By pairing the desire for a child with almost unlimited possibilities, scientific advances now promise to overcome the contingent impossibility that has hitherto limited the will to procreate. In fact, if there is no longer any natural impossibility, then the desire for a child becomes a right for all.
In the text Techno-maternities published in this issue, Dominique Laurent explains to what extent “MAPs have contributed, by disrupting the conditions of procreation, to demonstrating the naturalist illusion of the notion of family and the supposed universality of the desire for a child, anchored in the model shaped by the Enlightenment.” Stella Harrison also points out a subsequent shift that is taking place: if “the womb has become the structuring element of the system, (…) this system is moving towards another where genetic truth becomes the structuring element. The progress and help of science disseminate in turn, their processions of injunctions in the form of, if you can, you must give birth today, and your desire is the law.”
In return, a particular iatrogeny of these MAPs emerges with regard to desire: when the disjunction between the demand for a child and the desire for a child is accentuated, it is the desiring subject as such that tends to disappear.
However, it is up to psychoanalysis, as D. Laurent points out, “to highlight how the desire for a child transformed by the law emancipates itself as such and becomes the object of a feminine demand and a desire for maternity that can now free itself from a relation to the other sex.”
So, in today’s procreation and its discontents, when the empire of the father and the Law is declining, how can we regulate caprice, fantasies and extravagances?
If the father as symbolic operator, comes to embody the point according to which all human formation passes through by a brake on jouissance, today we are witnessing a pluralisation of the operator.
In the cure of contemporary subjects, we see the fantastical or even extravagant character that the desire for a child can take on, a desire that is always linked to a singular fantasy in which the child constitutes a particular surplus-enjoyment (plus-de-jouir). It is true that fantasy is now illuminated in an unprecedented way with MAP’s, but it is in a psychoanalytic treatment that it is truly revealed for the subject. It is here that S. Harrison and José Martinho offer us some precious clinical vignettes.
Enjoy your reading.
“This is clearly what demonstrates that the attribution of procreation to the father can only be the effect of a pure signifier, of a recognition, not of the real father, but of what religion has taught us to invoke as the Name-of-the-Father.”
Lacan, J.,”On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis,” (1958), Écrits The First Complete Edition in English, transl. by B. Fink, New York, London, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2006, p. 464.
Translated by Jeroen Sollie
Review by Caroline Heanue
Photography: ©Swoboda Frédéric : Www.proximac.blog
 (MAP) Medically Assisted Procreation, (Procréation Médicalement Assistée)