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This international appeal is the first publication sponsored by the Commission on Parenthoods Future, an independent, nonpartisan group of scholars and leaders who have come together to investigate the status of parenthood and make recommendations for the future. The author of this appeal is grateful for the advice and support of Commission members as well as leaders of the four co-publishing organizations: Institute of Marriage and Family Canada; Institute for Marriage and Public Policy; Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law, and Culture; and the Institute for American Values.

The French translation by Agns Jacob is also deeply appreciated.

On the cover: Childs Drawing, Photodisc Green Collection. Getty Images/Steve Cole.

2006, Institute for American Values. All rights reserved. No reproduction of the materials contained herein is permitted without the written permission of the Institute for American Values. ISBN: 1-931764-12-3 ISBN-13: 978-1-931764-12-4 Institute for American Values 1841 Broadway, Suite 211 New York, NY 10023 Tel: (212) 246-3942 Fax: (212) 541-6665 info@americanvalues.org www.americanvalues.org


Table of Contents

Members of the Commission on Parenthoods Future.............................................. About the Commission on Parenthoods Future........................................................ Executive Summary..................................................................................................... Executive Summary in French....................................................................................

4 4 5 7

Introduction................................................................................................................. 10 Redefining ParenthoodWhats Happening Around the World Right Now.......... 10 How the Global Redefinition of Parenthood Threatens Childrens Identity............. 15 The Childs Point of View........................................................................................... 17 Emerging Voices from Children..................................................................... 17 The Social Science Evidence Suggesting the Importance of Biological Parents........................................................................................... 19 Redefining ParenthoodWhats Next?...................................................................... 22 Increasing Slippage in the Meaning of Fatherhood and Motherhood.......... 22 Cloning and Same-Sex Procreation............................................................... 25 Group Marriage: Polyamory and Polygamy.................................................. 28 Conclusion.................................................................................................................. 31 Endnotes...................................................................................................................... 34

This report, originally written in English, has been translated into French to aid in the Canadian release. The Executive Summary in French is included with this English version of the report. The full report in French can be downloaded from: http://www.americanvalues.org.


Commission on Parenthoods Future

David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values Don Browning, University of Chicago Divinity School (Emeritus) Daniel Cere, Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago Divinity School Maggie Gallagher, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy Norval Glenn, University of Texas at Austin Robert P. George, Princeton University Amy Laura Hall, Duke University Timothy P. Jackson, Emory University Kathleen Kovner Kline, University of Colorado Health Services Center Anne Manne, author and social commentator (Australia) Suzy Marta, Rainbows Inc. Elizabeth Marquardt, Institute for American Values (Principal Investigator) Steven Nock, University of Virginia Mitchell B. Pearlstein, Center of the American Experiment David Popenoe, Rutgers University Stephen G. Post, Case Western Reserve University Dave Quist, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada Derek Rogusky, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada Luis Tellez, Witherspoon Institute Amy Wax, University of Pennsylvania Law School W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia John Witte, Jr., Emory University Peter Wood, The Kings College

About the Commission on Parenthoods Future

The author of this report is a member of the Commission on Parenthoods Future. The Commission is an independent, nonpartisan group of scholars and leaders who have come together to investigate the status of parenthood as a legal, ethical, social, and scientific category in contemporary societies and to make recommendations for the future. Commission members convene scholarly conferences, produce books, reports, and public statements, write for popular and scholarly publications, and engage in public speaking.

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The Revolution in Parenthood

The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Childrens Needs
Executive Summary

Around the world, the two-person, mother-father model of parenthood is being fundamentally challenged. In Canada, with virtually no debate, the controversial law that brought about samesex marriage quietly included the provision to erase the term natural parent across the board in federal law, replacing it with the term legal parent. With that law, the locus of power in defining who a childs parents are shifts precipitously from civil society to the state, with the consequences as yet unknown. In Spain, after the recent legalization of same-sex marriage the legislature changed the birth certificates for all children in that nation to read Progenitor A and Progenitor B instead of mother and father. With that change, the words mother and father were struck from the first document issued to every newborn by the state. Similar proposals have been made in other jurisdictions that have legalized same-sex marriage. In New Zealand and Australia, influential law commissions have proposed allowing children conceived with use of sperm or egg donors to have three legal parents. Yet neither group addresses the real possibility that a childs three legal parents could break up and feud over the childs best interests. In the United States, courts often must determine who the legal parents are among the many adults who might be involved in planning, conceiving, birthing, and raising a child. In a growing practice, judges in several states have seized upon the idea of psychological parenthood to award legal parent status to adults who are not related to children by blood, adoption, or marriage. At times they have done so even over the objection of the childs biological parent. Also, successes in the same-sex marriage debate have encouraged group marriage advocates who wish to break open the two-person understanding of marriage and parenthood. Meanwhile, scientists around the world are experimenting with the DNA in eggs and sperm in nearly unimaginable ways, raising the specter of children born with one or three genetic parents, or two same-sex parents. Headlines recently announced research at leading universities in Britain and New Zealand that could enable same-sex couples or single people to procreate. In Britain, scientists were granted permission to create embryos with three genetic parents. Stem cell research has introduced the


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very real possibility that a cloned child could be bornand the man who pioneered in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment has already said in public that cloning should be offered to childless couples who have exhausted other options. The list goes on. Nearly all of these steps, and many more, are being taken in the name of adult rights to form families they choose. But what about the children? This report examines the emerging global clash between adult rights and childrens needs in the new meaning of parenthood. It features some of the surprising voices of the first generation of young adults conceived with use of donor sperm. Their concerns, and the large body of social science evidence showing that children, on average, do best when raised by their own married mother and father, suggest that in the global rush to redefine parenthood we need to call a time-out. Right now, our societies urgently require reflection, debate, and research about the policies and practices that will serve the best interests of childrenthose already born and those yet to be born. This report argues that around the world the state is taking an increasingly active role in defining and regulating parenthood far beyond its limited, vital, historic, and child-centered role in finding suitable parents for needy children through adoption. The report documents how the state creates new uncertainties and vulnerabilities when it increasingly seeks to administer parenthood, often giving far greater attention to adult rights than to childrens needs. For the most part, this report does not advocate for or against particular policy prescriptions (such as banning donor conception) but rather seeks to draw urgently needed public attention to the current revolutionary changes in parenthood, to point out the risks and contradictions arising from increased state intervention, and to insist that our societies immediately undertake a vigorous, child-centered debate. Do mothers and fathers matter to children? Is there anything specialanything worth supportingabout the two-person, mother-father model? Are children commodities to be produced by the marketplace? What role should the state have in defining parenthood? When adult rights clash with childrens needs, how should the conflict be resolved? These are the questions raised by this report. Our societies will either answer these questions democratically and as a result of intellectually and morally serious reflection and public debate, or we will find, very soon, that these questions have already been answered for us. The choice is ours. At stake are the most elemental features of childrens well-beingtheir social and physical health and their moral and spiritual wholeness.

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Revolution de la filiation

Conflit mergent entre les droits des adultes et les besoins des enfants
Sommaire Excutif

Aujourdhui, le modle parental compos dun pre et dune mre est assailli dans son principe mme partout dans le monde. Au Canada, presque sans dbat, la loi controverse ratifiant le mariage entre partenaires du mme sexe introduisait sans bruit la stipulation liminant le terme parent naturel de toutes les lois fdrales, pour le remplacer par le terme parent lgal. Ce changement dplaa brusquement le pouvoir de dfinir qui sont les parents dun enfant, lenlevant la socit civile pour laccorder ltat, avec des consquences encore inconnues. En Espagne, aprs la lgalisation rcente du mariage homosexuel, le corps lgislatif a chang les actes de naissance de tous les enfants espagnols, y inscrivant progniteur A et progniteur B au lieu de mre et pre. Ce changement efface les mots mre et pre du premier document mis chaque enfant par ltat. En Nouvelle-Zlande et en Australie, des instances lgislatives influantes ont propos que lon autorise les enfants conus en utilisant du sperme ou des ovules de donneurs avoir trois parents. Mais ni lun ni lautre des deux pays ne sest pench sur lventualit trs relle que ces trois parents pourraient se sparer et faire de lintrt de lenfant un sujet de litige. Aux tats-Unis, les tribunaux dcident souvent qui sont les parents lgaux, parmi les nombreux adultes impliqus dans le projet parental, dans la conception, la naissance et lducation dun enfant. On voit de plus en plus souvent les juges de plusieurs tats recourir au concept de parent psychologique pour accorder le statut de parent lgal des adultes sans aucun lien de parent, de mariage ou dadoption avec lenfant. Dans certains cas, ces jugements ont t prononcs malgr lopposition des parents biologiques de lenfant. De plus, les russites obtenues aux tats-Unis dans le dbat sur le mariage homosexuel ont encourag les adeptes du mariage en groupe, qui dsirent abolir la signification du mariage et de la filiation selon lesquels ces termes sappliquent deux personnes. En mme temps, des scientifiques dans le monde entier effectuent des expriences invraisemblables sur lADN des ovules et du sperme, permettant dimaginer des


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enfants ns avec un seul ou trois parents gntiques, ou avec deux parents du mme sexe. Les gros titres des journaux annonaient rcemment des recherches menes par de grandes universits en Angleterre et en Nouvelle-Zlande, dont le but est de permettre des couples du mme sexe et des personnes clibataires de procrer. En Angleterre, on a autoris les scientifiques crer des embryos ayant trois parents gntiques. La recherche sur les cellules souches a introduit la possibilit trs relle de voir natre un de ces jours un enfant clon; le scientifique lorigine de la fertilisation in vitro (comme traitement de linfertilit) a dj affirm en public que le clonage devrait tre offert des couples sans enfants pour qui les autres alternatives sont restes inefficaces. Et ainsi de suite. Presque toutes ces dcisions, comme beaucoup dautres, ont t prises au nom des droits des adultes crer les familles quils dsirent. Mais quen est-il des enfants? Ce rapport examine le conflit mondial mergent entre les droits des adultes et les besoins des enfants dans les nouvelles dfinitions du statut parental. Le rapport fait entendre les voix surprenantes de la premire gnration de jeunes adultes conus en ayant recours au sperme de donneurs. Leurs proccupations, ainsi que les donnes abondantes en sciences sociales indiquant quen gnral les enfants se portent le mieux quand ils sont levs par leurs propres mres et pres, suggrent quil serait utile de marquer un temps darrt dans la course mondiale vers la redfinition du parent. Aujourdhui, il est urgent pour nos socits de rflchir, de dbattre et de mener des recherches concernant les politiques et les pratiques qui serviront le mieux les intrts des enfantsceux qui sont dj ns et ceux qui natront. Ce rapport fait valoir le fait que partout dans le monde lEtat prend un rle de plus en plus actif dans la dfinition et la rglementation du rle parental (bien au-del de sa fonction historique, vitale et limite, axe sur lenfant, consistant trouver des parents appropris pour les enfants qui en ont besoin). Le rapport dcrit la manire dont lEtat cre de nouvelles incertitudes et vulnrabilits lorsquil tente de rgir la filiation, souvent en portant une plus grande attention aux droits des adultes quaux besoins des enfants. En gnral, le rapport ne sexprime ni pour ni contre des politiques particulires (interdire la conception laide de donneurs, par exemple); il essaie plutt dattirer lattention publiquedont on a un besoin urgentsur les changements rvolutionnaires sappliquant au statut parental, de souligner les risques et les contradictions dcoulant dune intervention tatique accrue, et dinsister que nos socits entreprennent immdiatement un dbat dynamique ax sur lenfant. Les mres et les pres sont-ils importants pour les enfants? Le modle mre-pre offre-t-il des avantages qui mritent dtre appuys? Les enfants sont-ils des biens produire pour le march? Quel rle devrait-on accorder ltat dans la dfinition du statut parental? Lorsquil y a conflit entre les besoins des enfants et les droits des adultes, comment doit-on le rsoudre? Ce rapport se penche sur ces questions. Nos

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socits se trouvent face un choix: ou bien elles rpondent ces questions de manire dmocratique, aprs un srieux examen intellectuel et moral et des dbats publics, sans quoi en peu de temps nous nous apercevrons quon a rpondu ces questions notre place. Il y va des aspects essentiels du bien-tre des enfantsleur sant physique et sociale, et leur integrit morale et spirituelle. Vous trouverez une traduction franaise du rapport en consultant le site http://www.americanvalues.org.


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ANY CHANGES in marriage, reproduction, and family life in recent years have had one feature in common: They have pushed the boundaries on who is called a childs parent. Courts and the culture have at various times determined all kinds of people to be parent figures in childrens lives, including stepparents, parents unmarried partners, sperm donors, surrogate mothers, and even extended family members or close family friends.

This broadening of the term parent first arose amid the steep rise in single-parent childbearing and as a result of the divorce revolution. But more recentlyindeed, many important developments have taken place in recent monthsthe redefinition of parenthood is taking new forms as cultural attitudes continue shifting; as reproductive technologies advance, access expands, and science continues pushing the boundaries on baby-making; as increasing numbers of same-sex couples are openly raising children, with many of them also advocating for marriage rights; as new players enter the marriage debate, including advocates of group marriage; and as the law struggles to catch up, often creating as many problems as it resolves. Rather than striving to link the man and woman who conceive, bear, and raise a child into one unit called the childs parents, todays trend toward redefinition separates genetic, gestational, and social parenthood into increasingly fragmented activities and separate legal terms.1 In nations throughout the West and beyond, expert commissions, courts, legal scholars, and medical groups are leading the way in redefining parenthood, almost entirely without awareness of or influence from other disciplines and the broader public. While the state has a vital role to play in finding parents for needy children through adoption, today in many nations the state is creating powerful new uncertainties and vulnerabilities as it seeks to redefine parenthood for far broader categories of children. Right now, the needs of childrenthose born and those yet to be bornare being threatened by policies and practices that are transforming and fragmenting the meaning of parenthood.

Redefining ParenthoodWhats Happening Around the World Right Now

Events that form a revolutionary redefinition of parenthood are proceeding at breakneck speed around the world. In Canada, the law that recently legalized same-sex marriage nationally also quietly erased the term natural parent across the board in federal law, replacing it with the term legal parent.2 With that provision, the federal understanding of

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parenthood for every child in the nation was changed in order to bring about the hotly-debated legalization of same-sex marriage. Also in Canada, in an amazingly contradictory pair of moves, in some provinces it is now the right of an adopted child to know the identity of his or her biological parents; whereas in the case of children conceived by sperm or egg donors, revealing to the child the identity of his or her biological parents is a federal crime, punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both. In Spain, after the recent legalization of same-sex marriage the National Civil Registry struck the words mother and father from the first document issued to every newborn by the state. Instead, all birth certificates will now read Progenitor A and Progenitor B.3 At the same time and in a strange coincidence, law commissions in three other nations released reports in the spring of last year on assisted reproductive technologies. Each report makes radical headway in redefining parenthood. In a report on New Issues in Legal Parenthood, the Law Commission in New Zealand made the unprecedented proposal of allowing children conceived with donor sperm or eggs to have three or more legal parents, with sperm or egg donors allowed to opt in to parenthood if they wish.4 In Australia, the Victoria Law Reform Commission proposed that access to donor insemination services be expanded to same-sex couples and singles, as is currently allowed in many nations including the United States (but which remains illegal in a number of European and other nations). Their rationale was striking. The commission argued that expanding donor insemination access to same-sex couples and singles is vital because it will reduce social discrimination against children raised in these kinds of families.5 In a follow-up report, this commission also proposed that sperm and egg donors be allowed to opt in as a childs third legal parent. At the same time, in Ireland the Commission on Human Assisted Reproduction stunned many by proposing that couples who commission a child through a surrogate mother should automatically be the legal parents of the child, leaving the woman who delivers the baby with absolutely no legal standing or protection should she change her mind.6 A dissenting member of the commission warned ominously, If the surrogate mother resisted [handing over the baby], reasonable force could be used.7 Meanwhile, in India new guidelines on assisted reproductive technology issued in June of 2005 by the Indian Council of Medical Research state that the child born through the use of donor gametes [i.e., sperm or eggs] will not have any right whatsoever to know the identity of the genetic parents. The local news headline stated


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the new rules go a long way in curbing exploitationviewing the matter entirely from the point of view of adults who give or receive sperm or eggs, but not from the perspective of children who will be forever barred from knowing where they come from.8 Other steps governments are taking signal a greatly heightened level of state intervention and increasing control over reproduction and family life. In Britain, a recent law banning donor anonymity caused a purported drop in the number of persons willing to donate sperm or eggs.9 Soon thereafter the government health service began an active campaign to recruit sperm and egg donors, no longer just allowing the planned conception of children separated from one or both biological parents, but now very intentionally promoting it.10 In another example of active state support, in high-tax Denmark the state subsidizes the practice of sperm donation by allowing the income earned by sperm donors to be tax-exempt. The Danish company Cryos, one of the worlds largest sperm banks, ships almost three-quarters of its sperm to individuals and couples overseasall with the implicit support of the Danish taxpayer.11 And in a recent, dramatic step, the Danish parliament narrowly passed a law that gives lesbian couples and single women the right to obtain free artificial insemination at publicly-funded hospitals.12 In Vietnam, the state supported hospital is running short of voluntary sperm donors. It is now considering setting up a community sperm bank in which those who request donor sperm must supply a family member or friend who will donate sperm to the bank for use by another couple. The increasing demand for sperm comes from families where husband and wife are white collar workers, and single women who want a baby but wish to remain unmarried.13 In Australia, a law passed in 1984 that allows sperm donors to contact their over-18 offspring has now raised the prospect that, starting this year, young adults who were conceived using donor sperm might receive a letter from the state alerting them to the sperm donors wish to contact them. In Australia, as elsewhere, most young people who were conceived with donor sperm were never told the truth by their parents.14 To help offset the potential shock, the state government in Victoria has proposed a public advertising campaign warning all young adults that they could be contacted by a sperm donor father they never knew about.15 Meanwhile, in the United States the field of reproductive technology continues in an almost entirely unregulated environment. Agonizingly difficult decisions are often left to judges in local jurisdictions (with these cases sometimes rising to state supreme courts). These courts all too frequently must decide who a childs parents are, picking and choosing among the many adults who might be involved in planning, conceiving, birthing, and raising the child.

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mother, as the legal mother of the child, and says that the husband of the birth mother who consents to the embryo adoption is the legal father.21 While such rulings and proposals might bring clarity in specific scenarios, they also create astonishing new uncertainties and questions for case law as an almost unimaginable range of adultsfrom a sperm donor to the husband of a woman implanted with someone elses embryo to a surrogate mother or egg donor and even a parents ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriendcan be designated the legal parent of a child. At the same time, the active public debate about legalizing same-sex marriage and the increasing visibility of same-sex couples raising children contribute to new uncertainties about the meaning of parenthood. These new uncertainties potentially affect many children, not just the relatively small number of children raised by gay and lesbian people. In Massachusetts, nearly three years ago, a 4-3 decision by the State Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriage. (It is notable that among all the laws, rulings, and proposals discussed in this report, legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts is among the very oldest.) In response to that court decision, the State Department of Public Health changed the standard marriage certificate to read Party A and Party B, instead of husband and wife, and proposed amending birth certificates used for all children in Massachusetts to read Parent A and Parent B rather than mother and father.22 As in Canada and Spain, once same-sex marriage is legalized some advocates immediately argue that legal understandings of parenthood for all children must change, even to the point of erasing the words mother and father from the foundational legal document issued to all children by the state.23 In fact, same-sex couples, adoptive parents, and singles and infertile couples using donors routinely petition to have one or both biological parents left off the birth certificateand even to have non-biological parents included without going through the process of adoption. In Quebec, when a woman in a same-sex civil union gives birth, her female partner is presumed to be the father and can be registered as the father on the childs birth certificate.24 A similar ruling was recently made in Ontario, with the judge noting that the testimony of non-biological mother figures who have not been automatically recorded on birth certificates reveals a lot of pain and that some find the requirement to adopt the child immoral.25 The state of California allows a second mother to be entered on the birth certificate as the childs father. Last year, a New Jersey judge ruled for the first time in that state that the same-sex partner of a woman who conceives with donor sperm has an automatic right to be listed as a birth parent on the childs birth certificate without having formally to adopt the child, just as the husbands of women who use donor sperm are listed.26 Earlier this year, Virginia issued a birth certificate to a lesbian adoptive couple that reads Parent 1 and Parent 2 after the couple rejected having one of their names put in the blank for father.27 A similar suit was just filed in Oregon.28 More are likely.

