Before you get your knickers in a knot, I’m not here to advocate incest. Nup. Nope. Nada. I’m not even here to justify that weird Donald Trump borderline-inappropriate familial convention pat-down he offered to his daughter at the recent Republican National Convention.
You see, funnily enough, there’s actually nothing remotely incestuous about my sister and I planning to have a baby together. Sure, my mother still gets a little confused when she tries to explain the process to concerned friends and family. She still grimaces kindly. She still tilts her head disconcertingly to the side as she clarifies, with caution, how her only two children plan on one day making her only grandchild – erm, together.
Surely every mother dreams of their children being best friends, but most would draw the line somewhere between holding hands in public and intertwining the branches of their family tree.
The thing is, without delving into the looming scientific black-hole that is conceiving a three-parent child (that's a can of worms for another day), the only possible chance my partner and I have of waving our respective biological flags in our future kid's DNA is if my sister donates an egg for my partner's sperm. No, she won't be carrying the baby – just offering up the bun for another yet-to-be-determined woman's oven.
As would be expected when broaching such potentially uncomfortable subjects, I first ran the idea past my sister while we were both a little drunk at a family function. To my surprise, she squealed in delight at the prospect. “Let's do it!” She said, before I was forced to explain that I'm currently a little busy tap-dancing along the poverty line to actually take formulated steps in making another dependent human being. This was all theoretical, this was laying the groundwork – this was planning for the future.
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At the end of the day, there's no right or wrong way to bring a loved child into the world. Yeah, there are those who have vehemently challenged my wanting biological children. There are those who have condescendingly shoved adoption pamphlets down my throat as though I'd never even bothered to give the process a lick of thought or basic Google search. There are those who remain concerned about my sister's ability to reach an informed decision, those who maintain that she'll live to regret her so-called genetic sacrifice.
But that's her decision to make, and she'll never be anything but supported, loved and informed – whichever way her mind wanders.
Call me selfish, call me vain, call me gross – but I can't think of anything more spine-tinglingly spectacular than finding cheeky glimmers of my parents in the face and personality of my child. I want to see my dad's sensitive disposition and penchant for strange existential literature. I want to see my mother's fiery hard-headedness and forgetful nature. I want to see my sister's dynamite creativity and doe-y brown eyes. I want to see my boyfriend's parents in there, too. Their humble personalities and wicked sense of humour; their steely work ethic and perpetual open-mindedness.
Without devaluing those who choose to adopt or go down one of many alternative IVF pathways, I want a child who can see where he or she came from when they look up at their parents. And yeah, our family story might have a few extra narrative beats, a few extra laughs, and a few extra challenges.
But one thing's for sure, when the time comes – it'll always be told with unconditional love.
Would you go down one of these IVF pathways if you were in a same sex relationship?