I read an article today that made me ponder life in a different way. I found it in the UK’s Mirror Online and it’s something that we don’t talk about much or even acknowledge that it’s an issue in the real world, but I’d like to open a discussion about it here today.
It was about a man who had been tricked into fathering a child. Ultimately, the woman he had been dating for several months beforehand tricked doctors into inseminating his frozen sperm into one of her eggs and she had a child. She did this by forging his signature whilst he wasn’t there.
What are your thoughts? Me? I think that would leave me pretty damn violated. To use my sperm without my permission; to even think that it would be acceptable that whilst I’m not there, to lie, and fabricate your way into creating a child made from me. What are your thoughts?
We don’t discuss this very often, mainly because men don’t get up and talk, and I think it’s something that we, as human beings, should give a platform to. Yes, it’s tough for women, I totally get that, but we can’t ignore the issues and struggles that men have because to do so would be an omission that men are more powerful in every way, which we aren’t, and sadly lacking in some places that women clearly aren’t. A simple example would be that women act like pack animals when one of their sisters are in trouble emotionally. Men? We just pretend everything is fine and ignore the situation.
I’m quite sad that this wasn’t a straightforward case. A person should be present at all times when signing for something. I doubt the bank would have allowed her to take money out of his account if he wasn’t there in person. The same could be said for this place, and what’s more personal, secure and sacred than a man’s own sperm? If I were this man in question I would feel very violated, not to mention the mental effect it would have on me for years to come around subjects such as sex and parenting.
This also opens the subject to a larger discussion too, particularly Men’s rights in the paternal sense and the double standards we hold both genders to. We argue men have no rights over a woman’s body, so do women have ownership over parts of a man’s?
Almost a decade earlier, a similar case to this one appeared in the USA. A couple were having an affair, but only oral sex. The woman stored the man’s semen in her cheek, and impregnated herself. When the subsequent father of her child took her to court they ruled that his sperm had been gifted to her, therefore she could use it how she wanted. He lost his case.
Is it a woman’s right to have a child that a man doesn’t want? What about a woman’s right to a child that she doesn’t want but the potential father does? We could argue that a woman can do what the hell she likes because she is the incubator, and whilst I agree on that to a certain extent, what about when the man is forced to help in the upbringing of the child, be that money, love, or just being there, when clearly he didn’t in the first place. The child in the article is now about 6 years old. Old enough to want to understand. No matter how much he says he now loves his daughter, I challenge any separated parents to not let a bitter, million pound legal battle over the existence of their child have a knock-on affect on said child’s mental and emotional well-being. When men are so set on not wanting children that their partner, or in these cases, ex-partner, resorts to going behind they’re backs and ‘stealing’ their sperm, surely that’s not ethically conscionable?
A touchy subject I’m very much aware of, and I’ve heard all the arguments. “Well, he shouldn’t have stuck his dick in her if he didn’t want her to get pregnant” or “He should have worn protection” but we also forget, or at least misrepresent the ‘heated moment’ when both aren’t thinking, or one is thinking and one clearly isn’t, or even the emotional vulnerability of both people. To blame the man for having a child that he doesn’t want is basically the same as saying, “Well, she wouldn’t attract rapists if she didn’t walk around half naked” we are essentially blaming the victim and that’s the crux of it. I feel in this world far too much weight is put on the man’s participation in sex when it always needs two participants to make it happen, even through IVF like these cases clearly were.
I’ve not had many sexual partners in my life, in fact, I could probably count on one hand how many women I have had sex with. There are times that I worry about having a child that I’m unaware of, fleeting thoughts of course, but I expect I’m not the only man who sweats at the thought of this, going on the basis that my sexual diversity is quite low on the scale. I’m just not comfortable with being forced into a situation that I don’t want. I don’t want to be forced into anything. If I was pressurised into supporting children then I wouldn’t be as open minded as I would be if I wanted the situation to happen. Very bad for the child. My Dad didn’t want children, and whilst I’m not aware about the goings on with that dynamic between him and my Mum, I’m fully aware of how that impacted on my childhood. NOT GOOD.
If we want rights over our bodies, irregardless of whether we’re a man or a woman, there has to be a two way street of respect established and upheld. Just like money in the bank, when it comes to the existence of a child – not to mention the lifelong financial and emotional commitment involved – our DNA is data which belongs to us. I know I wouldn’t want that data used without my permission. Would you?