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Solomon, B. (2017). Epilogue: Artificial Reproduction Techniques and Psychotherapy. Psychoanal. Inq., 37(8):555.
(2017). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 37(8):555
Epilogue: Artificial Reproduction Techniques and Psychotherapy
Brenda Solomon, M.D.
Since I began collecting these articles, I have found the impact of artificial reproduction techniques (ART) is increasingly present in my psychoanalytic practice, as well as the media. Some patients struggle with genetic abnormalities, polycystic ovaries, unconscious conflicts, and their professional ambitions. Knowing that motherhood can derail a career, women are waiting longer and longer to have children. In the United States, first-time mothers have aged nearly five years since 1970—as of 2014, they were 26.3 as opposed to 21.4. Some 40% with bachelor’s degrees have their first child at 30 or older. Fathers are waiting along with the mothers—what else can they do? (Shulevitz, 2016).
We are beginning to psychoanalytically treat the children born from ART. Their fantasies and pain come into view, as well as some of the difficulties of their parents. One woman who chose to do a reduction of multiples, now struggles with guilt: Was her choice responsible for her child’s learning difficulties? Another man used donor sperm to enhance his fertility. He does not consider this resulting child psychologically really his.
Patients often elect to use ART, often without benefit of analytic consideration until complications ensue. The articles in this issue will inform the clinician of some of these conundrums. The rapid dissemination of technological advances in the United States has become synthesized in our patients, many of whom are of child-bearing age. We hope the potential lags between our patients and their therapists about ART will diminish. Countertransference to the new is inevitable.
Paraphrasing Dumbledore’s words from J. K. Rowling’s book, The Prisoners of Azkaban, can be modified for psychoanalysis and ART: “The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.” And time travel, like ART and the art of psychoanalysis, affords the possibility of imagining promising futures and amazing, unimaginable worlds.
Shulevitz, J. (2016, June 12), How to fix feminism. The New York Times, p. SR1.
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