‘The Kids Are All Right’ Brings to Light Valuable Lessons in Reproductive Technology
The Kids Are All Right was a critically acclaimed movie released a couple years ago. It is the first movie, to my knowledge that treats the issue of reproduction technology in a serious way. The children of two gay moms decide to search for their sperm donor, because like all children, they are very curious about their dads. When they contact the dad, he has forgotten even donated sperm 19 years ago.
I found that the kids feelings of curiosity to be very true to life and the concern that they would hurt their “moms” feelings if they searched, are also very true to life. The first meeting with Paul is full of awkward pauses and strangled conversation, but the kids do feel a bond with this man with their dad. He surprises himself by feeling something for them as well.
The moms have different reactions to Paul. One of the moms find the experience to be totally natural and normal and appears not to be threatened by the experience. The other mom, begins to worry that she will need to “timeshare her kids”, and is feeling particularly threatened by this because her daughter is about to leave for college. The drama is heightened by the relationship between the adults, and by Paul’s growing awareness that at 50 years old he really does want a family. The film does demonstrate that the kids are all right, but leaves us guessing as to the long-term relationship between this unconventional family.The Kids Are All Right trailer
As our society begins to be open to unconventional families, and continues to explore the realities of reproduction technology, I think this film will be seen as the first one to attempt to tell the story in a humorous, truthful and serious way. Because I was not an expert on reproductive technology and adoption, I asked Kris Probasco to give us her opinion about the movie. She provides an interesting point of view and some great resources:
In terms of the movies, The Kids Are Alright, I think it showed a couple things. The kids are going to find out information on Facebook, the internet, and different search engines. So thinking about keeping a donor’s identity anonymous is really foolishness on the fertility business’ part. Also, the movie did address an old cliché that a lot of people are concerned about: that a single mom will want to have a romantic encounter with the donor if they have contact. I think it is a myth, but at the same time this movie showed this can happen. I think it would also be a good idea to go to the DSR, Donor Sibling Registry, which is the only registry in the United States where families can register to connect to fellow donor siblings as well as the donor.