Infertility is a painful issue for anyone to face, and our hearts go out to anyone experiencing it. But there are limits to our sympathy for one woman, who has decided that her inability to conceive her own baby should be solved in one very icky way. According to a post on Reddit, the woman is pressuring her stepdaughter to donate her egg, to be fertilized by her own biological father.
“At the beginning of the year, my stepmom called me to tell me that she’s heartbroken cause she can’t have bio-children,” bluecoffeebeans wrote on the AITA subreddit on Monday. The stepdaughter is 24 years old, her parents have been divorced for 10 years, and she generally gets along with her stepmother. Until now.
“Stepmom told me that she’s looking into in vitro, and she’s always wanted a child like me,” bluecoffeebeans continued. “She asked if I could consider donating my eggs to her and use dad’s sperm to make a child with the closest DNA match to them. I don’t understand her logic.”
Not only did the stepmother make this inappropriate request, but she even confessed that she’d thought about the father and daughter conceiving the baby, um, naturally. Then, despite the fact that her husband isn’t onboard with any of this (small mercy!), she enlisted his family to pressure her stepdaughter into the arrangement.
“They’ve been bombarding me with messages and calls for my selfishness, saying I’m depriving a good woman of a chance to be a mother and denying my father’s right to have an heir (mom & dad agreed to one child),” she wrote. Now she’s cut off contact from her stepmom, but she’s feeling guilty about it.
Reddit users didn’t hold back with their disgusted responses.
“Your dad’s seed is supposed to impregnate an egg whose genetic material is already half his?” Persimmon_Puree asked, incredulous. “I know infertility can drive people crazy, but Jesus Christ. What medical professional would even entertain the possibility of doing this? NTA NTA NTA.”
Many said there’s no way anyone should be trying to coerce a person to donate her eggs against her will, considering how invasive the procedure can be. But mostly, people were eager to point out that this kind of inbreeding can lead to genetic abnormalities. Most of us already know that, but here’s one Redditor’s very good explanation of the problem:
“If your father had a recessive disorder, there could be a chance that you are a carrier,” Renolad wrote. “Now, normally if a person who is a carrier has a child, it is highly unlikely that the other parent is also a carrier (given that they would be unrelated and a separate genetic line). However, if you have 2 people who are carriers of a recessive disorder, there is a significant (can be up to 25% depending on the genetic factors) chance of the offspring having the genetic disorder. Now, I’m not trying to suggest that you or your father has a genetic disorder, but it’s one of the primary reasons to avoid genetic bottlenecks whenever possible, to mitigate the chances of this happening. So from a genetic perspective, this is also a terrible idea.”
Because of this, several doubted that a fertility doctor would even allow such a thing to occur. We found a paper from the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine outlining the various best practices for families seeking help from relatives for egg or sperm (gamete) donation or gestational surrogacy.
“The Committee… strongly believes that fertility practices should not assist or participate in gamete donation or surrogacy arrangements in which the child would have the same genetic relationship to the participants as would children of incestuous or consanguineous unions between first-degree relatives (including adopted and stepchildren),” says the paper from 2012.
Besides the genetic risks, the committee described two other problems. First, they do not want to encourage parents to make their children feel obligated to donate sperm or eggs to them. Second, there may be a perception that incest occurred, even though IVF isn’t incest, which can be a source of emotional damage to the baby conceived this way.
“Children can never consent to the circumstances of their conception, even if they later become aware of them and suffer from conflicts or disruptions that those circumstances bring,” states the paper. “Persons entering into these relationships should be especially sensitive to the social and psychological complications that might ensue and take special care to ensure that the child’s welfare is protected.”
A quote like that should (we hope) shut up those meddling family members longing for an heir.
We love how these celebrities have been open about having babies via surrogate.