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rather than childrens need for their mother and father. These extraordinary moves are being made largely absent any real public awareness or debate. The common thread running through many of these decisions is the adult right to a child. These rights claims are important. The desire for a child is a powerful force felt deep in the soul. The inability to bear a child of ones own is often felt as an enormous loss, one that some grieve for a lifetime. These desires must be responded to with respect and compassion. The claim that medicine and society should help those who cannot bear children is a legitimate one. But the rights and needs of adults who wish to bear children are not the only part of the story. Children, too, have rights and needs. For example, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified in 1989, states that the child shallhave the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.32 The authors of the convention understood several key features necessary to human identity, security, and flourishinghaving a name, being a citizen of a nation whose laws protect you, and, whenever possible, being raised by the two people whose physical union made you. Adults who support the use of new technologies to bear children sometimes say that biology does not matter to children, that all children need is a loving family. Yet biology clearly matters to the adults who sometimes go to extreme lengths undergoing high-risk medical procedures; procuring eggs, sperm, or wombs from strangers; and paying quite a lot of moneyto create a child genetically related to at least one of them. In a striking contradiction, these same people will often insist that the childs biological relationship to an absent donor father or mother should not really matter to the child. Of course, there is a very real and urgent role for the state to play in defining parenthood. Some biological parents present a danger to their children or are otherwise unable to raise them. Adoption is a pro-child social institution that finds parents for children who desperately need them. Adoption is a highly admirable expression of altruistic love, a kind of love that transcends our hardwired tendencies to protect our blood relations above all others. But the existence of legal adoption was never intended to support the argument that children dont care who their fathers and mothers are, or to justify the planned separation of children from biological mothers and fathers before the children are even conceived. Certainly, biology is not everything. It does not and should not determine the full extent or depth of human relationships. Biological parents are tragically capable of harming their children, and some children are better off removed from these parents (though, as we will see, children on average are far safer with their biological

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they are growing, and the stories these young people tell raise questions not only about their own experience but also about the prospects for the next generation of children born of still more complex reproductive technologies. Donor-conceived young people point out that the informed consent of the most vulnerable partythe childis not obtained in reproductive technology procedures that intentionally separate children from one or both of their biological parents. They ask how the state can aid and defend a practice that denies them their birthright to know and be raised by their own parents and that forcibly conceals half of their genetic heritage. Some call themselves lopsided or half adopted.39 At least one uses the term kinship slave.40 Some born of lesbian or gay parents call themselves queer spawn, although others in the same situation find the term offensive.41 No studies have been conducted focusing on these young peoples long-term emotional experience.42 Clearly, rigorous long-term studies need to be done. For now, we should listen to their compelling voices. Narelle Grech, an Australian donor-conceived woman in her early twenties, asks, How can you create a child with the full knowledge that he or she will not be able to know about their history and themselves? She wonders what social message the practice of donor conception gives young men: Will they think its OK to get a woman or girl pregnant and that it would be OK to walk away from her, because after all, biology doesnt matter? A fellow Australian, Joanna Rose, asks why everyone flips out when the wrong baby is taken home from the hospital, yet assumes that donor-conceived children are just fine. She argues: Our need to know and be known by our genetic relatives is as strong and relevant as anyone elses. She writes, movingly, I believe that the pain of infertility should not be appeased at the expense of the next generation.43 In interviews, donor-conceived young adults often say something like this: My sperm donor is half of who I am. One young woman known as Claire is believed to be the first donor offspring to benefit from open-identity sperm donation and have the ability to contact her father upon turning 18. She says she wants to meet her donor because she wants to know what half of me is, what half of me comes from.44 Eighteen-year-old Zannah Merricks of London, England says, I want to meet the donor because I want to know the other half of where Im from.45 Lindsay Greenawalt, a young woman from Canton, Ohio who is seeking information about her sperm donor, says, I feel my right to know who I am and where I come from has been taken away from me.46 Eve Andrews, a 17-year-old in Texas, plans to ask the California sperm bank that aided in her conception to forward a letter to her donor when she turns 18. Theres a lot of unanswered questions in my life and I guess I want the answers,

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Children raised by divorced or never-married parents face an increased risk of living in poverty, failing in school, suffering psychological distress and mental illness, and getting involved in crime. Children raised outside a married family are less likely to graduate from college and achieve high-status jobs. When they grow up, they are more likely to divorce or become unwed parents. In terms of childrens physical health and well-being, marriage is associated with a sharply lower risk of infant mortality, and children living with their own married parents are more physically healthy, on average, than children in other kinds of families. Most tragically, children not living with their own two married parents are at significantly greater risk of child abuse and suicide.53 Increasing numbers of people are realizing that marriage has important benefits for children. What many do not know is that there is something about the marriage of a childs own mother and father (as opposed to a remarriage) that on average brings these benefits. On many important indicators of child well-being, such as teen pregnancy, educational failure, delinquency, and child abuse, children raised in married stepparent families look more like children of single parents than children raised by their own, married mother and father.54 Some who advocate for legalized same-sex marriage say that it will be good for children because the children will now have two parents. But the stepfamily data suggest it may not be that simple. We dont know how much the poorer outcomes in stepfamilies are due to the history of dissolution and other unique problems facing stepfamilies and how much is due to the child being raised in a home with a nonbiologically related stepparent.55 Most stepparents are without question good people who do their very best raising the children in their care, but it is vital for those shaping family policy to be acquainted with the large body of research showing that children raised in the care of non-biologically-related adults are at significantly greater risk, in particular of abuse. Many are not aware of the body of research showing that mothers boyfriends and stepfathers abuse children more often on average than fathers do, with children especially at risk when left in the care of their mothers boyfriends. More than seventy reputable studies document that an astonishing numberanywhere from one third to one halfof girls with divorced parents report having been molested or sexually abused as children, most often by their mothers boyfriends or stepfathers.56 A separate review of forty-two studies found that the majority of children who were sexually abusedappeared to come from single-parent or reconstituted families.57 Two leading researchers in the field conclude, Living with a stepparent has turned out to be the most powerful predictor of severe child abuse yet.58 The fields of evolutionary biology and psychology yield some insights into why children are, on average, far safer with their biological parents. David Popenoe, a

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(mostly of interest to developmental psychologists rather than to sociologists who study the family); frequent reliance on a mothers report of her parenting abilities and skills rather than objective measures of the childs well-being; and a virtual lack of long-term studies that follow children of same-sex parents to adulthood. But the biggest problem by far is that the vast majority of these studies compare single lesbian mothers to single heterosexual mothersin other words, they compare children in one kind of fatherless family with children in another kind of fatherless family.64 How does the long-term experience of children raised by partnered lesbian moms or gay dads compare with those raised by their own mom and dad? We dont know yet. But we do know that compared to children in many other alternative family forms children of divorce, never-married heterosexual parents, stepfamilies, and those with single mothersthose children who are raised by their own married mother and father in a low-conflict marriage are, on average, significantly better off.65 Similarly, with regard to children conceived with donor sperm, a donor egg, or a surrogate mother, as yet there are no data on these childrens long-term, emotional well-being. Researchers should listen to the stories that are beginning to emerge and undertake rigorous studies of their experiences. We have more to learn. But evidence and sensitive observations of childrens lives strongly suggest the importance to children of recognizing their need to be raised, whenever possible, by their own mother and father.

Redefining ParenthoodWhats Next?

Increasing Slippage in the Meaning of Fatherhood and Motherhood

The redefinition of parenthood is shaping our culture and our legal system in ways that contribute to further deep uncertainties in the meanings of fatherhood and motherhood. Evidence of this new uncertainty is found in rulings, proposals, and stories from around the world. In Australia, sperm donors now have the right to contact their over-18 progeny. But who are these men? Are they sperm donors, or are they fathers who have rights to know their children? In New Zealand, the law commission proposed that sperm and egg donors be allowed to opt in to legal parenthood if they wish. Who are these people? Are they donors? Are they legal parents? If these biological parents can opt in and out of responsibility to children, as it pleases them, what is the rationale for not allowing other biological parents to do the same thing?

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marital relationship to a childs parent) to be assigned parental rights and responsibilities as a psychological or de facto parent. To determine retrospectively whether an adult was a parent in a childs life, the courts examine indications such as whether the adult lived in the same household as the child, was encouraged to act as a parent by the childs existing parent, had acted like a parent without expecting financial compensation, and had spent enough time with the child to have bonded with him or her.72 In many of these cases the petitions are brought by ex-partners who charge that the childs existing parent is denying their rights to the child. In other cases the childs existing parent charges that the ex-partner is now shirking parental responsibilities. These cases typically concern same-sex partners, but they also have serious, as yet unknown implications for the many heterosexuals who are or have been a childs stepparent,73 or who have been a live-in partner. In Britain, in a chilling, recent decision, a court ruled that two sisters ages 4 and 7 must be removed from their biological mother. Primary care was awarded instead to her ex-partner, another woman with no biological or legal relationship to the children. The decision was made after the biological mother violated a visitation order and fled with the children to another part of the country. In the decision, one judge (who nevertheless agreed with the order) expressed her qualms: I am very concerned at the prospect of removing these children from the primary care of their only identifiable biological parent who has been their primary carer for most of their young lives and in whose care they appear to be happy and thriving.74 Advocates of assigning legal rights and responsibilities to psychological parents argue they have the best interests of the child in mind. The law, they say, should not allow biological or adoptive parents to deny their child a relationship with someone who the child has come to see as a mother or father, nor should it allow someone who has acted as a parent to evade those duties after the adults relationship ends. This concern is well-intended but woefully misguided, because it ignores an existing option that is far preferable for children. Even without same-sex marriage rights, most states in the U.S. allow second-parent adoption by gay and lesbian partners. In most of the cases that end up in court the second parent, for whatever reason, did not exercise the option to adopt. Perhaps the couple could not agree on the adoption. Perhaps the second parent was uncertain what level of responsibility he or she wanted to take on. Perhaps they just never got around to it. (Or, perhaps they lived in a state that does not allow or readily facilitate second-parent adoption by same-sex couples, which I believe speaks far more to the need to expand secondparent adoption access than it does to create an entirely new, retrospective category called psychological parent.) In contrast to the sometimes vague, gradual ways that parents can introduce new partners into their childs life, even asking the child to call that person Mom or

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These researchers are pursuing whats known as therapeutic cloning, meaning that cells are farmed from the cloned embryos before allowing them to expire. Many nations have banned reproductive cloning but allow varying degrees of therapeutic cloning. Yet the only difference between therapeutic and reproductive cloning is whether the cloned embryo is implanted in a womans womb.79 The technology to implant the embryoin vitro fertilizationhas been in increasingly widespread use since 1978. Has anyone implanted a cloned embryo in a womans womb? A fringe group called the Raelians has claimed to have done so but the reports have not been confirmed. So far, no reputable scientist has announced doing so. But how long will it be? An astonishing article ran last spring in Britains Guardian newspaper, headlined, Process holds out hope for childless couples. The process is reproductive cloning. The experts quoted at a conference who support this claim are not nobodies. Professor Robert Edwards, who pioneered in vitro fertilization and created the worlds first test tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978, said that reproductive cloning should be considered for patients who have exhausted all other forms of treatment. For example, it would be helpful for people who cannot produce their own sperm or eggs.80 At the same conference, James Watsonyes, the James Watson who with Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNAargued there is nothing inherently wrong with cloning. He went on: Im in favour of anything that will improve the quality of an individual familys way of life. Critics point out that cloning experiments in animals have led to numerous stillbirths and deformed animals before succeeding in a live, apparently healthy animal (and even those animals have sometimes developed serious health problems later on). To those critics, Professor Edwards responds that genetic screening of embryos will take care of all that. With enormous confidence in the ability of medical science to detect every problem in an embryoand with casual acceptance of tossing out all embryos that are not up-to-snuffhe remarked that very soon only healthy embryos will be implanted during assisted reproduction. The birth of a child with defects after fertility treatment will be a thing of the past. He concluded with conviction: If we stand back and say it cant be done, this is letting our patients down.81 The potential use of cloning techniques to aid in assisted reproduction is only one example of the stem cell research field growing ever closer to the fertility industry. In another example, an ongoing problem for stem cell researchers is the shortage of human eggs required for their work. Eggs can be retrieved from women only by putting them through a risky regimen of drugs and surgery.82 The same scientists in

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others; the larger consequences for children and society when parenthood is increasingly viewed mainly as a means to fulfill adult desiresmediated, defined, and administered by the state.91
Group Marriage: Polyamory and Polygamy

Whatever ones feeling about the legalization of same-sex marriage, and however emphatically most advocates of same-sex marriage say they do not support group marriage, recent events make clear that successes in the same-sex marriage movement have emboldened others who wish to borrow the language of civil rights to break open the two-person understanding of marriage and, with it, parenthood.92 These efforts are emerging from at least two surprising directions.93 Polyamorists are perhaps the newest, most unfamiliar players on the scene. Polyamory (meaning many loves) is different from polygamy (meaning many marriages). Polyamory involves relationships of three or more people, any two of whom might or might not be married to one another. Polyamorous people variously consider themselves straight, gay, bisexual, or just plain poly, while polygamists are generally heterosexual. Polyamorists distinguish themselves from the swingers of the 1970s, saying that their own relationships emphasize healthy communication or what they call ethical non-monogamy. Polyamorous unions have been around for a whileprobably for a long whilebut they and their supporters are now seeking increasing visibility and acceptance. Indeed it seems one can hardly pick up a major newspaper without reading about them. A recent Chicago Sun-Times article mentioned the Heartland Polyamory Conference to be held this summer in Indiana (a similar Midwestern polyamory conference was held two years ago near the Wisconsin Dells).94 A Chicago Tribune article not long ago featured John and Sue, a married couple, and Fred, Peggy, and Bill who share their bedthe reporter termed them an energetic bunch of polyamorists.95 And there are routinely articles about polyamory in alternative periodicals such as the Village Voice and Southern Voice and, increasingly, campus newspapers. Yet support for polyamory is not just found among the fringe types; notably, the topic is emerging at the cutting edge of family law and advocacy. In a recent report on family law, Daniel Cere of McGill University cites examples including a University of Chicago Law School professor, Elizabeth Emens, who last year published a substantial legal defense of polyamory in a New York University law review; a major report, Beyond Conjugality, issued by the influential Law Commission of Canada which wondered whether legally recognized relationships should be limited to two people, and in An Introduction to Family Law, published by Oxford University Press, a British law professor who notes quizzically, The abhorrence of bigamy appears to stemfrom the traditional view of marriage as the exclusive

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A pro-poly website despairs: One challenge that faces poly families is the lack of examples of poly relationships in literature and media.103 A sister site offers the PolyKids Zine. This publication for kids supports the principles and mission of the Polyamory Society. It contains fun, games, uplifting PolyFamily stories and lessons about PolyFamily ethical living. Its book series includes titles such as The Magical Power of Marks Many Parents and Heather Has Two Moms and Three Dads.104 No one can predict the legal future of polyamory. But in a startling development, and coming from a very different direction, another cultural assault on the twoperson understanding of marriage and parenthood is resurgingpolygamy. The debut this spring of HBOs new television series, Big Love, which features a fictional, in some ways likeable polygamous family in Utah, has suddenly propelled polygamy to the front pages and put the idea of legalized polygamy in play in some surprising quarters. An article in the March issue of Newsweek, headlined Polygamists Unite! quotes an activist saying, Polygamy is the next civil rights battle. He argues, If Heather can have two mommies, she should also be able to have two mommies and a daddy.105 That weekend on the Today show hosts Lester Holt and Campbell Brown gave a sympathetic interview to a polygamous family. During that same month, the New York Times devoted much attention to the subject of polygamy. One article featured several polygamous women watching Big Loves first episode, sharing their perspectives such as: [Polygamy] can be a viable alternative lifestyle among consenting adults.106 In another article an economist snickered that polygamy is illegal mainly because it threatens male lawmakers who fear they wouldnt get wives in such a system.107 In a separate piece, columnist John Tierney argued that polygamy isnt necessarily worse than the current American alternative: serial monogamy. He concluded, If the specter of legalized polygamy is the best argument against gay marriage, let the wedding bells ring.108 Not to be outdone, the cover of the June 19, 2006 New Yorker magazine featured three smiling brides and a beaming groom driving away in a convertible with just married scrawled across the trunk. It is not just Big Love that is putting polygamy in play in the West. In a development that shocked many Canadians last winter, two government studies released by the Justice Department recommended the decriminalization of polygamy, with one report arguing the move was justified by the need to attract more skilled Muslim immigrants. And in Canada and the U.S., a significant number of todays legal scholars are arguing, as one columnist summarized, that the abuses of polygamy flourish amidst the isolation, stigma, and secrecy spawned by criminalization.109 Polygamy per se is not the problem, only bad polygamy. Still, why would any society make the formal move toward legal recognition of polyamorous or polygamous unions? One likely justification might arise from

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all, there is a strong argument to be made that children have a right and need to know their origins. Yet greater acceptance of the idea that donor-conceived children have a right to know their origins is also leading to the idea that these children should have the possibility of some kind of relationship with their sperm or egg donor (and not just a file of information), or even that the donor should have some kind of legal parental status in the childs life, such as in New Zealand and Australia where commissions have proposed allowing donors to opt in as childrens third legal parents. What might the future hold for children with three or more legal parents? We have no idea. Or, in another example, after Britain passed a law banning donor anonymity there was a purported drastic drop in the number of men willing to donate sperm. The state health service then began an active campaign to recruit sperm and egg donors, no longer just allowing the intentional conception of children who will not know or be raised in relationship with their own biological parents, but very intentionally promoting it. Meanwhile, couples in that nation who wish to conceive have even greater incentive to go abroad to nations or regions that have less regulationsuch as Spain, India, Eastern Europe, or elsewhereto procure sperm or eggs or surrogate wombs, making it even less likely that their child will ever be able to trace their origins or form a relationship with a distant donor abroad. Again, how will these developments affect children? At the moment we have no real idea. But we certainly do have serious and immediate cause for concern. For reasons like these, this report does not conclude with the usual list of specific policy recommendations. Rather, this report issues a call to fellow citizens in the United States and Canada and around the world. The call is for all of us to participate in urgently needed conversation and research about the revolution in parenthood and the needs of children. This much is clear: When society changes marriage it changes parenthood. The divorce revolution and the rise in single-parent childbearing weakened ties of fathers to their children and introduced a host of players at times called parents. The use of assisted reproductive technologies by married heterosexual couples and later by singles and same-sex couplesraised still more uncertainties about the meaning of motherhood and fatherhood and exposed children to new losses the adults never fathomed. The legalization of same-sex marriage, while sometimes seen as a small change affecting just a few people, raises the startling prospect of fundamentally breaking the legal institution of marriage from any ties to biological parenthood. Meanwhile, successes in the same-sex marriage debate have encouraged others who wish fully and completely to break open the two-person understanding of marriage and parenthood.

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1. Key insights about the fragmentation of parenthood come from Dan Cere, Principal Investigator, The Future of Family Law: Law and the Marriage Crisis in North America, (New York: Institute for American Values, 2005), especially the section titled Fragmenting Parenthood. 2. Bill C-38 legalized same-sex marriage nationally in Canada. Same-sex marriage was already legal in seven Canadian provinces and one territory, including Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. 3. Reported as Spanish birth certificates to account for gay couples, on the Advocate.com, March 8, 2006. They cite an article from The Daily Telegraph in London. For further discussion, see also George Weigel, Europes Two Culture Wars, Commentary, May 2006. Weigel writes, Earlier this year [in Spain]the Zapatero government, which had already legalized marriage between and adoption by same-sex partners and sought to restrict religious education in Spanish schools, announced that the words father and mother would no longer appear on Spanish birth certificates. Rather, according to the governments official bulletin, the expression father will be replaced by Progenitor A, and mother will be replaced by Progenitor B. As the chief of the National Civil Registry explained to the Madrid daily ABC, the change would simply bring Spains birth certificates into line with Spains legislation on marriage and adoption. More acutely, the Irish commentator David Quinn saw in the new regulations the withdrawal of the states recognition of the role of mothers and fathers and the extinction of biology and nature. 4. New Zealand Law Commission, report 88, New Issues in Legal Parenthood, (April 2005, Wellington, New Zealand). 5. Victorian [Australia] Law Reform Commission, report on assisted reproductive technology, (April 2005, Melbourne, Australia), Section 2.35. In other words, the planned conception of children lacking a relationship with their own father or mother serves a social good of reducing the stigma felt by already-born children who do not live with their own father or own mother. 6. Report of the Commission on Assisted Reproduction (Ireland), April 2005. 7. Christine ORourke, quoted in Reproduction report too radical for legislation in The Sunday TimesIreland, May 15, 2005, online edition. 8. ICMR guidelines go a long way in curbing exploitation, NewIndPress.Com, June 21, 2005, emphasis added. 9. Countless articles reported that banning donor anonymity had caused a sudden, drastic drop in men willing to donate sperm in Britain. But just recently the agency that regulates fertility clinics in Britainthe Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authorityrefuted that claim, calling it a myth and saying the problem instead is patchy provision of sperm across the country. See Sperm donor law not a deterrent, BBC News, June 8, 2006, online edition. Nevertheless, the perception, real or not, is that it is very difficult to obtain donor sperm in Britain and extremely difficult to obtain donor eggs. 10. See Sperm donor campaign launched, DeHavilland, National News, January 26, 2005; Every sperm donor recruited costs public 6,250, say critics, News Telegraph, by Charlotte McDonaldGibson, July 3, 2005, online edition. In the United States, the California Cryobank has been offering open identity sperm donation for nearly two decades. Some of the larger sperm banks in the U.S. are beginning to offer this option. See Sperm donation process moving toward more openness in identifying fathers, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, by Virginia Linn, August 24, 2005, online edition. 11. There is now pressure on the state to tax this growing business. Taxman has eye on sperm, The Copenhagen Post, June 3, 2005, article not available online. See also, Danish tax may drain worlds top sperm bank, China View, May 27, 2005. Coverage of Cryos prompted a spate of stories about blue-eyed, blonde Viking babies being born around the world. 12. Insemination rights for lesbians, News.com.au via Reuters, June 2, 2006 http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,19346798-23109,00.html. 13. Thanh Nien News, Doctors call for community sperm donation in Vietnam, August 15 2005, reported by Thanh Tung, translated by Minh Phat. 14. Medical professionals used to urge infertility patients (who were almost always heterosexual married couples) to keep their use of donor sperm a secret, for their sake as well as their childs. Now the trend is moving toward encouraging parents to be open with their children, but many parents remain reluctant to do so, especially when there is a (social) father in the family. 15. Pressure on Sperm Donor Laws, The Age, by Carol Nader, June 1, 2005, web edition; Ad campaign planned for sperm donor kids, Tanya Giles, June 2, 2005, Herald Sun, web edition; see

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also, Revisiting a law that was ahead of its time, The Age, June 6, 2005, editorial, which states that by 1995, an estimated 10,000 Victorians had been born using donor sperm or eggs and argues that the rights of children to know their genetic origins outweigh the rights of their parents to keep this information from them. Further coverage of the planned $100,000 ad campaign is found in Carol Nader, Bid to ease trauma as donors seek children, The Age, January 27, 2006, online edition. 16. Bob Egelko, State Supreme Court upholds rights, responsibilities of same-sex parents, San Francisco Chronicle, August 22, 2005, online edition; Adam Liptak, California Ruling Expands SameSex Parental Rights, New York Times, August 23, 2005, online edition; David Kravets, California Court Protects Kids of Gay Couples, Associated Press, August 23, 2005. 17. As Time magazine noted when the Supreme Court refused to hear a case from Washington State that granted de facto parental status to a mothers lesbian ex-partner, While we closely monitor how gay rights are granted and taken away, we pay almost no attention to the fact that stepparents are in the same legal limbo. Despite being ubiquitous, step-relationships are rarely recognized by the law. In most states, stepparents are considered legal strangers even if they have cared for and supported a stepchild for years. They have almost no official responsibility and barely any rights. Rulings on de facto parenthood are likely to unfold among heterosexuals in unexpected ways. Po Bronson, Are Stepparents Real Parents?, Time Magazine, May 17, 2006, online edition. 18. A subsequent decision denied the egg donor any relationship to the children. The surrogate mother was later awarded custody of the triplets; in a recent development a judge ordered that she must repay the biological father her surrogate fee as well as child support. (The surrogate mother and her husband already have other children and, while her husband does work, they appear to live on a limited income.) The surrogate mother took the triplets home against the biological fathers wishes after, she claims, he and his girlfriend did not name the children or visit them in the hospital for six days after seeing them when they were born. Surrogate Mom Must Repay Biological Father, AP, March 16, 2006. 19. A similar case, in which a mother now seeks child support for two-year-old twins fathered by a known sperm donor, was recently filed in the Chicago area. As in the Pennsylvania case, the biological mother and father worked out an informal arrangement for use of the sperm. To my knowledge, men who donate their sperm anonymously in clinics have not been held liable for child support in the United States. 20. Lawrence Kalikow, quoted in PA legislators ponder laws for egg, sperm donors, in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2005, online edition. 21. The Ohio legislation is H.B. 102. In New Zealand a New Zealand Herald article, headlined New hope for childless couples, reports In a significant social shift, embryos left over by couples who have successfully undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) will be made available to others trying to have a child. New Zealand Herald, by Stuart Dye, September 8, 2005, online edition. 22. Gov. Mitt Romney has opposed this idea and instead instructed hospitals in these cases to cross out the words mother or father and write in the phrase second parent. He added: Look, each child has a mother and a father. They should have the right to have that mother and father known to them See Massachusetts debates birth certificates for babies of same-sex couples, Fox News.com July 27, 2005. 23. In a softer example of this kind of thinking, a city in Australia, using state and federal funds, distributed a booklet called Were Here to more than 2,000 day care centers which encouraged staff to challenge homophobia. Among its recommendations was to use the terms Partner A and Partner B on forms instead of Mum and Dad. Reported in the Herald Sun, August 5, 2005, by Susie OBrien. 24. A recent article about the policy was on the front page of the Montreal Gazette, June 1, 2005. 25. Justice Paul Rivard of the Supreme Court of Justice, quoted in Court rules lesbians can be co-mothers; Ontario given 12 months to change law, by Tracey Tyler, Toronto Star, June 7, 2006. In Canada, the email newsletter produced by Diane Allen of the Infertility Network (based in Toronto) is a very helpful source for news items related to infertility, donor conception, adoption and reproductive/genetic technologies in Canada and around the world. See www.infertilitynetwork.org. 26. Note that in the area of adoption the question of revealing the identity of birth mothers is hotly contested, in part because of fears that loss of anonymity will discourage women from bringing the child to term. 27. Larry Fisher-Hertz, Ulster gay couple wins legal battle; sons birth certificate is changed, Poughkeepsie Journal, January 19, 2006. The child was adopted in Virginia.


