I had hoped that it would not be necessary to have to comment on this “news” story as it is becoming strikingly similar to the tasteless coverage of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick’s surrogate pregnancy more than a year ago. I get the media and public’s fascination with celebrities. Yet it goes too far. I just saw this blog post and cringed:
Preston also could have used an egg donor, an option that many other women choose to avoid the possibility of a baby born with birth defects. There really are so many variables, and until the Travolta-Prestons tell us more, all we can do is speculate.
Excuse me, but what right does this author, Cynthia Dermody, or anyone else have to “expect” Mr. Travolta or Ms. Preston to “tell us more”? This is a personal matter and we ought to respect the sanctity of their marriage and their right to privacy. It is bad enough that celebrities feel compelled to preemptively address these issues so as to avoid rank speculation. But to expect the details of the conception of their child? That is beyond reproach and indefensible.
Moreover, have any of these bloggers or media outlets even considered the effect their coverage will have on the baby? No child should be subject to this kind of scrutiny where, in this information age, every aspect of their conception could become part of the public record. It is difficult enough growing up as the child of a celebrity, but to have this kind of detail available publicly is beyond the pale. Additionally, one of the most difficult issues any couple who used donor sperm or egg has to grapple with is what and when to tell the child about their biological origins. Apparently the media believes they are in the best position to make this decision without regard to the consequences of their actions.
I realize the inevitability of people speculating about the origins of this child. I also concede that an argument can be made that this can serve as an educational opportunity to address issues involving diminished ovarian function and pregnancy risks due to age. But to expect this couple to produce additional information on how their baby was conceived? It is not acceptable to ask an pregnant woman where, when and what position she was in when their child was conceived. Nor is it appropriate to ask a man or a woman if they needed the assistance of a donor to achieve their pregnancy. Why a different standard for Ms. Preston and her husband?
After everything this couple has been through, I would hope people would respect their privacy and leave them alone. They deserve the same dignity and respect as the rest of us.