Producing offspring from brother-sister consensual incest — Various views and personal cases

[This entry was initially posted to the original Red Keyhole blog on 7 March 2011.]

Perhaps the most salient issue motivating the prevalent taboo against incest – and bolstering its continued criminalization, even in the many cases where incest is consensual – is the question of offspring, and the possibility of transmitting genetic defects. Indeed, incestuous procreation does increase the possibility of birth defects … but is this any greater reason to outlaw consensual relationships? What about “traditional”, non-incestuous couples that happen to be at greater risk for transmitting such birth defects – why are their sexual relationships also outlawed?

Cases of incestuous couples involving close family members (brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons) that wish to produce children from their relationship keep arising, suggesting both that consensual incest, including the desire for offspring, is far more widespread than portrayed in public discussion or imagined by the public at large, and also that the consensual desire to produce children from such incest is also significant.


Growing numbers of brother-sister couples are deciding to produce offspring through incest, despite the risks.

The following excerpts (posted below for educational purposes) have been drawn from postings discussing this issue in a forum on the Dear Cupid “relationship advice” website. Presenting a variety of views and personal cases in regard to the issue of producing offspring through a consensual incestuous relationship, particularly between siblings, the discussion was initiated by an inquiry in October 2008 from a young woman in the United Kingdom, describing herself in the age range 18-21 years old, seeing advice: “We are having a baby through incest – what can I do?”

To everyone that doesn’t understand, this will seem really wrong, but I’ve been in love with my brother (no not step, my actual brother) for the past 2 years after he helped me get over my cheating ex. At the start, I thought it was just an admiration I had for him, but then I realised it was stronger than that. I recently brought it up in conversation with him, and I thought that he would be freaked out, but he wasn’t … He told me he felt the same. Afterwards, we had unprotected sex. A few months later and I’ve had a few pregnancy tests, all of them positive. What will we do now..??!! HELP!!

Of particular interest, besides the other personal recounts of experience with incest, is the wide diversity and divergence of viewpoints offered by the respondents. (For the record, the position of the Red Keyhole blog – reflecting the position of revolutionary Marxists – is that consensual incestuous relationships, including sex and procreation, are individual decisions that should be legal.)

These excerpts (including the one above) have been slightly edited to improve readability (and to correct errors in orthography, word usage, etc.).

A female reader, Rebecca … [in] United Kingdom … writes (12 August 2010):

I think if you love him and he loves you, it doesn’t matter. Who is to [condemn] someone from falling in love with someone? At the end of the day, we are all human beings, and we are all related somewhere along the line … so why aren’t we all deformed?…

I really hope you have had the baby and you are a very happy couple …

A female reader … writes (23 February 2010):

All you can really do is make sure to have as many check-ups and tests as you can. Make sure you behave as healthy as possible to help decrease the risks of deformaties and disabilities and sicknesses. When the child is older, understand that school kids can be cruel as well as adults.

A male reader, … writes (22 February 2010):

Birth defects in incest babies is the biggest myth since the world was thought to be flat. There is absolutely no evidence that suggests that incest babies have a higher rate of defects than other conceived children. These people who believe otherwise have been relying on unproven and false information. Don’t abort.

A female reader, [in] United Kingdom … writes (21 February 2010):

You must have an abortion. Having a child with a relative usually makes the child disabled or possibly they could die.

A female reader, … writes (12 June 2009):

Hey, it has been years now, and I hope you made the right decision, which is … whatever you decided to do, you shouldn’t care what other people had to say,and if you kept your child, I hope he/she is beautiful and that you doing all you can to protect her …

A male reader, … writes (9 June 2009):

I would urge you to talk to a doctor at the earliest possible opportunity, as there can be very serious health implications for the baby – you need facts from a professional before you can take your next decision.

A female reader, Bily [in] Philippines … writes (7 June 2009):

I have a brother … half-brother … We grew up apart until I met him … 31 years of not knowing that he exists. I fell in love with him … There was this kind of connection between us … Feelings were uncontrollable … until we MADE LOVE … and we kept on doing it since that day on. I love him this much that I want to have a baby with him. I know I can’t have him forever, that is maybe the reason why I want to have a child with him. I’m gonna keep the baby, gonna take care of my “little G”.