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28. See Emmett has two mommies: the next gay rights battle heads to court, Portland Mercury News, April 9, 2006, online edition. 29. The English translation of the report, made available on the French report website, translated le principe de precaution as a principle of caution, but an ethicist fluent in English and French tells me that the more accurate translation in English is the commonly used term precautionary principle. 30. French National Assembly, Parliamentary Report on the Family and the Rights of Children, January 26, 2006. 31. The redefinition of parenthood also appears to be encountering some resistance in Finland. There, one article reports the nation is in the midst of intense debate about a bill that would impose regulations on fertility treatments. Leading the assault against the bill were the opposition Christian Democrats, with the partys chairwoman Paivi Rasanen in the vanguard. Her main argument was that fatherlessness for a child is worse than childlessness for an adult, and that therefore a childs right to a father trumps other rights in the matter. From Opinions deeply polarized in parliamentary debate on fertility treatment bill, Helsingin Sanomat, February 24, 2006, online edition. China also bans the sale of sperm or eggs and recently warned it will punish those who profit from surrogacy, but of course there are other significant concerns about Chinas role in regulating reproduction, including coercive enforcement of the one-child policy. 32. See http://www.unicef.org/crc/. Debates at the time of the ratification make clear that treaty signatories understood parents to mean a childs own mother and father. The United States has not signed the convention. For more on the convention, see Don Browning, The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: Should It Be Ratified and Why? Emory International Law Review, volume 20, no. 1, Spring 2006. 33. Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (New York: Crown Publishers, 2005); Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study (New York: Hyperion, 2000). 34. Donor-conceived people say that donor conception is very different from adoption. Adopted children know that their biological parents, for whatever reason, could not raise them. That knowledge can be painful. At the same time, they also know that the parents who adopted them saved them from the fate of having no family. By contrast, donor-conceived children know that the parents raising them are also the ones who, before conception, intentionally planned to deny them a relationship with (and often knowledge of the identity of) at least one of their biological parents. The pain they might feel was caused not by a distant, unknown biological parent who gave them up but by the parent who raised them and cares for them every day. This knowledge brings the loyalty and love children naturally feel for the parents raising them in direct conflict with the identity quest that most young people go through. When donor-conceived young people ask, Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? they can confront a welter of painful uncertainties that our culture hasnt begun to understand. For example, Joanna Rose, a doctoral student and donor-conceived adult in Australia, writes: Our kinship was broken as part of a reproductive service to the parents that raised us. Unlike the child placement principle now in effect in adoption this is not a last resort, nor could severed kinship be said to be in our best interests. See http://familyscholars.org/?p=4488. 35. Tangled Webs is an organization based in Victoria, Australia that is organizing some of these donor-conceived young adults around the world. Another organization of donor-conceived adults was recently formed in Japan: Japanese children of anonymous sperm donors seek support, right to truth, from the Yomiuri Shimbun, reprinted in Fort Wayne News Sentinel, July 5, 2005, online edition. 36. I want to know where I come from, BBC News, April 26, 2005, online edition; Sperm and the quest for identity, BBC News, June 1, 2005, online edition; Nancy J. White, Are you my father? Toronto Star, April 16, 2005, online edition; Carol Nader, My dad is my dad, but who gave the sperm? The Age (Australia), June 3, 2005, online edition; Judith Graham, Sperm donors offspring reach out into past, Chicago Tribune, June 19, 2005, online edition, and more. 37. In the United States, see www.donorsiblingregistry.com, a website started by a mother originally to help her donor-conceived son who wished to locate his half-siblings. It has since been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Oprah, and many other programs. In Britain, see www.ukdonorlink.org.uk, a pilot voluntary information exchange and contact register funded by the Department of Health. Its mandate is to encourage more donors, donor-conceived adults and their genetically related half-siblings to register with them and have the chance to make contact with each other. See, UK Donor Link Confirms Matches for Half-Siblings, Medical News Today, June 1, 2005, online edition. Note that it is more than a little ironic that the British Health Service is funding recruitment

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efforts for sperm and egg donors and also funding attempts for donor-conceived adults to make contact with their donors and their half-siblings. The New Zealand government just began a similar donor registry service in August 2005: The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register will record all future donations at fertility clinics which result in a birth, and information about earlier donors and births. It will allow future donors and their offspring to find out about each other, and will also give people involved in earlier donor treatments the chance to do the same if they all give consent. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3385637a7144,00.html. New register for donors and donor offspring launched, August 22, 2005. 38. The obvious absence of the biological father in families headed by single mothers by choice and lesbian couples appears to have prompted more openness among many of these mothers to telling their children they were conceived with donor sperm, but studies suggest that the majority of generally heterosexual, married women do not tell their children they were conceived with a donor egg. For one analysis, see Nancy Hass, Whose Life Is it Anyway? Elle Magazine, September 2005 issue. Among many astute observations in the piece, Hass notes that becoming pregnant with a donor egg is yet another way that ageing women can suggest they are still youthful. (Among married, heterosexual men, there are indications that use of donor sperm is declining because of increasingly effective treatments for male infertility.) 39. These terms were used by donor-conceived teenagers in Amy Harmon, Hello, Im Your Sister. Our Father is Donor 150, New York Times, November 20, 2005, front page. 40. Joanna Rose, on the Family Scholars Blog. 41. See Abigail Gardner, Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is (New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2005). 42. One of the few studies of their attitudes is a small study by J.E. Scheib, M. Riordan, and S. Rubin, Adolescents with open-identity sperm donors: reports from 12-17 year olds, Human Reproduction volume 20 no. 1, (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, 2004), pp. 239-252. The majority of the teenagers who returned mail-back questionnaires reported that they would contact the donor because they believed it would help them learn more about themselves. They are reported to have felt somewhat to very comfortable about their origins. Very few said they wanted a father/child relationship with the sperm donor and none said they would ask him for money. (One of the primary concerns of this study was how open-identity sperm donation would impact the adults as well as the children, and most headlines reporting the study emphasized the good news for adults, such as this one: Children respect privacy of their sperm donor fathers, News Telegraph, by Nic Fleming, December 11, 2004, online edition.) While the study findings merit consideration, a mail-in survey with check-the-box responses is not a particularly strong way to gauge the inner experience of young people. It is also problematic to survey teenage and younger children who are still living at home and very much dependent on their parents. In-person, lengthy interviews with independent young adults who are perhaps more open and reflective about their childhood experience might yield a different portrait, especially if the anecdotal stories from young adult donorconceived people now emerging are any indication. 43. Narelle Grech and Joanna Rose posted their comments on the Family Scholars Blog at www.familyscholars.org. 44. Quoted in Tom Sylvester, Sperm Bank Baby to Meet Test Tube Dad, National Fatherhood Initiative, Fatherhood Today, page 4, volume 7, issue 2, Spring 2003. Sources for the article included Brian Bergstein, Woman to meet her fathera sperm donor, Associated Press, January 30, 2002; Yomi S. Wronge, P.A. teen to contact dad who was sperm donor, Mercury News, January 20, 2002; Trisha Carlson, Sperm bank baby to learn donors name, KPIX Channel 5, February 1, 2002; and Tamar Abrams, Test Tube Dad, viewed on www.parentsplace.com, April 1, 2002. 45. I want to know where I come from, BBC News, April 26, 2005, online edition. 46. Judith Graham, Sperm donors offspring reach out into past, Chicago Tribune, June 19, 2005, online edition. 47. Ibid. 48. Japanese children of anonymous sperm donors seek support, right to truth, from the Yomiuri Shimbun, reprinted in Fort Wayne News Sentinel, July 5, 2005, online edition. Also in Japan, a 39 year old donor-conceived woman told a reporter, I feel that I came into this world for the sake of my mother. After she died, I started wondering if I had a reason to exist anymore. She continued, I cant overcome the feeling that I wasnt exactly born, but made. (italics in article) See Tomoko Otake, Lives in limbo, The Japan Times, August 28, 2005, online edition.


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49. Many donor-conceived adults raise the problem of having an unknown number of unknown half-siblings, both because they want to know about their other blood relations in their quest to understand who they are, and because they fear unknowingly dating one of them (or their future children unknowingly dating offspring of one of their half-siblings). Since many children close in age could be conceived from the same sperm donor and live in relative proximity to the sperm bank, and since sharing half your genetic make-up with someone might make them seem especially familiar and attractive (especially if you did not know they were your blood relation) the fear of unknowingly dating a half-sibling is not unfounded. At the Family Scholars Blog, Narelle Grech, a donor-conceived adult, asks, In the future, will we all have to have a DNA test when we start dating someone, just in case? In a news article, one mother who used donor insemination says optimistically that her son will simply need to get DNA tests of partners once he starts dating seriously. See Kay Miller, The legacy of donor 1047, Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 21, 2005, online edition. 50. Dear Abby, San Jose Mercury News, January 2, 2005, web edition. In a terse, two sentence reply, Abby told the girl that the sperm donor was doing a noble deed and there is no way to trace his identity. 51. The response is akin to those who suggest to children of divorce that they should be grateful for their parents divorce because without it they would not have the new half-brother or half-sister who was born in a subsequent marriage. There is no rational or compassionate basis for suggesting to someone who is struggling to tell their own story that to do so is to wish away the existence of a human life, their own or someone elses. 52. Blaine Hardin, 2-Parent Families Rise After Change in Welfare Laws, New York Times, August 12, 2001. 53. For full citations, see Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences, 2nd edition (New York: Institute for American Values, 2005). See also Robin Fretwell Wilson, Evaluating Marriage: Does Marriage Matter to the Nurturing of Children (San Diego Law Review, volume 42: 847881, 2005). 54. Girls in stepfamilies are slightly more likely to have a teenage pregnancy compared to girls in single-parent families, and much more likely to have a teenage pregnancy than girls in intact, married families. Children who grow up in stepfamilies are also more likely to marry as teenagers, compared to children who grow up in single-parent or intact, married families. (See Why Marriage Matters, footnotes 36 and 37.) In regard to educational achievement, children whose parents remarry do not fare better, on average, than do children who live with single mothers. (See Why Marriage Matters, footnote 84.) One recent study finds that boys in raised in single-parent homes are about twice as likely, and boys raised in stepfamilies are more than two and a half times as likely, to have committed a crime that leads to incarceration by the time they reach their early thirties. (See Why Marriage Matters, footnote 130.) Teens in both one-parent and remarried homes display more deviant behavior and commit more delinquent acts than do teens whose parents have stayed married. (See Why Marriage Matters, footnote 131.) Children living with single mothers, mothers boyfriends, or stepfathers are more likely to become victims of child abuse. (See Why Marriage Matters, footnotes 153-155.) 55. Some same-sex marriages will involve children from previous unions and in that sense will be very much like stepfamilies. Other same-sex marriages that form before children are born or adopted might in some ways parallel an intact, heterosexual marriage, but even in these unions at least one parent will not be a biological parent to the child, much like stepfamilies (or heterosexual adoptive families). 56. Robin Fretwell Wilson writes, These studies of fractured families differ in their estimates of the percentage of girls molested during childhood. However, regardless of whether the precise number is 50% or even half that, the rate is staggering and suggests that girls are at much greater risk after divorce than we might have imagined. She continues, Despite these studies, the idea that so many girls in fractured families report childhood sexual abuse strains credulity. Nevertheless, with more than seventy social science studies confirming the link between divorce and molestation, there is little doubt that the risk is indeed real. As difficult as it is to accept, a girls sexual vulnerability skyrockets after divorce, with no indication that this risk will subside. In Children at Risk: The Sexual Exploitation of Female Children after Divorce, 86 Cornell Law Review 251: January 2001, p. 256. 57. Joseph H. Beitchman, et al, A Review of the Short-Term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse, 15 Child Abuse and Neglect 537, 550 (1991), cited in Robin Fretwell Wilson, footnote 9. 58. Martin Daly and Margot Wilson, 1996. Evolutionary Psychology and Marital Conflict: The Relevance of Stepchildren, in Sex, Power, Conflict: Evolutionary and Feminist Perspectives, eds. David

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M. Buss and Neil M. Malamuth (Oxford: Oxford University Press): 9-28, cited in Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-One Conclusions from the Social Sciences, published by the Center of the American Experiment, the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, and the Institute for American Values (2002). 59. Cites W.D. Hamilton, Significance of paternal investment by primates to the evolution of adult male-female associations, in D.M. Taub, ed., Primate Paternalism (New York: Van Nostrand, 1964), pp. 309-335. 60. Cites M.S. Smith, Research in developmental sociobiology: Parenting and family behavior, in K.B. MacDonald, ed., Sociobiological Perspectives on Human Development (New York: SpringerVerlag, 1988), pp. 271-292. 61. David Popenoe, The Evolution of Marriage and the Problem of Stepfamilies: A Biosocial Perspective, in Alan Booth and Judy Dunn, eds., Stepfamilies: Who Benefits? Who Does Not? (Hilldale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994), pp. 3-27. 62. See Do Mothers and Fathers Matter? The Social Science Evidence on Marriage and Child WellBeing, iMapp Policy Brief, February 27, 2004 (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Marriage and Public Policy), which includes full citations. 63. Affidavit of Stephen Lowell Nock, Halpern v. Attorney General of. Canada, No. 684/00 (Ont. Sup. Ct. of Justice). 64. See Do Mothers and Fathers Matter? The Social Science Evidence on Marriage and Child WellBeing, iMapp Policy Brief, February 27, 2004 (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Marriage and Public Policy). 65. Approximately two-thirds of divorces end low-conflict marriages; about one-third of divorces end high-conflict marriages. See Paul R. Amato and Alan Booth, A Generation at Risk: Growing Up in an Era of Family Upheaval (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 220. 66. Family Vacation, by Michael Leahy, Washington Post Magazine, June 19, 2005, online edition. Examples of other media coverage of the same story includes, Anonymous Sperm Donor Meets Kids, CBS News, New York, August 23, 2005, online at www.cbsnews.com. 67. See www.parentsincluded.com. 68. Http://groups.yahoo.com/group/to-parent/. Note that the term co-parent evolved amid the divorce revolution as mothers and fathers were urged to be effective co-parents in the wake of their split. The term is now also commonly used to describe situations in which two or more men and women (who may be gay or straight)long before the birth of a childplan to conceive and raise a child together without being in a romantic relationship with one another and usually without living together. 69. The ad listed a PO Box and advised, Must be white, in good health, no family history of ADD or ADHD please. Website viewed July 12, 2005. 70. Baby Mamas, by Rodney Thrash, St. Petersburg Times, May 6, 2005 online edition. 71. All About Eves, by Anne A. Jambora, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 8, 2005, online edition. 72. See Sara Butler Nardo, De Facto Parenthood: The reformers latest unwholesome innovation in family law, The Weekly Standard, March 6, 2006. She argues the courts are operating on a circular definition in which a parent is a person who performs the function of a parent. In November 2005, Washington State was the most recent to award psychological parent status to a parents expartner (in this case, a mothers ex-girlfriend); the opinion is available here http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/?fa=opinions.opindisp&docid=756261MAJb. For a rebuttal to the Nardo article, see Dahlia Lithwick, Why courts are adopting gay parenting, Washington Post opinion piece, March 12, 2006, B02. 73. See Po Bronson, Are Stepparents Real Parents?, Time Magazine, May 17, 2006, online edition, for an examination of the Washington State de facto parent case and its implications for the approximately one-third of Americans who live in stepfamilies. 74. Frances Gibb, Mother loses her children to former lesbian partner, The Times Online, April 7, 2006. 75. Of course it is heartbreaking to see a parent alienate a child from someone to whom the child is close. Unfortunately, it can happen in all kinds of situations, for instance, when mothers alienate their children from their ex-husbands parents; parents alienate their children from loving aunts or uncles; parents abruptly dismiss nannies who the children have come to love, and so on. The law is largely unable to heal these disappointments, and the attempt to do sowith the state intervening further in private decisions made by mothers and fathers that are not resulting in abuse or neglect of


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childrenis likely to do children overall more harm than good. Further, if same-sex couples in some states are encountering discrimination in accessing second-parent adoption (that is, if they are finding the process more onerous than heterosexual couples pursuing the same status), or if the option is not available in some states, then the appropriate response is to fix the problems in second-parent adoption and not to resort broadly to an entirely different, after-the-fact category called psychological parent. 76. A company called Family Evolutions in New Jersey, owned by a lesbian couple with children, has created a t-shirt and bib for children which reads, My Daddys Name is Donor. (Their young son is pictured in the t-shirt on their website.) See Elizabeth Marquardt, Kids need a real past: Children with donor parents suffer when those raising them downplay their origins, op-ed in Chicago Tribune, May 15, 2005. Available at http://www.americanvalues.org/html/donor.html. 77. Egg donor has parental rights, courts say, AP article in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 10, 2005, online edition. 78. In the United States, Harvard University recently announced plans to begin privately funded stem cell research, joining the University of California at San Francisco and a few private companies. These teams are working to clone human embryos that are genetically matched to patients. 79. Increasingly the distinction between therapeutic and reproductive cloning appears to be dropped in the mediaand, to hear some tell it, only extreme conservatives oppose cloning. For instance, on NPR the scholar Alan Wolfe said that Pope Benedict is on the far right because he opposes, among other things, cloning. Similarly, in a column Maureen Dowd said that one of the many serious concerns about the new Pope is that he once called cloning more dangerous than weapons of mass destruction. 80. Alok Jha, Process holds out hope for childless couples, Guardian, May 20, 2005, online edition. 81. Ibid. 82. A young woman in Britain recently died from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), the most common high-risk side effect of egg donation. Another young woman who developed OHSS and suffered a stroke and brain damage just won a large lawsuit in Britain. 83. Mark Henderson, Cloning team calls for IVF egg donations, Times Online, May 31, 2005; Cloning research egg donor plan: women could be allowed to donate their eggs for therapeutic cloning research under new rules to be considered by fertility watchdog, BBC News Online, February 14, 2006. In July of 2006 the fertility regulatory authority granted a team of scientists from Newcastle and Durham Universities permission to contribute to the costs of a patients IVF treatment in return for receiving some of her eggs for use in therapeutic cloning research. See Andrew Douglas, Human egg donor boost for stem cell research, The Northern Echo, July 27, 2006, online edition. 84. In Japan in 2004, scientists created a mouse from the genetic material of two femalesin other words, a mouse with two genetic mothers and no genetic father. To do so, they created over 450 embryos of which 370 were implanted and ten were born alive. Only one survived to adulthood. The others died of a range of birth defects. See Bijal P. Trivedi ,The End of Males? Mouse Made to Reproduce Without Sperm National Geographic News, April 21, 2004, online edition. How can anyone even consider experimenting with human embryos and children in this way? 85. James Meikle, Sperm and eggs could be created from stem cells, says new study, Guardian, June 2, 2005, online edition. 86. Maxine Firth, Stem cell babies could have single parent, New Zealand Herald, June 21, 2005, online edition. 87. Milanda Rout, Doing away with donors, Herald Sun (Australia), June 21, 2005, online edition. 88. Stem cell research may provide hope to gay couples, at www.proudparenting.com, June 30, 2005. An example of news coverage later in the year included Hannah Seligson, Sciences hope of two genetic dads; stem cell research could soon enable both partners in gay, lesbian couples to pitch in, at Gay City News, September 8-14, 2005 issue, online edition. The article quotes a physician (not involved with the research) saying that gay and lesbian couples often have to deal with the issue of not being a genetic parent and that can be tough for that parent. The reporter writes, The hope is that this new discovery could alleviate that component of stress for gay and lesbian couples starting families. The article does not address the possibility of serious health (or other) risks for these embryos or children.

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89. Roger Highfiel and Nic Fleming, Scientists create human embryo without a father; source of stem cells: virgin territory for British researchers, The Daily Telegraph, September 10, 2005, online edition. 90. Mark Henderson, Scientists win right to create human embryo with three genetic parents, Times Online, September 9, 2005. 91. In her article, Where Babies Come From: Supply and Demand in an Infant Marketplace, Harvard Business Review, February 2006, pp. 133-142, author Debora L. Spar suggests that market regulation of the fertility industry in the U.S. could, among other things, assure equity (for adults). She writes, Legislatorscould decide that having children is a basic right and that society therefore needs to find some way to provide at least one child to everyone who wants to be a parent. (p. 140) Spar does not claim necessarily to support this idea but neither does she oppose it. This suggestion is the clearest articulation yet of the adult right to a child, taken to its most logicaland chilling conclusion. 92. When confronted by the specter of group marriage; increasing use of donor sperm and eggs or surrogacy; new advances in reproductive technology, and the like, some who support same-sex marriage argue that heterosexuals are almost wholly responsible for this revolution in marriage and parenthood given their rampant divorce, unwed childbearing, and initial use of sperm and egg donors and surrogates in reproduction. As Stephanie Coontz wrote in a New York Times op-ed (The Heterosexual Revolution, July 5, 2005), Gays and lesbians simply looked at the revolution heterosexuals had wrought and noticed that with its new norms, marriage could work for them, too. These critics are partly right. Heterosexuals have certainly done a fine job of messing with marriage and parenthood. (Most of my time is spent researching the impact of divorce on children.) But here is where the critics are wrong: None of the other legal and social changes so far have required a legal redefinition of marriage. Same-sex marriage requires legally redefining the institution with gender neutral terms that make law and culture unable to affirm childrens real needs for their mother and their father (instead law and culture can only affirm that children need two parents). Because the vast majority of children in the population are born to heterosexuals, not homosexuals, silencing the dialogue about the importance of mothers and fathers will negatively affect mainly and overwhelmingly that far larger group of children. To raise the troubling and perhaps even unintended consequences of legalizing same-sex marriage is not meant to stigmatize same-sex couples raising children. These couples are and will continue to raise children. I do believe they need social and legal protections for themselves and their children and they should certainly not be denied the children born to them. But there could be significant unintended consequences for the vast majority of children born to heterosexuals when we edit mothers and fathers out of marriage and family law. 93. Much of this section was published in Elizabeth Marquardt, The Future of Polygamy: Two Mommies and a Daddy, Christian Century, July 25, 2006. 94. Reid J. Epstein, Whole lotta love; Polyamorists go beyond monogamy, Milwaukee JournalSentinel, September 12, 2004, online edition. 95. Trevor Stokes, Columbia News Service, A poly life: monogamy with more partners, Chicago Tribune, viewed February 24, 2006, online edition. 96. See Dan Cere, The Future of Family Law. 97. In a bid for greater public attention for their argument that marriage rights should be extended not just to same-sex couples but to any group of caring adults (who might or might not be in a conjugal relationship), 250 U.S. academic and social leaders (including many notables) released a statement at the end of July of 2006 titled Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families and Relationships. For the executive summary, full statement, and list of signatories, see www.beyondmarriage.org. 98. See their website at http://www.unmarried.org/. Hot topics are listed at left. 99. See www.uupa.org. 100. Http://www.livejournal.com/community/polyamory/890327.html. For me, one of the most disturbing ideas in all this is the all-too-common assumption that when adults begin a sexual and/or live-in relationship they become parents to each others already-born children. Children with single or divorced heterosexual parents will tell you that their parent having sex with someone does not make the child automatically see that person as a parent. Even marriage (as in stepfamilies) does not automatically create (legally or psychologically) a parent-child relationship. Trusting, parent-like bonds between stepparent and stepchild typically take time to form, if they form at all. Moreover, a stepparent must formally adopt a child in order to become a legal parent to that child (and before


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the adoption can proceed the parental rights of the childs other parent must be revoked, a grueling process when undertaken by the courts). 101. Http://www.livejournal.com/community/polyamory/890327.html. 102. Http://www.livejournal.com/community/polyamory/890327.html. At the same site another mother writes that she has a simple rule for her 12 year old when he visits: What happens at Mommys house stays at Mommys house if you want to keep visiting Mommy. 103. Http://www.polychromatic.com/kids.html. 104. Http://www.polyamorysociety.org/children.html. 105. Elise Soukup, Polygamists, Unite! They used to live quietly, but now theyre making noise, Newsweek, March 15, 2006, online edition. 106. Felicia R. Lee, Real Polygamists Look at HBO Polygamists; In Utah, Hollywood Seems Oversexed, New York Times, March 28, 2006, Arts Section, online edition. 107. Robert H. Frank, Polygamy and the Marriage Market: Who Would Have the Upper Hand?, New York Times, March 16, 2006, Business Section, online edition. 108. John Tierney, Whos Afraid of Polygamy? New York Times, March 11, 2006. 109. Stanley Kurtz, Polygamy versus democracy; you cant have both, The Weekly Standard, 06/05/2006, Volume 011, Issue 36, online edition. Stanley Kurtzs columns at National Review Online have documented many events and emerging arguments relating to polyamory and polygamy. See for example his column, Big Love, from the Set: Im taking the people behind the new series at their word, March 13, 2006 at National Review Online. 110. See Sylviane Agacinski, Parity of the Sexes, translated by Lisa Walsh, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), especially the chapter titled, The Double Origin, pp. 99-110. 111. For a fuller discussion of this principle and the problems surrounding the redefinition of parenthood that accompanies the deinstitutionalization of marriage, see David Blankenhorn, The Future of Marriage (New York: Encounter Books, November 2006), especially the chapter titled Goods in Conflict.

