In a candid moment that surprised not a few gay advocates, singer Elton John has acknowledged that it will be “heartbreaking” when the boy being raised by him and his gay partner grows and realizes “he hasn’t got a mummy.” Elton certainly has broken away from gay orthodoxy with his statement– actually acknowledging that it might be important for a child to have both a mother and a father – blasphemous!
Elton’s 13-month old son was born via a surrogate (not the biological mother), a donated egg and a mixture of sperm from Elton and his partner (so they could both think it was their child). What you have is a complicated mix of parentage and confusing identify that will reverberate throughout the child’s life.
Elton is definitely wrong; the child does have a mother (just as every human being ever born has one). Elton just chose to make sure that the child will never know the woman nor enjoy all the crucial things that having his mother in his life could give him. And that’s a problem!
We have volumes of research citing what occurs to children who are robbed of either their mother or their father – they need both! Enough years have passed that there is also a growing body of research on outcomes for children born of artificial reproductive technologies (ART). One of the most-often referred to studies is entitled: “My Daddy’s Name is Donor,” which gives a glimpse into the minds and hearts of children born via these unnatural relationships.
Here’s a sampling of findings from this study:
- Young adults who are donor offspring experience profound struggles with their origins and identities.
- Family relationships for donor offspring are more often characterized by confusion, tension, and loss.
- Donor offspring often worry about the implications of interacting with – and possibly forming intimate relationships with – unknown, blood-related family members.
- Donor offspring are more likely to have experienced divorce or multiple family transitions in their families of origin. (You can go here to see more.)
Here’s the bottom line:
“Donor offspring are significantly more likely than those raised by their biological parents to struggle with serious, negative outcomes such as delinquency, substance abuse, and depression, even when controlling for socio-economic and other factors.”
Elton so enjoys his young son that he is considering repeating the process to have another child. Elton’s comment implies that he knows that mothers matter, but he chooses to ignore what his child (any child!) might need. It’s what I’ve always argued; the push for gay adoption and the use of artificial reproductive technologies for homosexual couples, (or for single heterosexuals – most often women) is all about meeting adult needs – not about the needs of a child. Sad, sad, sad…