Thomas Beatie is due to give birth in six weeks. Please note, that was not a typing error, the name is THOMAS Beatie. He and his wife are said to be a "happy couple deeply in love. My belly is growing with a new life inside me. I am stable and confident being the man I am." (I'm quoting from The Daily Telegraph)
OK, this guy started his life as a woman; ten years ago he started the process to change his sex and then at some point stopped the process in order that he could have a child. He is, however, legally a man and in the photograph he certainly has the facial (at least) characteristics of a man.
Has the world gone mad? On the same day that this was published in the UK, the English Parliament is debating the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. The debate today includes an amendment to reduce the legal date of abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. There are also clauses about "Saviour Siblings" and hybrid embryos. I am instinctively against these but as I know very little about the science and the scientific reasons, and as I also have never (thank God) had a sick child in need of a transplant, I do not feel able to argue the case. There are plenty of others already doing it anyway.
The debating of the Bill has bought to public attention something else which I feel less inclined to leave without comment and that is the so-called "Need for a Father" clause which is being changed to "Supportive Parenting". Of course, in some ways it's irrelevant as Human Rights and anti-discrimination laws mean that clinics are not allowed to discriminate against single or gay women who want to have fertility treatment. Human Rights have decided in their wisdom that a real live father figure is no longer necessary in any part of the creation or bringing up of a child. But still, the government has amended the wording to "Supportive Parenting" and personally I think they should have left it alone.
Of course, with or without IVF treatment a single or gay woman is able to have a child by the, er, traditional method, however distasteful she finds it or however inconvenient - ie She could use the services of a man. The argument against this is apparently that women would be taking part in dangerous, unprotected (obviously) sex and health risks are huge. Surely, if you want to be a mother that badly you want to be a responsible mother and should be prepared to ensure the safe health of the man. And of course, there is nothing to stop a woman going to a clinic with "a man" who may or may not be a friend but who is certainly nothing to do with the potential child.
I don't deny that I have personal issues with fertility treatment. I don't think every woman has an automatic right to a child and if a woman makes a lifestyle choice she should live with the consequences of her ticking body clock. There are women under the age of 30 who are unable to conceive - yes, they should have fertility treatment and yes, it should perhaps be provided by the state. But to have fertility treatment provided by the state simply because you have decided to follow a career into your 30's or because the traditional method of conception is not something you want to "go through" is not something I am able to support.
So what is the answer and where am I going with this? I don't know. I suppose that in this day and age there is no clear answer. Human Rights have done for the traditional family of mother, father and child/children. So, I am a traditionalist.
But I do know this: If you join a club, a community, an internet forum even, or if you move to a different area or country and the place changes to something you don't like, you can leave.
The world is changing and I don't like what I am seeing. Help, I want to get off.