Monday, December 18, 2006

Anonymous Sperm Donation

An interesting article: "My Father Was an Anonymous Sperm Donor:
I was angry at the idea that where donor conception is concerned, everyone focuses on the "parents" -- the adults who can make choices about their own lives. The recipient gets sympathy for wanting to have a child. The donor gets a guarantee of anonymity and absolution from any responsibility for the offspring of his "donation." As long as these adults are happy, then donor conception is a success, right?

Not so. The children born of these transactions are people, too. Those of us in the first documented generation of donor babies -- conceived in the late 1980s and early '90s, when sperm banks became more common and donor insemination began to flourish -- are coming of age, and we have something to say.

I'm here to tell you that emotionally, many of us are not keeping up. We didn't ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion. It's hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won't matter to the "products" of the cryobanks' service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place.

We offspring are recognizing the right that was stripped from us at birth -- the right to know who both our parents are.

And we're ready to reclaim it.
As Elizabeth Marquardt recently pointed out with regard to another donor sperm story:
Of course, the fact that all these half-siblings, and who knows how many more, were conceived in and mostly growing up in Colorado, and are now teenagers, and it’s completely up to their parents and the clinics whether to tell them the truth, and they will soon begin dating and might find that cute guy or girl who seems so *familiar* somehow really attractive . . . that fact alone β€” that we are intentionally setting up a generation of young people who could unknowingly sleep with a half-sibling β€” should be setting off alarm bells everywhere.
A good idea would be to require that all sperm donors: 1) consent to the release of their names and contact information; 2) keep their contact information updated at all times; and 3) agree to provide child support for any child conceived using their donated sperm. Of course, these requirements (particularly #3) would stop anonymous sperm donation dead in its tracks, which would be the point. Why should the law make it easy for men to conceive children (potentially with dozens of women) for whom they bear no responsibility?

8 Comments:

Blogger Joseph Buck said...

For the matter of children who don't know who their biological parents are, what about anonymous adoption? Do you think that it should be disallowed because it is unfair to the children? I realize that that is not the only problem with sperm-donated pregnancies, but I still wonder what you think about the above issue.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Suzi said...

Britain has begun requiring that sperm donors pay child support.

I think that's ridiculous.

If you want to guarantee that a woman who can get pregnant has to be in a relationship or have sex to do it, then that's the way to go. But I'm wondering what the husbands of some of those women will be thinking.

My husband is a child of an anonymous adoption. He doesn't know who or where his birth parents are. He is totally well adjusted.

Granted, he didn't marry his half-sibling, but still... I can see where that might be a problem.

I saw a show a while back where this red-haired arrogant guy was a sperm donor. He had 11 children by three women that he paid child support for (or so one supposes) and he donated sperm to women all over the countries. (One child ended up in Canada.) Who would want to know that he was their father? I'd rather he was anonymous. (He had been. They used his number to trace him down.)

8:54 PM  
Blogger DI_Dad said...

Suzi, I'd like to know the source of your comment "Britain has begun requiring that sperm donors pay child support". I ask as it is my understanding that nothing of that nature is taking place in the UK. If anything there are programs encouraging sperm donation.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Donkey Punch Boy's Webleg said...

Pretty good points. I'm not sure if I can agree with all of them.

I think kids should have the right to know who there parents are. And yeah, It would be a crying shame to have a bunch of inbread half mongoloid children from have sibling parents running around.

I'll post a backtrack to this when I get some more time.

Here's my Blog Buck

5:51 PM  
Blogger stranger09 said...

does anyone know if there is a way to prevent receiving a sperm donation from a relative since it is anonymous?

1:23 PM  
Blogger be grateful said...

I intend to be as sensitive as possible, however still feel the need to point out that....if your biological father wasn't a sperm donor, you wouldn't be here. It is pretty unlikely that your biological mother and biological father would have met and otherwise had a romantic relationship to create you. You were given life. Although the circumstances aren't perfect, no family is. I have a biological father who I know. He did not raise me, nor did he pay child support. My mother remarried when I was 5. I am now 27 and this man has been my father. Biology tells me why I look the way I do, but a father is someone who spends time with you, supports you financially, raises you with values, good character, teaches you and loves you day in and day out. I do not resent my biological father. I am grateful for the life I have been given. We need to stop blaming people for our problems and look at the blessings that are given us every day. You have life and that is the greatest gift of all.

11:03 PM  
Blogger be grateful said...

I intend to be as sensitive as possible, however still feel the need to point out that....if your biological father wasn't a sperm donor, you wouldn't be here. It is pretty unlikely that your biological mother and biological father would have met and otherwise had a romantic relationship to create you. You were given life. Although the circumstances aren't perfect, no family is. I have a biological father who I know. He did not raise me, nor did he pay child support. My mother remarried when I was 5. I am now 27 and this man has been my father. Biology tells me why I look the way I do, but a father is someone who spends time with you, supports you financially, raises you with values, good character, teaches you and loves you day in and day out. I do not resent my biological father. I am grateful for the life I have been given. We need to stop blaming people for our problems and look at the blessings that are given us every day. You have life and that is the greatest gift of all.

12:17 AM  
Blogger Bree A said...

I was born in 1988, the product of in-vitro fertilization and sperm donation. Obviously, I am grateful for the astonishing innovations in technology. However, we need to remember to seriously consider the ethical ramifications of such things as anonymous sperm donation - which we did re-think, fortunately - as we develop new fields of medical technology. Either way, I'm glad to be here in the flesh, but I will never know the medical history/origin of 50% of my genes...my heritage, my father's race, height, body composition, hair color, eye color...the important former and more trivial latter things are all important to me to some extent and yet because "anonymous sperm donation" was allowed when I was conceived, I will never have a right to half of my own identity.

10:03 AM  

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