryo is a more accurate reflection of the situation.