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About the Institute for American Values

The Institute for American Values is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to strengthening families and civil society in the U.S. and the world. The Institute brings together approximately 100 leading scholarsfrom across the human sciences and across the political spectrumfor interdisciplinary deliberation, collaborative research, and joint public statements on the challenges facing families and civil society. In all of its work, the Institute seeks to bring fresh analyses and new research to the attention of policy makers in government, opinion makers in the media, and decision makers in the private sector. Institute for American Values 1841 Broadway, Suite 211 New York, NY 10023 United States Tel: (212) 246-3942 Fax: (212) 541-6665 info@americanvalues.org www.americanvalues.org

About the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy

The Institute for Marriage and Public Policy is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to high quality research and public education on ways that law and public policy can strengthen marriage as a social institution. Working with top scholars, public officials, and community leaders, iMAPP brings the latest research to bear on important policy questions, seeking to promote thoughtful, informed discussion of marriage and family policy at all levels of American government, academia, and civil society. Institute for Marriage and Public Policy P.O. Box 1231 Manassas, VA 20108 United States Tel: (202) 216-9430 info@imapp.org www.imapp.org

About the Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture
The Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture is a nonpartisan, nonprofit Canadian association for research and study of current trends and developments in marriage and family. The Institute draws together scholars from different disciplines and seeks to stimulate ongoing research by providing a forum for innovative and informed dialogue for scholars, policy makers and the public at large. Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture 3484 Peel Street Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W8 Canada Tel: (514) 862-4105 Fax: (514) 398-2546 inquiries@marriageinstitute.ca www.marriageinstitute.ca

About the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative that conducts, compiles and presents the latest and most accurate research to ensure that marriage and family-friendly policy are foremost in the minds of Canadas decision makers. Institute of Marriage and Family Canada 130 Albert St. Suite 2001 Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G4 Canada Tel: (613) 565-3832 or Toll Free 1-866-373-IMFC Fax: (613) 565-3803 info@imfcanada.org www.imfcanada.org


TAB 32

a b o ut th e c o m m i s s i o n o n pa r e nth o o ds f utu r e
The Commission on Parenthoods Future is an independent, nonpartisan group of scholars and leaders who have come together to investigate the status of parenthood as a legal, ethical, social, and scientific category in contemporary societies and to make recommendations for the future. Commission members convene scholarly conferences; produce books, reports, and public statements; write for popular and scholarly publications; and engage in public speaking. Its members include the following: David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values Daniel Cere, McGill University (Canada) Karen Clark, FamilyScholars.org Jean Bethke Elshtain, University of Chicago Divinity School Maggie Gallagher, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy Robert P. George, Princeton University Amy Laura Hall, Duke University Timothy P. Jackson, Emory University Kathleen Kovner Kline, University of Colorado School of Medicine Suzy Yehl Marta, Rainbows Inc. Elizabeth Marquardt, Institute for American Values Mitchell B. Pearlstein, Center of the American Experiment David Popenoe, Rutgers University (Emeritus) Stephen G. Post, Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University Dave Quist, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada Luis Tellez, Witherspoon Institute David Quinn, Iona Institute (Ireland) Amy Wax, University of Pennsylvania Law School W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia John Witte, Jr., Emory University Peter Wood, National Association of Scholars


one parent or five

A Global Look at Todays New Intentional Families


a l s o r e l e a s e d by th e c o m m i s s i o n o n pa r e nth o o ds f utu r e
Elizabeth Marquardt, The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash between Adult Rights and Childrens Needs (2006) Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D. Glenn, and Karen Clark, My Daddys Name Is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation (2010) Linda McClain and Daniel Cere, co-editors, What Is Parenthood? (An interdisciplinary scholarly volume debating a family diversity or an integrated point of view, with editors and authors contributing chapters from each viewpoint, forthcoming.)

Design by Alma Phipps & Associates.

2011 Institute for American Values. No reproduction of the materials contained herein is permitted without written permission of the Institute for American Values. ISBN# 978-1-931764-26-1 Institute for American Values 1841 Broadway, Suite 211 New York New York 10023 Tel: 212.246.3942 Fax: 212.541.6665 Website: www.americanvalues.org E-mail: info@americanvalues.org


Table of Contents
executive summary 6

1. w h at i s i nte nti o n a l pa r e nth o o d? 2. M e e t to d ays i nte nti o n a l fa m i l i e s

One-Parent Families Single Mother by Choice Single Father by Choice Posthumous Conception Cloning? Two-Parent Families Married Mother and Father Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting Co-Parenting Pre-Conception Arrangements Same-Sex Procreation? Three-Parent Families Polyamory Polygamy Three-Person Reproduction Four- and Five-Parent Families Conceiving Children with Four or Five Legal, Social, Biological, and/or Gestational Parents Co-Parenting Bothies

10 15 18 21 23 24 33 36 36 38 41 44

47 48 54

3. th e w a nte d c h i l d



executive summary
What do children need? Do mothers and fathers matter? Is intending to have a child a key factor in child well-being, or do other factors, such as the family structure in which a child is raised, matter as well? In todays debates about the family a new term is often heard: intentional parenthood. The term, which appears to have originated in the 1990s to resolve disputed surrogacy or lesbian parenting family law cases, has been embraced broadly within family law and by family diversity leaders around the world. Intentional parenthood, its advocates say, is good for children. Intention makes a wanted child. Anyone can be an intentional parentstraight, gay, married, partnered, or single. This report takes the reader on a global tour of todays new intentional families, introducing one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-parent families. The report reveals what we do and do not know, from a social scientific point of view, about child well-being in these family structures. Some of these family forms are too new, too rare, or until recently too secret to have been studied closely. Others, such as the married mother-father family, are forms about which we now know a great deal. At the same time, intriguing new research on the practice of intentionally conceiving childrenthrough anonymous sperm donationwho will not know or be known by their biological fathers, suggests that intention alone hardly guarantees that children will do well. What do family forms that even before conception intentionally deny children a relationship with their biological father or mother have in common? What forms do these families take? How do young people deliberately denied a biological parent feel about what happened to them? This report presents what we believe to be the first systematic critique of the concept of intentional parenthood and offers a surprising and at times disturbing portrayal of practices now being followed around the world.



what is intentional parenthood

Where did the idea of intentional parenthood originate? While the concept shares intellectual parallels with the idea of planned parenthood and a century-long discourse about legal access to contraception and, more recently, abortion, the specific language of intentional parenthood appears to have originated as a legal concept in the United States in the 1990s, as judges sought to grapple with murky surrogacy cases. Diane Ehrensaft, a developmental and clinical psychologist in Berkeley, California, and author of Mommies, Daddies, Donors, and Surrogates: Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families,1 refers to the 1997 case of Luanne and John Buzzanca. The Buzzancas conceived a child using donor sperm, donor egg, and a surrogate, and then split up before the baby was born. The legal case pitted them against each other as well as against the surrogate mother, who sought to keep the child. Ehrensaft writes that ultimately, The court decision was made on the basis that these two people [Luanne and John Buzzanca] were the ones who intended to have this child together.2 It was this tumultuous legal case, she continues, that helped point us all toward a key concept in family building using reproductive technologythe intent to parent. If we want to know who a child belongs to, ask who made plans to have the child.3 In the years following, this concept was used in lesbian parenting disputes that came before the courts. These were cases in which a non-biological mother figure sought rights to a child whom she and her ex-partner had conceived together using donor sperm, or in which a biological mother sought to deny custody or visitation rights to her former partner.4 In an oft-cited article published by the Hastings Law Journal in 2002, City University of New York School of Law professor John F. Storrow sought to underline how intentional parenthood should be used as a guiding framework even for those who do not have access to marriage. He took on recently enacted and proposed statutory provisions that clearly define intentional parenthood


but reserve the status to married couples alone.5 Drawing upon the emerging doctrine of functional parenthood (which defines parenthood around who actually cares for the child), Storrow sought to illumine recent theories about intentional parenthood, arguing that planning and preparing for the birth of a childnot marriageare the essential criteria in determining who isand is notan intentional parent.6 Other legal scholars then employed the concept of intentional parenthood beyond disputed surrogacy or lesbian parenting cases. For example, University of Florida law professor Nancy Dowd has argued that fatherhood should be legally defined around intentional, ongoing caretaking rather than around genes, marriage and money.7 The idea of intentional parenthood has leapt from the legal lexicon to the broader academic and cultural vocabulary, becoming largely synonymous with the already popular idea of families of choicethat is, family defined not necessarily by marriage or blood or adoption, but by choices freely made by autonomous beings. British philosophy professor Susanne Gibson describes single mothers by choice as those who practiceintentional single parenthood.8 In a particularly free-floating definition, Kathleen M. Galvin, professor of communications at Northwestern University, defines intentional families as families formed without biological and legal ties, [which] are maintained by members self-definition. These fictive or self-ascribed kin become family of choice, performing family functions for one another.9 More recently, intentional parenthood has been elevated as a good by family diversity leaders who have long fought to make their case for the equal value of all family structures, despite the reality of messy divorces, stressed-out remarriages, and unplanned births to struggling single moms. Drawing upon longstanding ideas about the value of planned pregnancy embedded in public discussion on contraceptive and abortion rights, family diversity advocates now discover among lesbians and gays using artificial reproductive technologies a realm of peace and order, intention and planningwhere no child can fall into that dreaded category of personhood: the accident. Ellen C. Perrin, professor of pediatrics at Tufts School of Medicine and lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics 2002 report on same-sex parenting, observed that for same-sex couples it typically takes a lot more planning and thought to become parents. She added, If anything there is a very high


level of commitment to parenting among [them].10 After the June 2010 release of a widely-publicized study purporting to show that children of lesbian mothers actually do better than children of heterosexuals,11 a number of observers repeated the oft-stated claim of lesbian and gay leaders: None of our children are accidents. One reporter wrote, There are obviously no gay accidents.12 Another quoted a source as saying, Lesbian and gay parents have to choose to have a family. There are no accidental children.13 Following the January 2011 decision by the U.S. State Department to extend benefits to partners of gay and lesbian employees, another observer commented on an article on the Washington Post website: when children come along for gay couples, its because we really want to have them. They are not accidents or treated as such.14 A social work textbook concurs: What stands outis that parenting is a choice for gays and lesbians.Pregnancy and parenting is not an accident as it might be in heterosexual relationships (emphasis in original).15 Rather, the decision is well thought out, and probably even extremely expensive.16 Sex columnist Dan Savage agrees. Since gay men and lesbians dont have children by accident, all our kids, he writes, are wanted kids, planned for and anticipated.17 The implication is that intentionwhat the adults meant to do before they started the familyis a key ingredient for child well-being. So, who are todays intentional families? What do they look like? What forms do they take? In this report you will meet todays new intentional one-, two-, three-, and four-plus- parent families from around the world. These are the variety of families that adults set out to form before a child is conceived. Intentional families do not include those who are divorced, remarried, a single mother by accident, widowed, or adoptive. They do not include the grandmother raising her grandchildren or the married couple who take in their niece or nephew. In none of these cases do the adults actively decide: Id like to make a divorced family or Id like to get married and then have my spouse die or Id like my daughter to get hooked on drugs and then get pregnant so I can raise my grandchildren or Id like to get pregnant by accident.18 The intentional families around the world featured in this report include those todays would-be parents think about in advance, then decide with pride and say, yes, I want to do this. This is my choice. Lets get started.



meet todays new intentional families

On e-Pare nt Fam i li es
Single Mother by Choice
The single mother by choice has her own acronym: the SMBC. Since 1981, an organization in her honor has been hosting meetings where SMBCs can gather, trade diaper talk, commiserate about lousy family leave policies, and provide tips to curious would-be SMBCs looking for advice. Their ranks include women who became unexpectedly pregnant and, deciding against adoption, abortion, or marriage, choose to raise the baby alone; women who adopt; women who intentionally stop using birth control in order to become accidentally pregnant in a casual relationship; but mostly (and getting the most headlines) women who choose their babys absent father from a sperm bank. Nationwide chapters of SMBC have grown from twelve to twenty-four in just the last three years.19 Since most people soon get fed up being known by a cumbersome set of letters, the SMBC movement has lately adopted a new, edgier, and decidedly American moniker: the choice mom. America loves motherhood and freedom of choice, and its clear the American media loves a good story about choice moms. Open the New York Times. The October 13, 2005, headline Women Opt for Sperm Banks and Autonomy tops one of many stories across the country revealing how women today can browse online catalogs and shop for a sperm donor in the same way they might choose a sectional sofa or a new car. The article states that about three-quarters of the 4,000 SMBC members used sperm donors to get pregnant, and quotes one Long Island choice mom as saying, Youre paying for it, so you kind of want the best of the best. The reporter notes that this mom saw her ability to select a 6-foot-2 blond, blue-eyed, genetic-disease-free donor as some consolation for not getting to fall in love with someone who would most likely have been more flawed.20 Or flip to the Times magazines January 29, 2009, installment and read 2 Kids + 0 Husbands



= Family. Until recently (Nadya Suleman, otherwise known as Octomom, excepted), most choice moms chose to have only one child. Now, according to the article, they are increasingly choosing to have two: instead of giving their children a father, they give them a sibling.21 Open the Chicago Tribune to this bold heading: Women in Their 30s and 40s Choose Not to Wait for a Spouse. Amid the breathless declarations that single women are helping redefine the typical American family, single mothers are integrating into the mainstream and getting attention in the media, and the stereotypes of the 1950shave long vanished from many American households, we do find some hard reality in one choice moms story.22 Ten years ago, pushing forty, she moved to a new state, bought a house, and began decorating a nursery. She got involved with a man, they were not using birth control, and she reports that his attitude about a pregnancy was, If it happens, it just happens. She became pregnant and soon after that was no longer involved with the father. Of her now nine-year-old daughter, this choice mom reports, She does cry sometimes about not having her dad around, but we talk about it.I do feel guilt sometimes, but we try not to let it overwhelm us.23 Yet rather than dwell on the inconvenient fact that this child, like so many, mourns the loss of her father, the story swings back to breezy portraits of single moms toting their tots on campus, managing their managerial posts with aplomb, and relying on their own mothers, nannies, and au pairs to provide all the care that they as working single parents cannot. Or open the September 2005 Atlantic, in which writer and choice mom Lori Gottlieb, midway through her first pregnancy, details the giddy excitement of expecting a baby without having a man in the way. Like many choice moms interviewed in the media, Gottlieb confirms that single women often turn to donor sperm not because their clock is ticking and no man is available, but because none of the men available are good enough for them: Many, including me, have turned down engagement rings from eligible bachelors even as our biological alarm bells started sounding. As a friend put it, were paradoxically desperate but picky.24 While browsing online donor catalogs (Did I want an M.B.A. or a Ph.D.? A lacrosse player or a violinist?) Gottlieb gushes in words seemingly designed to offend the male half of the human species that it felt liberating to have the pick of the genetic crop.25 She echoes the common secret pleasure of todays choice mom: by bypassing the uncontrollable world of romance, I was able to choose a man to father my child who



might be completely out of my league in the real world.26 After she becomes pregnant, Gottlieb notes that Ive gotten a surprising amount of male attention lately, not due to some bizarre pregnant-lady fetish, but because the men Im dating realize that I already have everything else I want, so now Im in this purely for a chance at love.27 Expecting her child in a couple of months, Gottlieb closes her piece with a sigh: in a very modern sense my life these days feels incredibly romantic.28 I read Gottliebs piece that autumn while knee-deep in toddlers, struggling with my husband to raise a seventeen-month-old and an almost three-year-old and hold down two jobs between us at the same time. With a cynical snort I threw down the magazine and wondered how romantic Gottliebs life would be once the actual infant arrived. I didnt expect that I would have the chance to find out. In March 2008, the Atlantic featured an update on Gottliebs thoughts about love and motherhood. With the urgent title, Marry Him! The Case for Settling For Mr. Good Enough, Gottlieb, now a seasoned mother, urges would-be choice moms to get over their pickiness and settle for the guy already in their lives, the guy with the annoying habit of yelling Bravo! in movie theaters, the guy with the halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics.29 What happened? Did Gottliebas some choice moms eventually dolook at her beloved toddler and ache for the tragic absence of his father in her sons life? Well, no. The thrust of the piece is this: A husband would be great because raising a child is a heck of a lot of work and having someone to help clean the house, bring in some income, and throw a ball with the kid at the park while you get to sit on a blanket and rest would be, well, terrific. And thats it. Gottliebs sage advice to unmarried women considering going the single-mom route (Dont do it! Get over your pickiness! Marry a nice man and raise your children with him!) is based solely on the testimony of a tired-out woman who has discovered that not only is there no romance in raising a baby on your own, these single-mom books fail to mention that once you have a baby alone, not only do you age about 10 years in the first 10 months, but if you dont have time to shower, eat, urinate in a timely manner, or even leave the house except for work, where you spend every waking moment that your



child is at day care, theres very little chance that a manmuch less The Oneis going to knock on your door and join that party,30 but also that its really, really exhausting. In Gottliebs vision, Mr. Good Enough is little more than a glorified house boy, not really an intellectual or social equal, and certainly (because this issue never merits a mention in her piece) of no importance to the child as the childs father. Still, reading Lori Gottleib on what happens after the sperm and egg become a baby would be sobering for any woman pondering ordering sperm off a websiteif she read it. But if the would-be choice mom happened to flick on the television instead, she would encounter a different story. For example, on the January 15, 2007, episode of the Today show, host Meredith Viera moderated a debate on the choice-mom issue.31 The exchange featured family psychologist Brenda Wade, an attractive African-American therapist in a warm pink sweater set who, leaning comfortably on a sofa opposite Viera, exhorted female viewers to make a power choice to become single moms. Women are hardwired for bonding she told viewers; they feel that deep, deep urge to have children. Women need children because they want to grow and learn about themselves. When pressed about the emotional needs of children to know and be in a relationship with their fathers, Wade confidently asserted that because choice moms are generally older and might never have been married (and thus divorced) in the first place, their children are in a different category and will not be harmed by their moms power choice.32 (At Dr. Wades website, one can purchase not only her Power Choices book, but also a self-transformation kit that includes power choice note cards and a candle.)33 Or maybe our would-be choice mom decided to drop by the bookstore on her lunch hour. There she can find Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood, or Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Womans Guide, or any number of other volumes including the popular Knock Yourself Up: No Man? No Problem: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom, by Louise Sloan.34 Not long after the publication of Knock Yourself Up in 2007, a British newspaper featured a long interview with its Park Slope, Brooklyn-based author. Now



44, Sloan lives with her young son, who was conceived not, as Sloan had fantasized, in her twenties, through a candlelit ceremony in which she and her then long-term girlfriend Joan tenderly inseminated each other in their apartment in San Francisco, butlying in stirrups in some doctors office with the sperm of some complete stranger being introduced to my uterus through a catheter!35 Sloan went on to write a book (Knock Yourself Up) about the whole thing. Part tell-all, part advice, part survey of todays breed of choice mom, the book dishes on the highs and lows of having babies with men you have never met. One of the highs choice moms consistently agree upon: Theres no man underfoot. Sloan writes about Anne, who has one daughter by an ex-boyfriend, and another by a donor, and who says: I have one kid whos all mine, and nobody can ever f--- with that, and another kid who I always have to do this dance [with her father] of how shes raised.36 Now lets say our would-be choice mom bypassed the bookstore and instead went to church on Sunday. Surely there she would hear a different message? Maybe not. Support for women making the power choice of single parenthood can come from surprising corners. In her 2006 Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family, Rosanna Hertz shares the remarkable story of Lily, a committed Christian from the Midwest who, as a teacher in Boston, realized that her dream was to have a baby alone through artificial insemination: Bubbly and outgoing, she never lost her Midwestern friendliness and directness, but even she hesitated before she approached the pastor of her church with her crazy question: should she become a mom on her own? She fully expected her pastor to reprimand her for defying church tradition. But she was stunned by his reaction: I walked out of there and my eyes were just wide. I thought, Oh no, he didnt just shut down this road Im on. He said, Its completely natural that you want to be a mother, of course you want to be a mother. And of course, it would be more perfect if you had a husband. But you would be a great mom. And this church community loves you, and I know they will support you in this.37



Lilys pastor then recommended that she bring her question to the church elders. Hertz relates Lilys words: And I went to talk to them about it when I was more sure I was going to do it and I was thinking the same thingthey are not going to approve of this.I was crying as I was talking about it because it was bittersweet. I really was torn. I wanted to be a mom, but I didnt want to do it this way. You know? And I finished telling them what I was thinking about, and there was this silence. And then the woman who hired me ten years earlier, she reached over and grabbed my arm and said, Well, bless your heart! That is so brave. And then there was silence and she said, Im getting goose bumps thinking that we might get to support you in this.38 Lily also checked in with the principal at the middle school where she taught. The principal and head of her department were sympathetic: The principal asked [Lily] to think about how and what she would tell her students. This gave her pause. She decided that if she went forward with her plan and if she became pregnant, she would tell the students that she had been inseminated in a doctors office. She especially wanted to convey to the students that there was no sexual misconduct on her part: she had not made a mistake but instead had chosen a sexless route to motherhood.39

Single Father by Choice

Starring opposite the choice mom (but not having much interaction with her; in fact, his drama takes place on another stage down the hall) is the single father by choice. He hasnt achieved acronym status yet, so lets go ahead and give him one now: the SFBC. Browse newspapers around the world and read glowing reports of the proud new SFBC. First stop, the United Kingdom. Meet Ian Mucklejohn, father of three. In 2001, at the age of 54, Mucklejohn became the father of triplets conceived with an egg donor and a separate gestational surrogate mother, both living in the U.S. (Gestational surrogate refers to a woman who carries an embryo that was



conceived with another womans eggs. A traditional surrogate carries a baby conceived with her own eggs.) Mucklejohn readily admits he used services in the U.S. because one is not allowed to buy a womans eggs in Britain; nor can one circumvent the right of the surrogate mother to decide to keep the child if she changes her mind after the birth.40 By contrast, in Californiaa destination of choice for gay and single would-be fathers around the worldanything goes. A man can purchase eggs, pick a surrogate, and head home with three babies. His only remaining and sometimes significant legal struggle is to convince local authorities to provide the children citizenship and birth certificates with a blank in the space for mother. Mucklejohn fought and won this battle in the U.K. and is thus a pioneer of the emerging global SFBC movement men who, unlike women, must leap additional biological and legal hurdles to conceive and raise a child who has no relationship with the other biological parent.41 Next stop India, where in 2005 forty-six-year-old accountant Amit Banerjee became the nations first SFBC. Ironically, the IVF doctor who performed the procedures sits on the Indian Council of Medical Research, which, with the National Academy of Medical Sciences, comprises the two organizations overseeing ethics regulations for reproductive technologies in India. Dr. Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar enthused that the new father was a perfect candidate for ART (artificial reproductive technology). As a physician I could not deny him the available technology that hundreds of childless couples are opting to fulfill their dreams of a family.42 Hoping to head off a national debate, Dr. Ghosh Dastidar continued, inexplicably: One cannot deny the right of procreation to a married adult, who unfortunately in this case was divorced. But he is financially stable to support a child and has a family that is more than willing to bring the child up. And what about the loss of ever knowing his mother for the child? The good doctor replies with a question, What about a child whose mother dies on the delivery bed? In other words, some children already begin life under the gravely tragic circumstances of their mother dying in childbirth. Is it not the right of would-be parents intentionally to create children with, according to the doctor, virtually the same experienceand is it not the obligation of doctors to help them achieve this? SFBCs, gay or straight, are also popping up all over the U.S. For example, Andy Abowitz, a successful, single gay man living in Philadelphia, twice paid a twenty-five-year-old married doctoral student to donate her eggs and a gestational


surrogate to carry the pregnancy, which resulted in a girl and, twenty months later, twin boys.43 The egg donor commented, When I got (the pictures), I was so surprised by how much [the girl] resembled me when I was that age. She enthused, I think its really fantastic when children are born into situations where theyre wanted that much. And while its true that Abowitz seems to want these children very much, how will they make sense of an egg donor and surrogate mother who did not want them? How will they make sense of what mother even means when they have a genetic mother and a separate birth mother, neither of whom are in their daily lives? Such questions apparently do not concern Abowitz, who proudly tells the reporter, Technology has allowed me to do this and society has allowed me to do this. Abowitz is certainly correct that societyor at least, the nearby state of Marylandhas allowed him to do this. The year after Abowitzs story aired on a Baltimore television station, Maryland decided to settle the issue of how to handle surrogate mothers and the birth certificate. Their conclusion? Keep them off of it. In a 43 decision handed down on May 16, 2007the day after Mothers Daythe Maryland Court of Appeals, the states highest court, ruled that a surrogate mother who has no genetic relationship to the baby she is carrying does not have to be listed as the mother on the birth certificate. The decision stemmed from the case of twins born in 2001 in the Washington, D.C., suburbs to a gay father, where the court decided neither to recognize the egg donor as a mother (even though she does have a genetic relationship to the children), nor to appoint counsel for the children. Although judges in other jurisdictions have allowed a blank to be left in the space for mother on birth certificates of children conceived through surrogates, this was the first time a high court had used a states Equal Rights Amendment to make the ruling, according to the attorney who argued the 2001 case. The court ruled, in essence, that men who can prove they have no genetic relationship to a child can be ruled not to be the father, so the same principle should apply to women.44 For Marylands highest court these twins became officially, legally and otherwise, motherless. In Americas reproductive technology Wild West, courts are generally all too happy to stay out of it or, when necessary, to help out (clearing up that birth certificate issue, for instance), but sometimes a judge gets wind of whats up and gets angry. Unfortunately, for a situation to draw judicial wrath someone else has to mess up colossally first.