A reader, … writes (7 June 2009):

Falling in love with your brother is quite a taboo, but if we are already in it, I think we just have to be discrete about that … especially when you are about to have a baby … I am also in love with my half-brother … it’s just it. We never planned … we never wanted. But we’re already in it … We had sex a lot of times, and both don’t regret doing [it] over and over again. I want to have a baby with him … because I know I can’t keep him forever … sad part … Anyways … just be strong, life cannot be that cruel at all … The most important thing is that we experienced how to love and be loved … please take care care of yourself and your baby …

A male reader … writes (2 June 2009):

I recommend to look at tha laws about incest first of all. What says the law about it?

In my country, incest isn’t [outlawed].

By best hopes for you …

Sorry [for] my spelling …

Rubén

A male reader, Hannibal Brown [in] United States … writes (28 May 2009):

Calm down … everything will be all right. If your brother truly loves you the way you love him, he will be helpful and overjoyed. But be sure to break the news to him slowly, it is never a good idea to just rush it. I suggest you go to dinner with him (somewhere nice), and towards the end of your meal look deep into his eyes and gently break the news to him. I wish you both the best of luck and fortune. Many people don’t like incest couples, but if you two have each other, then that is all that matters.

A male reader, Main Man [in] United Kingdom … writes (30 April 2009):

You have to tell your brother that you’re pregnant with his baby. If he loves you like you love him, and accepts the fact you’re pregnant … You should probably move to somewhere you’re not known and live as [a] normal couple. Then tell your parents what has happened and not to find you.

A female reader, [in] United Kingdom … writes (19 January 2009):

So what if he’s your brother!!

Take a test to check the baby’s OK … and have a happy life …

If you love him, you love him, and don’t be worried about what your parents think … at least they’ll approve of him!!

Don’t worry babe … hope everything’s fine …

A male reader, … writes (17 January 2009):

This actually disgusts me … You are actually going to have a baby?

I hate abortion, but incest is shockingly WRONG!

A male reader, Masti [in] India … writes (9 January 2009):

Firstly, kudos for bringing out the truth regarding your relationship with your brother.

I think in the first place you must rule out any thought of abortion. This particularly when the two of you are in love.

After all, I don’t understand why we readers and people putting up questions in this site put up the word incest. Where did it come from? Are not we who brought out this concept of legal, illegal, etc.? Did nature give us any such law? It is the society which has put up barriers to the relationships.

If a man and woman are in love, then the normal culmination of the relationship is breeding through the act of sex. This has been since ages.

Where comes the word incest? If the man and the woman are from the same family, where is the harm? Important is if they love each other and are committed to the relationship for the future. If that is present between you two, then have the baby of your love.

Regarding biological implications, there is no explanation by science why there is birth deformity in an otherwise normal breeding. I know a family where the son and the mother have been involved in love and sex for almost seven years. They have two children and both are absolutely fine. This, though, is not known to the society except [a]few.

The boy and his mother were left to fend for themselves after the father’s death. They loved each other well, but always felt a desire more than mere mother-son love. As the boy became a man of 16, the two of them started getting closer, and finally they confessed love to each other. After that they indulged in sex. Since the fear of society was there, they left the place and here they live as man and wife. After all they are happy, and that is what matters.

A female reader, Pearl [in] United States … writes (19 December 2008):

Hey, I’ve been in your shoes, but I was with [child] and we had a perfect baby girl. She is now 6 and she is very smart for her age. My doc. did run a couple of tests before I had her, and everything was fine. And there is nothing wrong with who you are with, as long as he loves and treats you right. Good luck …

A male reader, … writes (25 November 2008):

To be honest, I would have an abortion, just because … inter-breading is wrong, and science proves that incestual babies most of the time turn out to be deformed. Hope my reply does you well.

A female reader, … writes (16 November 2008):

I wish I knew what was happening with you … Please don’t listen to all those pushing abortion. It’s not a given your child will suffer abnormalities! I speak from experience, as I’m the product of my mom’s brother raping her. Terrible? Yes! Difficult to deal with for me? Yes, BUT I am SO thankful that I am alive, that my mother chose to give me life despite how it began. I’m very normal-looking and intelligent, graduated in the top 6% of my class, & I’ve always been very healthy!!

However, she didn’t tell me until a few years ago about all of this. She raised me as a single mom, telling me she wasn’t sure who my biological dad was. She married when I was 8 & he adopted me and raised me as his own. Was it hard growing up not knowing who my biological dad was? Definitely! Was it worse than being killed in my mother’s womb? Nope!! And I’m blessed to have my own 2 very healthy children now!!

