Sex between siblings should be legal, says professor

Rising number of babies conceived using donated sperm raises a rethink of taboos

Consensual sex between adult siblings should be legal, according to Thomas Søbirk Petersen, a professor of ethics at Roskilde University. Petersen said the rise in the number of births resulting from donor sperm that creates biological siblings who may well be from different families has created a need to rethink old taboos.

After heated debate in Germany, that country’s ethics committee has recommended that sibling sex be made legal. Petersen wants to see the same debate take place here.

“I think it's a cop-out that a democratic society is not willing to discuss this,” Petersen told MetroXpress.

“In a society where more and more children are being conceived using donor sperm, the risk of falling in love with a stranger who turns out to be a biological sister or brother has increased. Should they be jailed for up to two years, as is now required under law?”

Sex and power
Petersen believes that siblings who want to have children together can minimise the risk of having a disabled child by using donor sperm or eggs. He also suggested that abortion was an option if it is discovered that a foetus is disabled. 

READ MORE: Aarhus siblings' love child sets off incest debate

The Danish ethics committee has not taken a position on sibling sex, but Professor Gorm Greisen from Rigshospitalet said that making the act legal would raise complex issues.

“It can be difficult in cases of incest to ensure that both parties are participating voluntarily,” he said. “There can often be a power aspect involved that complicates the sexual relationship.”




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