Children are being ignored while the media invests heavily in the adults’ side of the IVF equation. This week as the debate over homosexual marriage hots up, a very important Senate committee report on donor conception practices was tabled which should have far-reaching effects on the issue. However, “should have” is not the same as “would have”. Aside from a couple of brief reports in the Fairfax press, the news media have been strangely silent on this report with its criticisms of the in-vitro fertilisation industry and the whole murky business of donor conception, and some powerful testimony of the often brutal effects on the children who are its products. This lack of interest in the downside of the new biotechnological-produced family seems odd. Although the majority of these children are born into heterosexual partnerships where one partner is infertile, there have been a number of stories — including a cover story in The Weekend Australian’s Magazine earlier this year — about lesbians happily having children who are “co-parented” as the fashionable gender-neutral terminology has it, without any intention of contact with the donor, or in the unfashionable, sex-specific father.
So, one might assume that with the amount of recent focus on the “gay” family, the problems of their donor-conceived offspring would command more attention. But the media have heavily invested in the simplistic emotionalism and cheap moral utilitarianism of the adults’ side of the equation. Now they are somewhat taken aback that those children whose human rights were never considered in the beginning of the great biotech revolution are starting to raise their heads.