But I will say that what happened was completely wrong! Please do not do this again!! I wish I could be there to help you in some way, but please, please, please know that God loves you & His forgiveness is waiting. If you believe in your heart & confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you WILL be saved!! Nothing you’ve done, including this, is too much for Him to forgive … *HUGS* … Praying for you!

A female reader, craziisexcikool [in] United States … writes (15 November 2008):

Listen, I recently had a baby by my first cousin … My pregnancy went well and my son was born healthy, and so far has no complications. Every day, I pray to God that my son continues to be healthy and normal. As far as your brother though, I mean to each its own … I just want you to take care of you and your baby … I don’t regret keeping my baby, but at times I do feel, like, if I had to tell my son’s doctor that my cousin is my child’s father … I love my cousin and I hope that I’m not pregnant again, because I really wouldn’t want to get an abortion, but at the same time I just had a baby two months ago … Don’t feel bad, girlie …

A female reader, Jaime [in] Australia +, writes (22 October 2008):

It [is] unfair to the child to bring it into this world in this situation. You cannot be with your brother. The humiliation and problems this child will face will be unbearable. You need to take responsibility. You’re young … do you know what love is? How can you be sure the feelings you have for your brother is this kind of love, and not a love for your brother? Honestly, do not have sex with him again, and do not have a relationship with him, it’s not right. It’s not healthy for either of you, and will probably ruin your family.

A female reader, Miss Karma Louise [in] United Kingdom … writes (21 October 2008):

Hey, I totally understand, honey!

You must be so frustrated right now.

All that matters is that you and baby are OK for the time being.

If you really do love your brother, I think both of you should just get away as far as possible from any relatives!

Just do what YOU think is right, but be careful, OK?

A reader, … writes (21 October 2008):

As others have said, your doctor is protected from telling anyone, as he is bound by a confidentiality clause. Go to see your doctor and tell him everything; he will sort everything out for you. Doctors hear all kinds of strange cases, they will help.

A reader, … writes (21 October 2008):

About all you can do is have an abortion, if it is legal in your country. But you might want to keep it a secret from your parents, otherwise you could both be prosecuted for incest, and either go to jail, either adult or juvenile.

I also would never have unprotected sex again. Get on birth control pills AND use condoms. You can’t be too careful at your age when it comes to birth control, because you are an at extremely fertile age. You shouldn’t have had unprotected sex to begin with. So, if you are going to continue having sex with him, either use birth control, or confine it to oral or anal sex so that you can’t get pregnant.

A reader, … writes (20 October 2008):

A few months later? How far pregnant are you? What is your brother saying about this now?

Have you got somebody close that you can ask for assistance?

Can you talk to a doctor or a nurse at a family planning clinic? Ask one of them to arrange for you to meet with a social or welfare worker and ask them to help and assist you.

This can have major implications on your life if not dealt with the correct way.

A female reader, … writes (20 October 2008):

I suggest you move away … Try to never contact your brother again. What you have done is not only illegal, but also unnatural and immoral. If you do raise the child, tell him/her all the details so they do not follow you into this trap…

A female reader, … writes (20 October 2008):

I am sure you are confused and scared. I think you should have your baby. If your health and/or life becomes threatened and a decision has been made to end the pregnancy (by you and a licensed doctor of ob/gyn) then you have no choice. If the baby is able to live after an emergency of such, if you cannot care for the baby, adoption is a great choice for life.

As others here state, prenatal care and testing is going to be an absolute must. Be honest with your doctors on all issues. If your baby has a birth defect, there is no reason why you cannot have your baby and keep your baby, or consider adoption. If your baby has severe and fatal birth defects, proceed with caution and get second opinions before ending the pregnancy.

I have heard of mothers being told their babies had defects and would not live long after birth, and the babies were born perfectly fine. The testing and imaging was wrong or misread.

The goal here is to get you and your baby through the next few months healthy and alive. Think about how you will provide for your baby. Think of support for you and give yourself credit. Adoption is wonderful, and being a mom means doing what is best for your child.

After your baby is born and you are settled, with whatever decisions you have made, contact a mental health provider to talk about your feelings, and also address what happened with your brother. My fear is that you will repeat this situation if stress or emotional problems come into your life again. You will feel more confident learning how to deal with things in your life if you have healthier coping skills and decision-making skills.

Your brother should move on and get mental health assistance as well. The two of you should not engage in any form of close contact, again. You will have to decide what is best to tell your child about who his or her dad is and so on. You need support to do this too. Of course, these are just my opinons! You are going to be alright. You have come here and asked for some advice, so you are taking responsible steps to make decisions – good for you.

