When Your Sister is Also Your Wife… (aka Humanae Vitae was Right.)

You can’t make stuff like this up.  From the Dear Prudence column at Slate.

Q. Nasty Surprise: My wife and I…were both born to lesbians, she to a couple, and me to a single woman. She had sought out her biological father as soon as she turned 18,…I never was interested in learning about that for myself, but she felt we were cheating our future children by not learning everything we could about my past, too….  I decided to…see if my biological father was interested in contact as well. He was, and even though our parents had used different sperm banks, it appears so did our father, as he is the same person. On the one hand, I love my wife more than I can say….But, I can’t help but think “This is my sister” every time I look at her now. I haven’t said anything to her yet, and I don’t know if I should or not. Where do I go from here?

It’s hard to know what to say in the face of something like this.  It’s the sort of thing that if Catholics had pointed out could happen back in 1978 when Louise Brown was conceived as the first test tube baby would have gotten us laughed out of the room.  Yesterday’s laughingstock is today’s prophetic voice.

Of course, donor-conception was the next step after Louise Brown, and now, the first generation of donor conceived children is coming of age and sharing their pain of feeling all their lives like they were more products than persons, and that their right to know their biological roots have been trampled.

It would be easy to play a story like this for laughs.  Songs like “I’m my own grandpa” come to mind.  But it’s hard to imagine the horror of discovering that your wife is your sister and that your own children are  your nieces and nephews.  What do you do with information like that? What do you tell your children about the genetic lottery you’ve enrolled them in?   Should all of these questions be just one more challenge of modern life?  Or is this the easily avoidable, rotten fruit of seeing life as a product that we can produce how we want, when we want it, and damn the consequences to the product we produce?

Here’s what Humanae Vitae said.

…unless we are willing that the responsibility of procreating life should be left to the arbitrary decision of men, we must accept that there are certain limits, beyond which it is wrong to go, to the power of man over his own body and its natural functions—limits, let it be said, which no one, whether as a private individual or as a public authority, can lawfully exceed. (#17.)


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