Let’s talk about queers, children, and ethics.
Firstly, I know that many queer folx can have biological children of their own. And I know many folx who aren’t queer use assistive reproductive technologies.
But, this post is aimed at my queer fam because I see far too many queer people aching for a family who are ready and willing to use assistive reproductive technology - such as sperm donation and artificial insemination - without considering the rights of the donor conceived person.
I get it. You want a family. But it’s a disservice to your child - and to all of us, really - if you decide that your child has to either live a lie or be without vital information. For example, medical information. You say, “well - it’s on the papers!” What if something got overlooked? What if you didn’t go through a regulated sperm bank? Didn’t get crucial tests done to see if your kid may well have some kind of rare genetic illness?
Beyond that - what if your kid wonders where exactly their face came from. Of course, you as a non-donor conceived person might think, “eh, my child won’t care!”
How do you know that, though? Because I can assure you - donor conceived people often want information like that.
The focus on parents, families, and even donors creates HARMFUL policies that constantly centre everybody but the donor conceived person. There are irrational fears about donor conceived children wanting money - but the vast majority of them just want the truth. And policy must reflect that. They must have access to information.
To get to that place, however, we must begin “queering” this kind of technology in a meaningful way. And that means being honest about it from the get-go. That means sharing vital information (yes, including a photo of the donor) if the donor conceived person wants it.
We must crush the taboo surrounding this and must stop assuming that donor conceived people are limited to what we’ve seen on Oprah and other day time television shows. They are not “freaks” with “freaky families” and “a hundred siblings” that they’re always on the look out for. They are human beings - often already marginalized. They are queer, trans, Black, etc. and they have the right to know all parts of them without it being a taboo subject.
I direct this at specifically queer folx because this is a chance to engage in a type of “queer world making” where we augment the definition of “sibling” and we treat assistive reproductive technologies as inherently queer things that are not laced with shame, but are useful, necessary things that we should we honest about.
It’s unfortunate that many queers play into homonationalism and heteronormativity by concealing aspects of their kid’s own creation from them. You should not engage in hiding any aspect of your child’s existence because you “don’t want the donor involved in any capacity - and that includes something as simple as a photo” simply because you want to be a “normal” family unit.
This is our chance to change something queerly, meaningfully, and finally centre the voices of donor conceived people.