Tag Archives: Married

Is it moral for a woman to conceive a child from an anonymous sperm donor?

I am opposed to any policy or program that increases the odds that a child will not have a relationship with their biological father as they grow up. This would include anything that makes it easier for parents to divorce or that facilitates single motherhood. Consequently, I oppose premarital sex, abortion, sex education in schools, no-fault divorce, and giving legal recognition to cohabitation or same-sex marriage. I want children to be able to have their biological father and biological mother close at hand, and to be able to rely on them and know them, so that they don’t feel alone and lost in the world. Although I am willing to permit other arrangements, I think society should celebrate traditional marriage – for the sake of the children.

Well, consider one challenge to this ideal situation where a child grows up with a mother and a father: conception via anonymous sperm donor.

Here’s a video that shows how children are hurt when they are denied a relationship with their biological father: (H/T Stacy McCain)

Robert Stacy McCain writes this:

The practice of anonymous sperm donors, and children fathered by them, is certainly legal and has a market. That would lead one to conclude that it is ethical, rather than unethical. In other words I’d say ethical means ‘not illegal’.

But is it moral? […]That is, does anyone think that the Almighty is pleased, and/or glorified by people thumbing their noses at the clear, simple, obvious, form-follows-function beauty of:

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Gen 2:24

There is vast capacity to use modern technology to tinker about with the natural order of things. I’d like to fall short of a sweeping judgement here, in the space of a blog post. It’s possible that there may exist a really good case for why using an anonymous sperm donor is not immoral. But it seems that protecting the father’s (or the mother’s in the case of an egg donor) privacy at the expense of dropping a sizable existential dilemma on the offspring is immoral. That is, the biological parents (i.e. DNA providers) are doing to the child emotionally what the government is doing economically: casting debts upon them without any sort of dialogue. A variation on taxation without representation, if you will. Progressivism seems to be about finding the least vocal victim.

I don’t think that it’s enough for the child to just know who their biological father is, or to just see a picture of their biological father. I think it’s important that we promote the best situation for children, where each child has a real relationship with their biological father. And we can do that, if we are serious, in several ways.

Promoting marriage

Here are few wild, shoot-from-the-hip ideas to help children to have access to their fathers:

  1. We can research how fatherlessness affects children
  2. We can research what decisions are likely to lead to stable marriage, e.g. – regular church attendance and chastity
  3. We can repeal laws that are hostile to lasting marriage, e.g. – no-fault divorce
  4. We can enact laws that are hostile to divorce, e.g. – shared custody laws
  5. We can stop paying unmarried women to have babies
  6. We can give tax deductions to married couples who have babies
  7. We can give tax deductions to couples planning on marrying if they undergo marital counseling from a program of their own choosing
  8. We can give tax deductions to married couples whose children earn incomes, e.g. – the parents get a tax deduction for 1% of income earned by each child for life
  9. We can give tax deductions to married couples whose children don’t collect government assistance, e.g. – the parents get a 1% tax deduction on their household income for every child who doesn’t collect government welfare during the year
  10. We ban IVF for women who have not been married for at least 5 years
  11. We ban all taxpayer funding of IVF treatments
  12. We ban ban all private insurance coverage for IVF treatments

And so on, like that. This communicates to women that it is not OK to have a baby with an anonymous sperm donor. It communicates that we as a society want fathers to be around their children. It communicates that cohabitation is not the same thing as marriage. It communicates that marriages are for life. We need to get tough if we want children to be spared from the harm of not knowing their biological fathers.

Do children make marriages more stable or more happy?

A new study sheds light on how the presence of children affects marital stability and happiness. (H/T Reformed Seth)

Excerpt:

[…][C]hildfree couples divorce more often than couples who have at least one child, according to researchers, despite numerous studies that indicate marital happiness plummets in the first year or two after the birth of a child and sometimes never quite recoups.

Among the research author Po Bronson gathered for his various books, he notes the work done by sociologist Paul H. Jacobson as proof:

“For couples without children, the divorce rate in 1948 was 15.3 per 1,000. Where one child was present, the estimate rate was 11.6 per 1,000. The figure thus continues to decrease, and in families with four or more children, it was 4.6. Altogether, the rate for couples with children was 8.8 per 1,000. In other words, the rate for childless couples was almost double the rate for families with children.”

OK, but Jacobson’s study was published in 1950; is it still true today?

Yes, according to journalist Anneli Rufus, whose number crunching discovered that of the divorced couples in the United States, 66 percent are childless compared with 40 percent who have kids. Why? Evidently, the “absence of children leads to loneliness and weariness.”

[…]So if they’re so happy, why do more kidfree couples end up splitting?

“People assume children are the glue that holds a marriage together, which really isn’t true. Kids are huge stressors,” says Scott, head of the Childless by Choice Project whose documentary on childfree couples was just released. “Despite that, there is a strong motive to stay together. The childfree don’t have that motive so there’s no reason to stay together if it’s not working.” That’s why for Wilde, who says her relationship became too much work and “I don’t think love should be work,” it wasn’t too hard to kiss her prince goodbye.

