“Do children come into the world to adapt to our desires?”

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE – Article 1is the government’s bioethics bill, opening the right to assisted reproduction for single women and female couples, was validated on Tuesday, June 8 in the evening. The spokesperson for the Jurists for Children association denounces an unfair law, which will deprive children of their parentage.

Aude Mirkovic, lecturer in private law is spokesperson for the Juristes pour l’Enfance association, author of PMA: what are the challenges? (Artège 2018) and In red and black, novel (Part One, 2020).

The bioethics bill with, as a “flagship” measure, the extension of medically assisted procreation (PMA) to single women and female couples, is currently in third reading in the National Assembly.

As the text has not yet been adopted, Parliament has until June 29 to protect children from the excessive desires of adults and the profits of merchants.

Let’s start by reminding people that everyone makes decisions that are more or less happy in terms of procreation, but which relate to their private life. This is why, if a woman chooses to have a child “without a father”, she takes up her responsibilities, she will explain when the time comes to her child why he does not have a daddy and no one wishes them anything other than good.

However, as soon as the law is requested to organize the conception of this child deprived of his father and, above all, to include in the Civil Code the legal prohibition for this child to have his paternal filiation, the question no longer concerns the private life of the woman but of the law, public matter if there is one since the law is the concern of all and, even more, the responsibility of all.

We will all be at the court of history because the children to come from these LDCs will not fail to demand an account of their paternal line thus erased, not because of the misfortunes and vagaries of life but by the law.

Aude Mirkovic

If we sometimes make severe judgments about such and such an era which tolerated, in more or less generalized indifference, unjust laws, it would be too easy to wash our hands of the injustices of our time. We will all be at the court of history because the children to come from these LDCs will not fail to demand an account of their paternal line thus erased, not because of the misfortunes and vagaries of life but by the law.

To relativize the injustice of this legal deprivation of a father, the promoters of this project want to count, with optimism, on the resilience of children declared perfectly capable of “adapting”. But have we properly measured what the children to come from these LDCs will have to “adapt” to?

They will have to adapt first of all to the medical disorders linked to the technological manipulations undergone in the processes of in vitro fertilization, in particular: risk of cardiac malformation[1] and risk of autism[2] multiplied by 2, risk of childhood cancer 2.43 times higher[3], risk of death before 1is anniversary increased by 45% [4].

Two studies have just been published in the journal Cambridge University Press[5], which indicate in adults conceived with a third-party donor deteriorated mental health, problems with identity formation, panic attacks, more stress and more addictions. These disorders were not identified during childhood and developed in adulthood, and this is why it would be too simplistic to be satisfied with a “the children are well”: the children in question will grow up, with questions related to their conception by donor and their adult life will be impacted. The difficulties revealed by these studies were already implicit in the poignant testimonies of these young people who realize that they were conceived from deceased donors, young people haunted by the known or unknown existence of half-brothers and sisters in the nature, of those who claim to be amputated of a part of themselves etc.

How can we ignore any longer the evidence that blood ties are not trivial and cannot be lightly dismissed?

Aude Mirkovic

The unborn children of these LDCs will still have to adjust to the suffering resulting from the deprivation of their father, because the promised love, even if it is real, will not replace the ousted father. A 23-year-old young woman, Kianni Arroyo, raised by her two mothers, testifies in the British press how much she missed her father, while she is also satisfied with her childhood: “I used to make father’s day cards for my donor because I didn’t have a father. I have never done anything with these cards ”. She has since met her donor and “saw how much she had inherited from him.” Launched in the search for her brothers and sisters, she organizes with them next month “a family reunion”[6]. How can we ignore any longer the evidence that blood ties are not trivial and cannot be lightly dismissed?

We further relativize the situation by invoking the magic wand, the lifting of the donor’s anonymity at the request of the child who has come of age. But who can seriously believe that lifting the donor’s anonymity would be able to fix everything? Will the youngster want to meet his donor? Will the latter be available? Will he want to thank the donor, reproach him, ask him for money, affection, an inheritance, a filiation? Access to the identity of the donor, a possible meeting with him will hopefully provide answers to certain questions. But we must not be naive: lifting anonymity will also bring its share of disappointments, new frustrations, additional suffering.

Will Parliament once again wipe out this suffering by once again calling on these young people to “adapt”?

Isn’t the role of the law to seek justice, which begins with the defense of one who cannot defend himself? Although the PMA makes him “the product of scientific technologies”[7], in the words of the Council of State, the child is a full human being and not a being invited to life to adapt to the desires of others.

It is still possible to reorient the law towards prudence, the precautionary principle which prohibits placing the weight of individualistic and selfish choices on future generations.

There is still time to say NO to the law of bioethics.

[1] https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-02-ivf-twins-hearts-quadruple.html

[2] “Key Findings: Use of assisted reproductive technology and risk of birth defects” : https://www.cdc.gov/art/key-findings/birth-defects.html et “Key Findings: The association between assisted reproductive technology and autism spectrum disorder” : https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/features/artandasd.html

[3] “Association between Fertility Treatment and Cancer Risk in Children” : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31821431/

[4] Mortality from infancy to adolescence in singleton children conceived from assisted reproductive techniques versus naturally conceived singletons in Sweden” : https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(19)32488-4/fulltext

[5] https://www.physiciansweekly.com/self-reported-mental-health-status-of-donor-sperm-conceived-adults/


[6] https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/woman-conceived-via-sperm-donor-24235807

[7] Report “Revision of the bioethics law: what options for tomorrow? », June 28, 2018, p. 44.


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