The origin is inseparable from misunderstanding. Can we indeed know where we really come from? Why are we ourselves and not someone else? Why now and not at some other time? Why here and not elsewhere? It could have been another sperm, another egg, another man, another woman, another time, another city, another country.
What precedes the conception of a child? There is of course the desire to have a child, insofar as it has been there. This is perhaps the principal dimension of a possible access to the origin, rather than any other given data. Origin cannot be reduced to its biological dimensions alone. In situations of gamete donation, the claim for access to its origin cannot be reduced to data about the donors alone, as if the desire of the intended parents were of secondary importance.
The question of origin can be an endless source of misunderstanding, even more so today, following the new uses of medically assisted procreation for societal demands, for example for female couples, single women, male couples, single men, or transgender people.
Gamete donations and misunderstandings of the origin
An example of a misunderstanding arises around what is referred to as access to the origin in the case of gamete donation, in the debates on the lifting of anonymity. In the end, there is nothing more anonymous than gametes. Designating the sperm donor as the biological father introduces a misunderstanding about transmission. The origin is also the desire of those who wanted to have a child. Transmission involves many dimensions other than biological. The father cannot be traced back to the spermatozoid. In the same way, the mother cannot be brought back to the ovule. To bring down the origin on the gametes, or even on the belly of the one who would have carried the child in case of pregnancy for others, causes a total misunderstanding, putting into the second ground the project of those who decided to go through a donation, by erasing their desire, their history, their intention. Not to mention the fact that, whatever the mode of origin, it remains up to the child to be able to adopt its origin, which also happens by the fact of being the adopted of a desire.
Procreation and prediction
The societal use of assisted procreation can progressively generalise a link between procreation and prediction. One might even imagine that the future marginalized could paradoxically be the heterosexuals, being the last to be able to procreate without medical assistance, and, therefore, without any link to a prediction process! With the sequencing of the genome, the possibility of pre-conception assessments comes into play: determining the risks, betting on the potential – the genetic patrimony could replace other forms of patrimony and enter into play in new modes of alliance.
The link between prediction and procreation could also endanger the healthcare system, which is based precisely on a non-knowledge that allows solidarity and reciprocity. Faced with the fact that no one knows what might happen to himself, everyone agrees to pay for all. Once we know through prediction, however, a stratification sets in, with effects of segregation, or at least a distinction between “us and them”, causing healthcare systems to break up – changes that go far beyond the societal demands of procreation.
Contemporary technologies also allow us to act on gender, thanks to hormone therapies and advances in plastic surgery. Gametes can also be conserved beyond gender change. Thus, a man who has become a woman, who has preserved his sperm, can procreate. He could then demand to be recognised as a father being a woman. A woman who has become a man could likewise use her vitrified oocytes, and demand to be recognised as a mother, all the more so if she carried the child in the uterus she had preserved despite the gender change – as was the case with the famous Thomas Beatie, FtoM, who preserved his uterus and gave birth to his three children. We can thus have fathers who are women, or mothers who are men, overturning the benchmarks through new ways of dealing with gender difference, made possible by biotechnologies, opening up new misunderstandings that were not there at the origin.
Spiral between fantasies and biotechnology
Biotechnology now makes it possible to concretely realise, in reality itself, what was hitherto imagined through fantasy scenarios. We have entered an era in which fantasy tends to become reality, to the extent that reality itself seems to have become fantasy.  Technology makes it possible to concretely realise a fantasy. Even if we don’t yet measure its effects, everyone is passionately taken by the “capture … by the situation” , by the capture of what has become possible, in the whirlwind of the new, up to vertigo .
In this way, clinic has become fundamental: a clinic that must be conceived without a priori. As a clinician, it is first of all a question of orienting oneself on the basis of what is revealed to us by those who embark on these practices. Those we receive teach us: those who take the new paths of procreation, those who act on their gender, bi-genders, fluid genders, a-genders, those who shake up the usual benchmarks of sexual and generational difference.
It is all the more striking that biotechnology allows for a total disjunction between nature and culture. More precisely an impact of culture on nature. A subjective position can be concretely realised in the body through the use of biotechnologies. Technologies allow for the forcing of nature, leading to a section between libido and nature, which realises a possible connection between libido and culture. 
By touching on sex, procreation, gender, sexuality, we are also touching on language. The relationship between words and things no longer works, coming up against an impossible marriage between the living and language, a logical stop in that it escapes logos.  As we have seen, women are fathers, men can be mothers, we get lost in the way of crossing identity and sexuality, like the patient in the transgender project who told me that she had fallen in love with an asexual transsexual. When will an a-gender fall in love with an a-sexual? A new kind of misunderstanding! In any case, the current reconfigurations of the links between libido and nature, nature and culture, intimacy and politics, are not without misunderstandings, in front of which one can remain perplexed.
For Lacan, misunderstanding is by birth: “As much as you are, what else are you but misunderstood?”  Misunderstanding is by origin. One could even see it as a version of the origin itself. Lacan makes it his version of the trauma of birth: “There is no other trauma: man is born misunderstood”.  It remains to the subject to construct his or her own responses in the face of misunderstanding, that is to say in the face of the real of his or her origin. But misunderstanding is not limited to birth alone. It is already there in what precedes it: “misunderstanding is already there before” , Lacan writes again. The subject is part of the “mumbling” of his ascendants, which also means that he or she is involved in it and transmits it in his or her turn.
Through the use of biotechnologies, we think that we can change destiny, that we can programme it. Here again there is a misunderstanding: the child will obviously not be as we wanted it to be programmed from the beginning. He or she will become other than what we had imagined. Changes in the characteristics of an organism do not in any way prejudge what subject will be deduced from it. In any case, one cannot turn origin into destiny.