The article is from an extremely liberal web site, which explains why they are quoting all of these anti-child web sites. There is some sort of doomsday overpopulation myth that people on the left often believe in, against all the evidence. It’s really just selfishness, though.

I think that one of the reasons why childless couples divorce more is because people tend to stay together for the children and try to work it out.

FRC releases new study on marriage and economic well-being

Mary found this little blurb on the Christian Post.

Excerpt:

Marriage plays a big role in the well-being of the U.S. economy, such that sound and stable marriages keep the economy healthy while divorce helps the economy regress, a new report suggests.

The findings released by the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute show how intact married-couple families outperform other family types, including remarried families, divorced families, single-parent families, and cohabiting families, in all of the following economic segments: employment, income, net value, net worth, poverty, receipt of welfare and child economic well-being.

Basically the stats show that the more intact the family remains, the less the difficulties and the inefficiencies the family encounters.

Married-couple families generate the most income with “the median household income twice that of divorced households and four times that of separated households,” reads the report.

Divorced families on the other hand experience a sharp decrease in income after the separation. Divorced women are affected the most as they are 2.83 times more prone to live in poverty than women who remain married.

MARRI Director Pat Fagan, Ph.D, said couples that remain stably married can provide a sound environment where children can be securely fostered while divorce triggers society’s reliance on government welfare programs – programs that currently cost tax payers around $112 billion per year.

Then I went looking for the research paper and found this press release.

Excerpt:

The economic well-being of the United States is strongly related to marriage, which is a choice about how we channel our sexuality. The implications of sexual choices are apparent when comparing family structures across basic economic measures such as employment, income, net worth, poverty, receipt of welfare, and child economic well-being. In all of these the stable, intact married family outperforms other sexual partnering structures; hence the economy rises with the former and encounters more difficulties and inefficiencies as it diverges from it.

Family Structures and Economic Outcomes:

  • Employment and Income. Married-couple families generate the most income, on average. Young married men are more likely to be in the labor force, employed, and working a full-time job than their nonmarried counterparts. Cohabiting men have less stable employment histories than single and married men. Married families generally earn higher incomes than stepfamilies, cohabiting families, divorced families, separated families, and single-parent families. According to one study, married couples had a median household income twice that of divorced households and four times the household income of separated households.
  • Net Worth. Intact, married families have the greatest net worth. A family’s net worth is the value of all its assets minus any liabilities it holds. Married households’ net worth is attributable to more than simply having two adults in the household: a longer-term economic outlook, thrift, and greater head-of-household earning ability (the marriage premium) all contribute to greater household net worth.
  • Poverty and Welfare. Poverty rates are significantly higher among cohabiting families and single-parent families than among married families. Over one third of single mothers live in poverty. Nearly 60 percent of non-teenage single mothers rely on food stamps or cash welfare payments.
  • Child Economic Mobility and Well-Being. Children in married, two-parent families enjoy more economic well-being than children in any other family structure. Children in cohabiting families enjoy less economic well-being than children in married families, but more than children in single-parent families. The children of married parents also enjoy relatively strong upward mobility. By contrast, divorce is correlated with downward mobility. A non-intact family background increases by over 50 percent a boy’s odds of ending up in the lowest socioeconomic level.

Having a high net worth is necessary if you want to have an impact. With money, you can buy people apologetics books, sponsor debates, get more degrees, and contribute to Michele Bachmann, and send your children to the best universities so they can have an influence. Therefore, we need to be extra careful who we marry, extra diligent about preparing for our roles in marriage, and extra persistent in staying married. We need the money for important things.

The FRC is my second favorite think tank, right behind the Heritage Foundation.

Understanding the effect of sex on your brain chemistry

This article was sent to me by my friend Andrew. It’s by Marcia Segelstein.

Marcia is trying to make the same point about sex that Miriam Grossmann made in her book “Unprotected”. The point is that although bureaucrats and educrats love to tell people about the riskiness of behaviors like smoking and obesity, they don’t tell people the truth about the dangers of casual sex, because they don’t want to antagonize special interest groups like feminists and gay activists.

In the article, Marcia talks about the mental effects of casual sex. She talks about dopamine first, but the one I want to tell you about is called oxytocin. It is very important that you parents of young ladies understand this and present this evidence to your daughters. (The male version of this phenomenon is also explained in the article, it’s called vasopressin).

Excerpt:

Oxytocin is another important brain chemical we are now learning more about.  Oxytocin helps females, in particular, bond with other people.  When a new mother breastfeeds her infant, for example, oxytocin floods her brain.  The effect is powerful.  She feels a strong desire to be with her baby, and is willing to suffer the sleepless nights and inconveniences that come with having a baby.

