Culture

Two Women, One Baby, and One Ultimate Truth

Some truths run so deep that even when we try to deny them we unintentionally speak them out.

That’s the case with Ashleigh Coulter and Bliss Coulter, two women who are in a same-sex relationship and raising a child, Baby Stetson.

Baby Stetson was born from one of Bliss’s eggs and the sperm of a donor. After the egg was fertilized in the lab, new technology was used to transfer Baby Stetson into Bliss’s body for five days for early development. Baby Stetson was then transferred to Ashleigh’s body, where the embryo implanted. Ashleigh carried the baby to term and then delivered him.

The couple, science, and the news media are touting this as something to be celebrated—for the first time two women carried the same baby.

Why does it matter? Because both women have a powerful desire to be a mother. And the desire that their relationship would lead to a child demonstrates their awareness of the truth that natural sexual union is oriented toward new life. More than that even, their effort to concoct an experimental gestation process in which they could both be involved acknowledges the truth that parents and their children are genetically connected. 

The Coulters and Baby Stetson are the most recent experiment of the same-sex marriage and same-sex parenting movement. But their celebrated story demonstrates why same-sex marriage defies what God and nature intended for marriage and children.

God created two complementary sexes that bring diverse gifts to reproduction and to parenting. The Coulters couldn’t produce a child on their own—they needed sperm from a man. That man is Stetson’s father. Even though it is likely that Stetson will never know who he is, will never play catch with him, and will never be able to ask him about his heritage or for advice, Stetson’s very existence, identity, and genetic composition are derived from his father’s unique person, as joined to his mother. He’s intimately connected to him, even though he’ll forever be deprived of him.

Intentionally depriving a child of a father for the alleged benefit of an adult—or two adults—should never be celebrated.

But there is more.

The Coulters wanted so badly to share in carrying the child (though through a purchased method of technological intervention) that they tried something no female couple had ever successfully done before.

Were there risks? Was Stetson preceded by siblings in the attempt? Could Baby Stetson have suffered because of that experiment?

Since there are only two known cases of children being born using this embryo-transfer method, it will probably be a while before we know. But the Coulters and their doctors identified an adult wish and were willing to put a child at risk to satisfy it. That should never happen.

The desire that Ashleigh and Bliss each have to be a mom is natural. And it’s likely that each woman also has a real desire to have a child that shares her DNA. But Stetson only shares DNA with Bliss because he was born from Bliss’s egg. If Ashleigh wants to have a child that shares her DNA, or if Bliss wants to experience the miracle of the birth process herself, they’ll be headed back to the lab . . . to produce another child who will be forever deprived of a relationship with his or her dad.

Their story tells a powerful truth: God created sex as an act of love intended to forever unite a man and a woman as mother and father to the children they, with God’s blessing, create.

Sadly, Stetson’s story will undoubtedly be shaped by the pain that accompanies children whenever adults live in contradiction with that truth.

And though Bliss and Ashleigh had him created—intending to overcome that truth—Stetson’s daily existence may even ultimately testify to them that every child needs and desires to know both his mom and his dad. His unnatural origin—intended to deny it; but his heart—destined to unintentionally speak it out.

Jeana Hallock

Legal Counsel

Jeana Hallock serves as legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a member of the Center for Scholarly and Cultural Engagement.

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