In 2004, Stephen F. Melinger, an unmarried, fifty-eight-year-old New Jersey schoolteacher, contracted Zaria Nkoya Huffman, of South Carolina, through a Pennsylvania brokerage agency to carry his child while her husband was away on active duty in military service. (A considerable number of U.S. surrogates are married to military men, and thus their prenatal health care and delivery costs are shouldered byyou guessed ityou and me.)45 Huffman conceived twin girls. When the due date neared, Melinger and Huffman traveled to Indiana, where Melinger checked into a hotel room near the hospital to await the delivery. After their birth the infant twins spent their early days in neonatal intensive care. In the intensive care unit, Melinger aroused the concern of nurses when he arrived for a visit with the twins with a live pet bird on the arm of his suit jacket, and on another occasion appeared to have bird feces on his shirt. Unit nurses also noted that Melinger was planning to drive the girls back to New Jersey by himself, and did not seem to be aware of the kind of care they would need or to have made any provisions to care for them once home. The nurses alerted authorities and a judge was brought in on the case. In a fiery letter that was reprinted in local media, Marion Superior Court Judge Marilyn Ann Moores expressed outrage over the whole matter. She condemned the brokerage of children and asked U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks to review the case and the director of the surrogacy agency that arranged it. Moores wrote: There seems to be no concern regarding the emotional impact on children who learn that they, in effect, were bought and paid for and that their mothers gave birth as a means of obtaining money.46 The twins were removed from Melingers custody and put in foster care.

Posthumous Conception
For some single mothers there is another, albeit less common, way of obtaining sperm, one that brings another layer of social sympathy for the mother, additional assurance that dad will not get involved in the childs life, and an extra layer of pain for the child. This way of achieving a pregnancy is called posthumous conception: conceiving a baby with the sperm of a dead man. Like motherlessness, a fathers death before his childs birth was once the stuff of grave misfortune, the excruciating plot twist in novels and films, the subject of classic poetry (especially if the father died at war)a heartbreaking story of love, sex, death, and new life happening in the span of nine months. Think



of how the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl shook the nation and became the subject of a major motion picture, in part because of the compounded tragedy that Pearls wife was pregnant with their son when he was brutally murdered. While the scenario might seem dreadfully romantic in the movies, most people would agree that in real life avoiding such a tragedy would absolutely be the right thing to do for a child. But not everyone feels that way. After a man dies, his sperm can live up to about thirty-six hours in his body. It is possible for doctors to harvest and freeze living sperm within this time frame. The sperm can then be used in the same way that vials of frozen sperm are used in artificial insemination procedures worldwide. For some time, men with cancer and other illnesses for which the treatment might cause infertility and who might wish to have children later have been encouraged to store sperm in advance of treatment. In the event the man dies, one can certainly sympathize with a grieving and perhaps childless widow who considers using the sperm to have a child to carry on the memory of her husband. After all, her husband consented to having his sperm stored for this purpose, they were married to one another, and the fact that the sperm exists (and will also eventually die if it is not used) is a painful reminder for a woman desperate to keep a connection to her lost love. But if she uses the sperm she is conceiving a child already burdened with a grieving mother and a dead father. Beyond this scenario there are other even more complicated situations involving posthumous conception. For example, when an unmarried man dies, do his parents have the right to retrieve his sperm to create the grandchild they desperately want? Some say yes, especially if he was their only child. In Dallas, Texas, when twenty-one-year-old Nikolas Evans died from a head injury after a fist fight, his mother harvested and stored his sperm, hoping to find a surrogate and someday raise her own grandchild.47 In Russia, a mother used her deceased sons harvested sperm and a surrogate mother to create a grandchild she also planned to raise alone.48 The Russian state challenged her right of parentage, refused to name her as the legal mother, and placed the child in state care. What about a girlfriend? Does she have the right to harvest her boyfriends sperm, even if he did not consent to such an arrangement before his death? A court in Iowa thinks so. In September 2007, the Des Moines Register reported


a case in which a twenty-three-year-old man was critically injured in a motorcycle accident.49 Hooked up to machines and with little brain activity, he was expected to die soon. The mans girlfriend and his parents asked the hospital to harvest his sperm so that his girlfriend could have his child after his death. The hospital refused. The mans parents appealed to the court and obtained an emergency hearingand won. What about the state? Does it have interest in harvesting sperm? Perhaps. In Israel, with the approval of the army, a group called New Family has helped hundreds of Israeli soldiers who agree to store and sign over rights to their sperm to their wives or serious girlfriends before going off to battle. In striking support of what might be called dead fathers rights, New Family chairwoman Irit Rosenblum said she believes that a person should still be able to father a child even when he is no longer alive.50 And what about strangers? Can they get access to a dead mans sperm? If there is a purported shortage of men willing to donate sperm, maybe yes. The state of Western Australia has a policy limiting the number of offspring that can be conceived with one mans sperm; they also do not allow importation of sperm from other nations, since sperm banks in other countries do not comply with their policies. Consequently, there is not an abundance of donor sperm in Western Australia. In response to these circumstances, two doctors proposed that sperm be harvested from dead men in order to address the sperm donor shortage crisis. Many in Australia were alarmed, including Tangled Webs, a group that advocates for the rights of donor-conceived persons. One of the groups leaders, Myfanwy Walker, wrote in a letter to the West Australian newspaper: The proposals by Anne Jequier and Bruce Bellinge to harvest sperm from deceased men is not only seriously macabre but in direct conflict with the best interests of the child to be created from such posthumous donations. It seems it is easy to forget that a human being will be conceived with needs and rights of their own, their life extending long beyond the serious problem of clinics not having enough gamete donors (and presumably a somewhat smaller bank balance).I was created via donor conception, a practice based on the same reckless postulating exhibited by Jequier and Bellinge. Apparently no one considered that I might want to know my bio20


logical father and half siblings, that I might feel a need to connect with that unknown and unrecognised part of myself, that I might feel a deep loss and confusion from the inability to reconcile this feeling of being somewhat alien in the family that raised me and, most tortuously, that the decision to create me in such a way was intentional.Unlike those of us conceived with living donors, however, people conceived via posthumous donations will have to grapple with knowing they were conceived via cadaver.51

There is yet another potential way to create an intentional one-parent family, a method no one has admitted to achieving yet, but one that could succeed any day: reproductive cloning. Not too long ago that process induced universal gasps of horror. No longer.52 While the revelation that Hwang Woo-suk, the once-prominent South Korean stem cell researcher, had fabricated large portions of his data threw the stem cell research field temporarily in disarray, intense discussion of therapeutic cloning in the media in recent years has nevertheless made the public much more comfortable with and even enthusiastic about the idea of cloning for some purposes. In May 2005, the South Korean cloning accomplishment made front-page headlines around the world, but news later that month that a team of scientists at the University of Newcastle in Britain had also created cloned human embryos barely elicited a yawn. Cloning had already become old news. Many nations have banned reproductive cloning but allow varying degrees of therapeutic cloning.53 Yet few people realize that the only difference between therapeutic and reproductive cloning is whether the cloned embryo is implanted in a womans womb. The technology to implant the embryoin-vitro fertilizationhas been in wide and ever-increasing use since 1978. Has anyone implanted a cloned embryo in a womans womb? A fringe group called the Raelians claimed to have accomplished this in 2002, but the reports were unconfirmed. So far, no reputable scientist has reported doing so. But how much time remains before that happens? Britains Guardian newspaper ran an astonishing article on May 20, 2005: Process Holds Out Hope for Childless Couples. The process is reproductive cloning. Among the experts quoted were Robert Edwards, who pioneered in-vitro


fertilization and created the worlds first test tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. Edwards told a conference audience that reproductive cloning should be considered for patients who have exhausted all other forms of treatment. For example, it would be helpful for people who cannot produce their own sperm or eggs.54 At that same conference, James Watson (who with Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA in 1953) argued that there is nothing inherently wrong with cloning, saying, Im in favour of anything that will improve the quality of an individual familys way of life.55 Critics point out that cloning in animals led to numerous stillbirths, deformities, and deaths shortly after birth before succeeding in a live, apparently healthy animal (and even those animals can develop serious health problems later). Prof. Edwards responds that pre-implantation genetic screening of embryos will take care of all that. With enormous confidence in the ability of medical science to detect every defect in an embryoand with casual concurrence with the routine discard of all embryos that are not acceptablehe remarked that very soononly healthy embryos will be implanted during assisted reproduction. The birth of a child with defects after fertility treatment will be a thing of the past. Edwards concluded with conviction: If we stand back and say it cant be done, this is letting our patients down.56 Edwards and Watson are joined by a growing number of the worlds leading bioethicists who have already gone on record calling for the legalization of human cloning. These include Udo Schuklenk, co-editor of Bioethics, one of the worlds leading bioethics journals, on his Ethx Blog; D. Elsner of the University of Melbourne in the Journal of Medical Ethics; and Hugh McLachlan of Glasgow Caledonian University, who published a vigorous defense of human cloning in the prestigious New Scientist magazine.57 For now, it is a biological fact that all children have a mother and a father. This might well change. Forget about having to buy sperm or eggs from donors or deal with surrogate mothers who want to receive baby pictures. Cloning is the ultimate one-parent familya family in which the child has, literally, only one parent. For adults intent on safeguarding their parental rights, cloning would be a dream come true.


Tw o-Pare nt Fam i li es
Married Mother and Father
The main player on the intentional two-parent family scene has been around for a long time and is otherwise known as the married mother and father. This remains a popular option for todays would-be parents. Despite widespread divorce and high rates of single-parent childbearing, quite a few prospective parents still choose someone of the opposite sex to fall in love with and marry before they have children together (or sometimes the woman becomes pregnant unexpectedly and the couple will even marry before their child is born). When at all possible, the married mother and father usually opt to conceive children the old-fashioned way, through sexual intercourse (or what our parents generation quaintly called making love). The married mother and father can be found pretty much everywhere, from the parks of San Francisco and Seattle to the streets of the edgiest neighborhoods of New York. Diverse and resilient, the married mother and father family has for millennia put down roots everywhere in the world. Generally thriving wherever planted, the fruit this family produceschildrenis among the hardiest and healthiest in the world. For it turns out that changes in family structure patterns over the past several decades have given social scientists an opportunity to discover what having a married mother and father actually does for children. By now, the evidence is substantial. Having a married mother and father is correlated with increased physical and mental health, as well as general life happiness, academic and intellectual performance, behavioral success at school, and graduation from college.58 These children are also more likely to build successful family relationships when they reach adulthood.59 Children growing up with married mothers and fathers are less likely to live in poverty and suffer its related problems.60 They are also less likely to suffer from physical or sexual abuse, abuse drugs or alcohol, become involved in criminal or violent behavior, or engage in early sexual activity and premarital childbearing.61 Even when controlling for selection effects that could help explain such outcomes, marriage is nevertheless linked to higher levels of health and happiness and lower levels of alcohol and drug abuse for children and adults. Marriage is also a wealth-creating institutionmarried couples on average earn more,


save more, and build more wealth compared to people who are single or live together. Researchers are also finding that having parents who just live together is not as good for children, on average, as having parents who are married. Adults who live together are more similar to singles than to married couples in terms of physical health62 and emotional well-being and mental health,63 as well as in assets and earnings.64 Children living with parents in cohabiting unions have outcomes more similar to children living with single parents than to children from intact marriages.65 Even biological fathers in cohabiting unions who live with their children are not as involved and affectionate with their children as are biological fathers who are married and share a home with their children.66 One major problem is that cohabiting unions are much less stable than married unions. A recent study found that 50 percent of children born to cohabiting couples have parents who split up by the time they are five years old, as compared to 15 percent of children born to married couples.67 Couples who live together on average report relationships of lower quality than do married couples, with those living together reporting more conflict, more violence, and lower levels of satisfaction and commitment.68 Even biological parents who live together have poorer quality relationships and are more likely to split up than parents who marry.69 These differences might occur in part because people who choose to live together are less committed to each other.70

Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting

Since same-sex marriage was made the law of Massachusetts by a 2003 state supreme court decision, the debate about gay marriage has exploded on the U.S. national scene. In 2008, Connecticuts high court legalized same-sex marriage and New York State began recognizing same-sex marriages legally contracted outside the state. That same year, the California Supreme Court passed same-sex marriage with a law that was later overturned by voters in Proposition 8. That ballot initiative, in turn, was later declared unconstitutional by the court, with more challenges from both sides likely. In 2009, same-sex marriage became legal for all Iowans, while Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislative rather than judicial action. The legislatures of Maine and New Hampshire followed suit the same year. In Washington, D.C., same-sex marriage became legal in 2010. In New York State, in 2011.



Looking abroad, between 2001 and 2010, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Norway, South Africa, and Argentina were among the nations to legalize gay marriage, sometimes in the midst of heated debate. Additional U.S. jurisdictions and states, and countries such as France and Britain, legally recognize same-sex relationships through domestic partnerships or civil unions. What do we really know about childrens experiences when they do not grow up with both their mother and father? In many areas we know a great deal. In others, we need to learn more. Increasing numbers of people realize that marriage has important benefits for children. What many do not realize, however, is that existing research suggests that there is something about the marriage of a childs biological mother and father that carries these benefits. Marriage alone does not make the difference. For example, children raised in families where a biological parent is married to a stepparent appear more like children of single parents than children of married parents on many important social indicators.71 Some advocates for legalized same-sex marriage claim that it will be good for children because the children will have two married parents. But the stepfamily data suggests it may not be that simple. We do not know how much the poorer outcomes in stepfamilies are due to the history of family dissolution or other problems unique to stepfamilies and how much is due to the child being raised in a home with a (non-biological) stepparent. Most stepparents are without question good people who do their very best to raise the children in their care. Nonetheless, it is vital for those shaping family policy to be acquainted with the large body of research that shows that children raised by non-biologically-related adults are at significantly greater risk of abuse. Many are not aware of the considerable research that reveals that their mothers boyfriends and their stepfathers abuse children more often on average than their fathers doand that children are especially at risk when left in the care of their mothers boyfriends. More than seventy reputable studies document that an astonishing numberanywhere from one-third to one-halfof girls with divorced parents report having been molested or sexually abused as children, most often by their mothers boyfriends or their stepfathers.72 A separate review of forty-two studies found that the majority of children who were sexually abusedappeared to come from single-parent or reconstituted families.73 Researchers Martin Daly and Margot Wilson conclude: Living with


a stepparent has turned out to be the most powerful predictor of severe child abuse yet.74 The fields of evolutionary biology and psychology yield some insights into why children are, on average, far safer with their biological parents. David Popenoe, family scholar and sociology professor emeritus at Rutgers University, sums up the research this way: From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, the organization of the human nuclear family is based [in part on]a predisposition to advance the interests of genetic relatives before those of unrelated individuals, socalled inclusive fitness, kin selection, or nepotism.75 With respect to children, this means that men and women have likely evolved to invest more in children who are related to them than in those who are not.76 The world over, such biological favoritism seems to be the rule.77 Of course, to recognize that adults tend to favor their biological children is not to say that this predisposition is necessarily or always a good thing. Rather, it is to recognize that this tendency is highly common and probably even hardwired, or biologically primed, into humans. Ideally, all of us would be as deeply committed to and concerned for other peoples children as we are for our own, but practically speaking the human race is not there yet. The example of adoption, however, remains an inspiration. When the state carefully screens prospective adoptive parents and these parents receive social support for their role as parents, and particularly when adopted children can be raised from birth by parents who are committed to one another over the long haul, most of the outcomes for such children dont look a lot different from those raised by their biological married parents, and are certainly better than if they were raised in an abusive, neglectful, or otherwise inadequate home. So again, while biology is not everythingbiological parents can fail their children, and adoptive parents are generally highly committed and loving parentsresearch reveals that biology does matter. What relevance does this research have to same-sex marriage and parenting? The two persons in a same-sex couple cannot both be the biological parents of the child. In many same-sex unions, children are brought into the union from previous relationships. Even children born to same-sex couples are conceived using third-party donorssperm or egg donors, and/or surrogate mothers.


One could argue that the family structure most of these families most closely resemble is that of a stepfamily, a family structure in which one parent is the biological parent of the child and the other is not.78 Only when a same-sex couple adopts a child do they have a symmetrical relationship to the child, that is, both are non-biological but legal parents of the child. There are some studies that try to address how children of gay and lesbian parents fare. But there are challenges. Same-sex parenting has only recently become more common and visible, and the numbers will always be small within the overall population. In addition, much of the existing research looks at isolated questions, such as whether children raised by same-sex couples are more likely to be gay and lesbian themselves, or whether they identify with nontraditional gender roles. On broader measures of child well-being, most studies find little difference between children of same-sex parents and other children. But the field of research has important limitations. In a review essay, developmental psychologist Charlotte Patterson of the University of Virginia traces the trajectory of research on children raised by lesbian or gay parents.79 Patterson is well-placed to write such a review, as she has been a lead author or co-author of much of such research in the U.S. She notes that early research typically focused on children born to heterosexual parents and raised by their lesbian or gay parent (usually the former) after divorce. These studies tended to compare these children with children raised by divorced heterosexual parents whose orientation remained heterosexual, and typically found little difference between the two groups. Patterson observes correctly that these findings were useful for courts in making custody decisions. However, they reveal little that is helpful about the broader experience of children raised by lesbian mothers, since they compared children in one kind of fatherless home (a divorced-from-a-man, lesbian mother-headed household) with children in another kind of fatherless home (a divorced heterosexual mother-headed household). If both groups of children overall were suffering the well-documented effects of divorce, such problems would not appear when comparing these two samples. Next came studies of children who had been raised from birth by lesbian mothers. One example, the Bay Area Families Study, included a small convenience sample of children between the ages of four and nine. The children appeared to be progressing normally on several measures. Patterson notes that while the findings were reassuring, it was possible that these children were not


representative, since the sample was assembled by word-of-mouth. Perhaps only high-functioning families had responded. With that in mind, Patterson and several colleagues embarked on a research partnership with the Sperm Bank of California, which had long served lesbian as well as heterosexual women. This study, again, revealed little difference between the children raised by lesbian mothers and those raised by heterosexual mothers. But, again, the researchers were comparing what I consider to be two subgroups of an overall perhaps more troubled populationthe sperm donor offspring. In a 2010 study colleagues and I conducted of young people conceived this way, we found that compared to young people who are adopted and to those raised by their biological parents, the sperm donor offspring, as a group, feel more loss and confusion about identity and family, and fare worse on outcomes related to substance abuse and delinquency.80 Pattersons next step was to use data from the highly-regarded National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. She and her colleagues examined the data on 12,000 teens and were able to isolate those whose parents said they were in a marriage-like relationship with someone of the same sex. Unfortunately, there were only forty-four such teens whose parents were in such a relationship and who were willing to reveal it to the investigators. Nonetheless, based on that sample, Patterson and her colleagues concluded that the qualities of family relationships rather than the gender of parents partners were consistently related to adolescent outcomes.81 Patterson noted Susan Golomboks work in Britain and the U.S., which has relied upon similar samples that attempt to be representative, but because of the challenges of studying this population nonetheless include only small numbers of typically young children. With a somewhat different perspective, an important review of studies on same-sex parenting was prepared in 2003 by sociologist Steven Nock, who, like Patterson, was based at the University of Virginia (he passed away in 2008). After reviewing several hundred studies available at that time, Nock concluded that they all contained at least one fatal flaw of design or execution and not a single one of those studies was conducted according to general accepted scientific standards of research.82 Problems and limitations that Nock and other reviewers noted at the time include:



n the

absence of nationally-representative samples used in studies on same-sex parenting (Patterson and her colleagues have since taken advantage of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data) measures were limited

n outcome n studies

often relied on a mothers report of her parenting rather than objective measures of the childs well-being virtual absence of long-term studies that follow children of same-sex parents to adulthood

n the

But the biggest problem by far, Nock noted, was that the vast majority of the studies compared single lesbian mothers to single heterosexual mothers.83 They tell us nothing about how these children compare to children raised by their biological mother and father. In summer 2010, much attention was given to a study published in Pediatrics that claimed that children of lesbian mothers actually do better than children of heterosexuals. However, like nearly all earlier studies, this one relied on a convenience samplein this case 154 prospective lesbian mothers who between 1986 and 1992 volunteered for a study that was designed to follow planned lesbian families from the index childrens conception until they reached adulthood.84 It may well be higher-functioning couples who volunteer to have their parenting skills and their childrens behavior studied. Earlier that same summer my colleagues and I released our study of sperm donor offspring. Our sample was drawn from a web-based panel of one million American households who had signed up to receive surveys on a wide variety of topics. Among our 485 sperm donor offspring were thirty-nine who were conceived to lesbian couples (the rest were conceived to single mothers by choice or heterosexual married couples). Our study also had comparison groups of 562 young adults who were adopted as infants and 563 who were raised by their biological parents.85 We found that the adult donor offspring of lesbian couples were not that different in many ways from other donor offspring in their concerns, for example, about accidental incest, kinship confusion, longings to know more about their



ethnic background, and issues of trust in their families. And although in some ways the donor offspring of lesbian mothers are faring better than other donor offspring, substantial minorities still report distress and sadness over their origins and the absence of their biological father in their lives, and more than half report curiosity about their biological father and his family. The donor offspring of lesbian mothers were also twice as likely as those raised by their biological parents to have struggled with substance abuse issues.86 These findings are provocative and troubling. Without question, they speak to the need for more attention to and research about the possible difficulties these young people might face. For now, it is too simple to assume that, for children, having two moms or two dads is just the same as having a mom and a dad. The reality for children of same-sex couples is much more likely to be highly nuanced. One thirty-yearold man raised by lesbian mothers writes: When I was younger, I was very aware of the assumption: two women plus a son equals a fucked up guy. You get these very concerned liberal reporters asking, Didnt you miss your dad? Wasnt that hard? This is an issue that cant be boiled down to a sound bite. There is a real story to the whole question of my father, but then there was this public persona that I felt I had to present. [My lesbian mothers] werent coming to me and saying, Dont talk about [your feelings about not knowing your dad.] You have to present yourself to be just fine. It was internal pressure. I felt protective of my family. You are aware of the political issue. You are aware of what you are saying and how they will judge you.87 As any other child does, children raised by same-sex couples love their parents. Many of them appear to want the right of marriage for their parents. But these children may also worry about their parents, who face social stigmas, and may not want to add to their burden by expressing a sense of loss about their own absent biological parent. It is possible that these children, like some who are raised in divorced or single-parent or stepfamilies, also struggle with the absence of both mother and their father in their daily lives. Despite the slim evidence available about same-sex parenting and children up to this point, a number of professional organizations in the United States including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric



Since late 2003, none of the organizations or institutions that previously affirmed the importance for children of the married, two-parent biological family have made such bold, clear statements on the matter again. In essence, they and other leaders in this country have either gone silent on the issue or have embraced a small body of limited data to say that same-sex marriage and parenting is just fine for children. I would rather that we wait and let a generation of young people raised by gay dads and lesbian moms grow up and tell social science researchersand all of ushow they feel about mothers and fathers, what they lost, what they gained, what they needed and if they got it. I would prefer to let them tell us if antigay stigma was their only problem or if they faced other problems as well. In the meantime, these new policies are already having effects. There are affirmative early reports that use of third-party donors to conceive children does appear to be increasing in jurisdictions that have recognized same-sex marriage or similar arrangements, as couples with new legal protections now seek assistance from fertility clinics to achieve pregnancies. A 2007 report from Britain claimed that Lesbians and single women in Britain are increasing their share of donor insemination, accounting for 38% of such treatment last year compared with 28% in 2003 and 18% in 1999.88 Especially noteworthy is that this trend, if the numbers are verifiable, was occurring before 2008. For decades, and even after civil partnerships were legalized in Britain in 2004, British fertility law has said that the childs need for a father must be taken into account when offering fertility treatments. Despite that clause, rates of lesbian and single women inseminated by clinics have been rising. In May 2008, after a long and heated national debate, the fertility treatment authority dropped the need for a father clauseremoving the last policy barrier for lesbians and single women to access donor insemination services in the nations clinics.89 In Massachusetts, a December 2007 news report read: Since the legalization of same-sex marriage there has been a marked increase in the number of gay couples seeking assisted reproduction, a medical center specializing in in vitro fertilization said.Each year were seeing an annual increase of about 50 percent in the number of same-sex



couples coming to us for IVF to have their children and build their families, said Dr. Samuel Pang, Medical Director of Reproductive Science Center of New England. RSC has eight locations throughout New England and is the seventh largest medical practice of its kind nationwide. I dont know how much equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples has affected the upward shift, but it seems to be the trend over the last three or four years.90 Turn next to Denmark, which passed a law in 1989 allowing gays and lesbians to enter registered partnerships. In 2006 the parliament then passed a law allowing lesbian couples and single women the right to obtain free artificial insemination at publicly-funded hospitals. Mikael Boe Larsen, chairman of the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians, said, People are almost euphoric, people are crying, and especially the lesbians are extremely happy since it is a governmental approval of their family form.91 In other nations, too, there is evidence that marriage rights and rights to artificial reproductive technologies are seen to go hand in hand. In 2005 in Victoria, Australia, the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby released a survey of 652 gay and lesbians persons that revealed, among other things, that 98 percent of those surveyed wanted same-sex marriage to be made legal in Australia, and that more than 90 percent felt that gay and lesbian couples should have access to assisted reproductive technologies such as clinical insemination of donor sperm and IVF. Moreover, the survey revealed that 77 percent supported altruistic surrogacy as a right.92 In Norway, the law affirming the right to same-sex marriage that was passed in 2008 also affirms the right for lesbian women to have access to artificial insemination.93 In nation after nation, the right to marriage is also interpreted as a right to access reproductive technologies that deliberately deny children a relationship with one or both of their biological parents.

Co-Parenting Pre-Conception Arrangements

Next, lets consider one of the newer and more surprising of the intentional two-parent arrangements. In this model, two would-be parents look around, see many divorced parents trying to co-parent their kids in separate homes, and decide, hey, why not skip the falling in love, getting married and divorced



part and just set up a split life for our child before the child is even conceived? Anyonegay or straightcan enter into this arrangement, and potential parents typically use insemination technology to conceive. The hoped-for outcome is a childwithout any of the complications or obligations of a relationship between the parents. In summer 2005 www.parentsincluded.com was launched. This British website was intended for lesbian and single women who wish to bear a child using donor sperm and want both parents to play a role in the childs life. Potential sperm donors seeking to have some kind of relationship with the resulting child were invited to enroll.94A more recent version of this type of website is www.co-parentmatch.com, where you can Find Your Co-Parent or Sperm Donor using a pull-down menu of options. A similar site in Canada, the LGBT Parent Matchmaker, helps those who wish to locate and pair with one or more opposite-sex partners with whom to conceive and co-parent a child.95 In New York City, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center offers a sperm and egg mixer where interested parties can discover just how creative, innovative and brave LGBT people can be when it comes to exploring the possibilities of new kinds of family structures.96 In a particularly enterprising example, one woman ran a classified ad on a West Hollywood news website that read: I am a single mom who wants to have another baby, but does not wish to use anonymous donor sperm. If you would like to be a father with visitation rights, send a picture and introductory letter to Kelly W.97 In Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family, author Rosanna Hertz relates the story of Annette who, at thirty-eight and single, was diagnosed with severe endometriosis. Encouraged by her doctor to get pregnant soon if she wished to have children, Annette then became pregnant with a former lover, a relationship that had ended years before.98 Annette told the interviewer that her former lover didnt anticipate that he would fall in love [with the child], kind of, that he would be so emotionally bonded. And thats what ended up happening (81). Annette goes on: He got very involved when Ben was born and just through the months and years of parenting, hes not faded into the background. He just kept getting more and more interested. And at this point, theres not any wavering about it. My son has a dad (8182). Hertz says that Annette



described a weekly routine that resembles those worked out by cooperative divorced parents (82): We dont have set times. We didnt negotiate it or go to court or sign a document. But its evolved into a pretty patternized [sic] kind of thing which involves one night a week that Ben stays at his house without me, and one night a week after school like on a Wednesday or something.And then [some nights] his dad will come over to our house around seven-thirty or soto do the visiting and bath and bed routine. We also spend time usually on Sundays all together, the three of us...try to have some time in the weekend when were all three together, because that has become very important for John. He reallythats what keeps him in this, is the family time. He really likes that a lot, much more than he anticipated. (82) But, Hertz explains, whereas the donor particularly liked the time spent as a family, Annette was much more uncertain about its meaning, seeking therapy to sort out her feelings toward John and his unexpected reemergence in her life (82): I have kind of mixed feelings. In one sense I do like it that its a lot easier to take care of a kid when there are two adults around, I wont deny that. The part of it that I dont like is I feel a little bit false in that its like playacting, or pretending to be a family when were not a family. And I feel a little bit like living a falsehood there. (82) After reading her story, I put down the book, stared into space, and imagined myself in conversation with Annette. These were the only words I could find: I dont claim to know much about you or your child. But I do know this: you are Bens mother; John is Bens father. And a child, a mother, and a father is a pretty core definition of a family. To pretend anything otherwise is to play an incredible head game with your sona head game that, given all the anxiety youre expressing, isnt even working for you. My advice is this: Give it up. You have a beautiful son. Your son has a father, a kind man who loves him dearly. Maybe you would like to marry the father. Maybe not. But at least stop pretending that you havent created a familya family, sadly, divided even before your son was conceived.



Same-Sex Procreation?
By far the most egregious experimentation with two-person parenting is happening in the hard sciences, specifically in laboratories at some of the worlds leading universities. Scientists are now seeking to fuse sperm and eggs in unexpected ways to create human embryos for implantation in the womb. In June 2005, researchers at Sheffield University in Britain announced that they are now able to develop human embryonic stem cells into early forms of cells that can become eggs and sperm. If they succeed, such work holds the potential to free same-sex couples from relying on sperm or egg donors. Instead, they could have children genetically related to both of them. Headlining stories worldwide were frank about the implications. The consequences of such work might even mean gay couples or single men could produce children, a reporter remarked in the June 20, 2005, Guardian.99 The technique raises the possibility that gay couples will be able to have biological children, another reporter observed in the New Zealand Herald the next day.100 Another June 21, 2005, article about the Sheffield research and similar work underway at Monash University in Australia headlined in Australias Herald Sun: Doing Away with Donors.101 In a story filed from Copenhagen that ran at ProudParenting.com, an American advice and support website for gay and lesbian parents, the headline read, Stem Cell Research May Provide Hope to Gay Couples. The article said the research is huge news for the gay and lesbian community.102 Other scientists are pursuing similar research goals. In 2004, scientists in Japan succeeded in creating a mouse with the genetic material of two females and no male.103 They created over 450 embryos, of which 370 were implanted and ten were born alive. Of those ten, only one survived to adulthood. So, do children need two parents? Well, yes. But in todays family debates which two parents can be construed as widely open to interpretation. Further, some ask, if two parents are good for children, could three parents be even better?

Three-Parent Families
Sometimes when the earth moves it doesnt make a sound. Thats what happened several years ago in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.



On April 30, 2007, a state superior court panel ruled that a child can have three legal parents. The case, Jacob v. Shultz-Jacob, involved two lesbians who were the legal co-parents of two children conceived with sperm donated by a friend. The panel held that the sperm donor and both women were all liable for child support. Arthur S. Leonard, a professor at New York Law School, observed, Im unaware of any other state appellate court that has found that a child has, simultaneously, three adults who are financially obligated to the childs support and are also entitled to visitation.104 The case follows a similar decision handed down by a provincial court in Ontario, Canada, in January 2007. That court also ruled that a child can legally have three parents. In that case, the biological mother and father had parental rights and wished for the biological mothers lesbian partner, who functions as the boys second mother, to have such rights as well.105 The concept of assigning children three legal parents is not unique to North America. In 2005, expert commissions in Australia and New Zealand proposed that sperm or egg donors be allowed to opt in as a childs third parent. Many observers believe that children have already had three or more parents for quite some timeafter all, many children grow up in stepfamilies or adoptive families. What these observers fail to acknowledge is that even in stepfamilies or open adoption scenarios children still have at most two legal parents. In open adoptions, a birth mother who remains in contact with a child she has relinquished to another couple has no legal rights to act as a parent to that child. Meanwhile, a stepparent cannot become a childs legal parent unless the childs other legal (usually biological) parent has parental rights revoked or dies, and either way the stepparent then must go through a formal adoption process to become the childs parent by law. When it comes to legal parenthood, this rule of two has not been breached in the past. It has remained intact out of respect for the rights of the existing legal parents and in recognition that plenty of conflict can arise even between two parents. Why would the state throw a third person with equal legal standing into the mix? But today, supporters of the recent three-legal-parent proposals and rulings have a different point of view. They say, if two parents are good for children,



wouldnt three parents be better? It is true that some three-parent petitions are brought by adults who appear deeply committed to the child in question. In the Ontario case, both women and the father all seem devoted to the boy. But in Pennsylvania, the sperm donor, whom the children called Papa, was ordered to pay child support over his objections, and the lesbian co-mothers have already split up.106 In another recent case in Ontario, a lesbian couple used a known donora gay friendto conceive their child. All parties intended before the childs birth to seek legal parental status for the three of them. But they never managed to initiate the legal case and eventually became embroiled in a court battle over whether the gay fathers parenting rights can be terminated so that the second lesbian mother can adopt the child.107

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in some states and jurisdictions of the U.S. and several nations of the world. Other arrangements for same-sex couples, such as civil unions and domestic partnerships, are also legal in some places. The struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage and partnerships will likely continue. But for some legal scholars today, same-sex marriage is not all that interesting anymore. They have made their case. They are seeing victories beginning to stack up in courts. The latest hot topic is polyamory. Polyamorydefined as ethical non-monogamy by its proponentsliterally means many loves. It describes relationships involving three or more people. One or more couples within the relationship may or may not be married to one another (which distinguishes it from polygamy, where more than one woman is married to the same man). Polyamorists say their relationships also do not resemble swinging (from the 1970s), because they emphasize open communication, respect, and ethical treatment of one another. The debate about legal recognition of polyamorous relationshipsor some form of group marriageis already well underway. A major report issued in 2001 by the Law Commission of Canada, Beyond Conjugality: Recognizing and Supporting Close Personal Relationships, viewed marriage as a close personal relationship and asked whether such relationships should be limited to two people.108 Its conclusion: probably not. In An Introduction to Family Law (Oxford University Press, 2001), Gillian Douglas of Cardiff Law School speculated, The abhorrence of bigamy appears to


stemfrom the traditional view of marriage as the exclusive locus for a sexual relationship and from a reluctance to contemplate such a relationship involving multiple partners.109 For Prof. Douglas, the idea that marriage means two people is a traditional and perhaps outdated way of looking at this type of relationship. In 2004, Elizabeth Emens of the University of Chicago Law School published a substantial legal defense of polyamoryMonogamys Law: Compulsory Monogamy and Polyamorous Existencein the New York University Review of Law and Social Change.110 Prof. Emens suggests that we view this historical moment, when same-sex couples begin to enter the institution of marriage, as a unique opportunity to question the mandate of compulsory monogamy.111 Mainstream cultural leaders have also hinted at or actively campaigned for polyamory. Roger Rubin, former vice-president of the National Council on Family Relationsone of the main organizations for family therapists and scholars in the United Statesbelieves the debate about same-sex marriage has set the stage for broader discussion over which relationships should be legally recognized.112 The Alternatives to Marriage Project, whose leaders not long ago were often featured by national news organizations such as MSNBC and USA Today in stories on cohabitation and same-sex marriage, includes polyamory among its important hot topics for advocacy.113 Meanwhile, the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamorous Awareness hope to make their faith tradition the first to recognize and bless polyamorous relationships.114 A July 2009 Newsweek story estimates that there are more than half a million open polyamorous families living in America.115 Reporter Jessica Bennett argued that polyamorists could soon start using that bumper sticker often found on the cars of lesbian and gay activists: We Are Everywhere. Nearly every major city in the U.S. has a polyamory social group of some kind. The polyamory magazine, Loving More, has 15,000 subscribers. Books and sex columns with titles like Open and Opening Up are proliferating, while The Ethical Slut (1997)widely considered the modern poly Bible116was recently released in a new edition.117 In 2006, polyamory was added to the Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English dictionaries. Ken Haslam, curator of a polyamory library at the Kinsey Institute and a self-professed polyamorist, remarks that there have always been some people talking about the labors of monogamy, but finally, with the Internet, the thing has really come about.118



It is not unusual for children to be present in polyamorous unions. Websites for practitioners of polyamory devote considerable space to the challenges of being a poly parent. At one online chat room, one mom said Polyamory is what my kids know. They know some people have two parents, some one, some three and some more. They happen to have four. Honestly? Kids and polyamory? Very little of it effects [sic] them unless youre so caught up in your new loves youre letting it interfere with your parenting.119 On this same site, another older mom advised a young poly mother-to-be who is not sure how to manage a new baby and her poly lifestyle: Having a childand being poly isnt exactly a cakewalk, butit is possible. Sometimes it means that you take the baby with you to go see your OSO [Other Significant Other], or your OSO spends more time at the house with you, your husband, and the baby, and sometimes things will come up where plans have to be cancelled at the very last minute because baby is sick or something.There is a lot of patience that is needed from all parties involved, but it can be done. The first six months are extremely hard.120 (Emphasis in original) Another woman was offended by her best friends lack of support for her polyamorous relationship that involves a couple who have a six-year-old daughter. No matter how happy and content that kid is, according to my friend we and her parents are undoubtedly wreaking some serious damage on her by not completely concealing our relationship from her, the woman complains. Sometimes intelligent, goodhearted, rational people who know you fairly well can still hold rather irrational and bigoted opinions.121Another polyamorous mother wrote that she has a simple rule for her twelve-year-old son: What happens at Mommys house stays at Mommys house if you want to keep visiting Mommy.122 The Newsweek article features a polyamorous cluster involving Terisa, Matt, Vera, Larry, and Scott, which also includes Matt and Veras six-year-old son. All five adults and the boy spend weekends together, an arrangement, one scholar is quoted as saying, that would be fine for the boy so long as its stable. Bennett notes that most polyamorists are too busy for political activism, but they



are quite concerned about custody issues, especially after one poly mom lost custody of her son after outing herself in an MTV documentary in 1999. (One website warns readers: If your PolyFamily has children, please do not put your children and family at risk by coming out to the public or by being interviewed [by] the press!123) Another hurdle for poly families: there just dont seem to be a lot of families like them around. One pro-poly website despairs: One challenge that faces poly families is the lack of examples of poly relationships in literature and media.124 A sister site offers the PolyKids Zine. This publication for kids supports the principles and mission of the Polyamory Society, and contains fun, games, uplifting PolyFamily stories and lessons about PolyFamily ethical living. Its book series includes titles such as The Magical Power of Marks Many Parents and Heather Has Two Moms and Three Dads.125 If polyamorists are too busy to push for marriage rights, their supporters might fight the battle for them. In an influential document, Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships, released in 2006, over three hundred gay and lesbian activists and their supporters including attorneys, academics, grassroots leaders, and luminaries such as Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ehrenreich, and well-known professors from the Ivy Leaguescalled for legal recognition for a wide range of relationships, households and families including households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.126

No one can predict the legal future of polyamory. But in a startling development coming from a very different direction, another challenge to the concept of marriage and parenthood as involving two people is resurgingpolygamy, a marriage form with deep roots in human history and still in evidence in many parts of the world. The debut in spring 2006 of HBOs television series, Big Love, which featured a fictional and in some ways likeable polygamous family in Utah, propelled polygamy to the front pages of American newspapers and put the idea of legalized polygamy in play in some surprising quarters. That March, a Newsweek article with the title Polygamists Unite! quoted an activist saying, Polygamy



is the next civil rights battle. If Heather can have two mommies, he argued, she should also be able to have two mommies and a daddy.127 That weekend on the Today show, hosts Lester Holt and Campbell Brown gave a sympathetic interview to a polygamous family. During the same month, the New York Times devoted much attention to the subject of polygamy. One article featured several polygamous women watching Big Loves pilot episode and sharing such perspectives as [Polygamy] can be a viable alternative lifestyle among consenting adults.128 In another piece, an economist snickered that polygamy is illegal mainly because it threatens male lawmakers who fear they would not get wives in such a system.129 In an opinion piece, then-columnist John Tierney argued that polygamy isnt necessarily worse than the current American alternative: serial monogamy. He concluded, If the specter of legalized polygamy is the best argument against gay marriage, let the wedding bells ring.130 Not to be outdone, the cover of the June 19, 2006, New Yorker featured three lovely brides and a beaming groom driving away in a convertible with Just Married scrawled across the trunk. More recently, polygamy has gone to the heart of middle America with a TLC reality television show, Sister Wives, which features one man, four wives (he is legally married only to one of them), and sixteen combined kids. It is not just Big Love and Sister Wives that are putting polygamy in play in the West. In a development that shocked many Canadians, two government studies released by Canadas justice department in 2006 recommended the decriminalization of polygamy, with one arguing that the move was justified by the need to attract more skilled Muslim immigrants. As a government case against a band of polygamists in British Columbia continues to wind its way through the court system, a Canadian civil liberties group recently published an op-ed in the Montreal Gazette arguing that Canadas ban on polygamy should be relegated to the scrap heap of history.131 Across the pond, in Britain in February 2008 the government cleared the way for husbands with multiple wives to claim welfare benefits for all of their partners.132 A government panel recommended that as long as Muslim men married multiple women in countries where such unions are legal, then all the spouses should be eligible for state aid. That same year it was revealed that in



the Netherlands polygamous marriages contracted elsewhere are commonly registered and recognized by Dutch authorities.133 In the U.S. and Canada a significant number of todays legal scholars are arguing, as Stanley Kurtzwho has written extensively on polyamory and polygamysummarized, that the abuses of polygamy flourish amidst the isolation, stigma, and secrecy spawned by criminalization.134 Polygamy per se is not the problem, they claim, only bad polygamy. The silence from these same pro-polygamy policymakers and commentators was deafening in spring 2008, when the state of Texas seized 437 children from a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints compound after receiving reports of child sexual abuse. Watching video of hundreds of pale women wearing identical ankle-length dresses and braided hair, reading reports of widespread abuse and pregnancy among girls under sixteen (including at least one sixteen-year-old who had allegedly already given birth at least four times), and hearing emerging details of routine spiritual marriages of young girls to very old men should be sobering, to say the least, for those who envision polygamy as just another mutually-satisfying arrangement among consenting adults. In truth, the practice of polygamy among Texas cult members has much more in common with how polygamy has been practiced historically and currently around the world than it does with any slickly produced episode of Big Love. Here are the facts: Polygamy benefits powerful men. It denies less powerful men wives and consigns them, as young men, to the margins of society. It denies women access to and help from one husband. It denies children any real relationship with their fathers. It appears almost always to go hand-in-hand with the oppression of women and abuse of girls. Over the last couple of years I have had the opportunity to meet several young people, men and women, raised in polygamous families in Africa. They tell stories of growing up fearful of the other mothers in the family, of each mother out to secure resources and attention for herself and her own children, of unavailable fathers, and of, not surprisingly, lots of family conflict. If we value freedom, womens rights, childrens safety, and social stability, we should not legalize polygamy.



Given all this, why would any society that has long disavowed such unions now make the formal move toward full legal recognition of polyamory or polygamy? It is already happening incrementally in some nations. Historically, the limitation of marriage to two people has been far more flexible than its definition as a union of opposite sexes. Polygamy has flourished in many societies and exists in many places today. Some Western nations wishing to be sensitive to their Muslim immigrant populations are already moving towards some forms of recognition of polygamy. In the United States in 2011, a pending court case is offering a defense of polygamy, with lead counsel and noted legal scholar Jonathan Turley of George Washington University arguing that the Lawrence vs. Texas Supreme Court decision in 2003 should protect the private choices of polygamists.135 Another route to legalized group marriage could evolve via new court decisions and expert proposals that recognize group-parenting arrangements something already occurring in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Group-marriage proponents will likely ask: How can children with three legal parents be denied the same rights and protections that children with only two parents have? How can we deny legal group- parenting arrangements the right of marriage?