Please get yourself an excellent doctor and take care of yourself and your baby. Learn from this experience and you will be gaining wisdom. May God Bless You on your journey.

A reader, … writes (20 October 2008):

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a child growing up with “mummy and daddy” being brother and sister. What kind of self-image would that child have? He or she would inevitably feel they were the product of something “wrong” – that would have a lasting effect and cause this child a lot of pain. I don’t think there would be a way to stop this affecting the child … unless he/she never knew who his birth parents were??

That’s the thing that I can’t get past in all of this.

Sweetie – I am not judging you for what you’ve done, I just feel so sad that now you are in this situation – there really is no ‘good’ solution here.

I also work in a major children’s hospital … and admittedly we see the extremes there, but let me tell you – there are syndromes that most of us … have never heard of, and it’s my experience that it’s the children of ‘consanguineous’ parents (i.e., related) that suffer with them, that’s along with heart defects, vision and hearing issues, deformity etc., etc.! I am not trying to scare you, it might not happen – but the risk is DEFINITELY there. So, if you are sensible you would at the very least have as much ante-natal testing as you can!

I wish someone had a magic answer for you – but there isn’t going to be one. You really should have support to deal with all this, whatever you decide, so please – talk with someone. Your mum, a friend – a counsellor…someone who can be there for you. Have you thought of seeing a counsellor at a sexual health clinic – or even your local women’s hospital?

Whatever you do – you need to decide soon…if you do plan not to go ahead with this pregnancy you need to act SOON.

A female reader, … writes (20 October 2008):

You and your brother need help as adults … You both know that what you did was wrong …

A reader, … writes (19 October 2008):

By all means, tell your parents that you’re pregnant, but I see no reason to tell them who the father is ….

I’m assuming you’re not so far into the pregnancy that abortion is no longer an option, but that’s your decision.

[A previous respondent] is correct in saying that the risk of deformities etc. in the child is overstated.

I’d suggest you go and see your doctor and let him (or her) know the facts. He is bound by patient confidentiality rules, and whatever is said between you and him remains between just the two of you. There are various tests that can be carried out to check for problems, but I’d say there’s every chance the baby will be a normal healthy child.

If you decide to give birth, you have just two options, I think. Either you bring the child up yourself as a single mother, or you get the child adopted. Again, that decision rests with you.

Unless there are good reasons as to why there is a need to know the father’s medical history, I don’t see that the child’s parentage need be disclosed.

What you have done is against the law, sure enough, but there’s no need for the law to know anything about it. Imagine you were this child. Could you cope with knowing that your mother and father were brother and sister? Would you really want to know – or would you be content to be told that your father was just a one-night stand which resulted in a child – you – being born?

A reader, … writes (19 October 2008):

… Please don’t listen to the anti-choice opinions of other posters who might “allow” you to consider abortion in this sad case. Your body and your life is your own; no one can “allow” you to have control over it.

This is a heartbreaking situation. Have an abortion and get help with your family situation. Don’t bring another unwanted, probably sick, child into this world.

A female reader, Sarcy [in] United Kingdom … writes (19 October 2008):

You need to tell your parents what has happened and then get expert medical advice. I do know that heart problems in particular can manifest themselves in children of incestuous relationships, and other abnormalities can occur; recessive genes come forward, but only an expert can look at your full medical history and tell you of the likely problems. This is obviously going to be very difficult for you both, but do it soon so you can achieve the best possible outcome for both you and your unborn child. Your parents will be shocked, but may be able to accept this, or decide to cover up for you both in some way … but you need to tell them asap.

A female reader, Sirena Blusera [in] Mexico … writes (19 October 2008):

You need to tell your parents, right away, so that they can arrange for you to see a medical specialist.

I know that it’s scary, but you have to think of the best interest of the baby, because he was innocent in this ordeal.

I don’t like abortion, but incest is extremely risky because of the danger that the child may be born with genetic or medical problems. I would be willing to allow abortion in “hard cases” such as where the pregnancy resulted from rape/incest or where there is a severe birth defect, or the mother’s health.

You need to talk with a doctor about pre-natal tests that would detect any possible birth defects, and the risks of prenatal tests. You need to tell the specialist everything, that your brother is the baby’s father, don’t hold back any information. You also need to talk to a genetic specialist about the problems that the baby might be at risk for.

A female reader, HonningKanin [in] Norway … writes (19 October 2008):

OK … Ignoring the parentage of your child, I am going to look at this like any other teen pregnancy, and then the consequences of it being with your brother.

