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Once upon a time, at Cambridge University, a group of research psychologists came up with a question. This question was, “Do artificially-conceived children have any more emotional issues than their naturally-conceived counterparts?” And of course, if you’re a research psychologist with a burning curiosity such as this one, what better to do than conduct a piece of research?

So it was done.

They designed an iron-clad method of conducting their study. It could not possibly fail. They would ask almost 200 children — representative of a variety of methods of conception, including the old-fashioned way — to draw a “map” of themselves and their parents, illustrating the closeness of their relationships. They would ask these children’s mothers to complete surveys regarding their child’s behaviour and emotional wellbeing. Then, wary of that tendency of mothers to talk up their children, they would survey the schoolteachers. And, to put the icing on the cake, they decided to mislead all the teachers into believing they were participating in a study on childhood development — even though the teachers had no idea how their students were conceived anyway, so their answers would probably not have changed even if they’d known the truth. Still, our intrepid research psychologists were taking no chances.

So they got their results.

And then they started selectively excising their results.

After all, what would teachers know? The teachers may have indicated that the artificially-conceived children were more prone to anxiety and other emotional issues, but so what? Children behave differently at school than at home! Thus, the researchers felt that the teachers’ responses could safely be thrown into the nearest rubbish bin. Then they looked at the mothers’ responses. These seemed to indicate that all children were as likely to suffer emotional issues regardless of their manner of conception, but the researchers kept in mind that the mothers may not have been entirely honest. Surely all mothers would seek to downplay their progeny’s emotional issues? Therefore, these responses had to be taken with a grain of salt — just like the teachers’.

So these incredible researchers resorted to the only reliable responses they had: the children’s drawings. They scrutinised these drawings long and hard, and came to the certain, indisputable conclusion that:

Children conceived using donor sperm or eggs or through surrogacy do as well emotionally as those conceived naturally.

And then BBC News picks up the story and swallows the researchers’ opinion hook, line and sinker. And then a year 11 Psychology student stumbles upon this article, analyses it with her A+ psychology skills ((Literally, mind you!)) and writes a blog entry mocking this pathetic excuse for science. And all was good.


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