This is a fundamental birth right of every human – to procreate. However, it is not in each individual’s hands. Some people who are biologically capable of having kids choose otherwise for personal reasons. For some other people, its a matter of circumstances. For Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) patients, its a matter of reality. They cannot have biological children. Its a very sad but true reality. Does this mean that AIS patients cannot be a parent?
Messaging Change for AIS Patient
It is time to change how we deal with this question. If we were to believe the so called subject matter experts and counselors, AIS patients cannot be parents. They will have us convinced with their authoritarian messaging infrastructure that AIS patients cannot be parents. Typically, AIS is diagnosed either at or around puberty. A very traumatic situation for any person to find out they cannot have children. It is absolutely necessary to counsel, guide and provide support to the AIS patients. The question is what should be the message? Is it time to update the traditional messaging?
It is important to say the truth. It is important to give the AIS patients realistic options and expectations. It is important to make them feel just as normal as everyone else especially if they want to have a normal family in the future. The message is to say you cannot have biological children but there are options available today to become a great parent. For example, adoption is a great option for AIS patients to be a great parent. With advances in technology, ART(Assisted Reproductive Technology) offers options for AIS patients to be great parents. There maybe other options that we unaware of. The point is to be sensitive and offer options and not just identifying a problem.
The current situation offers much needed counseling to AIS patients typically when they are diagnosed at or around puberty. Depending on the local culture, the AIS patients may have different experiences. After diagnosis, years of counseling follows with a constant messaging they cannot be parents. And no options are offered. This sends a very wrong message.
Support Caregiver and Innocent Kids
It is human decency and civility that the AIS patient discloses this condition before-hand to their partner before getting married. If the AIS patient frauds and has treatment to remove male testes and goes on Hormone Replacement Therapy while in the marriage, the partner has just become an unknowing caregiver. Now he has an added burden of making a family. In addition to other caregiving issues, the unknowing and unprepared caregiver is left to “undo” years of professional counselling. He has to convince the AIS patient, they can be a parent. Is this either fair to the AIS patient or the unprepared caregiver as they are trying to have a normal family? Is this fair to the innocent kids?
It is time to change.
It is a simple change, change the messaging and give factual options. Let us help the AIS patients who can be parents. Let us help the unprepared caregiver for the help and support they need. Let us help the innocent kids who come into this world of such families.