Firstly, you need to weigh out the options of having the child. The laws in the UK state that incest between siblings is illegal and I believe the child will be taken from you by social services, I believe. I am not 100% sure that is what happens for all cases, but I have heard it happening. You also have the option of abortion. You may not like this, but with the child being the product of a brother-sister conception, the child’s health outlook is poor.

There is a higher chance of your child being born malformed, ill, and you also increase the risk of the hereditary diseases. Genetic parentage being so close increases the likelihood of bad recessive genes becoming dominant. Like if your family has a history of a heart condition, you have just doubled the chances of the baby getting it based on both parents having the gene for the heart condition.

Here is a link on the UK laws. It states incest can carry a penalty of no more than 2 years if [one is] found guilty.

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/ukpga_20030042_en_5#pt1-pb17-l1g65

Obviously you will need to talk to your brother and see how he feels. After talking to him, I would suggest talking to your parents. If you decided to keep the baby, you need to tell them who the father is for health reasons.

A male reader, [in] United States … writes (19 October 2008):

Definitely don’t lie … You’re just going to dig yourself deeper in the pit you’ve already put yourself into.

A female reader, Emily [in] United Kingdom … writes (19 October 2008):

Unfortunately what you have done is illegal, and I don’t know if you will be prosecuted for it when people find out. They take it seriously because it endangers the life of any children you create.

I don’t know how you feel about abortion or how late on you are with your pregnancy, but you should think about it if the baby is at risk of any genetic abnormalities.

Part of me says you should come clean and tell your parents, but it’s just going to cause so much pain for everyone, even if they get over it and support you, which I am sure they would.

The other thing you could do (and I don’t really want to advise this because it is not right, but could be for the best) is to lie …

Tell your parents you went out, got drunk, and had sex with a boy you met on the way home as you walked alone, and you don’t even remember his name. Tell them he was good-looking and it was completely consensual, and he had an accent that is uncommon to the area and was just down visiting friends. You will have to be labelled as a slut, but you will get support, and will not have to go through the ordeal of admitting what you have done. Also, the baby won’t grow up knowing he is the product of something awful and having to hide it his whole life.

You and your brother can never have sexual contact or any kind of relationship again. You can’t risk getting caught and the child’s life ruined and being taken to court.

A reader, … writes (19 October 2008):

Option one: tell your parents, prepare for a baby.

Option two: somehow get an abortion and hide it from everyone.

Honestly, what more can you do? Next time, wear a condom and have him pull out. Good luck with your kid.

A male reader, Crafter [in] Bulgaria … writes (19 October 2008):

Do not have this baby!

Chances are that it will be severely damaged. For all I care, inbreeding should be forbidden by law.

Being in love with a family member is not quite acceptable in most social circles, but it’s not unheard of either. Having this baby however would be very wrong.

I truly hope that is is a prank and not an actual case.



100 comments ↓

  • #   Majid on 04.27.13 at 05:06     Reply

    Abortion is usually juieifstd on a variety of grounds, but invariably the justifications include the idea that a fetus is not really a person, and thus can not be murdered .Certainly, in historical times, a prematurely born infant had little chance of survival. This surely informed the common emphasis on birth as the beginning of human life. Religious convictions of some hold that God imbues a soul into each new human at conception; others believe that the soul is acquired at birth. That window of controversy has been exploited by moral relativists to permit abortion. Where such uncertainty exists, a law can be made to decide the matter.People without religious convictions (or with only not-inconvenient ones) sought to create their own rational definition of human life. Viability the ability of an organism to survive on its own became their definition of human life. In lieu of a soul, what makes humans uniquely human is their ability to reason.By that standard, a fetus was not human and conveniently, neither are the utterly infirm ending those lives would not be murder by their definition.Science does not make such distinctions. A functioning biological organism, normal and complete in its DNA, is alive.Continuation of that life always depends on external items food, shelter, etc. The ability to reason also varies drawing a line between humanity and bestiality is an arbitrary choice if there is no spiritual component allowed.Recent advances in medicine make it possible to keep a body functioning far beyond the natural span of years. It is also possible to preserve and, (through suitably heroic measures) bring to term a fetus of nearly any stage of development.While there is controversy about how much effort should be expended to preserve a human life when to pull the plug on artificial life support there can be no doubt that the doctrine of viability is on weak ground.Thus, without spiritual (moral) or scientific support, the practice of abortion can only be permitted by legalistic constructions.Unlike Moral and Scientific strictures, laws can be changed. Its time to make those changes.


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