Non-triad family arrangements often exist for the benefit and convenience of adults. In order for the kids to conform to these arrangement, we have to embrace a lot of denial. We must pretend that there is nothing wrong with the arrangement, and even that we are happy with it.
We have a lot of help in keeping the denial intact. So far I’ve identified several buttresses that prop up our denial:
- Honoring our fathers and mothers inappropriately, by pretending that nothing is wrong
- Professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, medical doctors and religious leaders giving us sacrosanct reasons why we can’t question the loss of our first families, the loss of our ontology, the loss of our cultural or genetic origins
- Lack of a correct theoretical framework to think about our issues
- Cultural rites of passage that must be maintained at our expense
Yesterday I may have discovered another buttress for the denial: guilt. Perhaps guilt is a manifestation of the first reason above. I’m not sure.
Below is a quote written by somebody who was conceived with anonymous sperm, somebody who will never know her father (or his family, his culture or origins):
Is it unethical or immoral for me to want to know where half of me comes from? Or is it better to just sit quiet knowing that your own mother intentionally hid half siblings from your reach, registering on sibling registries, viewing their information, letting accounts expire, and moving on silently as if it all never occurred? Am I not allowed to feel hurt or misplaced?
The first sentence just blows my mind. She is questioning if it is unethical or immoral to want to know where she came from. Knowledge that most of us take for granted, she wonders if it is unethical for her to know. I bet her mother knows both halves of where she came from.That’s a form of inequality between the generations, created by reproductive freedom.
Her mother’s reproductive freedom means that she could legally separate her child from the child’s father forever, and the government supports this freedom.
Now, her child lacks freedom. She does not have the freedom to ask her own mother where she came from.
Her love for her mother is being used against her. She feels guilty for even posing the question.
Money is used in these transactions. Kids of sperm/egg donation often feel like they were purchased.
As a society, we do not care about this person’s sadness.
Where are the anthropologists decrying these kids being sold away from their cultural origins? I took a cultural anthropology class recently and made this argument a number of times, about the role of profit in this industry, and kids being legally separated from their cultural and genetic origins on the whim of rich adults. The teacher was stunned. She said that she had never heard it presented this way. But she saw that I was right. We all had to give a five minute presentation as part of our final, on some topic that was discussed during the semester. We would be penalized for going over that time. But she let me give a 12 minute presentation, since she thought what I was saying was so important.
Anthropologists are uniquely positioned to examine the role of profit in these arrangements, as well as applying equal standards to these kids as they do to kids in other cultures. I may talk more about the role of anthropologists in a future post because there is more I can say.
That class made me fall in love with anthropology, but let me be clear that I’m no left-leaning SJW (social justice warrior). I believe in business, the role of business in creating jobs for people, and the role of profit in not only making businesses attractive to investors but in providing good paying jobs to employees. I am proudly pro-life and pro-marriage.
But I am not a libertarian. I believe that there are some areas of life where the profit motive must be suppressed by legal means. Such as in the buying and selling of human beings, buying and selling the gametes to create them, and renting the wombs to gestate them.
For now, I just wanted to give another example of how the pain of the next generation is an acceptable loss in the advancement of sexual and reproductive freedom.