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      Get Smart on the Web   09/16/2016

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Hello! My husband (1st cousin) and I have been married 7 years. We have decided to go forward with trying to grow our family using donor sperm. I must admit to feeling great guilt on the subject; I don't want my own choice to accept the consequences of our taboo relationship to be forced on our children. I worry for them! May I ask about other parents and how they traverse this aspect of childbearing? I want to avoid imposing shame whilst not setting them up for harassment. 

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may i ask if your decision to go the ivf route is based solely on your fear of having a biological child with your husband? fears of birth defects or of public scorn? because if that is the case, i strongly urge you to do some research, see a genetic counselor, and then reconsider based on the knowledge you will gain. and if it's fears of what others may say to or about them, then face those fears like you're doing, asking questions and stuff, and learning what the facts are so you can educate people. those who don't want to be educated aren't worth your time anyway.

my daughters were 11 and 12 when i married my cousin. they were at that age when this should have been a huge deal, because there were some children in the neighborhood who were a little less than, in every way. not many people wanted to be around them. and especially not their parents. they seemed like they would fit the *stereotypical* backwoods mountain family... mom had missing teeth, dad was slow, kids were dirty and had constant battles with lice infestations, and i hate to disparage mountain people, and i'm sure they're not all like what TV portrays them as, but this family was what you think of when you hear about people that live in the ozarks. the parents were rumored (falsely i might add) to be cousins, and everybody in our small town seemed to laugh at or about them all the time. especially the kids their age, which included my daughters. 

to top that off, our small town was VERY small, and my husband and i had grown up in it too. so my daughters were going to school with the children of our former classmates. some of their teachers were the same ones that taught us. our relationship had the potential to be devastating to their social life.

so when we told the girls we wanted to marry, we were expecting all sorts of objections. instead, they asked questions. is it against the law (we live in texas, and at that time it was not illegal even for first cousins to marry).. if we had kids together would they be freaks, were we going to go to hell, yada yada yada. we were prepared to answer their questions honestly, and we did. and 20 minutes later they were getting excited about wedding plans. as for how others viewed it? well, the bullies in town tried to tease the girls for about five minutes... and when my girls responded with facts rather than fiction, it turned the tables and made the bullies feel foolish. that was the end of that. people will only pick on people that are not able to defend themselves.

this does not have to be a big deal. in fact, it's only a big deal if YOU make it one. if you want children together, have them. there is very little chance of birth defects, and a genetic screening can detect any concerns before you ever even conceive. and then raise your children with the knowledge of who they are and never make them feel ashamed of their heritage. 

and consider this. you're living in a time when social constructs are being turned upside down. people are giving birth to children and putting "undecided" on their birth certificates where their gender should be. children are being taught that there is no such thing as male and female, that we are all on some sliding scale and that penises and vaginas mean nothing. they're being taught that they can love and marry anyone or anything and that it is A-OK.  it's mind-blowing, really. but with all THAT going on, anyone in the millenial or snowflake generations who decide that it's "wrong" for cousins to marry is just the worst sort of hypocrite. and those are people your children should be taught to ignore.


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Thank you so much for your time in responding! I will get back to you more later, but briefly;

our choice of donor sperm has other reasons too so it's just another "bonus" factor for us that we no longer have to consider that risk. It's not the same as IVF, so the cost and whatnot are much reduced from what you're probably thinking.

What you said about "countering with facts" really struck a chord with me. I am a very science/ fact-based type person (vice an emotional perspective) and can imagine how to do that. I'm letting fear get to me



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