(Originally published in The European Conservative)
Dear PM Meloni,
You’re right about surrogacy. You’re right about birth certificates. And you’re right about defending the traditional family.
How do I know you’re right? Because I’ve been collecting the stories of children created via sperm/egg ‘donation’ and surrogacy for years. I’ve cataloged the harm to children who have suffered through family breakdown. I’ve researched family-structure data pertaining to children with LGBT parents. Your aim to outlaw surrogacy at home and abroad and insist on biological accuracy on birth certificates may upset a lot of adults. But it safeguards the rights and well-being of children.
Your opponents object that you are “eroding LBGTQ rights.” Rights are indeed being eroded. When two women list themselves as parents on a child’s birth certificate, or two men purchase a child from his genetic mother, or a heterosexual couple directly pays a woman to handover the baby she gestated for 9 months, the child is deprived of his rights. It is the right of every person to be known and loved by the two people responsible for his existence, as recognized in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Those child-centric principles insist that all adults—single, married, gay, straight, fertile, and infertile—conform to children’s rights. Depriving children of those rights in service of adult desires harms them in three ways.
Whether or not they are raised by heterosexual or homosexual parents, children created via a third party—someone else’s sperm, egg, or womb—often feel like a designer product. That’s because their ‘parents’ had them custom made as though they were a designer product. The largest study of donor-conceived children found that nearly half were disturbed that money changed hands during their conception. State, federal, and international adoption standards recognize payments to birth parents are a form of child trafficking and are thus prohibited. In contrast, big fertility is built upon payments to genetic and birth parents. It is child trafficking. The kids are not fans.
My conception was bought and sold, my father, the sperm prostitute. He is a seller not a donor. The cryobanks are a billion dollar corporation not a benevolent non-profit organization to help the infertile. Money is all that matters. Money is dirty and I was born out of it. … My life had a price and I am the one who bears the consequences.
It’s a human trafficking loophole and needs to be abolished because it proliferates and involves eugenics, abortion, serious human trafficking situations, serious health risks and broken kinship bonds.
Children raised apart from one or both biological parents often suffer “genealogical bewilderment,” an ever-present feeling of alienation or “otherness.” They tend to struggle with their sense of self. Even if a child is raised by a loving man and woman, the shock of discovering that her parents are strangers can plunge her into an identity crisis:
I caught sight of myself in the mirror and came to the realization that I had no idea who I was anymore. The nose I thought had come from my dad wasn’t his. That round nose that I thought connected me to family was suddenly hideous. The shape of my fingers, so similar to my dad’s, now looked alien and terrifying. There were several years in my mid twenties when I couldn’t look at myself in a mirror without bursting into tears, so I avoided mirrors.
It’s very difficult to answer the question “who am I?” when you cannot answer the question “whose am I?”
The one study which compares outcomes between adoptees and children created through sperm donation found adopted children experienced less sadness and identity confusion, even though the sperm-donor kids were raised by at least one biological parent. The likely explanation is that adopted children are being raised by adults seeking to mend their parental wound, while sperm donor kids are being raised by the adults responsible for inflicting their parental wound. Those numbers drive home the reality that you can and must uphold adoption as an institution centered on the best interest of the child while opposing all third party reproduction which function as a marketplace centered on the desires of adults.
Father and Mother Hunger
In addition to the identity struggles and feelings of commodification, children raised in same-sex households will also suffer from mother-hunger or father-hunger. Children do not thrive on love in the abstract. They need more than ‘caregivers’ or generic ‘parents.’ Their development is maximized by having a father and mother in their life every day; they need maternal and paternal love. No number of mothers will ever satisfy a child’s longing to be loved by his father.
I am the daughter (not biological) of two moms. I love them both sooo sooo much but there is not a day that goes by that i didn’t wish i had a dad. it is very hard for kids like me that are different, no matter how accepting society is. I have men in my life, my moms’ friends, but it is not the same. I love my parents but I don’t agree with the fact that I will never know half of my biology or my siblings.
My formative years were almost entirely devoid of women. I felt the loss. I felt the hole. As I grew, I tried to fill that hole with aunts, my dads’ lesbian friends, and teachers. I remember asking my first-grade teacher if I could call her Mom. I asked that question of any woman who showed me any amount of love and affection. It was instinctive. I craved a mother’s love even though I was well loved by my two gay dads.
Don’t let the European Union or anyone else coerce you into violating the rights of Italian children. Your efforts to fortify the mother/father/child triad are not homophobic. They are pro-child.