There's controversy brewing at the Sperm Bank ...
Gay Uncle Brett Berk: Some lesbian friends recently came to visit my boyfriend and me at our house upstate. And guess what? Like every other gay person in America, they're trying to have a kid. This is good news for me, as it means at least one more guaranteed sale of my book. But instead of jerking some man-juice out of one of their friends, adopting one of the thousands of unwanted American children, or trying to steal a baby from the arms of its family in Malawi, they're going the anonymous donor route.
I'm down with this too. But I have to admit that when they started talking about the specifics of why they chose a particular dude from the tens of thousands of cum shots that the Sperm Bank had in their deposit reserve, I got a little ... skeeved out. My friend said, "He's Italian like me, but he's not one of those short Italians because his mother was from Denmark or Norway or something, so he's tall. And everyone on both sides of his family has good teeth. And he has eyes like Meghan [her partner]. And no history of heart disease or cancer. And I found out from my forum online that they have an attractiveness scale that they use internally at the Sperm Bank to rate the donors when they come in. It ranges from two to eight-point-five, and when I asked the lady where he rated, she said 'Eight.' And when I asked how many eight-point-fives they'd ever seen, she said, 'One.' So he's our guy."
Now I'm all in favor of giving your kid all the appropriate advantages. And I suppose that if I were offered choices on stuff like this, I'd tend toward ticking off some of the same boxes. But in my heart, I feel like there's something borderline ... eugenicist about the whole process: picking out a kid -- like a fanny pack or Peruvian alpaca sweater -- who'll match your skin and eyes, or selecting a donor based on his similarity in appearance to an idealized version of yourself or your partner. It just seems like a setup for an even deeper form of narcissism than the one normally derived from participating in what I like to call "The Ultimate Vanity Project." Maybe straight people pick their partners for the same reasons: they'll breed well? Or maybe I'm the only one who rankles at this. What do YOU think?
|Brett Berk, M.S. Ed. has worked with young children and their families for over 20 years--as a classroom teacher, preschool director, and research consultant--and is the author of "The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting."|