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Fraudulent Fertilisation

Episode 24

Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli
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“But Juani, you underestimate me. Do you think I’m making it up as I go along? Allow me to explain: I’ve been planning every detail of this operation for months, don’t you know me well enough? Since I had this brilliant idea, I’ve gone through every step in meticulous detail. As I already told you, I consulted the legal aspect in a practice in the Federal Capital, one of the best in the country. I’ve got a detailed report, complete, with all the questions and their possible answers. I know exactly where we stand from the legal point of view. It wasn’t free, of course. The lawyers’ report was very expensive, but I assure you it was worth it. I left nothing to chance, the same goes for the matter of the insemination. For that, I wanted to be sure of what I was doing, I obtained several specialised works, including some from abroad. Specifically, I placed emphasis on the procedure that I had to follow in order to be successful. I don’t think I left anything unanalysed. That’s why I can tell you to relax, everything has been coldly calculated. I even ploughed my way through the historical part...”

“What do you know about the history, Esteban?”

“Believe it or not, it starts in 1776, when a certain Spaglianzi studied the effect of freezing on sperm. Would you credit it? More than two hundred years ago. But at the time they didn’t even dream of using it like we are. It was in 1799 that the first fertilisation was achieved. It was done on request for a married couple, with the husband’s semen. It was carried out by someone called Hunter, like in the television series. That’s how it started. It advanced slowly, at that time there were no sperm banks. Not until 1886 did a guy called, I think, Montegazza propose setting them up. Almost at the end of the 19th Century, the first insemination with a donor’s semen was achieved, thanks to a certain Dickinson...”

Juanita was more relaxed at that moment.

“Good grief,” said Juanita, “I would never have thought that artificial insemination went so far back. Remarkable, isn’t it? And I thought I was an innovator.”

“Well, in a way, you are. Don’t forget that we’re putting a revolutionary idea into practice. I’ve never read about anyone doing what we’re going to do. I tell you, if men with a certain fortune knew the danger they were in, they would no longer go around hopping into bed with strangers. Even masturbation is dangerous; it’s worth taking special care to make sure the sperm are dead.”

“All right, Esteban, don’t exaggerate, it’s always been like that. History is full of young smart-aleck women who get pregnant by millionaires. That story is as old as Cinderella, I’d almost say it was the same, except without love...”

“You’re subtle, that’s one of the things I like about you. I understand what you’re saying, but it’s not the same thing. When a man goes to bed with a woman, he knows he could get her pregnant, even though he doesn’t want to. Let’s say it’s a risk he runs, OK? But in our case, our prey Burán has no way of knowing that while he was making love to Alicia, he was indirectly getting Juanita pregnant. The problem is that when a guy has a fuck, if he doesn’t watch the destiny of his sperm carefully, could have more children than a fish. It’s no joke, it’s worth thinking about the variety of possible consequences. Think, what would Burán do if I impregnated a woman with Down’s syndrome? Even though it would be to get revenge, it would be funny, wouldn’t it? Not long ago I read that in the United States they made a mistake in a sperm bank and fertilised a white woman with a black man’s gametes. Can you imagine the surprise? How would Burán react if I impregnated a black woman with his sperm? Would he have racial problems?”

Álvez couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

“How we could destroy that crow!” he said. “He’ll regret having hurt me! Can you imagine if we made him have a subnormal kid with someone else? What a lovely gift! I’m already savouring the taste of my revenge. But don’t worry, I’m not that stupid, I’ll settle for the harm we’re going to do him because there will be a correlative benefit. When I’m sunbathing in the Bahamas, I’ll remember Burán. I’m sure that at that moment, instead of being angry, I’ll be grateful to him.”

“Well,” she said, “how are you going to inseminate me?”

“Very simple,” he said. “I’ve read the applicable procedures, which have advanced a lot. In the early fifties, Bunge and Sherman were able to achieve the first pregnancies using frozen human sperm. From then on, throughout the civilized world, this method of procreation has been applied. To give you some idea, in the United States it has been calculated that two hundred and fifty thousand inseminations have been carried out. In one year alone, 1978, it is estimated that ten thousand kids were born thanks to this procedure.”

