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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Carl Jung on Human Artificial Insemination

To E . Roenne-Peterson

Dear Sir, 16 March 1953

Inseminatio artificialis could indeed become a public and legal problem in a society where a merely rationalistic and materialistic point of view has become predominant, and where the cultural values as to the freedom of human thoughts and of human relations have been suppressed.

This danger is not so remote that one could disregard it.

It is therefore a legitimate question when one asks what the possible consequences of the practice of the said procedure might be.

From the standpoint of psychopathology, the immediate effect would be an "illegitimate," i.e., fatherless pregnancy, in spite of the fact that the fertilization took place in wedlock and under legalized circumstances.

It would be a case of unknown paternity.

Since human beings are individual and not exchangeable, the father could not be artificially substituted.

The child would suffer inevitably from the handicaps of illegitimacy, or of being an orphan, or of adoption.

These conditions leave their traces in the psyche of the infant.

The fact that artificial insemination is a well-known cattle-breeding device lowers the moral status of a human mother to the level of a cow, no matter what she thinks about it, or what she is talked into.

As any bull having the desired racial characteristics can be a donor, so any man appreciated from the breeder standpoint is good enough for anonymous procreation.

Such a procedure amounts to a catastrophic devaluation of the human individual, and its destructive effect upon human dignity is obvious.

Having no practical experience in this matter, I do not know what the psychological effect is of a conception brought about in such a cold-blooded "scientific" way, and what a mother who had to carry the child of a total stranger would feel.

I can imagine that the effect would be like that of rape.

It seems to me to be in itself an ominous symptom of the mental and moral condition of our world that such problems have to be discussed at all.

Sincerely yours,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 110-111.