Oxytocin also helps females bond with men.  When a woman and man touch each other in a loving way, oxytocin is released in her brain.  It makes her want more of that loving touch, and she begins to feel a bond with her partner.  Sexual intercourse leads to the release of even more oxytocin, a desire to repeat the contact, and even stronger bonding.  But, like dopamine, oxytocin is values-neutral.  It’s a chemical reaction, or, as the authors write: “[I]t is an involuntary process that cannot distinguish between a one-night stand and a lifelong soul mate.  Oxytocin can cause a woman to bond to a man even during what was expected to be a short-term sexual relationship.”  So when that short-term relationship ends, the emotional fallout can be devastating, thanks to oxytocin.

Another significant finding about oxytocin is that it produces feelings of trust.  That can be good or bad, depending on the situation.  “While the hormonal effect of oxytocin is ideal for marriage, it can cause problems for the unmarried woman or girl who is approached by a man desiring sex….[T]he warning is that a woman’s brain can cause her to be blindsided by a bad relationship that she thought was good because of the physical contact and the oxytocin response it generates.”

This is why Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse says that the only smart sex is married sex. Otherwise you are just coarsening your own self. Neil Simpson calls this the duct tape theory of sex. He explains why sex is like duct tape here. Don’t order your children around – give them the data so they understand the why of chastity.

Why should Christians embrace chastity?

Christians should be chaste because research shows that sex before marriage decreases marital stability.

Story from Life Site News. (H/T Mary)

Excerpt:

Couples who reserve sex for marriage enjoy greater stability and communication in their relationships, say researchers at Brigham Young University.

A new study from the Mormon college found that those couples who waited until marriage rated their relationship stability 22 percent higher than those who started having sex in the early part of their relationship. The relationship satisfaction was 20 percent higher for those who waited, the sexual quality of the relationship was 5 percent better, and communication was 12 percent better.

The study, published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology, involved 2,035 married individuals who participated in a popular online marital assessment called “RELATE.” From the assessment’s database, researchers selected a sample designed to match the demographics of the married American population. The extensive questionnaire included the question “When did you become sexual in this relationship?”

Couples that became sexually involved later in their relationship – but prior to marriage – reported benefits that were about half as strong as those who waited for marriage.

[…]Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved in the study, responded to its findings, saying that “couples who hit the honeymoon too early – that is, prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship – often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.” Regnerus is the author of Premarital Sex in America, a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Because religious belief often plays a role for couples who choose to wait, Busby and his co-authors controlled for the influence of religious involvement in their analysis.

“Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationship form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction,” Busby said.

Research matters when discussing morality

Young men and women growing up really need to be informed by their parents what they are going to want to be doing long term, and what they should be doing today to accomplish those goals. Young people benefit greatly from the guidance of older and wiser people, but in defining goals and defining the steps to reach those goals. To be a convincing parent, you have to be convinced yourself. And to be convinced yourself, you need to be seen as having knowledge, not just opinions, but knowledge. Having the right peer-reviewed papers at hand will help you to be a better parent.

My previous post on research showing how sex before marriage greatly reduces the stability of marriage. That post contains even more research showing that having even ONE pre-marital sex partner can GREATLY reduce the probability that the marriage will last. And it gets worse as you add more partners.

Christians and chastity

What should Christians know about the purpose of chastity?

1. Chastity is not just abstinence

Chastity is not just abstaining from sex. Chastity is the Christian virtue by which Christians take God’s character and goals into account in their relationships with the opposite sex. Probably about 99.9% of the people in the world look at members of the opposite sex and think “what’s in it for me?”. Chastity allows you to look at members the opposite sex, even the unattractive ones, and ask “what’s in it for God?”.

I’ve written about how the goal of life on atheism is to be happy. One of the consequences of this is that atheists look at other people as objects that can make them happy or not, depending on how resistant they are to sticks and carrots. In Christianity, chastity is the gift that allows you to look at people you are not attracted to in the least and to love them enough to help them grow in the knowledge of God.

2. Physical contact clouds the judgment

Chastity allows you to make a better decision about who you are going to marry. When you are desperate to be loved (women) or desperate for physical intimacy (men) it’s easy to hide the bad parts of yourself and to overlook the flaws of others. Physical contact leads to rushed commitments and emotions that are difficult to undo later once you learn more about the other person’s moral and spiritual beliefs.

Chastity allows you to keep God in the picture as you evaluate prospective mates. Instead of looking at candidates who will fulfill your needs, you look for candidates who benefit God, perhaps because they are skilled at explaining Christianity to your future children. Without chastity, women choose men who are amoral, to avoid being judged, and men choose women solely on appearance, who are unqualified for married life.

3. Sex without commitment destroys the capacity for trust and vulnerability

When persons have sex outside of a lifelong commitment, they have to make an effort to separate their emotions from the physical activity. This leads to a kind of “guarded” condition where a person is no longer free to be really engaged emotionally in a relationship. For example, women lose feminine qualities like trust and vulnerability, which are necessary to attract good men without using sex appeal. (Men can tell)

In addition, I would say that when a relationship is kept platonic, the break-ups are going to be a lot less damaging emotionally. All my relationships have been platonic, so even when the break-ups occurred, there was never any physical element to add to the pain. It is important for people to go after the best spousal candidate they can find, not to settle for some amoral loser just to avoid the pain of rejection.

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