Leading article: A happy child or a human memorial?

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The Independent Culture
Leading article: A happy child or a human memorial?

: THE OVERWHELMING reaction of the press to the news that Diane Blood is pregnant seems to be an invitation to share in her "joy". While Mrs Blood has shown admirable tenacity in her battle to be allowed to have a baby using the preserved sperm of her husband, who died suddenly of meningitis three years ago, at the very least some reservations should be expressed. We are glad that the Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway, has expressed them. It was neither feasible nor right to prevent Mrs Blood by legislation from using the available technology from having the baby she wanted. And there is no doubt that, if she succeeds in giving birth to a child, it will be the much loved child of a very determined mother, which is a better start in life than many children have.

But it should also be said that - other things being equal - it is better for a child to have two parents than one. This is a view which should be expressed carefully, in order to avoid stigmatising the children, not only of the vast majority of lone parents, who never intended to be such, but also of the minority, like Mrs Blood, who intend from the start to go it alone. That is a free and legitimate choice which any mother is entitled to make, but preferably after weighing up the disadvantages. The other factor is the extent to which the child is wanted as a human memorial to Mrs Blood's late husband, which has the potential to be a burden felt by the child all its life.

Mrs Blood is a thoughtful person who knows her mind and is no doubt well aware of these considerations. We wish the best for her and her child, if the pregnancy carries to term, but refuse to see this as a fairytale story of a mother's heroic battle against adversity.