Assisted Fatherhood – By Funke Egbemode

Sharing is caring!

If there is a marital sin any wife is adjudged guilty of even before she makes her case, it is the one where she passes off another man’s child as her husband’s. Nobody really cares why any woman should or would do it. She’s just guilty, should be sentenced and there should be no room for appeal. As much as I plead the case of women, even I won’t take that brief. I think it is taking biological advantage of a man, a husband who trusts you. I think it is also foolish to think wishing a problem away will actually make it go away. And who really gets away with tempting fate that way, anyway? Singing while sitting on a keg of gunpowder is extreme foolishness. I think swapping babies, paternity swap, whatever tag we choose for it is a sin of extreme infidelity and I hear it is becoming rampant. Indeed, a marriage counsellor told me that with the kind of stories she hears, there are more guilty women than there are innocent ones these days. Damning, damnable.

A friend even stretched it further by saying he thinks many first-borns have swapped paternity. Of course, I told him to cover his mouth or I’d cover it for him. But then would covering his mouth stem this epidemic that is spreading for all kinds of reasons? Yes, one gets to hear really weird stories that make it unreasonable to ignore this mean trend.

According to my friend, when a young woman is dating two men and sleeping with both without protection, chances of her handing over Oba goddess’ child to Osun goddess is high. Here is how;

Double-dealing girl, let’s call her Tito, has two boyfriends, one of whom she hopes to promote to husband in no distance future. Of course, she loves one more than the other and really wishes he’s the one who’ll pop the question. He’s sexy, fair, fine and fun to be with. The second guy is solid, well-built in every way but he’s not really the one Tito would prefer as husband. She continues to sleep with both. The solid guy gets more serious, the fun, sexy one just wants more fun, No commitment. Then she misses her period. She knows the fun guy is responsible but he’d told her several times that he had no intention of settling down in marriage anytime soon and no girl, nothing, would change his plans. So Tito counted her teeth with her tongue and did the needful paternity swap. She ‘gifted’ one man’s seed to another and with a smile, she walked down the aisle in a frothy white dress and took her vows before men and God.

How do such women feel, every morning, everyday especially the first time they see the swapped baby’s birth certificate? Do their hearts thud in their chests when the deceived daddy carries the baby for the first time and says welcome son or welcome my daughter. What kind of tensed life is that, living in fear of the truth coming out one day? And those truths often come out, though many women have not been found out. Yet.

There are also those women who think in their infinite wisdom that paternity swap is doing their husbands a favour. They do it to rescue their husbands’ manhood. You are lost, right? Here is how that one works.

A couple discovers in the course of their search for a child that the ‘culprit’ is the man. He is long and strong but he fires only blank bullets. His fine and fertile wife, however, does not want to leave him to his fate. Women are mushy-mushy like that, many times thinking with their hearts instead of their heads. So, she embarks on a rescue mission but instead of going to a sperm bank and doing the legit thing, she goes to the sperm black market. She sleeps with a stranger, gets pregnant (of course, it is called timed sex) and the couple has a son or daughter nine months later. The only snag is sperm procured from black market almost always ensures the couple do not live happily long after procurement. The man may become resentful. The woman may become arrogant. She may start to threaten to take her son away;

‘You should be grateful to me.’

‘Keep behaving like that and you’d never see this boy again.’

And he, all resentful will retort;

‘You can take your bastard out of my house. I don’t even know where you brought him from.’

‘I will not die just because I don’t have a child’

The sperm black market option is the most dangerous one for a waiting couple. It is extreme foolishness for a woman to opt for black market sperm just to save her husband’s face. Even if they swear to an oath in the deadliest shrine in the land, their flesh will creep in regularly to remind them of what they did. Oaths do not stop people from being unhappy, do they? And whose child then will the procured sperm child be if things fall apart?

Now, let’s look at a case of accidental paternity swap. Sodiq and Tokunbo got married at a quiet but classy wedding. They were the ideal couple, successful and decent. Until the devil introduced the no-child clause into their marriage. The tension and pressure were gradual but it soon came from everywhere. Everybody was asking questions at the same time and as usual, furtive accusing fingers were being pointed at Tokunbo. You know how it is; if a marriage is childless, lynch the woman. But in this case Sodiq was not just the prime suspect, he was the only suspect. Unproductive firing. When Sodiq finally accepted, he would not be able to ever fertilize Tokunbo’s eggs no matter how many hours he put on the job, he went all macho about it.

‘No, I won’t go to sperm bank and bring another man’s child into my home.’

‘And no, I won’t adopt. What will everybody say, think of me? How will I face my mother, your mother, my friends?

What followed, for Tokunbo, was beyond trauma. Her husband was uncooperative. Both parents were running up and down her house proffering solutions that were everything from outlandish to outright bizarre but she stood solid with her husband. She resolved that whatever she was going to do, exposing Sodiq’s status would not be an option. However, the tension and pressure turned to heat, unbearable heat which became scorching heat when her best friend, a doctor, the only one she’d always confided in warned her about biological clock and ageing eggs. She cried herself to sleep almost every night. She worked late so she could sleep. And then her mother-in-law (why does it always have to be a mother-in-law and not father-in-law?) told her to ‘shift’ so her son could get her grandchildren from another woman. Sodiq’s sister urged her on too.

What? Tokunbo felt like shaking the old woman until she stroked out. To avoid committing murder, she decided to attend a professional conference she had earlier decided against.

Of course, half the time, Tokunbo’s head was somewhere else. Mama’s words kept reverberating in her head. She was staring into her coffee cup when someone tapped her and asked if the coffee cup had turned into a crystal ball. Zak, shortened from Razak, still as handsome as ever, the man who made her a woman many years ago, stood there, his disarming smile as potent as ever. Tokunbo broke down and spilled the beans. She was vulnerable and exhausted from holding it all in. She just wept and wept. Zak consoled her, innocently at first, and then things got out of hand. Old flame sparked into a ball of fiery passion. Tokunbo did her best to resist. It was just not her day of strength. It was not planned and so nobody used protection. Both Tokunbo and Zak regretted it as soon as it was over. But what was done was done.

Tokunbo found out she was pregnant four weeks later. Bitter-sweet news. News she could not share with Sodiq or even Zak. This was her business she moved out while Sodiq was away on business, asked for transfer to another branch.

Everybody thought Tokunbo had bowed to pressure and taken mama’s advice to ‘shift’. Let’s not go into details of the search for Tokunbo and move straight to three years later when Sodiq’s sister saw Tokunbo entering a crèche with a set of twins in Calabar. Yes, Calabar and yes, Tokunbo had a set of twins from that chance encounter with Zak. One quickie and two babies. Sodiq’s sister quickly called her brother. They calculated the age of the twins and concluded that Tokunbo ran away with Sodiq’s babies.

The shoes of childlessness are better understood by those who have worn them. Still, I think handing over the fruits of the labour of one man to another unsuspecting man is sad and bad.

Noise, accusations, tears, curses followed. Sodiq who had remarried without a child still, jumped at the chance to be called ‘Baba ibeji’ (father of twins) and joined the furore. Until Tokunbo said,

‘Fine, let’s do a DNA.’

‘Yes,’ Sodiq’s family chorused.

‘No,’ Sodiq said.

He knew the scores.

Nothing is cut-and-dried when it comes to matters of the heart. It is easier to judge why women do what they do. The shoes of childlessness are better understood by those who have worn them. Still, I think handing over the fruits of the labour of one man to another unsuspecting man is sad and bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *