Should a Polyamorous Triad Receive Help Getting Pregnant?
If you watch our show closely, you'll realize it's not the medical treatments that make Private Practice different than other shows on television; rather, it's the ethical debates surrounding the myriad decisions our doctors need to make every week.
In this season's tenth episode, "Are You My Mother," Jake finds himself in what seems like a perfectly average fertility consultation: KENDRA and ROSE have been together for six years and would like to have a baby. Complicating matters slightly is the additional presence of EVAN, Kendra and Rose's neighbor, who has volunteered to donate his sperm to fertilize Rose's egg which would then be implanted into Kendra's uterus, giving both women the opportunity to be part of the birthing experience. Jake senses that the trio is underestimating the potential complications of having a non-anonymous sperm donor, and insists that they meet with Violet before going through with the procedure.
Shortly into the therapy session, Violet senses that they're more than just a same sex couple looking for a sperm donor, and she's correct – Kendra, Rose and Evan are in love with each other, participants in a polyamorous relationship. This controversial alternative lifestyle poses the ethical debate:
Is it appropriate to assist a polyamorous triad with having a child?
This becomes a point of contention among the doctors at Seaside Health and Wellness. On one hand, polyamory has the societal stigma of being an unsavory, cultish lifestyle but on the other hand, and as we see in this episode, many polyamorous relationships are just as (if not in some cases more) loving and supportive as the usual party of two.
Recent reports suggest that to date, there are roughly half a million polyamorous households in the United States. Polyamorous lifestyles are definitely not for everyone, and issues with jealousy and possessiveness are common, but those who have the desire to make it work for them function well in households with established guidelines amongst all parties. As our doctors debate the situation, the point is made that other "alternative" lifestyles such as interracial and same sex couples were also questioned once upon a time, but are now considered mainstream. With this in mind, who has the authority to judge what is or isn't a socially acceptable environment for a baby, so long as it's a loving one?
Jake's initial issue is triad or not, they tried to pull the wool over his eyes about the reality of their situation. Putting this aside, he eventually decides to move forward with helping them, but problems arise when Rose turns out to be incapable of producing a viable egg. Kendra and Evan want to move forward with conceiving a baby between the two of them, but Rose worries that despite their every effort to avoid it, having a baby together will bind Kendra and Evan more closely together than she could ever be with either of them. Rose determines that, to maintain a fair share of involvement, the only way she'll agree to have a baby is through adoption or a surrogate. Kendra agrees, saying that being in their relationship is more important to her than having a biological baby, but Evan's priorities lie with fathering a child of his own, and he walks away.
Even though their plan was ultimately unsuccessful, you think Jake did the right thing by helping this alternative household with their dream to have a baby of their own?