“Hasn’t it been subject to fraud?”

“I suppose so, Juani, but you know how these things are; the law’s one thing, and reality quite another. The yanks, for example, only allow the insemination of married women, except in the state of Oregon, I think. You can imagine the hoopla? When a woman wants to have a child, how can they stop her? What happens is that to have a kid, an acceptable female can go to bed with anyone; she doesn’t need artificial insemination. But now things are changing, there are women who carefully select the father of their children, they want to have geniuses. Do you know what they do? They look for the ideal father in sperm banks. They select a dose of sperm, based on the physical and psychological characteristics of the donor. In these cases, insemination should theoretically be a model of perfection, but of course it isn’t necessarily so. Not long ago they made a bank of donations from Nobel Prize winners. In addition, there are the prudes, or moralists, who won’t go to bed with just anyone and prefer to be inseminated to avoid carnal contact. Instead of enjoying a good cock, they choose a syringe.”

“Well now!” protested Juana, “It’s not always that easy to have relations with a stranger. Sometimes it’s understandable that they don’t want to, don’t you think?”

“Yes, dear, that’s true, I’m half-joking. It’s best when it’s natural, when there’s attraction. I’ve had several propositions, women who had sterile husbands asked me to fertilise them.”

“And did you agree, Esteban?”

“On one occasion, yes. I did it for several reasons. Firstly, because I liked her; the girl was wonderful. Secondly, because they had more than enough money, both she and her husband. Therefore there was no risk of them demanding money from me. On the contrary, it was more likely for me to ask my son for help. In addition, it satisfies my ego. The child was born, now he’s out in the world. It’s exciting to think of him, he knows nothing about it. I wanted to follow his evolution, but then I lost all contact. It’s a shame, because I might have been proud of him, although indirectly. In short, as you can see, I’m no paragon of virtue, but that’s the truth.”

“In that case, does the child have the right to know who you are?”

“In my case, yes. Don’t forget that there was no insemination, I really went to bed with the woman, several times. Perhaps that’s what she wanted, more than she wanted to have a baby. How should I know? But when there’s artificial insemination, there are arguments about whether the child has the right to know who their biological father is or not, that is, who donated the semen that fertilised their mother. In some countries, they guarantee the child’s right to know their true origin. You can imagine that this means that the number of doses from a single donor has to be restricted. Imagine if not, a guy who had fathered hundreds of people. What chaos there would be! Can you imagine the number of marriages between brothers and sisters without them knowing about their ties? Incest could become a daily occurrence.”

“It’s incredible,” she said, “I would never have imagined that this subject had so many ramifications. I can see that you have studied it seriously, I’m pleased to say. Are you sure that it’s not dangerous?”

“Relax, the procedure is totally harmless. Don’t worry, it’s nothing. In our case, there’ll be no problem, we know Burán. You yourself were prepared to go to bed with him, so the risks are identical.”

“I don’t understand,” she said. “What do you mean? What risks are you talking about?”

“Calm down, Juani, don’t get worked up. I was referring to the probabilities in other cases; we must prevent the transmission of diseases via the sperm, especially AIDS. The American Fertility Society has established that fresh semen can no longer be guaranteed. They enforce the use of frozen samples that have been placed in quarantine for at least one hundred and eighty days before putting them to their specific use. In addition, it’s obligatory to do a further test on the donor. But this is more for advanced countries. Here in Argentina, there isn’t even a law to regulate behaviour. There’s no specific prohibition, so problems have to be resolved by applying common legislation. Don’t ask me for any more explanations about this, because I know nothing, and I’m not interested either. We know that Burán is a healthy fellow, at least we’ve got good reason to believe he is. Well, shall we proceed, Juani? Are you ready now?”

“I am,” she said.

Translation: Peter Miller (© 2002)
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Copyright ©Ricardo Ludovico Gulminelli, 1990
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Date of publicationJune 2002
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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