Thursday, March 05, 2009

Fathers Shoved Aside

I predicted that same sex marriage would further marginalize men from the family, and would result in the state determining, not just recording parentage. A report from the UK illustrates that I was not hyperventillating, but in fact, very sober-minded about this issue:

Single women having IVF will be able to name anyone they like as their baby's father on the birth certificate.
New regulations mean that a mother could nominate another woman to be her child's 'father'.
The 'father' does not need to be genetically related to the baby, nor be in any sort of romantic relationship with the mother.

This mean that "father" is strictly a legal term, not a name for a biological reality that exists independently of the state and its laws.

This raises the spectre of a legal minefield in which female 'fathers' will fight for visitation rights and be chased for child support payments if their fragile relationship with the mother breaks down.
The changes, due to come in on April 6, will apply to many of the 2,000 women a year who have IVF using sperm from anonymous donors.
The regulations are part of the controversial Embryology Bill passed by Parliament last year. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said they will give lesbian couples in civil partnerships who undergo IVF the same rights as married heterosexual couples.

An unmarried man whose girlfriend has fertility treatment will also find it easier to claim full parental rights.

The new rules state: 'The women receiving treatment with donor sperm (or embryos created with donor sperm) can consent to any man or woman being the father or second parent.' The only exemption is close blood relatives.

Critics said the change would lead to the role of father being downgraded to the one of godfather and warned that the child would be the one to lose out.

I discuss this issue in Session 3, "Same Sex Marriage and the End of Gender" of my 4 part series, Same Sex Marriage Affects Everyone.
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Marty said...

"The only exemption is close blood relatives. "

Why does THAT have anything to do with anything? We're talking about anonymous donors here! Blood relation is a non-issue.

Jennifer Roback Morse said...

Marty, I think is they are trying to mimic the prohibition on close relatives, which is based on the biological principle of assigning parentage, and avoid mentioning biology at the same time. In other words, they are ok with listing a woman as the "father," but they aren't ok with me listing my brother as the child's "father." this body of law is incoherent.

Billy said...

Won't anybody please think of the poor fathers!!!