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Witten, M. (2017). A Child Mourns the Family He Cannot Come From. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(8):549-554.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(8):549-554

A Child Mourns the Family He Cannot Come From

Molly Romer Witten, Ph.D.

This article investigates the clinical material from the analysis of a young adolescent who was conceived using artificial reproduction techniques (ART). After reviewing the scant literature regarding how a child is conceived through the use of ART, the use of the term birth other is employed to understand this child’s longstanding sadness and sense of isolation. The material from his analysis demonstrates that the meaning of birth other as Eherensaft suggested (2005, 2007) is not the only meaning that an individual can assign to his experience. This child created a fantasy of a family from which he felt excluded because his parents had birth other families within which they were conceived. The material indicated that his attempt at mourning his lack of a genetically based family in a way that not even adopted children often mourn, occurred only in an unconscious manner, inhibiting him from focusing on more age-appropriate concerns. The psychological issues that he brought to his analysis clearly reflected the complexity of the circumstances of his birth and that he felt he existed outside of a family that he could identify with.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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