Three-Person Reproduction
As we have seen in earlier discussions about the possibilities for reproductive cloning or same-sex procreation, exploding new intentional family forms are not just dependent on what adults are doing in the bedroom or even in the courtrooms. The hard sciences are also on the front lines and old-fashioned methods such as artificial insemination are just the beginning. In September 2005, British scientists were granted state permission to create three-parent embryos. Researchers from Newcastle University soon announced that they had created human embryos from the combined DNA of one man and two women, and that they hope to be able to offer the option to couples within three to five years. The medical reason for their research lies with the fact that some genetic diseases are passed through mitochondrial DNAthat is, through the DNA that floats around the nucleus of a fertilized egg cell. By placing the nucleus of one womans egg inside the egg of another woman who is not a genetic carrier of the disease, the scientists hope such research will allow women



in danger of passing a genetic disease on to their child to have the chance to bear healthy children of their own. The resulting child would carry the DNA of three personsthe nuclear DNA of one woman, the mitochondrial DNA of another woman, and the DNA found in the mans sperm cell.136 Here we enter one of those not-uncommon gray areas in the biotechnological revolution. Clearly, no one wants children to be born bearing painful and often deadly mitochondrial genetic disorders. Figuring out a way to help couples avoid passing such disorders on to their children seems like a laudable goal (especially given that such a treatment is surely preferable to routine testing and aborting of embryos that appear to be disabled). But what happens when these technologies move from being used to prevent genetic disorders and are employed instead to satisfy adult desires to have babies in unusual ways? There are already pressures for social and legal recognition of multiple-parenting unions. It seems plausible that people in at least some of these unions might wish to bear a child in which all three people are the genetic parents. If we already let adults make myriad procreative decisions under the banner of reproductive rights, why deny them this option? Test cases could arise sooner than we think. Through a different route there are already numerous childrensome of them approaching adulthoodwho arguably have three biological parents. Since about 1985, it has been possible for a woman to conceive and carry a pregnancy conceived with another womans egg. When the woman carrying the embryo not conceived with her own egg intends to be the mother, we call her the mother and the other woman the egg donor. But when the woman who gives the egg intends to be the mother, we call her the mother and the woman carrying the embryo conceived with that egg the gestational surrogate. (It is confusing. Women who do the exact same things are legally determined to be the real mother or just the egg donor or surrogate, depending on how the adults in question wish it to be.) Either way, the result is an embryo andultimatelya child conceived from one womans egg, fertilized by the sperm of a man (who we call either the father or the sperm donor), and carried in another womans womb. In part as a result of these innovations, scientists are learning a great deal about how the process of gestation affects the genetic development of a fetus. Apparently, during gestation the embryos genetic markers are switched on and off in reaction to the environment experienced in the womb. In other



words, the woman carrying the embryo physiologically shapes the resulting babys DNA, even if her egg was not used to conceive the child, and thus she can be said to be a biological mother of the child as well. (And in fact, in the U.S. most state statutes say that the woman who gives birth to a child is the motherthese are among the statutes that must be circumvented to allow for the legalization of surrogacy). Why are the reproductive functions of motherhood split in this way? In the beginning, would-be parents chose this method when the woman who wished to conceive could notbecause of some health concerncarry a pregnancy, but still had healthy eggs that were capable of being fertilized. A heterosexual couple confronting infertility on the womans part, depending on the nature of the infertility, could contract with a gestational surrogate mother to carry the baby on their behalf. But increasingly, the reproductive functions of motherhood are also split by choice, and not just because of the intended mothers health concerns. Today, many in the surrogacy business claim that it is emotionally easier for the surrogate mother to relinquish the child (and spare the commissioning parents messy legal battles) if she is not the genetic mother of the child. If a couple cannot provide their own egg (some heterosexual couples cannot, and all gay male couples cannot), surrogacy brokers recommend that the commissioning couples get their egg from one source and have the resulting embryo implanted in a different woman. Its easier for everybody, they claim. The surrogate is said not to attach to the child if she knows the baby was conceived with another womans egg. The egg donor is usually out of the picture entirely. And the commissioning parents are supposed to be able to relax and stop worrying that the surrogate will change her mind and keep the baby in the end. Yet percolating beneath this seemingly straightforward rationale (which nevertheless has not been subjected to any real scientific investigation) is a thick brew of classism. Look at who gay and straight couples seek out when they look for their egg donor and their surrogate. The egg donor? Good looking, athletic, high SAT scores, Ivy League degree a major bonus. An accomplished cellist? Even better. What about the typical surrogate mother? Not a graduate of an elite college, and maybe even not a college grad. Shes probably a single mother or married to a working-class or military man, and is just looking for some income to help her and her kids.



So forget those tear-jerkers about surrogates with hearts of gold and parents who will do anything for them out of gratitude. In truth, once commissioning parents could figure out how to get a working-class surrogate to carry a baby that was conceived with the egg of a young, gorgeous, ambitious woman who would never dream of carrying another womans child, they embraced the option with gusto. Meanwhile, how do children feel when the reproductive functions of motherhood are splitwhen they have two women who could be said to be their biological mother and perhaps another legal mother as well? How do they make sense of the concept of motherhood? How does the story of their conception affect their attitudes and values as they themselves approach childbearing age? We have no idea, because nobody has ever asked them.

Fou r- an d Fi v e-Pare nt Fam i li es

Conceiving Children with Four or Five Legal, Social, Biological, and/or Gestational Parents
Canadian ethicist Margaret Somerville once began a talk with a description of a New Yorker-type cartoon she had seen. It depicted a kindly woman and a young child standing in front of six people. The woman is telling the child, This is your intended mother, this is your intended father, this is your egg donor, this is your sperm donor, this is your surrogateand this is your psychiatrist to help you sort it all out. Everybody laughed uncomfortably. It is painfully true that, today, children can have as many as four or five people who might all qualify as their legal or biological parents. Judges in some countries are beginning to assign children three legal parents. And if as many as five people can be the intended or biological parents of a single child, there is no reason to think the law will stop at assigning that child only three legal parents. Why make the sperm donor a legal parent but not the egg donor? Why make the egg donor a legal parent but not the surrogate who carried the child, who shaped the childs genetic development in the womb, and whose body will forever bear the marks of the childs delivery? Listen, for example, to Dr. Kamal Ahuja, a physician from the London Womens Clinic, who recently observed, The definition of a traditional family is progressively fading. Though we had concerns some years ago, the evidence


now is that we need not worry in terms of same-sex parenting. He went on: Families of the future may combine up to five parents. Regardless of culture, the evidence is that children adapt well and its the quality of the nurturing environment which is important.137

Co-Parenting Bothies
Welcome to San Francisco, headquarters for the bothies movement. Google the term bothy, and youre more likely to find hits for Scottish hiking associations (apparently, its also the name for the special huts built for hikers in Scotland) than you will for a new form of intentional parenting. But follow the newspapers of San Francisco long enough and youll catch on. Meet new parents Bevan Dufty and Rebecca Goldfader. As San Francisco city supervisor and an openly gay man, Dufty was something of a local celebrity when he embarked on creating his intentional family. Goldfader, a nurse practitioner, Pilates instructor, and a lesbian, joined him in the limelight when they made the rather unusual decision to conceive a child and try, somehow, to raise it together. A local media storm quickly brewed. Was Dufty, a leading gay rights activist, selling out? Was Goldfader joining the ranks of women who identify as lesbian until they decide to marry and settle down with a man? By stating publicly that they felt it was important for their child to know both biological parents, were they implicitly criticizing the decisions made by many other gay and lesbian parents? Not at all, Dufty and Goldfader responded. They were merely joining the ranks of lesbian and gay parents who want to keep both biological parents involved in the childs life and make room, at the same time, for their own loves or life partners. It is not unusual for gay and lesbian parents to be raising children conceived in previous heterosexual or homosexual relationships and then bring new lovers into the picture as parental figures. What makes the decisions of would-be parents like Dufty and Goldfader groundbreaking is that before a child is even conceived, they are planning how to have it allsame-sex partners for each of the parents and a child who knows and spends at least some part of childhood with both mom and dad. About Dufty and Goldfader, the Bay Area Reporter explained, While not romantically involved, the pair does identify as a couple and plans to live



together, and like many traditional partnerships, theirs revolves around having children and creating family: When this [pregnancy] happened, I called Bevan and said, You can never leave me, laughed Goldfader, who only half-jokingly characterizes herself as the wife in her relationship with Dufty. This [pregnancy] is not changing our relationship, nodded Dufty. This is our relationship.138 During the years that it took for them to hatch the idea and finally to get pregnant, both Dufty and Goldfader had already had several relationships each. But once the child was born, in addition to each of them being a legal co-parent of the child, they both envision[ed] that their long-term partners would have parental roles and rights as well. They planned to buy a duplex together with each having a floor as their own home for themselves, their future partner, and for the child to live with each of them one week at a time. The reporter quoted Beth Teper, executive director of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE), to underscore that such a plan is not at all unusual: Queer families have been creating and forming their families in all the ways they can throughout the last millennium. There are many gay families that co-parent, said Teper, adding that COLAGE has several member kids known as bothies, meaning they have two gay dads and two gay moms. Some of those families began as four-way agreements. In other situations, romantic relationships began after the children were born to coparents, and the biological parents were able to add legal protections for their lovers through contracts and court rulings later.139 Not long after the birth of Dufty and Goldfaders child, another parent of a soon-to-be-born bothy wrote a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle describing his own arrangement with three other people. With the child due within weeks he remarked that he, his partner, and the lesbian couple with whom they have conceived the child have been on the receiving end of plenty of intrusive comments and questions as they planned their babys conception and arrival. Dad-to-be Bill Delaney addressed some of the most frequent questions asked in his column: Where will our child live? Initially, he/she will live with mom while breastfeeding. Once weened [sic], our baby will spend one week each between


parents. By the time our child is ready to start kindergarten, we will have either bought a home together, or separate homes within walking distance of each other. What about holidays/special occasions/etc.? We all come together. We will never make our kid shuttle between parents beyond the basic living arrangements. What if one of the couples splits up? Again, its all about our child. We will not freeze out a parent out of spite, which would be damaging to our kid. We will also decide which residence is the best for our kids needs.He/she will not be shuttled among four homes.140 Delaneys sunny description of the foursomes legal agreements about the childs life is filled with bizarre assumptions such as the idea that shuttling back and forth between two homes every week will be fine for the child, but they would never make our kid do more than that: He/she will not be shuttled among four homes. (Eerily, the possibility of shuttling between three homes is not mentioned.) What is especially notable about Delaney and company, as well as Dufty and Goldfader, is that these would-be parents spell out in great detail how well everything will work out after the child is born. But I would like to read the media stories about the foursomes who set up this kind of pre-conception arrangement fifteen to eighteen years ago and remain a stable foursome, carrying out their contract as planned. While journalists and scholars are tracking down examples of such committed foursomes, you can check your local family court docket for stories about the ones who do not work out. One example is the foursome in Florida written about in Mamas vs. Papas: Two Gay Couples Fight over Custody of Child in the July 16, 2009, Miami New Times. Here are the facts in the case: Five years earlier, a lesbian couple began trying to have a baby. Inseminations with anonymous donor sperm kept failing Katherine was not getting pregnant. Then the couple started talking with their friend Ray, a gay Air Force veteran with a partner of his own. With Rays sperm, Katherine conceived, and the two couples planned to raise the baby boy together.


Then Katherine and her partner decided to move to California and take the boy with them. Ray and his partner sued in 2008. After considering the case, a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge ruled that even though Ray was the childs biological father, and even though the childs mother had put his name on the birth certificate when the child was born, Ray was merely a sperm donor and had no rights. Rays lawyer called this case the most tragic case of my career. Katherines lawyer says she and her partner feel like their family unit is being attacked. Ray immediately began planning his appeal.141 Not surprisingly, once the daydream of four people orbiting agreeably around one beloved child hits reality, it is unlikely to last for long. With parenthood, conflict abounds. Cloth diapers or plastic? Organic baby food or the cheap stuff? Raised in your religion, mine, some combo, or none? Who will take time off work for the doctors appointment? Who will put in the long, hands-on hours with the child? What if the child actually has needs beyond the typical highly needy child? What if he or she is autistic or has a heart defect? What if the child has a defiant disorder and none of the adults particularly enjoys spending time with him? Or, what happens when one member of the foursome gets a great job offer elsewhere or a new lover with a cuter toddler, and the old fantasy just isnt quite as exciting anymore Undoubtedly, some of these bothy scenarios do not even make it past the planning stage for exactly these reasons. Not long ago, while lunching with a friend I heard about a similar situation. My friend told me about his grown niece, a woman raised as a pastors kid who with her new husband (whom she married later in life) attended a mainline Protestant church. Her husband wanted a child, she was ambivalent and probably too old to conceive, but wanted to be sensitive to his wishes. At their church they met a lesbian couple with whom they became friends. When they learned that the lesbian couple also wanted a child, the two couples hatched a plan in which the husband would inseminate one of the lesbian women and all four would raise the baby together. The plan was derailed when her husband instead had an affair with a woman who lived down the street and left my friends niece for that woman. After three or four decades of widespread divorce, this is where we have arrived. Our society has so normalized the divorce experience for children that nice people (for I am certain that Dufty and Goldfader and Delaney and all the rest are for the most part perfectly nice people) do not bat an eye about setting up a split life for their child before the child is even conceived. And even


if they manage to keep their four-parent units together, the children in these scenarios will never actually live with their biological mothers and fathers at the same time. So while all these would-be parents invest their time and energy in rallying their foursome, scheduling their inseminations, and completing their reams of legal paperwork, I invite them to spend at least a little time learning about the experience of those who have grown up shuttling between two worlds. Not long ago, with Norval Glenn of the University of Texas at Austin, I completed the first national survey in the U.S. of grown children of divorce.142 We found that even young people who grew up in a so-called good divorce, one in which their divorced parents got along reasonably well and stayed involved in their lives, still suffered negative effects. For example:
n Even

in a good divorce, half (52 percent) of young adults from divorced families say that family life after the divorce was stressful, as compared to 6 percent from happy marriages and 35 percent from unhappy but low-conflict marriages. a third who grew up in a good divorce (30 percent) say they were alone a lot as children, as compared to 5 percent from happy marriages and 21 percent from unhappy but low-conflict marriages. (51 percent) report they always felt like adults, even as little kids, as compared to 36 percent from happy marriages and 39 percent from unhappy but low-conflict marriages. a third (29 percent) say their divorced parents versions of truth were different, as compared to 12 percent from happy marriages and 24 percent from unhappy but low-conflict marriages. half (53 percent) say they experienced many losses in their lives, as compared to 37 percent from happy marriages and 42 percent from unhappy but low-conflict marriages.

n Almost

n Half

n Almost

n Over

The idea that a good divorce is good for children is popular. But we found that while an amicable or good divorce is better than a bad divorce, it is inaccurate and misleading to describe the childrens experience as good.



The vast majority of young adults in our study80 percentsaid their parents did not have a lot of conflict after the divorce. So foursomes who want to create a bothy would be ill-advised to write off the pain of children of the good divorce as merely due to the divorce itself or to post-divorce conflict. Instead, the young adults told us that the structure of growing up in two worlds itself created much of the stress. They felt like space cadets, never knowing where their homework or book bag was. As they grew older it was a burden to have to visit their parents when other kids their age never had to think about such thingstheir parents were just there, in the background, and taken for granted. That just as adults would find it nearly impossible to feel at home in two places (think about ithow many adults do it?) children do too. That when you are always on the move it is almost impossible to form and sustain rich relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and community. That when you have two homes rather than one, neither place fully feels like home. A good divorce is the best thing anyone can hope for once two parents have already splitbut it is nonetheless a rough life for a child. So I ask San Francisco, and the nation, why would anyone intentionally choose this life for a child who does not yet exist?




the wanted child

While the language of intentional parenthood appears to have originated in the legal sphere in the 1990s, its roots go deeper. Every child a wanted child has long been a slogan of the pro-choice or abortion rights movement, and the idea of planning pregnancies is at least as old as Margaret Sangers efforts to make contraceptives legal at the turn of the twentieth century. In our cultural dialog about pregnancy and childbearing, the idea that being planned and wanted is critically important to child well-being is broadly accepted. Overall, it seems to make sense that children who are wanted at the outset will have a better shot at becoming happy, healthy young people. I came of age in the post-Roe v. Wade era and feel like I can understand the points of view of reasonable people on both sides of the abortion debate pretty well. And yet Ive been doing a lot of thinking lately about the consequences of assuming that intention or wantedness is a key ingredient for child well-being. Last year, colleagues and I released a report titled My Daddys Name Is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation. For that study we recruited from a panel of more than one million American households 485 young adults who had been conceived through sperm donation, 562 who were adopted, and 563 who were raised by their biological parents. (For more information about the study, see the text box on the following page.) Our aim was to study the identity, kinship, well-being, and social justice experience of donor-conceived persons. As I got to thinking about our results, I was struck by the fact that our study could be seen as an attempt to examine whether and how much being wanted truly helps children. The first group in our studythe donor offspring is a sample of entirely planned, intended, and presumably fiercely wanted children. There are no accidents among the donor offspring. They are here because their mothersand perhaps others, but in most cases most specifically their motherswanted them. The other two groups are more mixed. We know that in the U.S. today about half of pregnancies are unintended. I think we can assume that among the



adopted adults many were the results of unplanned pregnancies. Similarly, a good many of those raised by their biological parents were also probably unplanned. Among these two groups we find all the babies who come about as a result of messy, mostly uncontracepted sex. So what does the study show? Does being explicitly plannedbeing most definitely wantedspell terrific child outcomes, or at least better outcomes than for babies conceived in other ways? Actually, no. Quite the opposite. The donor offspring, those who are without a doubt the most uniformly wanted group at the outset, are, as a group, faring the worst. Compared to those who were adopted, they are hurting more and are more confused. They feel more isolated from their families. And compared to those raised by their biological parents, they suffer more often from addiction, delinquency, and depression. Now, lets grant that being wanted by your mother remains a very good thing. I believe it is vitally important, not just for the child, but for the mother too. But, perhaps, being wanted at conception is not the only factor, or even the main factor, that matters when it comes to child well-being. Maybe what comes nextwhat family structure the child is born into or raised inmatters as much, if not more. In todays debates about parenthood, the ideal of the wanted child is resounding again, this time among gays and lesbians advocating for access to reproductive technologies and legal recognition of their families. The buzz phrase in todays debates is intentional parenthood. Some leaders in the gay and lesbian community like to say proudly: None of our children are accidents. What is there possibly to be concerned about? Theyre all intended. Theyre all wanted. But dig deeper and youll learn that that intention is actually a hotly contested idea in todays family debates. For at least one group, the deliberateness or intention with which offspring are conceived in order to be separated from their biological parent is quite troubling. Some of the stories posted by donor-conceived persons at The Anonymous Us Project at AnonymousUs.org evoke these concerns about deliberate separation from fathers.143 Or read what Damian Adams, a donor-conceived adult living in Australia, has to say concerning the difference between adoption and donor conception: the key and most important difference is intent. Adoption, he says,


is used as a last resort to ameliorate, but not solve, the tragedy of an existing child whose biological parents are unable for whatever reason to care for it. In this situation the people who have created the child never intentionally set out to create one that would have to be relinquished for adoption. It occurs either through accidental conception or circumstance. Donor conception on the other hand is a completely different kettle of fish. Even prior to the childs conception which is deliberately preplanned, the intent is to separate and deprive the child of one or both biological connections. It is not the result of happenstance or circumstance.144 On the one side, advocates of family diversity argue that intention is basically synonymous with good for children. The fact that the child is conceived on purpose makes it good. Plans on how to raise the childwhether, for example, the child will know and be raised by his or her own mother and fatherdont really matter. On the other side, donor-offspring activists have a completely different point of view. They argue that deliberately inflicting a lossthe loss of the biological father, or mother, or bothis precisely the problem. Let me hasten to note that few donor-offspring activists single out gay and lesbian parents as a particular concern. The largest issue that seems to unite most donor offspring is the strong belief that anonymity should be ended, that they have the right to know who their biological parents are. On the question of whether donor conception itself should be available as a means to have children, they are more divided, with some believing that better regulation is enough and others feeling that the practice itself should not occur.145 When it comes to whether gay and lesbian persons should use these technologies, my impression is that donor-offspring activists generally either feel that donor conception should be available to pretty much anyone so long as far better protections for the childs right to know are put in place, or they believe that donor conception is not okay and they are against anyonegay, straight, married, or notusing it. But because some of todays most vocal proponents of intentional parenthood are found among gay and lesbian leaders and their family law supporters, the debate about whether intentional parenthood really is the most important issue for child well-being necessarily gets tangled up in the debate about gay- and lesbian-headed families. The main point is this: the value of intentional parenthood is not a settled question, but rather a hotly contested one. Do children do fine with one parent, or



three, or five? Do young people mourn the absence of their biological mothers and fathers in their lives? Can three-person units be as stable as admittedly already-fragile two-person units? Is there something special about trying to keep the man and woman who make the baby together, for the sake of the baby and each other, in what we call marriage? Are children commodities we commission to appease adult desires, or are they vulnerable creatures with individual human dignity, whose needs must come first? In todays global family debate, these are the questions on the table. Nothing less than the well-being of this and future generations of children is at stake.



1. Diane Ehrensaft, Mommies, Daddies, Donors, and Surrogates: Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families (New York: Guilford Press, 2005). 2. Ibid., 83. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. John F. Storrow, Parenthood by Pure Intention: Assisted Reproduction and the Functional Approach to Parentage, Hastings Law Journal 53, no. 597 (2002): abstract, http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=310162. 6. Ibid. 7. Nancy Dowd, From Genes, Marriage, and Money to Nurture: Redefining Fatherhood, in Genetic Ties and the Family: The Impact of Paternity Testing on Parents and Children, ed. Mark A. Rothstein et al. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), 86. 8. Susanne Gibson, Reasons for Having Children: Ends, Means and Family Values, Journal of Applied Philosophy 12, no. 3 (November 1995): 23140. 9. Kathleen M. Galvin, Diversitys Impact on Defining the Family: DiscourseDependence and Identity, in The Family Communication Sourcebook, ed. Lynn H. Turner and Richard West (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2006), 6. 10. Ellen C. Perrin, Technical Report: Coparent or Second-Parent Adoption by Same-Sex Parents, Pediatrics 109, no. 2 (February 2002): 34144, http://pediatrics. aappublications.org/content/109/2/341.full#sec-6. 11. Nanette Gartrell and Henny Bos, US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents, Pediatrics 126, no. 1 (July 2010): 19; released online June 7, 2010, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/ content/early/2010/06/07/peds.2009-3153. 12. ldfrmc, January 11, 2011, comment on Dione Garlick, Study Shows that Children of Lesbian Parents Are More Well-Adjusted Than Normal Kids, Zelda Lily (blog), Jun 24, 2010, http://zeldalily.com/index.php/2010/06/study-shows-that-children-oflesbian-parents-are-more-well-adjusted-than-normal-kids/. 13. ABC15.com staff, Hear Me Out: Is Lesbian Parenting Any Better or Worse than Conventional Parenting? ABC15.com, June 16, 2010, http://www.abc15.com/dpp/ news/local_news/hear_me_out/hear-me-out%3A-is-lesbian-parenting-any-better-orworse-than-conventional-parenting%3F.



14. Ed OKeefe, State Dept. Policy Change the Latest Gay Rights Win, Federal Eye, Washington Post, January 11, 2011, http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federaleye/2011/01/state_dept_policy_change_the_l.html. 15. Donald Collins, Cathleen Jordan, and Heather Coleman, An Introduction to Family Social Work, 3rd ed. (Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2010), 348. 16. Ibid. 17. Dan Savage, The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant (New York: Plume, 2000), 5859. 18. By definition, no woman can choose to get pregnant by accident, although the pseudo-accidental oops has long been popular among some married and single women as one way of getting pregnant, and of course its not uncommon for the pathway to pregnancy to be an ambivalent one. On the issue of adoption, I do not group families with adopted children among intentional families. Adoptive parents become parents of children who were generally conceived unintentionally or were otherwise unable to be cared for by their birth parent(s). Adoptive parents do not set out seeking to deny a child a relationship with his or her own father and mother, but rather to redress, as best as possible, a childs loss stemming from not being able to be raised by his or her own mom and dad. 19. Amy Harmon, First Comes the Baby Carriage: Women Opt for Sperm Banks and Autonomy, New York Times, October 13, 2005, http://www.nytimes. com/2005/10/13/fashion/thursdaystyles/13BANKS.html?pagewanted=all. 20. Ibid. 21. Emily Bazelon, 2 Kids + 0 Husbands = Family, New York Times Magazine, January 29, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/magazine/01Moms-t.html. 22. Dahleen Glanton and Bonnie Miller Rubin, Babies Born to Single Moms Reach Record High in U.S.: Women in their 30s and 40s Choose Not to Wait for a Spouse, Chicago Tribune, January 21, 2007, A3. 23. Ibid. 24. Lori Gottlieb, The XY Files, The Atlantic, September 2005, 141, http://www. theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/09/the-xy-files/4172/. 25. Ibid.,143. One need hardly mention that such comments also harken uncomfortably to eugenic sentiments in the U.S. and Europe in the early twentieth century. 26. Ibid., 148. 27. Ibid., 150. 28. Ibid. 29. Lori Gottlieb, Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, The Atlantic, March 2008, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/03/marryhim/6651/.



