But what about this couple? The wife was raised by two lesbians and had learned who her donor dad was when she turned 18. The husband, raised by one lesbian, was never interested in learning the identity of his donor dad until this year, when, for their anniversary, he decided to find out who his biological father was. To his utter shock, he learned that it was the same as his wife’s donor dad. (For the common traumas experienced by children of sperm donors, in particular anonymous sperm donors, see my article, “The Kids Are Not Always Alright.”)
Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time such a thing has happened – or, at least, was feared to have happened. A 2008 article reported that lesbian couples in South Australia were “‘at risk’ due to prolific sperm donors.” The article noted that, “There have been reports of one man impregnating 30 lesbian women, whose children now socialise together. Unless they are aware of their shared parentage, there is concern some of them could commit incest.”
Yes, this is another tragic consequence to the breakdown of the family in our generation. Not just fatherless kids, but married couples produced by the same father. Are we really so bigoted to stand for natural, organic marriage?
Returning to this particular incestuous couple, the husband wrote, “On the one hand, I love my wife more than I can say, and logically, done is done, we already have children. I have had a vasectomy, so we won't be having any more, so perhaps there is no harm in continuing as we are. 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? I am tempted to burn everything I got from the sperm bank and just try to forget it all, but I’m not sure if I can. Please help me figure out where to go from here.”
Without a doubt, this is a difficult, painful situation, and I can understand that “Prudence” could be faulted for any answer she might give. (She counseled him to tell his wife, get counseling as a couple, and move on with life, never telling the kids.)
What’s shocking, though, is her overall attitude: “I think there's way too much emphasis put on DNA. Yes, you two will have had a shock, but when it wears off you will be the same people you were before you found out. Shocking news has the effect of making people feels as if the waves it sends out will always rock them. But I think you two should be able to file away your genetic origins and go on.”
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.