When Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana used social media to air their views about same-sex families, IVF treatment and so-called ‘synthetic children’ last week, it was like reading something written years before the two famous designers were born.
Aside from the tone of their messages, the actual language used was archaic, and to those with children born through IVF treatment, extremely offensive. Phrases such as ‘synthetic children’, ‘uterus to rent’ and ‘sperm selected from a catalogue’ provoked such a strong reaction that any explanation the pair could offer was lost amidst the swarm of a popular backlash.
Dolce and Gabbana were born into Italian and Sicilian families featuring the traditional biological mother and father dynamic. Both men have benefited from years of love and support from those families; their positions of prominence within such a competitive industry would have been almost impossible to achieve without it.
But their sentimental recollections of their own experiences growing up, however positive, do not prove that this traditional family structure is the ‘correct’ or ‘best’ one for a child. In today’s progressive society, where the number of ‘alternative’ families actually outnumbers ‘traditional’ ones (see Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms by Professor Susan Golombok, Cambridge University Press), the debate around family types is becoming more and more redundant.
‘Alternative’ is becoming the norm
It is no longer important for a child to grow up in the same home as their biological mother and biological father. What is more important is that the child grows up in a home where he/she is loved and provided for. Dolce and Gabbana’s comments seem to suggest that only a biological mother and father can provide this for a child, which is simply untrue.
‘Alternative’ is becoming the norm, and in the same way that adopted children have now lost much of the stigma that they carried for many years, children born through IVF (whether to traditional mother and father, same-sex parents or other ‘alternative’ families) will eventually be classified no differently to children born as a result of natural conception between a heterosexual man and woman.
The number of opponents to same-sex-parent families and IVF treatment is now far lower than when Dolce and Gabbana were growing up. The cultures in which they were both raised would have been against same-sex relationships and treatments such as IVF, so the designers’ comments can be understood a little more given the context in which those views were shaped.
But the aggressive nature of their outburst means that their views will only find sympathy with those who already agree with them. They are not likely to change the minds of those who are in favour of same-sex parents and/or IVF treatment, or sway those who are on the fence. The online community does not accept such vicious, random scorn, and before long the rest of society usually follows.
It would be wonderful to think that, within the next five to 10 years, opposition to IVF treatment and same-sex-parent families could be almost non-existent. Judging by the widespread condemnation of D&G’s comments, that achievement may be closer than we think.
At Herts & Essex Fertility Centre we believe that, in the same way that every child deserves a loving family, every family deserves the chance to love a child, no matter what form that family comes in.
To find out more about our work with alternative families, visit: http://hertsandessexfertility.com/alternative-families/#sthash.zgWyU6HG.dpuf or call us on 01992 78 50 60 to arrange a confidential consultation.