November 8, 2012 by raconteurmagazine
by Nick Gonzo
I actively worry about the future of the children growing in my fictional womb. How will I know that the world will be kind to them? How will I know that they will be given the best opportunities in life? And not just in a sort of pre-determined fate sort of way but also in the genetic lottery of life, will they be blonde like me, black haired like their fictional father/mother, blue eyed, green eyed? Perpetually bald, part-scorpion, how is an imaginary-mother supposed to know? To top off this worry cake with a cherry of doubt there’s also the characteristics that we bring to a child; the nature of our human behaviour inexorably tied into our cells. Will my child get my arty-farty genes or grow up to become an evil tyrant dictator like my uncle Geoffrey? How can a fantasy-mother not worry?
Luckily the people at Fame Daddy have taken the guesswork away completely by providing a Rolodex of celeb Dads who have donated their sperm to help you get preggo with their wunderkind. “Most girls fantasise about dating their favourite boy-band star, or having a fling with a Hollywood actor,” says the Fame Daddy website, “Some will even wonder what a child from that union would be like, both its physical characteristics and potential for success. Fame Daddy is the only premium insemination service to now offer this unprecedented level of intimate VIP access.” for your money, you can have a vial of a celeb tummy-tapioca to make a baby inside you, which according to Dan Richards, the man-mental CEO of the company and interview “err” machine that foddered his way through a grilling on This Morning, will provide you with “a proven winner” and give your child “a head start in life”.
This raises a hurricane of questions, not just the apparent biological and ethical ones, but also a whole host of social ones too. Firstly, and most obviously, what evidence is there that the career a father has has any bearing on what the child will do? There isn’t one gene that makes you tall, or makes you smart or gives my family its hunger for flesh; instead there is a big bucket of alleles that slowly nudge your characteristics in different ways. Because your father is tall doesn’t mean you are, the balance of genes taken from both parents could mess this up and you could be any size. Similarly, because you have gotten pregnant with the seed of a premier league footballer doesn’t mean that you will have an agile child; nimble on his feet with a taste for extra-marital affairs. Plus there is the nature versus nurture thing, wherein if a child has the strong genetics of a genius billionaire philanthropist playboy, they won’t grow up to be Ironman if you shovel chips into their face and allow them to watch SpongeBob square pants until their mind fizzles into the night like a paper-lantern. A genetic predisposition to exercise can very easily be counteracted by chronic fatigue caused by morbid obesity.
Dorothy Bishop, Professor of developmental neuropsychology at the University of Oxford states that: “The idea that we can test for a single gene that causes musical talent, optimism or intelligence is just plain wrong. Even where reliable associations are found, they don’t correspond to the kind of major influences that we learned about in school biology.” And that nukes the idea that the sperm of a genius can create a genius in your loins. If my kid isn’t guaranteed that kind of genetic heritage, what sort of “a head start in life” are my kids going to get?
A social head start. It means that the name of your dearest and distant daddy may open doors for you. If you can say that your father is the man who discovered that Higgs Boson it might get you into nightclubs… well, no, but instead if you say your Dad is Dwight Yorke then, maybe. This seems like a programme developed to give children and mothers bragging rights about who the male counterpart in their family dynamic is, which is all colours of ethically wrong. This service encourages mothers to create kids just to be famous, to breed munchkin-like bait for glossy mags and the tabloids. It’s a nazi-eugenics plot; purposefully making tiny Paris Hilton’s to sell details of their lives, because, if the cult of celebrity dictates that name alone is enough to sell a product, make that product your life, that’ll be enough to flog yourself to the media. A thought occurs to me about a future where we’ve reached celebrity critical mass and conversations regularly follow this pattern;
“Oh, what has Nikki Sixx’s son been up to this week?”
“Hard to say, he has thirty six thousand of them.”
Nevertheless if £15,000 worth of investment into famous seamen can’t give you the social standing or genetic predilection for success what are you selling me? I took the quiz on their website to find out. The very first question provides you with a list of b-list celebrinauts to choose from on purely aesthetic grounds. In fact all of the questions are about you, and where you see you baby succeeding, whether you want them to be tall or short when they take to the stage to receive their soap of the year award. Do you want your child to party like Charlie Sheen or Lord it like Sebastian Coe? Hold your horses, you’re asking me to decide on a MySpace quiz if I want my child to be a mutant coke-fiend or the most boring man on television.
According to the quiz my Fame Daddy is gold-toothed shouter Lil’ Wayne. I have many problems with this. The first is fairly obvious; There’s no evidence my child will even be black, let alone genetically predisposed to like gangsta rap and anal sex with fat women. So, I’d be doing it just for the branding, to literally have a designer baby. This is a souless service, corrupt and twisted, that aims to prey on young women with a tenuous grasp on GCSE biology and a desperate need to be part of the fame game. It’s sad, and it’s greatly disturbing that anyone would buy into this, laying the foundation stone of their child’s life on the idea that their Dad is a famous bloke.
Even then does Fame Daddy expect me to believe that Lil’ Wayne, multi-millionaire musician, would squat over a cup and rub his meat for a few grand? I hardly think that the level of celebs they’re trying to sell to me would actually buy into this project that seems to only dish out ammunition for child support court cases. Even Vernon Kay is out of their league.
And there’s no bragging rights about being Keith Chegwin’s Son.