Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

Magic Babies

Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

Magic Babies

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: This paper present a thesis that babies are conceived psychogenetically at the same time that they are conceived physically. The manner of their conception becomes an unthought known as part of their being. The term magic babies has been chosen to indicate babies that are produced by various reproductive technologies. The implications of reproductive technology for the welfare of the babies being produced, for their conceivers, bearers and rearers, for their siblings, grandparents and extended family, for their potential children and grandchildren, and for society will also be discussed. A review of electronically operated toy babies will be presented, with an emphasis on the relevance of the production of these mechanical magic babies to the production of human magic babies, both of which are rapidly occurring contemporaneously in our culture.

INTRODUCTION

In recent years there has been a burgeoning development in the production of what I have chosen to call magic babies-babies that are produced by means of various reproductive technologies that bypass their creation through heterosexual intercourse between their parents. These artificial means of reproduction involve such things as the use of sperm or egg donors, in vitro fertilization (IVF), gestational surrogates, multifetal pregnancy reduction, cryopreservation, the destruction of superfluous frozen magic babies, and their sale as commodities. On the horizon there is serious consideration being given to the possibility that babies might soon be produced by means of the still developing genetic engineering technique of cloning.

MAGIC BABIES AS COMMODITIES

The manufacturers and users who attribute human qualities to mechanical toys, the producers and acquirers of magic babies, the legal, medical, and ethical authorities who dehumanize babies by describing them in the early stages of their lives as fertilized ova or preembryos who possess only "potential life," plus the theologians who argue about defining the exact stage in prenatal development during which the soul enters the body, all share in common a presumption of entitlement to define who or what is human, and to bestow or withhold humanness as they wish.

I would suggest that it is an open and as yet unanswered question whether or not human magic babies are being adversely affected by the manner of their conception. The question of possible adverse effects is one of great importance for a society that increasingly contains a distortion and debasement of the sacred meaning of human life. The feelings we observe in abortion survivors and adoptees (Sonne, 1994 a, b; 1995, 1996 a, b; 1997), who often suffer from feelings of being unrooted, not fully alive, real, present, not first class, entitled, connected, loved and loving. These feelings that are transferential derivatives from their experience of ambivalence and disruption in thenprenatal and post-natal parental holding environment, may be a harbinger of things to come with magic babies.

In fact, adoptees and abortion survivors could be considered magic babies of a sort themselves, since adoptees are magically redefined by law in new birth certificates as the biological children of their adoptive parents. Abortion survivors live surrounded by an aura of doubt about then- entitlement to an authentic existence and the knowledge that they could have been magically declared nonexistent at any moment during their prenatal lives. Ney (1983) has postulated that a whole generation of children, which we call Generation X, has grown up feeling like abortion survivors just from knowing about the legality of abortion on demand since Roe vs. Wade. Many adoptees and abortion survivors see themselves as commodities that could be returned, discarded or aborted, if they proved to be unsatisfactory. If they feel that way, should we not consider the possibility that the current crop of magic babies, who are being technologically created to meet consumer demand, will quite likely feel-even more so than abortion survivors and adoptees-that they are commodities produced to gratify the desires of others, and that they are not truly human. …

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