Sunday, October 25, 2009

Posthumous Conception

Posthumous donor-conception has come to the forefront of media and legislation as of late. Usually the attempts to follow this path are by a spouse or partner of a deceased who had stored their gametes with the expressed and written wish that said partner could use them to conceive a child after they had passed away. The loss of any life partner is a devastating occurrence and the fact that they wanted to conceive a child together but due to circumstances were unable to is just another heart-break for the partner to deal with.
So should these people be allowed to use reproductive technologies to conceive a child in this way? After all, both biological parents wanted it. The child will be dearly loved. What else is there?
Once again we need to put on our child eyed goggles and have a think what it might be like to be created this way. Knowing that your father or mother was already deceased before you were even conceived may be psychologically damaging to this child. Maybe not while growing up but it may manifest later in life. We know that some DC offspring have issues with being created “artificially”, so we can assume that some of these children may have issues with this too.
While some of the other issues surrounding donor-conception, such as anonymity, knowledge of your progenitor, identity and family health history are addressed in this scenario. The one issue that it fails to skirt around is that a child would be deliberately brought into the world without any possibility of having a relationship with one of their parents. This deprivation has been recognised to be harmful in the adoption community and as a society we recognise that both a mother and father are important to a child’s welfare. Are we once again putting the desires of adults above the welfare and needs of children?

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