When Baby Makes Four

We have all heard of the “baby makes four” situation that occurs when an infertile male/female couple pay an outsider to help produce a child for them.  This can be a beautiful solution to the problem of infertility but not when the surrogate parent has a change of heart after the child is born.  Accounts of heart-wrenching custody battles regularly appear in the media.  More often than not, the surrogate is a woman who has carried a child for the infertile couple. As a woman myself, I can appreciate how difficult it must be to give up a child one has borne, no matter what business arrangement is involved. 

My novel, Straight Down the Middle, presents a slight variation of the “baby makes four” scenario.  In the story, a lesbian mother Diane is impregnated by a male acquaintance. After the baby is born, she finds herself caught in the middle between her love for her partner and what she increasingly chooses to see as her duty toward her child.  Societal pressures working in favor of the latter include family disapproval of her non-conventional lifestyle; the societal truism that “a boy needs a father,” and, perhaps most persuasive of all, the biological father’s desire to keep in contact with his son (i.e. “how can I deprive my child of his father’s love?”).  Diane is, in fact, pushed in the direction of “straight” long before her heart follows her mind.

The real-life events on which this novel were based occurred in the 1980s, when Diane’s situation was relatively rare.  But today infertility clinics often actively promote biological parenthood for gay men and lesbians and the numbers of such family units has increased considerably.   From random newspaper accounts and anecdotal evidence I have received, it would seem that that my protagonist’s experience of being torn between two worlds by their child is not uncommon either.

 Please leave me a comment.  Let’s get a discussion going.

4 Responses to “When Baby Makes Four”

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  • Diane Warner:

    A modern story of how family choices are changing. Portrays the daily life of the individuals involved in making their decisions about having and raising children. Shows the complexity in trying to please everybody including yourself. Takes a middle of the road point of view from the eyes of a qualified sociologist.

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