MEET THE NEW POLYGAMY — Or, Perhaps, the New Patriarchy?

by Jennifer Johnson
Clash Daily Guest Contributor

Did you see this article in the Hollywood Reporter?

23 Hollywood Moms with Same Sperm Donor and One Crazy Vacation

It gives a glowing account of 23 Hollywood moms who have used the same sperm donor to conceive children. Given the growing acceptance of sperm donation, I think it’s time we talk about the archaic, polygamous family structure that sperm donation is resurrecting. First I will show what this ancient family structure looks like by drawing from a well known historical reference and creating a diagram of it. Then I will show how the “new” family structure resembles the old when both are rendered according to genetic ties. Then I will compare these with the monogamous natural family structure.

Let’s turn to the Bible, to the Old Testament in Genesis. The Patriarch Jacob had two wives and two concubines. Between the five of them they had more than 13 children–twelve named sons, one named daughter, and an unknown number of other daughters who are not named. Below is a diagram of what that family structure looked like.

diagram 1

Notice these features:

— The women are sharing the man’s DNA with other women.
— The man’s DNA is shared by all the children.
— The children from different mothers are half siblings (half siblings are when the children –share one, and only one, genetic parent).
— Thus, the man is the central figure.

There is a definite power imbalance between the man and the women. Western Civilization rejected polygamy in about the 12th century, which, in my opinion, was a step forward in terms of equalizing the power of the sexes within the home. We will return to this idea in a minute, but let’s consider also the inequality between the children in this scenario.

As the story in Genesis shows, there is jealousy between the children of the unfavored women (Leah in particular) and the favored woman (Rachel). This makes sense: the favored woman and her children receive special treatment from Jacob, because he loves her and, evidently, he loves her children more than the others. This hurts them and they end up selling one of Rachel’s sons into slavery in an attempt to equalize their situation. The story is a good example of why polygamy is detrimental to women and especially their children. It creates inequalities within the home that the children must struggle with for their entire lives.

The next diagram shows the “23 Hollywood Moms,” discussed in the article linked above.

diagram 2

It looks slightly different than Jacob’s diagram because there are no marriages (or other recognized relationships) between the man and the women. Remembering that we are creating these diagrams according to genetic ties, here are the same features of the polygamous family structure:

— The women are sharing the man’s DNA with other women.
— The man’s DNA is shared by all the children.
— The children from different mothers are half siblings.
— Thus, the man is the central figure.

It’s easy to find other current examples. Let’s imagine a diagram based on the film, “Delivery Man”. This diagram would have sperm donor David Wozniak in the middle, his 533 kids surrounding him and their mothers at the periphery. It would have the same features as the previous diagrams:

— The women are sharing the man’s DNA with other women.
— The man’s DNA is shared by all the children.
— The children from different mothers are half siblings.
— Thus, the man is the central figure.

More examples:

Sperm Donor Has Fathered 87 Kids the Natural Way

One Sperm Donor, 150 Offspring

Sperm Donor Who’s “Fathered” 400 Kids Calls for Better Regulation of Genetic Material

Feckless father of 17 children to 15 different mothers facing life sentence after being found guilty of murder

All of these would have the same characteristics as the previous structures. Here is a diagram showing the last example:

diagram 3

Let’s compare the polygamous family structure to the kind of family structure that Jesus upheld—the natural family structure founded on natural marriage. This is a monogamous man and woman who are married to each other and who bear their own children.

diagram 4

— The features of the other examples are not present here:
— The woman is not sharing the man’s DNA with other women.
— The man’s DNA is shared by all the children… BUT…
— So is the woman’s. This means that the children are all full blooded siblings.
— Thus, no one person is the central figure.

This structure’s beneficial influence on children is well documented elsewhere, so I won’t repeat it here. Sperm donation is allowing fewer men to propagate their DNA much farther and wider than was possible under old-style polygamy, which is creating structural issues and ethical problems that the children—not the men—must face. Natural marriage and strict sexual mores curb the amount of DNA any one man can propagate to women and to subsequent generations.

Maybe Jesus knew what he was talking about when he tried to stop polygamy in Matthew 19 and Mark 10. Christians have every reason to be proud of their religion for upholding the best and most equitable family structure there is: the natural family founded on natural marriage.

Image: https://5jsext.wikispaces.com/damo’s+Torah+page

Jennifer Johnson is the Director of Outreach for the Ruth Institute.

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