Here is an intended abrupt question! But to snap it back, the answer can only be “no !”.
A child would not like a priori to figure himself as a product of his “parents’ desire”. This desire happens to occur in what would be represented as an interval, an « in between » (the parents, the partners, the signifiers) made of subjective and separating divisions. This desire would be the quotient, if we take this division as an arithmetic operation, concerning two terms and producing another one or even a series. In this division, the child finds himself able (but not bound, there is no causal implication) to be extracted as an object from the remainder.
This child, being a contingent product, has therefore no necessity of birth from the double encounters that determined him, encounter of bodies and encounter of gametes. He will have to institute himself in the world, without being able to rely on any kind of “willing” oneself! This echoes a “self-authorisation”, that is not there or that is there but as an impossibility! In other words no one is born as a psychoanalyst!
This encounter of bodies only achieve subjectivation through the narrative that can be made out of it, in the field of speech and language. Still, the above-mentioned remainder encounters this structuring. He can only be deduced as a remainder of the operation, no less! A child, that is to say a new subject, is inserted into the process of the parents’ “will” only as an accommodation of what is remaining, even if he is presumed to be contemplated. In the psychoanalytical experience delivered to us by Lacan with Freud, this is known under a central and pivotal name -that does not get rid of the remainders – the symptom.
The child-symptom is how Lacan, in his ‘Note on the Child’ addressed to Jenny Aubry, positions it. It is not without the symptom that a child can be taken into consideration in regard of a will, i.e. the symptom of his parents in various states. But the symptom of himself? Hence my initial question.
Does a symptom ‘want’ itself? It does not go without saying, or it does not go without a part of id. It supposes there is a knotting, a coalescence, a bond that separates, an afterthought. The bond of filiation is traditionally the duty and function of the father, i.e. of the Name-of-the-father. Even if we bypass it, we make use of it, to paraphrase Lacan. The “will” transcribes it, without producing it by itself.
Let us note that in the reproduction of non-sexual organisms, for instance the scissiparity of amoebas, there is no filiation bond, there is only an extensive reproduction. Everything happens ‘horizontally’, in a network if I may say so, without any vertical fall. But the distinction between the organisms is not clear-cut. Whereas the generation of the speaking beings – not done without evoking the sexual relation that there is not – happens with a non-anonymous separation, which makes possible for a child to be set apart and to receive transmission.
Dealing with symptoms is therefore the least inadequate way of approaching the relationship to what is produced in regard of “wanting a child?”, with the essential question mark. And if we want to tackle this issue without getting lost in the mysteries of intentions, meanings, wills, arrangement of functions and distribution of desires, it is less a question of interpreting than of locating what makes a trace and a support.
Whatever the subject’s autonomous aspirations or desires for liberation and for setting aside of chains of all kinds, the fact remains – and in this matter what remains repeat oneself as long as not dissolved – that no identity other than the symptomatic one -tinged with heterogeneity and incompleteness, can be given birth. Lacan postulates the psychoanalyst is a sinthome , and a child does not want himself, even if the question may occur to him and if trying to answer is a useful way for him to get ahead with it.
Translation: Cédric Grolleau
Proofreading: Marcel Pereira
Photography: ©Valérie Buchel
 Cf. Lacan J., « Note sur l’enfant », Autres écrits, Paris, Seuil, 2001, p. 373. See also The Lacanian Review/Hurly-Burly, ‘Family Dramas, Family Traumas’, Issue 04, Winter 2017, p13-14.
 Cf. Lacan J., Le Séminaire, livre XXIII, Le Sinthome, texte établi par J.-A. Miller, Paris, Seuil, 2005, p. 136. See also translated by Adrian Price, The Sinthome – Book XXIII, Polity Press, 2016, Chapter IX : From the Unconscious to the Real, third sub-section.
 Cf. Lacan J., Le Séminaire, livre XXIII, Le Sinthome, texte établi par J.-A. Miller, Paris, Seuil, 2005, p. 135. See also translated by Adrian Price, The Sinthome – Book XXIII, Polity Press, 2016, Chapter IX : From the Unconscious to the Real, third sub-section.