Sperm donation worries then and now
We've learned a thing or two about sperm donation over the years.
2 minute read
Progress may be slow, but it's progress nonetheless. The key is to listen. The other key is to ask questions. The other key is to be willing to change our minds based on the evidence.
Below, a short tally of our shifting worries.
What we worried about then
that the dad would be embarrassed
that the mom would be embarrassed
that the donor would be embarrassed
that the mom would sue for child support
that the child would want to live with the sperm donor
that the child would just be confused if they found out
What we worry about now
that the child might suffer because they don't know
that the child might suffer because they find out at a bad time
that anonymity is used to hide how large donor families are
that anonymity is used to hide that the wrong donor was used
that anonymity is used to hide the fact that doctors sometimes use their own sperm
that sperm banks don't always honour their commitment to open-identity
that offspring may be sexually attracted to each other and not know they’re siblings
What sperm banks worry about
that donors will find out how many offspring they have
that parents will find out how many siblings their kids have
that donors will do the math and figure out how much money banks have made off them
that parents will realize there isn't enough medical screening
that they'll be sued
that donors will realize that genetic testing means anonymity is dead
that some donors won't donate if they are told the truth about anonymity
that at some point donors will realize that donating is more than just "providing a sample"
that some donors will embrace knowing their donor offspring
that donors and offspring will communicate with each other and learn these truths
What we have learned
that many offspring are deeply curious
that some offspring just don't care
that deceit is worse than embarrassment
that many offspring are harmed by not knowing or by not being able to know
that it's possible to be deeply curious and to love your parents
that knowing half-siblings can be meaningful
that donor half-siblings are a lot like other siblings — some good, some meh
that wanting to know about your donor is different from wanting to live with him
that knowing your medical history can sometimes save your life
that a donor child becomes an adult, with the same rights and the same desire for connectedness as everyone else
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Note: The final item under “what we worry about now” was added at the suggestion of multiple readers.