Saturday, June 04, 2011

Having Children After I'm Gone . . .

Today, one of my friend's asked the following question on his Twitter account:  "Should men be allowed to father children after they're dead?"  It was indeed the headline of an e-article from Headland e-zine, Time's attempt to promote a healthy balance between body, mind, and spirit (the last of which the people at Time know so little about).

Nevertheless, the article raises some interesting issues and circumstances.  At the very least it gave me an opportunity to think about all of this and what's happening now and can potentially happen in this field of "fertility-treatment" innovations.

First of all, let me state clearly that I have no issue (no pun intended) with the efforts of married couples getting ethical, moral, medical assistance to have a child.  Secondly, I have no problem with a woman having a child who following being impregnated by her husband, the husband dies during the period of his wife's pregnancy.

The problem arises when we use science to assist a woman in conceiving a child at a time after her husband's death with her husband's sperm.

Recently, according to the article, Australia allowed a woman to use her dead husband's sperm for in-vitro fertilization.  Grandparents in Israel want to use their dead son's sperm to have a grandchild conceived (not sure who the 'mother' will be).  And in California, a woman is three months away from delivering her husband's child even though he had "died not long beore she got pregnant".  Clearly the interest is there for men having children long after they're dead.

Should a soldier prior to undertaking a dangerous mission freeze his sperm so that his wife can have a child if he died?  What about someone with cancer?

There are also issues of what goes on the birth certificate as the "name of the father" in the case where the child is born to a woman who subsequently marries another man before she gives birth to a child using her previous husband's sperm?  What if she marries into a lesbian relationship?  What if the mother is indeed the 'grandmother' as is possible in the Israeli case -- is the father then her son?  (Will  the child grow up thinking -- "my mom's my grandmother and my dad's her son -- or is it my brother?"  [In actuality, this set of grandparents are seeking to use a surrogate younger mother for the child, so that's a slight relief.]  Nevertheless, I think children are already confused enough in our society.

The thinking that some of these people have in pursue some of their own personal desires to have such a child is interesting.  In the case of the Israeli grandparents, they argue "if we can donate our sons organs to someone else, why can't we use his sperm?"  Tough question.  But there's an answer.

In another case, an Australian woman in pursuing the use of her dead husband's sperm, said her husband "would be so happy. . .. We're going to have our baby."  Sorry, not so simple.  I'll explain below.

Here are my objections.  In spite of the great efforts of the liberals in the world today, the research still shows that the optimum environment for a child to grow up and become a healthy and contributing citizen to society is that of his/her father and mother living together as a single family unit.  Though GLBT lobby groups may try to convince us otherwise, the Creator's design for family and children is still the best.

I do understand that in some circumstances, a father may die during the course of his wife's pregnancy.  That is a matter of 'fate' or 'destiny' and not a matter of choice.  In those circumstances, God's plan for the child is that the woman's family along with the family of the deceased man, would come to the rescue, and in their absence the community (especially the church) would do all it could to support that child in its upbringing.  Finally, in some cases the mother may remarry and hopefully the new 'dad' will care and love that child as his own.  But again, I repeat, the deployment of such a plan is not a "choice", it is something we have to do once the father of the child dies.  This is also true if the father dies after the chid's birth as it is if he dies before.

But neither is that my main objection.  My main concerns with the thinking above are as follows.  Let's not kid ourselves as to why someone is seeking to be conceived with a child after the sperm's contributor has died.  Contrary to the sentiment of "my husband would be so happy" as indicated above, I believe that while he may have wanted a child with his wife, most men who really think about the future life of their son/daughter without him around, likely would not.  And let's not forget, he's dead, so are we really having this child for him?  Contrary to the thought that "we're having our baby" -- no, "you as in plural" are not having "your" baby.  You, the wife may be having a baby.  And furthermore, this new 'baby' that you bring into the world is not even going to know his/her father and when he/she grows up -- he/she, if they're at all a 'thinker' will realize that their father didn't even really know of their actual existence.  How reassuring is that for a child in this crazy world today?

And what about those parents that ask, "if we can donate our son's organs to others, why can't we use his sperm to have a grandchild?"   Well, the answer takes us back to God's grand design for how and why children should be brought into this world.  And with your son's death, the program changes.

I don't know about you, but I believe and have proven to myself that children and grandchildren are indeed a gift of God.  Children in particular are a gift of God to a married couple for the most part.  The reference is in Psalms 127, verses 3,4, and 5.  It says the following:

"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth.
"How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate."

Not sure if you noticed, but the passage involves both the mother (ref. to the womb) and the living father (a warrior, preferably in his youth -- not after he's dead).  Both are blessed together with this gift.

Thank you, but for all the above reasons plus one more, I'll ask my wife to simply pass on my having any more children after I'm gone.  The biggest reason being the fact that I'm already sixty-three, but don't let that cause you to miss my arguments on this matter.  If nothing else, perhaps I've helped just one person make a decision that fully relies on God to meet all their deep desires in His Own way.

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