Friday, September 16, 2011

Sperm donors and ethics

I can't stop thinking about an article I read in the Globe yesterday. It was about a lawyer in his 30s who was a sperm donor for about 3 years while he was in law school. Now he finds out that his sperm was used to father 70 children. 70! And because people are so much more connected these days, many of the families have connected with each other and with him online. So now he has a dilemma: what is his relationship with his biological children supposed to be? It's fascinating, and scary. You can read the whole article here.

What I don't understand is: why isn't there a limit to a number of times that a single sperm donor's sperm can be used? If a woman is an egg donor, is there no limit there, either? I can't believe that no one has thought of this before.

The thing that fascinates me is that kids really do have a need to know where they come from. I'm seeing this more and more with J as he gets older. He was thrilled to meet a bunch of cousins in Chicago this summer who share his last name. I think it helped him feel more grounded, connected. So I can understand why the kids, whose fathers are nothing more than a sperm donor number, are interested in learning about these men.

I tried to bring this topic up at breakfast this morning, and A gave me a look. I think he knew where it was going before I did.

I explained the situation to J, and he thought about it a minute. He wasn't at all interested in the ethical dilemma.

"How does the man get the sperm out of his penis?" he inquired.

A looked at me.

"Um, he masturbates, and then the sperm comes out," I replied somewhat vaguely. J has recently learned about masturbation, although I don't think he fully gets it. Yet. At least I didn't mention the pornographic magazines offered at the sperm bank.

"Where does the sperm go?"

"Um, in a cup. Then the sperm bank saves it and uses it if people want to get pregnant and for some reason they don't have sperm."

J thought it was pretty funny that men would go somewhere to masturbate into a cup, but he was impressed to find out that they could get paid for it. I'm afraid my discussion of the ethical issues of sperm donation didn't go very far.

Oh, well. I tried.

2 comments: said...

Oh goodness. I agree though. That is insane! I can't imagine having a kid with a person who has 60+ others.

Steff said...

I am quite intrigued by this topic. I feel so sad for the kids who will grow up without knowing their roots. How awful that will be if that happens to me? I can't imagine.

I am very grateful that my children has known their father, though we are not together anymore. They are so precious to me, and I don't want to hurt them by keeping them in the dark about their biological father.

You see, I value them, that's why every pictures of them, I keep in an online photo album I found on the net. / Every moment, priceless. :)

Thanks for this post, and I hope you'll post more!