July 18 – Madiba’s birthday – one of the greatest humanitarian of the 20th century and possibly ever. His words and actions continue to inspire us. In the 21st century, we are dealing with some sensitive and complex human rights issues as well. Come take this journey with us to understand what it means to deal with intersex (DSD), immigration, IVF (infertility) simultaneously while being forced to become invisible. The four I’s. One can understand that most people would not know the complications of dealing with the 4 I’s but if educated and made aware they can appreciate and understand why equal rights for intersex and IVF children and families is the right answer. Living in secrecy, living with lies is never the right answer. Because secrecy and stigma are the biggest culprits which may force some people to lie, cheat, fraud, break laws. How do words of Madiba resonate as we fight for equal rights in the 21st century? For those who think is the child happy, the question is can he be happier with his sibling and loving biological family? The question is will truth prevail or will he be “happy” under the guise of secrecy and lies? The question is as an intersex family, we have already witnessed and been victimized what lies do to innocent children – the result is we have two SPLIT siblings, lets NOT repeat lies in the “best interest of the children”. You would have to walk a step in the shoes of an intersex, IVF, immigrant, invisible family first before passing any judgement. Whatever judgement you pass, add a line at the end…”and thats why its OK to abandon a child AND split innocent siblings”. You will get the answer from your heart.
1) “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
If people can offend someone by wrong words or actions, they can make it right by saying the right words or actions. If people can deny someone their rights including innocent children, they can make it right by respecting their rights. It is sad that prevailing laws require a “genetic link” between a US parent and a child born outside the US meaning an infertile person in the US can never legally bring a child born outside the US. The right answer is to change the laws and bring them in sync with 21st century ideologies. It is wrong to use secrecy, lies, cheating, fraud, breaking the laws, abandoning innocent children, placing innocent children in legal limbo to have a child at any and all costs and denying rights to several people for the sake of one. Fix the laws, dont split innocent siblings under lies – it will never be the right answer. Learn to say the truth instead of learning to lie – a good lesson to also teach our children. If someone can be taught to be selfish, we can also learn to respect all. If someone can be taught to lie, they can also be taught to say the truth because truth comes naturally.
2) “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
Dealing with the 4 I’s in 2000s simultaneously is well a recipe for death. It is the secrecy and lies which will do you in. Thanks to the support of loving family and the fact that “it takes a village” to raise a child where friends and neighbours still help out is why we can cheat DEATH despite being left to die. The second life has been given to make a difference. Before we were making a difference silently and now it’s time to make a difference vocally by spreading awareness and education so that equal rights for intersex and IVF children and families become a reality. Because if these rights existed in 2000s, two innocent IVF siblings would not be growing apart. Innocent IVF siblings are victims of the war on fertility. Lets make it a better world, lets make a difference with truth and respect.
3) “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
For decades, medical professionals, highly educated and possibly the best subject matter experts in dealing with intersex health care relied on a concealment based approach including secrecy, lies, creating fraud medical records claiming it to be in the “best interest of the patient”. After years of objections, they were finally proved wrong despite their highest education and credentials because they had used “lies”. In fact the actions are so bad that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture called for a STOP to such intersex surgeries basically amounting to calling the medical professionals actions for decades as “torture”. While the ones who perpetrated these actions will NEVER be tried, let us learn and never LIE to innocent children. It does NO good. Let us NOT lie to IVF children and repeat the same mistakes. We have evidence of what happens when a system teaches and helps a person lie, they become arrogant and start lying and breaking laws which denies other people their basic human rights like an opportunity for a brother to grow up with his sister he wanted OR a son wanting to grow up with his biological father, his primary care provider OR a daughter who is left abandoned and stranded forcing her father to raise her in exile away from her brother OR ALSO ABANDON her. Education is more powerful and dealing with the 4 I’s in 2000s and is all about CHANGE.
4) “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
For to have the love of a child where laws itself falls short, it is not love when it has come at the price of abandoning their sibling and SPLITTING siblings OR placing both innocent IVF children at risk and in legal limbo. Do they have the freedom to go anywhere in the world and explore? Do they have a legal identity? Is making an innocent child “legally invisible” respecting their rights and freedom? Are there laws to respect the rights of an IVF child when born during a divorce? Why is there an IVF prison for innocent IVF children and families? Is it such a heinous crime to want to build families through IVF that the punishment is to SPLIT innocent siblings and parent?
5) “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
These words have carried us far and will continue to do so. How many people you know who have gone through the trauma of the 4 I’s simultaneously and lived to say the truth? If you fall for the sake of a child, is it really a “fall”? Lets learn and NOT repeat what we did for decades to intersex children by lying and forcing “societal norms”, lets not repeat the cycle with innocent IVF children and expect a different outcome. Let’s end the cycle of secrecy, lying and provide real meaning to the phrase, “best interest of the child”. As a society, let us not fall, let us rise with respect and truth.
Secrecy and stigma are the real cuplrits, lets overcome them with education and awareness while maintaining truth and respect for all.