My colleague John covered a strange story out of Ireland yesterday. His headline over at Being Pregnant blared, “Woman Tracks Down Estranged Father: Becomes Pregnant with His Child.” Insane, right? Hard to believe, and I mean that literally. Not because these things don’t happen; there is a condition called Genetic Sexual Attraction that can occur between blood relatives who were not raised together but who meet as adults. When Genetic Sexual Attraction takes place, a brother and sister, grandmother and grandson and even father and daughter can have sexual feelings for each other that seem not at all strange to the individuals involved, even though they understand their relationship is taboo.
The Irish love folklore, and I’m pretty sure 28-year-old Penny Lawrence’s story is just that. According to the Irish Central article featured in John’s post, she’s a girl who found her estranged birth father, fell in love with him and became pregnant with his child. Quite a scandal! Except the source Irish Central claims to have gotten the story from, The Sun, doesn’t have Lawrence’s incestuous tale anywhere on their site, and the link Irish Central uses to the original article ends up on The Sun‘s homepage.
Normally I wouldn’t concern myself with the validity of this type of story, but the only reason I came across it is because a post about it on The Stir was featured on Google News’ Spotlight.
I’ve come across bogus stories about incestuous relationships before, and almost written about them, but I always do my research before posting about something that sounds fishy. I’m always careful to follow links and be sure information is coming from reliable sources, especially a story about something as shocking as an incestuous pregnancy. There was a story that ran in The Telegraph almost a year ago about a grandmother and grandson who were victims of GSA and who planned to have a baby together. The Telegraph article cited a New Zealand publication called New Idea, part of Yahoo!. When you click on the link provided, the New Idea site shows an error message: “Unfortunately, the article you’re looking for has been removed from the site.”
Why? Because it was a bunch of malarkey. As is this story about Penny Lawrence and her Daddy Baby Daddy. Yet their fabricated relationship has been written about on The Stir, The Frisky and Digital Spy. Because Genetic Sexual Attraction is real and must be horribly confusing for the people it happens to, I hate to see it trivialized with made up stories like Lawrence’s and so many others. The Guardian did a huge expose about GSA back in 2003 that’s fascinating enough. I think we can stop making up weird incest tales now just so the world has something to gawk at and gossip about. I will say, though, as someone who has never met her biological father, stories like this have me convinced for more than one reason that doing so now would be a really bad idea. Yuck.
Update: Apparently the story did run in only the Irish print edition of The Sun. Which validates everyone’s gawking, but not the poor citation by the Irish Times.