Too much going on this week to be able to write thoughtfully about anything, but I did want to draw your attention to an article in Bio-News titled, “My Life was a lie: What does Emma Cresswell’s story tell us about donor conception and fatherhood”.
Emma is a donor conceived adult whose father separated from her mother when she was very young and played no part in her upbringing. Emma was unfortunately not told about being donor conceived whilst she was a child and only learned of this fact when she had a row with the man she had always assumed was her biological father. Emma has now achieved her wish to have this man’s name removed from her birth certificate and now claims that she is ‘fatherless’. As Jonathan Ives, the author of the Bio-News article says, this is a bizarre statement.
The term ‘father’ means different things to different people but genetic progenitor is certainly one, the person who has accepted paternal responsibility is another and for DC Network families, the guy who loves and cares for you is the strongest contender to be the most important.
As I said, very sadly I do not have time to write about this issue in depth, but will leave you with Ives summing up and encourage you to read the article, “My view is that this is a sad and powerful story about a daughter and a father becoming estranged ˆ a family break-up. It is not an edifying lesson on donor conception. There are some good arguments for children being told the circumstances of their conception ˆ but this story does not provide one, and the message it gives about what fatherhood is, and ought to be, is at best bizarre.”
It is also interesting to note that the only legal basis for Emma being able to remove her father’s name from the birth certificate is that he and his ex-wife both gave permission for this to happen. As Ives says, this is a powerful personal story. It is highly unlikely to be repeated.
Off to France tomorrow for eight days and hope to resume more regular blogging on my return.