Should sperm donors always remain anonymous?

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Postby vison » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:40 pm

portia wrote:I wouldn't call it a stigma. I'd call it a complication depending on how the family you might someday establish would react to the sudden acquisition of a half-sister or brother.

Maybe if you told them about it early, it would be OK, but maybe not.


Well, I have some actual personal experience with telling children that they have a sibling they didn't know about. It worked out fine.

It's all in the way you do it. Honesty, not secrecy and lies, is the right way to go about this, and the earlier the better.

Here's the thing: if the idea makes a donor feel squidgy and uneasy, if the donor just couldn't BEAR the idea of telling a future family about how she/he donated eggs/sperm, then for chrissake don't do it. SIMPLE.
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Postby MerriadocBrandybuck » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:14 am

My wife and I are dealing with this issue right now. We have two frozen embryo's left over from IVF, and we have considered donating them to another couple. We already have twins, a boy and a girl, and while I really would like to help another couple have their own family, I don't think I would do it if the children were able to look us up in the future.
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Postby Cerin » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:57 am

Assuming you were assured that your information would remain secret, would the knowledge that your offspring might someday have a burning desire to know who their biological parents are constrain you at all? (I realize this is a very personal issue, so I will not take it amiss if you prefer not to answer.)
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Postby vison » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:40 am

MerriadocBrandybuck wrote:My wife and I are dealing with this issue right now. We have two frozen embryo's left over from IVF, and we have considered donating them to another couple. We already have twins, a boy and a girl, and while I really would like to help another couple have their own family, I don't think I would do it if the children were able to look us up in the future.


It's your business, of course. But I think if you bring a child into the world, no matter how, you have to put the child first in these matters.
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Postby Democritus » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:51 am

vison wrote:
MerriadocBrandybuck wrote:My wife and I are dealing with this issue right now. We have two frozen embryo's left over from IVF, and we have considered donating them to another couple. We already have twins, a boy and a girl, and while I really would like to help another couple have their own family, I don't think I would do it if the children were able to look us up in the future.


It's your business, of course. But I think if you bring a child into the world, no matter how, you have to put the child first in these matters.


But what counts as putting the child first? Surely that is up to the parents who utilise the frozen sperm to produce and raise children, not the sperm donor. I genuinely sympathise with those children who have biological parents they wish to meet, I truly sympathise. But I also think that sperm donors who like Merriadoc have families of their own and wish to make a generous contribution to a couple who cannot conceive but who desperately want children... should have the right, must have the right, to stay anonymous. To remove that secretacy will lead to a precipitous drop in the number of sperm donors, especially sperm donors who already have families of their own.

I don't blame any child who seeks out to find their biological parents, it is the most natural impulse and drive in the world. If I ever became an anonymous sperm donor and a child produced from my sperm was to seek out and find me years later I would not have any problems with them, and would answer any and all questions they might have.... but I would probably sue the sperm clinic if I found out they had deliberately given my contact details to that child.
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Postby Cerin » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:23 pm

As someone pointed out earlier in the thread, in places that mandate donations be open, the number of donations has gone up, not down.

It should be considered an obligation that goes with donation. If someone, like Meriadoc, is not willing to be identified to their offspring, that indicates he is not temperamentally/psychologically suited to be a donor. Not everyone is cut out to donate their genetic material, and it isn't a criticism of any kind. It's just not for some people. I would never do it.

The feelings of the donors should have nothing to do with donation policy, because their actions are voluntary. They can always opt out.
Last edited by Cerin on Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby portia » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:25 pm

Once upon a time, I think would have been a good prospect as an egg donor. If there had been such a thing, I likely would have done it. But I know I would have wanted to remain anonymous. I'd have given the agency every bit of medical background I knew, but I wouldn't have been doing it because I wanted a family, I would have done it to help someone else have a family. THEIR family.
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Postby Cerin » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:42 pm

portia wrote:Once upon a time, I think would have been a good prospect as an egg donor. If there had been such a thing, I likely would have done it. But I know I would have wanted to remain anonymous. I'd have given the agency every bit of medical background I knew, but I wouldn't have been doing it because I wanted a family, I would have done it to help someone else have a family. THEIR family.

One may not be donating because they want a family, but they are nevertheless taking steps to create someone who will be part of their biological family. The full reality of what donation means must be recognized, considered and accepted by both donors and recipients at the outset. No one is forced to be a donor or a recipient. If you (speaking generally) don't want a biological child to come looking for you one day, don't create one!
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Postby vison » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:29 pm

The world is not short of people. While the inability to have your "own" biological children is a trouble, it is not the end of all things. One can always adopt.

There is something horribly ironic about this. In an overpopulated world, many people cannot conceive. I suspect nature is telling us something and we are not listening.
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Postby Jnyusa » Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:57 pm

I feel very strongly about the right of an adopted child to know their original identity, but I'm not sure at all that I feel as strongly about children of IVF having that same right. I've decided that I need to give this a lot of thought before deciding where I stand. (And it's only hypothetical anyway: I never would have donated my own eggs either.)

The thing about infant adoptions ... I came into the world because my mother and father had sex together. They knew each other. They had a relationship. Then my mother carried me inside her own body for nine months, and my father knew about it and supported her during that time. There were antecedents to my existence that had to do not only with a genetic legacy but also a biological, cultural, and emotional legacy, and it was access to that knowledge that I felt strongly entitled to.

But in the case of sperm and egg donors, the person who raises you is the one who carried you inside their own body for nine months. There was no prior relationship between the genetic mother and father, they didn't have sex together, they don't even know each other, you are not here because of something they did together.

If the only contribution from one side is genetic material ... it does feel different to me. I think there is a right to full disclosure of medical conditions and personal profile, but a name and address so that you can look them up? I'm sort of thinking that the right analogy might be the kind of information you would want about a parent who had died in your infancy. Where did they come from? What did they do for a living? What talents did they have? What color were their hair and eyes? Profile. You're never going to meet them - a name and address is irrelevant - but you can have a picture of who they were

In all honesty, if my father had been a sperm donor and I had access to his medical status and basic information about him ... I doubt I would have bothered to contact him. I wanted to know how I came into being, and I needed to speak to my parents to know that, but if I'd been a test tube baby one parent at least would be as clueless as I was. There would hardly have been a point to meeting them.

Which leads me to think a little more deeply about this issue than I had before, I guess. The Adoptee's Liberty Movement Association rests a lot of their lobbying effort on genetic arguments. These are the most convincing for a lot of folks, I guess, because there is risk of incest when genetic background is concealed, especially in smaller cities or when the surrendering parents lay constraints on the adoption, like it has to be someone of the same religion. But I wonder how much motivation really comes from the need to know one's genetic history. Perhaps that is just the easier argument to make because there is so little sympathy for the right to a complete identity.
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Postby vison » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:16 pm

To me, it's the same issue.

As Cerin and I have said many times in this thread: if it bothers you, don't do it.
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