The will to master the origin can lead to a new version of the trauma of birth – a paradoxical trauma resulting from the fact of being programmed as ideal, of being desired as perfect, in line with Lacan’s paradoxical statement: “There is no other trauma of birth than to be born as desired”.  Paradoxical, since we know that another version of this trauma is not to be desired, as Lacan also points out with regard to the “irresistible inclination to suicide”  in children more or less characterised by the fact of having been unwanted. Children who try to escape this rejection through a vocation to make themselves disappear, to give themselves an origin in the disappearance.
In any case, whether desired at all costs or undesired, whether artificially conceived or born out of an unplanned sexual adventure, whether genetically random or programmed, the child in his or her future inevitably ends up escaping from what was, including what was thought to be under control. But he does not escape from misunderstanding, misunderstanding that was already there, present in previous generations, in the conscious or unconscious projects of his progenitors, of the contexts specific to the society in which he was brought into the world. His body itself can appear in reality as a misunderstanding – as Lacan puts it: “your body is the fruit of a bloodline in which a good part of your misfortunes is due to the fact that already it was swimming in misunderstanding while it could. […] This is what it transmitted to you by ‘giving you life’, as they say”.  The past and its misunderstandings impose themselves, but the future remains open, perhaps thanks to misunderstanding. This could be the paradoxical issue of misunderstanding.
Betting on misunderstanding
But the misunderstanding of the origin is not always such a fatal destiny. Misunderstanding can also lead to an escape route. One could distinguish a life- and death-destiny in misunderstanding. Paradoxically, the way out also passes through misunderstanding. By recognising a misunderstanding, not with the other, but rather with oneself. A misunderstanding within oneself. A separation within oneself: so that everyone can find the point of detail, the point of surprise, the point of astonishment, the point of enigma, which makes them unique and different. This passes through the fact of realising misunderstanding within oneself. Realising that there is an intimate exteriority to oneself, a part of oneself that escapes us. This is what Lacan called an extimacy: an unknown part of oneself at the heart of oneself.  When we try to grasp what happens to us, there is always a remnant, a part that escapes, a part that is unsayable. Lacan also speaks of a “vacuole” , a gap in the core of being, a hole that comes to decomplete the fact of being what one thinks one is oneself, as well as the fact of assuming the other similar to oneself.
Paradoxically, therefore, the escape route lies in separation from oneself, a separation from one’s origin. One can only become beginning from what was, but in order to become, one cannot remain stuck in what was, stuck in the origin. It is separation that allows us to become subject, but it also allows us to meet the other person beyond the origins of each of them. A separation from oneself in order to meet the other: this would be the way to the life-misunderstanding as opposed to the death-misunderstanding, characterised by the fact that identity has come to take the place of the gap of origin.
It is therefore a question of dealing with the misunderstanding of origin – dealing with the misunderstanding to open the way to possibilities. This is what Lacan put forward in relation to psychoanalysis in the face of misunderstanding: “As for psychoanalysis, its feat is to exploit misunderstanding”.  To use misunderstanding to allow each person to make themselves the interpreter of his desire to exist, beyond their origin, beyond the contingency that presided over their coming into the world.
Proof: Sébastien Dauguet
First published in la revue Freudiana de l’École Lacanienne de Barcelone.
Photography: ©Emmanuel Kervyn – http://emmanuelkervyn.canalblog.com/
 « Le chemin suivi par la civilisation aujourd’hui montre que le plus-de-jouir ne soutient pas seulement la réalité du fantasme, mais qu’il est en passe de soutenir la réalité comme telle. Cela peut se traduire, si l’on veut, dans les termes d’une réalité devenue fantasme. » Miller J.-A., « Jouer la partie », La Cause du désir, n°105, juin 2020, p. 28.
 Lacan fait en effet de « la captation du sujet par la situation […] la formule la plus générale de la folie », in Lacan J., « Le stade du miroir » (1949), Écrits, Paris, Seuil, coll. Champ Freudien, 1966, p. 99.
 Ansermet Fr., La Fabrication des enfants : un vertige technologique, Paris, Odile Jacob, 2015.
 Cf. Miller J.-A., « Les six paradigmes de la jouissance », La Cause freudienne, n°43, octobre 1999, p. 7-29.
 « […] la butée logique de ce qui, du symbolique, s’énonce comme impossible. C’est de là que le réel surgit. », Lacan J., Le Séminaire, livre XVII, L’Envers de la psychanalyse (1969-1970), texte établi par J.-A. Miller, Paris, Seuil, coll. Champ Freudien, 1991, p. 143.
 Lacan J., « Le malentendu » (1980), Ornicar ?, n°22-23, 1981, p. 12.
 Lacan J., Le Séminaire, livre V, Les Formations de l’inconscient (1957-1958), texte établis par J.-A. Miller, Paris, Seuil, coll. Champ Freudien, 1998, p. 245.
 Lacan J., « Le malentendu », op. cit., p. 12.
 Cf. Lacan J., Le Séminaire, livre VII, L’Éthique de la psychanalyse (1959-1960), texte établi par J.-A. Miller, Paris, Seuil, Coll. Champ Freudien, p. 167. Voir aussi Lacan J., « L’instance de la lettre dans l’inconscient ou la raison depuis Freud » (1957), Écrits, Paris, Seuil, 1966, p. 524 : « Quel est donc cet autre auquel je suis plus attaché qu’à moi, puisqu’au sein le plus assenti de mon identité à moi-même, c’est lui qui m’agite ? »
 Lacan J., Le Séminaire, livre VII, L’Éthique de la psychanalyse, op. cit., p. 179.
 Lacan J., « Le malentendu », op. cit., p. 12.