Journal article

Active fathers, natural families and children’s origins: dominant themes in the Australian political debate over eligibility for assisted reproductive technology

Human reproductive technology Children's rights Accessibility Child protection Australia
Attachment Size
apo-nid3182.pdf 91.56 KB

Extending eligibility criteria for assisted reproductive technologies to lesbian and single heterosexual women is a controversial topic in Australia. In this paper, Deb Dempsey analyses three dominant themes in contributions to the public debate and law reform process – ‘active’ fathering, the distinction between social and medical infertility, and children’s right-to-know their biological origins. She argues these themes reveal very different concerns that do not necessarily reflect homophobia or concerns specific to lesbian or single heterosexual family formation. First, the notion that children have a right to a social father reveals much about gendered contestations in heterosexual parenthood. Second, appeals to social/medical infertility and natural families reveal the continuing influence of Christian views about God-given natural law. Third, the strength of opinion about children’s rights to knowledge of their biological origins emphasises the value placed on biogenetic notions of relatedness even by those more accepting of unconventional family configurations.

Publication Details