planned pregnancy with strangers

Dear TP,

I’ve been single for five years, I’m turning 35, and it seems time to throw in the towel on the nice nuclear family I’d been hoping for. If I were to take a vacation and have unprotected sex with 5-7 strangers in order to get pregnant, whose consent should I be asking for? Do the men have a right to know what I’m trying to do? I’m not looking for child support, an involved father, or even to know whose sperm, exactly, my uterus might pick. I just need the kickstart to make this happen.

— Anonymous in Spain

Dear AS,

The men out there who will have unprotected sex with you are mindbogglingly stupid, but they still have a right to know about your plans. Perhaps some of them know they have dispositions to genetic disease that for ethical reasons they would prefer not to pass on? Perhaps some would wish to be knowledgable about or even involved with the fate of their sperm? And perhaps some would simply abhor the thought of being fathers, even in a strictly genetic sense?

That said, it’s hard to care too much for the plight of the idiots who would nevertheless agree to (and likely even seek) unprotected sex with you. I’m much more concerned about your first question: whose consent should you be asking for? How about your future child? He or she is about to be subjected to your risky behavior, but obviously can’t consent. Unprotected sex with strangers doesn’t just put you and your improvised stud farm at risk, but also the eventual kid. See here for a full list of the lifelong (or life-ending) medical horrors that you could visit upon your future child.

I do feel bad for you, AS. Your situation sucks. And your desire to mother someone, even if you have to take on this huge task on your own, is admirable. But you seem to be so focused on your desire to be a mother that you’ve lost sight of what’s best for your future child. There are ethical ways to have a child on your own, whether through a sperm bank or a fully informed, tested and trusted male friend. My advice is to put those mothering instincts to work early and think carefully about what would be best for your eventual child.

— TP

Dear TP,

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Well, we’ll see what happens.

— AS