30. Ibid. 31. NBCs Janet Shamlian reports on choice moms, followed by a debate hosted by Meredith Vieira, Today.com, January 15, 2007, http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/ video/single-women-who-choose-motherhood/6s9ya4m. 32. Ibid. 33. Dr. Brenda Wade, Heartline Products, http://www.docwade.com/html/ products.html. 34. Jane Mattes, Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1994); Mikki Morrissette, Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Womans Guide (New York: Be-Mondo Publishing, 2008); Louise Sloan, Knock Yourself Up: No Man? No Problem: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom (New York: Penguin, 2007). 35. Polly Vernon, Single Gay Woman Seeks Baby. No Man Required: As the Furor over IVF Laws and Lesbians Gets Rowdier in the UK, Polly Vernon meets Louise SloanAmericas Poster Girl for Families without Fathers, The Observer, December 2, 2007, http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/dec/02/familyandrelationships. gayrights. 36. Ibid. 37. Rosanna Hertz, Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 27. 38. Ibid., 28. 39. Ibid. 40. Hes the Daddy, BBC.com, May 17, 2006, http://www.bbc.co.uk/berkshire/ content/articles/2006/05/17/ian_mucklejohn_feature.shtml. 41. For single mothers by choice who go abroad to conceive, the childs citizenship is a non-issue, especially since the mother typically returns to her native land to give birth, and most jurisdictionscertainly those in the U.S. and U.K.are all too familiar with issuing birth certificates listing father unknown. 42. Subhra Priyadarshini, First Surrogate Child of Single Father to Evolve Ethics Debate, Navhind Times, October 3, 2005, available at http://news.outlookindia.com/ printitem.aspx?326587. 43. Donated Eggs Make Dads Dreams Come True: Childrens Three Parents Live in Three Different States, Baltimore News, WBALTV.com, February 17, 2006, http:// www.wbaltv.com/r/7164899/detail.html. 44. See Associated Press, Ruling May Have Broad Implications for Prospective Gay Dads, posted on www.365gay.com, June 2, 2007, and James M. Thunder, Motherless in Maryland: Roberto de B.s Twins, op-ed, The American Spectator, July 11, 2007, http://spectator.org/archives/2007/07/11/motherless-in-maryland-roberto#. 61


45. An online search of military wives surrogates yields multiple stories, including Astrid Rodrigues and Jon Meyerson, Military Wives Turn to Surrogacy: Labor of Love or Financial Boost? ABCNews.com, October 15, 2010, http://abcnews. go.com/GMA/Parenting/military-wives-surrogates-carrying-babies-love-money/ story?id=11882687. 46. Charles Wilson, Brokerage of Surrogate Births May Face Federal Scrutiny, Associated Press, August 2, 2005. 47. Jamie Stengle, Ethical Questions over Harvesting Dead Sons Sperm, Associated Press, April 11, 2009, http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=13& articleid=20090411_13_0_DALLAS487424&rss_lnk=1. 48. Reza Omani Samani et al., Posthumous Assisted Reproduction from Islamic Perspective, International Journal of Fertility and Sterility 2, no. 2 (August-September 2008): 96100. 49. Claire Kellett, Family Wants to Save Dying Sons Sperm, KCRG local news, September 14, 2007 http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/9774057.html. 50. Yael Wolynetz, Hundreds of Soldiers Sign over Rights to Sperm if They Die, Jerusalem Post, August 10, 2006, http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=31176. 51. Myfanwy Walker, letter to the editor, The West Australian, October 23, 2006. 52. The material in this report on cloning, same-sex procreation, polygamy, and polyamory first appeared in substantially similar form in Elizabeth Marquardt, The Revolution in Parenthood: The Emerging Global Clash Between Adult Rights and Childrens Needs (New York: Institute for American Values, 2006). The material on samesex parenting research has been substantially updated. Parts of the latter material will also appear in a chapter by Elizabeth Marquardt in What Is Parenthood? (forthcoming), a scholarly volume edited by Linda McClain and Dan Cere. 53. For those unfamiliar with the term therapeutic cloning, a helpful paragraph at Wikipedia reads, In genetics and developmental biology, somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a laboratory technique for creating a clonal embryo, using an ovum with a donor nucleus It can be used in embryonic stem cell research, or, potentially, in regenerative medicine where it is sometimes referred to as therapeutic cloning. It can also be used as the first step in the process of reproductive cloning. http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic_cell_nuclear_transfer. 54. Alok Jha, Process Holds Out Hope for Childless Couples, Guardian, May 20, 2005, http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/may/20/genetics.science. 55. Ibid. 56. Ibid. 57. Reported in Leading Bioethicist Supports Reproductive Cloning, BioEdge, no. 241, March 21, 2007, http://www.australasianbioethics.org/Newsletters/241-2007-03-21. html; What Is Wrong with Cloning Anyway, BioEdge, no. 221, October 3, 2006, http://www.australasianbioethics.org/Newsletters/221-2006-10-03.html; and Lets 62


Legalise Human Cloning, Says Bioethicist, BioEdge, no. 259, August 1, 2007, http:// www.australasianbioethics.org/Newsletters/259%202007-08-01.html. 58. Steven Stack and J. Ross Eshleman, Marital Status and Happiness: A 17-Nation Study, Journal of Marriage and the Family 60, no. 2 (May 1998): 52736; Deborah A. Dawson, Family Structure and Childrens Health and Well-Being: Data from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey on Child Health, Journal of Marriage and the Family 53, no. 3 (August 1991): 57384; David Popenoe, Life Without Father (New York: Free Press, 1996); Glenn T. Stanton, Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society (Colorado Springs, CO: Pinon Press, 1997); Ronald P. Rohner and Robert A. Veneziano, The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence, Review of General Psychology 5, no. 4 (December 2001): 382405; Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur, Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994). 59. Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study (New York: Hyperion, 2000). 60. McLanahan and Sandefur, Growing Up with a Single Parent. 61. Popenoe, Life Without Father; Stanton, Why Marriage Matters; Frank Putnam, Ten-Year Research Update Review: Child Sexual Abuse, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 42, no. 3 (March 2003): 26979; Michael Stiffman et al., Household Composition and Risk of Fatal Child Maltreatment, Pediatrics 109, no. 4 (April 2002): 61521. 62. Amy Mehraban Pienta et al., Health Consequences of Marriage for the Retirement Years, Journal of Family Issues 21, no. 5 (July 2000): 55986. 63. Susan L. Brown, The Effect of Union Type on Psychological Well-Being: Depression among Cohabitors Versus Marrieds, Journal of Health and Social Behavior 41, no. 3 (September 2000): 24155; Allan V. Horwitz and Helene Raskin, The Relationship of Cohabitation and Mental Health: A Study of a Young Adult Cohort, Journal of Marriage and the Family 60, no. 2 (May 1998): 505ff; Stack and Eshleman, Marital Status and Happiness; Arne Mastekaasa, The Subjective Well-Being of the Previously Married: The Importance of Unmarried Cohabitation and Time Since Widowhood or Divorce, Social Forces 73, no. 2 (December 1994): 66592. 64. Lingxin Hao, Family Structure, Private Transfers, and the Economic Well-Being of Families with Children, Social Forces 75, no. 1 (September 1996): 26992; Kermit Daniel, The Marriage Premium, in The New Economics of Human Behavior, ed. Mariano Tommasi and Kathryn Ierullli (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 11325. 65. William H. Jeynes, The Effects of Several of the Most Common Family Structures on the Academic Achievement of Eighth Graders, Marriage and Family Review 30, nos. 1-2 (2000): 7397; Donna Ruane Morrison and Amy Ritualo, Routes to Childrens Economic Recovery after Divorce: Are Cohabitation and Remarriage Equivalent? American Sociological Review 65, no. 4(August 2000): 56080; Hao, Family Structure, 63


Private Transfers; Wendy D. Manning and Daniel T. Lichter, Parental Cohabitation and Childrens Economic Well-Being, Journal of Marriage and the Family 58, no. 4 (November 1996): 9981010. 66. Sandra Hofferth and Kermyt G. Anderson, Are All Dads Equal? Biology Versus Marriage as a Basis for Paternal Investment in Children, Journal of Marriage and Family 65, no. 1 (February 2003): 21332; Nancy S. Landale and R. S. Oropresa, Father Involvement in the Lives of Mainland Puerto Rican Children: Contributions of Nonresident, Cohabiting and Married Fathers, Social Forces 79, no. 3 (March 2001): 94568. 67. Wendy D. Manning, Pamela J. Smock, and Debarun Majumdar, The Relative Stability of Cohabiting and Marital Unions for Children, Population Research and Policy Review 23, no. 2 (April 2004): 13559; Pamela J. Smock and Wendy D. Manning, Living Together Unmarried in the United States: Demographic Perspectives and Implications for Family Policy Law and Policy 26, no. 1 (January 2004): 87117. 68. Scott M. Stanley, Sarah W. Whitton, and Howard J. Markman, Maybe I Do: Interpersonal Commitment Levels and Premarital or Nonmarital Cohabitation, Journal of Family Issues 25, no. 4 (May 2004): 496519; Susan L. Brown and Alan Booth, Cohabitation Versus Marriage: A Comparison of Relationship Quality, Journal of Marriage and the Family 58, no. 3 (August 1996): 66878; Renata Forste and Koray Tanfer, Sexual Exclusivity among Dating, Cohabiting and Married Women, Journal of Marriage and the Family 58, no. 1 (February 1996): 3347; Steven L. Nock, A Comparison of Marriages and Cohabiting Relationships Journal of Family Issues 16, no. 1 (January 1995): 5376; L. L. Bumpass et al., The Role of Cohabitation in Declining Rates of Marriage, Journal of Marriage and the Family 53, no. 4 (November 1991): 91378; J. E. Straus and M.A. Stets, The Marriage License as Hitting License: A Comparison of Assaults in Dating, Cohabiting and Married Couples, Journal of Family Violence 4, no. 2 (1989): 16180. 69. Manning, Smock, and Majumdar, The Relative Stability of Cohabiting; Thomas G. OConnor et al., Frequency and Predictors of Relationship Dissolution in a Community Sample in England, Journal of Family Psychology 13, no. 3 (September 1999): 43649; Brown and Booth, Cohabitation Versus Marriage. 70. Stanley, Markman, and Whitton, Maybe I Do. 71. For instance, girls in stepfamilies are slightly more likely to have a teenage pregnancy compared to girls in single-parent families, and much more likely to have a teenage pregnancy than girls in intact, married families. Children who grow up in stepfamilies are also more likely to marry as teenagers, compared to children who grow up in single-parent or intact, married families. See Institute for American Values, Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences, 2nd ed. (New York: Institute for American Values, 2005), 14. 72. Robin Fretwell Wilson writes, These studies of fractured families differ in their estimates of the percentage of girls molested during childhood. However, regardless of



whether the precise number is 50% or even half that, the rate is staggering and suggests that girls are at much greater risk after divorce than we might have imagined. She continues: Despite these studies, the idea that so many girls in fractured families report childhood sexual abuse strains credulity. Nevertheless, with more than seventy social science studies confirming the link between divorce and molestation, there is little doubt that the risk is indeed real. As difficult as it is to accept, a girls sexual vulnerability skyrockets after divorce, with no indication that this risk will subside. Children at Risk: The Sexual Exploitation of Female Children after Divorce, Cornell Law Review 86, no. 2 (January 2001): 256. 73. Joseph H. Beitchman et al., A Review of the Short-Term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse & Neglect 15, no. 4 (1991): 53756; cited in Wilson, Children at Risk, note 9. 74. Martin Daly and Margot Wilson, Evolutionary Psychology and Marital Conflict: The Relevance of Stepchildren, in Sex, Power, Conflict: Evolutionary and Feminist Perspectives, ed. David M. Buss and Neil M. Malamuth (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 9-28; cited in Family Scholars, Why Marriage Matters: TwentyOne Conclusions from the Social Sciences (New York: Center of the American Experiment, Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, and Institute for American Values, 2002). 75. Citing W.D. Hamilton, Significance of Paternal Investment by Primates to the Evolution of Adult Male-Female Associations, in D.M. Taub, ed., Primate Paternalism (New York: Van Nostrand, 1964), 30935. 76. Citing M.S. Smith, Research in Developmental Sociobiology: Parenting and Family Behavior, in Kevin B. MacDonald, ed., Sociobiological Perspectives on Human Development (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988), 27192. 77. David Popenoe, The Evolution of Marriage and the Problem of Stepfamilies: A Biosocial Perspective, in Alan Booth and Judy Dunn, ed., Stepfamilies: Who Benefits? Who Does Not? (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994), 9. 78. Even in stepfamilies, the second parent figure must adopt the child in order to be a legal parent to that child. And in order to adopt the child, the childs other biological parent must give up his or her parental rights or have them terminateda grueling process and one not undertaken lightly by courtswith the result that most stepparents remain in a quasi-legal relationship with the children in their care. 79. Charlotte J. Patterson, Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents, Current Directions in Psychological Science 15, no. 5 (October 2006): 24144. 80. See Executive Summary and Fifteen Major Findings, in Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D. Glenn, and Karen Clark, My Daddys Name Is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation (New York: Commission on Parenthoods Future, 2010), http://www.familyscholars.org/assets/Donor_summ_findings.pdf.



81. Patterson writes in Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: There were no significant differences between teenagers living with same-sex parents and those living with other-sex parents on self-reported assessments of psychological well-being, such as self-esteem and anxiety; measures of school outcomes, such as grade point averages and trouble in school; or measures of family relationships, such as parental warmth and care from adults and peers. Adolescents in the two groups were equally likely to say that they had been involved in a romantic relationship in the last 18months, and they were equally likely to report having engaged in sexual intercourse. The only statistically reliable difference between the two groupsthat those with same-sex parents felt a greater sense of connection to people at school favored the youngsters living with samesex couples. There were no significant differences in self-reported substance use, delinquency, or peer victimization between those reared by same- or other-sex couples (Wainright & Patterson, 2006). (242) 82. Affidavit of Steven Lowell Nock, Halpern v. Attorney General, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court File No. 684/00, 2, http://marriagelaw.cua.edu/Law/cases/ Canada/ontario/halpern/aff_nock.pdf. 83. See Maggie Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker, Do Mothers and Fathers Matter? The Social Science Evidence on Marriage and Child Well-Being, iMAPP policy brief (Washington, DC: Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, February 27, 2004). 84. Nanette Gartrell and Henry Bos, US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents, Pediatrics 126, no. 1 (July 2010), 2836, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/1/28.full. 85. Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D. Glenn, and Karen Clark, My Daddys Name Is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation (New York: Commission on Parenthoods Future, 2010), http://www.familyscholars.org/assets/ Donor_FINAL.pdf. 86. Ibid.; see summary of Fifteen Major Findings, 714. 87. Jesse Gilbert, quoted in Abigail Garner, Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is (New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2005), 9. 88. Family Edge, weekly newsletter, no. 115 (August 1, 2007). 89. In summer 2008 the newly enacted law was tabled until the fall, so that further debate could be had, after a public outcry ensued over the laws passage. 90. 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff, Mass. Gay Marriages Lead to Increase in IVF, www.365gay.com, December 7, 2007. 91. Insemination Rights for Lesbians, Reuters, June 2, 2006, posted at www.news. com.au. 92. Attacks on gays and lesbians high Victoria News, August 3, 2005, http:// news.ninemsn.com.au.



93. The Associated Press notice that ran in the New York Times on June 18, 2008, read: Gay men and lesbians in Norway will be granted the same rights as heterosexuals to marry and to adopt children under a law approved by the upper house of Parliament. It replaces a 1993 law that gave gay men and lesbians the right to enter civil unions, but did not permit church weddings or adoption. The law also allows lesbians to have artificial insemination. Individual churches and clergy members may perform weddings for gay men and lesbians, but will not be legally obligated to do so. 94. The link was www.parentsincluded.com. The site is no longer active. 95. See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/to-parent/. Note that the term co-parent evolved during the divorce revolution, as mothers and fathers were urged to be effective co-parents in the wake of their split. The term is now also commonly used to describe situations in which two or more men and women (who may be gay or straight) plan to conceive and raise a child together without being involved in a romantic relationship and usually without living together. 96. Center Kids, Center Families Sperm and Egg Mixer! The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, http://www.gaycenter.org/node/2452. 97. The ad listed a P.O. Box and advised: Must be white, in good health, no family history of ADD or ADHD please. Website viewed July 12, 2005; link is no longer available. 98. Rosanna Hertz, Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 81. Further references to this work will be cited parenthetically within the text. 99. James Meikle, Sperm and Eggs Could Be Created from Stem Cells, Says New Study, Guardian, June 20, 2005, http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2005/jun/20/ genetics.health. 100. Maxine Firth, Stem Cell Babies Could Have Single Parent, New Zealand Herald, June 21, 2005, accessed online. 101. Milanda Rout, Doing Away with Donors, Herald Sun (Australia), June 21, 2005, accessed June 22, 2005. 102. Stem Cell Research May Provide Hope to Gay Couples, Proud Parenting. com, June 30, 2005, accessed July 2, 2005. 103. See Bijal P. Trivedi, The End of Males? Mouse Made to Reproduce without Sperm, National Geographic News, April 21, 2004, http://news.nationalgeographic. com/news/2004/04/0421_040421_whoneedsmales.html. 104. Associated Press, Sperm Donor Ordered to Pay Child Support, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 10, 2007, http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07130/784968-100.stm.



105. In January 2009 in a Toronto family court, a lesbian couple who had used a known donora gay friendlost a challenge. The lesbian biological mother and the gay biological father are the childs two legal parents. The three parties (the lesbian couple and the father) had agreed in a contract before the birth that they would seek a three-parent adoption, which would require a court challenge, but they never did. The lesbian mothers had a falling-out with the gay father, who has maintained a relationship with the child all along. The couple sought to have the second lesbian mother named as the childs adoptive second parent, a move that would require termination of the fathers parental rights. The father refused and a family court judge sided with him. Advocates commented that this ruling could have a chilling effect in Canada on lesbian couples choosing to use a known rather than an anonymous sperm donor. See Shannon Kari, Gamete Donor Rights: Court Back Parental Right of Known Sperm Donor; Ruling May Affect Lesbian Couples, National Post (Canada), January 20, 2009. 106. Parts of this argument were first published in Elizabeth Marquardt, When 3 Really Is a Crowd, op-ed, New York Times, July 16, 2007, http://www.nytimes. com/2007/07/16/opinion/16marquardt.html. 107. Shannon Kari, Ruling may affect lesbian couples, National Post, January 30, 2009, accessed online January 30, 2009. 108. See Law Commission of Canada, Beyond Conjugality: Recognizing and Supporting Close Personal Adult Relationships (Ottawa: Law Commission of Canada, 2001), cited in Dan Cere, Council on Family Law, The Future of Family Law: Law and the Marriage Crisis in North America (New York: Institute for American Values), 32, http:// www.marriagedebate.com/pdf/future_of_family_law.pdf. 109. Gillian Douglas, An Introduction to Family Law, Clarendon Law Series (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 3031, cited in Cere, Future of Family Law, 32. 110. Elizabeth Emens, Monogamys Law: Compulsory Monogamy and Polyamorous Existence, New York University Review of Law and Social Change 29, no. 2 (February 2004): 277376. 111. Ibid., 7. 112. See Roger Rubin, Alternative Lifestyles Today in Handbook of Contemporary Families, ed. Marilyn Coleman and Lawrence H. Ganong (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2004), 3233, cited in Cere, Future of Family Law, 32. 113. Ways to Be Unmarried, Alternatives to Marriage Project, www.unmarried. org. 114. Unitarian Universalists for Polyamorous Awareness, www.uupa.org. 115. Jessica Bennett, Only You. And You. And You. PolyamoryRelationships with Multiple, Mutually Consenting PartnersHas a Coming-out Party, Newsweek, July 29, 2009, http://www.newsweek.com/2009/07/28/only-you-and-you-and-you.html. 116. Ibid.



117. Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy, The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, & Other Adventures, 2nd ed. (Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 2009). The previous edition was published under the title, The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities, by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt (Greenery Press, 1997). 118. Bennett, Only You. 119. LiveJournal, http://www.livejournal.com/community/polyamory/890327.html, accessed fall 2005. Link is no longer live. 120. Ibid. 121. Ibid. 122. Ibid. 123. Bennett, Only You. 124. See Polyamory-Related Books, http://www.polychromatic.com/kids.html. 125. The Polyamory Society Children Educational Branch, http://www. polyamorysociety.org/children.html. 126. Executive summary, Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships, www.beyondmarriage.org. 127. Elise Soukup, Polygamists, Unite! They Used to Live Quietly, but Now Theyre Making Noise, Newsweek, March 19, 2006, http://www.newsweek. com/2006/03/19/polygamists-unite.html. 128. Felicia R. Lee, Real Polygamists Look at HBO Polygamists; In Utah, Hollywood Seems Oversexed, New York Times, March 28, 2006, http://query.nytimes.com/ gst/fullpage.html?res=9806E3D91430F93BA15750C0A9609C8B63. 129. Robert H. Frank, Polygamy and the Marriage Market: Who Would Have the Upper Hand? New York Times, March 16, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/16/ business/16scene.html. 130. John Tierney, Whos Afraid of Polygamy? New York Times, Opinion, March 11, 2006, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04EEDA1331F932A25750C 0A9609C8B63&pagewanted=all. 131. Keith Fraser, Canadian Polygamy Ban Should Be Relegated to Scrap Heap: Civil Liberties Group, Montreal Gazette, March 17, 2011, http://www.montrealgazette. com/Polygamy+should+relegated+scrap+heap+civil+liberties+group/4460606/story. html. 132. Britain Clears Way for Polygamy Benefits, Washington Times, February 12, 2008, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/feb/12/britain-clears-way-forpolygamy-benefits/. 133. Netherlands Recognizes Polygamous Islamic Marriages, NIS News Bulletin, August 12, 2008, available at http://europenews.dk/en/node/13034.



134. Stanley Kurtz, Polygamy Versus Democracy; You Cant Have Both, The Weekly Standard, June 5, 2006, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/ Articles/000/000/012/266jhfgd.asp. Kurtzs columns at National Review Online have documented many events and emerging arguments relating to polyamory and polygamy. See, for example, his Big Love, from the Set: Im Taking the People behind the New Series at Their Word, March 13, 2006, National Review Online, http://old. nationalreview.com/kurtz/kurtz.asp. 135. Jonathan Turley, One Big, Happy Polygamous Family, Opinion, New York Times, July 21, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/opinion/21turley.html?amp. 136. See Mark Henderson, Scientists Win Right to Create Human Embryo with Three Genetic Parents, The Times, September 9, 2005, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ tol/news/uk/article564535.ece; and Ben Hirschler, Scientists Create Three-Parent Embryos, Reuters, February 5, 2008, http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/02/05/usembryo-parents-idUSL0516465820080205. 137. Rosie Beauchamp, Sister Set to Become Surrogate for Gay Brother, BioNews 584, November 15, 2010, http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_82404.asp. 138. Zak Szymanski, Dufty Enters New ArenaParenthood, Bay Area Reporter, April 6, 2006, http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=719. 139. Ibid. 140. Bill Delaney, What If It Were Your Family? San Francisco Chronicle, October 19, 2006, available at http://articles.sfgate.com/2006-10-19/opinion/17317753_1_ wilson-s-comments-parents-moms. 141. Natalie ONeill, Mamas vs. Papas: Two Gay Couples Fight over Custody of Child, Miami New Times, July 16, 2009, http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2009-07-16/ news/mamas-vs-papas-two-gays-couples-fight-over-custody-of-child/. 142. Reported in Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (New York: Crown Publishers, 2005). See also www.betweentwoworlds.org. 143. The Anonymous Us Project was founded by Alana S., who also blogs at FamilyScholars.org: http://familyscholars.org/bloggers/#alanas. 144. Damian Adams, My Daddys Name Is AdoptionNOT! Donor Conceived Perspectives: Voices of the Offspring (blog), May 18, 2011, http://donorconceived. blogspot.com/2011/05/my-daddys-name-is-adoption-not.html. 145. See summary of Fifteen Major Findings, My Daddys Name Is Donor, 714.