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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Reply to Dollars and Sense of Family Building

Coincidentally, which follows on well from my Cost of Commercial Conception article (see post below), another blog raised the question about how much it cost someone to implement their decision to create their family. This was mainly directed at how much in monetary terms it cost someone to adopt or to use fertility treatments and how they felt that it would affect the kids one day. There were some other questions but they are not germane to my discussion.

Seeing as though I was created in such a manner with an exchange of money, I can tell you how I feel directly rather than have a parent postulate about what they “think” their child may feel in the future. It is a rather large assumption for any parent to make unless they plan on “conditioning” the child to believe a certain way, just as they do.

For starters I am torn over the undertaking of the blog post in the first instance. In some ways it is a good thing that the financial costs can be discussed openly about how much it did in fact take for some people to create their families. On the other hand I am disgusted that we have come to a stage in our societal progression (or is it regression) that we are able to talk about obtaining children through a financial transaction. At the heart of the matter it is the commodification of human life. Whereby you are able to purchase whatever you want so long as you have the resources to do so.

My genetic father sold me for what works out to be a couple cartons (slabs) of beer. This analogy is used as the vendor recruits were taken from university students, who on the most part needed a bit of extra cash to go out drinking on weekends (yes I have been a university student, seen the advertisements for donations and had other students tell me that this is what they do (or did)). Knowing that you were traded around like a product with little regard to your welfare and whether or not you would want to have your kinship severed, your heritage deleted and your family medical history sealed away from you is dehumanising.

The only other time that money has changed hands in regards to human life is slavery. Being put on the same level as slavery in regard to being purchased to fulfil the desires of those that can afford it is deflating psychologically as it devalues your own sense of self-worth.

Not only can the direct monetary costs have the potential to cause psychological trauma to the adoptees and donor conceived that were procured this way, it has flow on effects to the other parties involved. By creating a market for adoptive children and reproductive material, we have also created the opportunity for those who are “well off” to take advantage of the “less fortunate”, whereby people may be induced to sell their gametes, embryos or even children to improve their own situation when they may not have done so if no money was involved. It also provides the opportunity to exploit these people as has happened recently with the surrogacy ring in Thailand.

Children are not objects to be bought and sold, irrespective of whether people have the resources to do so or not. Additionally birth certificates are not documents of ownership and therefore should only ever be a truthful record of genetic parentage. There are other methods of assisting people in the legal parentage of their child than the removal of one or both progenitors which in effect creates a fraudulent document. It is an ethical issue of the welfare of the child versus the desires of the adult. The day we started paying for children, whether it be for an adopted child, an embryo or a gamete, was the day we paid for it with our own humanity.

Here is the link to the blog:


Samantha Franklin said...

Thank you for speaking up for those whose voices are silenced.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Well said. What an interesting and much needed perspective you bring to this discussion.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

I am with you on this: "birth certificates are not documents of ownership and therefore should only ever be a truthful record of genetic parentage."

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope you are getting something out of reading the thoughts of others.