Salonen: Third-party reproduction violates children

The headline from the Norwalk, Conn., news story struck me: "Gay Baby Boom Part 2: A Westport couple shares their personal fertility journey."...

Roxane Salonen
Roxane Salonen

The headline from the Norwalk, Conn., news story struck me: "Gay Baby Boom Part 2: A Westport couple shares their personal fertility journey."

But even more, the accompanying photo of two men holding two young boys, ages 4 and 6, acquired through egg donation and surrogacy.

The men look happy; the boys, a bit shell-shocked. Maybe it was naptime, or just a case of being photo-shy. But I wonder if deep inside, they're screaming, "Where's my mommy?!"

And if not now, someday.

Stories of bewildered, now-grown children conceived in such situations abound at Whether acquired through unmarried singles, straight or gay couples, these individuals, confronting their origins, feel deeply the deprivation that's been handed them.


One shares of dreaming of what his dad might be like. "Gradually, I learned that my dad probably wasn't a god or superhero," he says, adding, "I was crushed to learn that my dad got paid to participate in my conception."

Another spent months trying to locate her sperm-donor father, "only to run into dead ends, lies and people with info unwilling to 'hurt anyone's feelings.'" Disillusioned, she decided to cut off ties with her family "until I get the whole truth."

The devastation cannot be denied, but who's listening? Do we only care about the adults who want children and will go to these lengths? What about the rights of the children?

Children are not objects to be purchased, "things" to which we have a right, but gifts from God. Each of us, without exception, has a mother and father, and it is a basic human right - and an innate yearning - to know them.

A human right protects common goods - things common to each person - and contributes to human flourishing. The website's creator, Alana Newman, a child of sperm-donor conception, says these voices are being squelched.

In April 2013, she wrote testimony for the California Assembly Committee on Health on behalf of those conceived through third-party reproduction, noting that even good intentions to respect "different kinds of families" often conflicts with children's rights; "the right to have a relationship with and be raised by your own biological parents, to not be sold or trafficked or given away unnecessarily."

The children lose, the women paid to be birthing vessels at risk to their health lose, and the money-hungry fertility industry using people for profit turns richer. God saw fit to create new humans through the union of one man and one woman, and our deviations from this comes at steep price.

But by stooping down to peer through the child's eyes, we see clearly what's right. For we were all children once, and the child within us cries out for justice.


"Suffer the little children," a friend remarked after seeing the Connecticut piece. Sadly, they will, more and more, unless we start noticing them and their hurting hearts, and work to end the injustice.

Salonen is a freelance writer who lives in Fargo with her husband and five children. Email her at

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