“Sperm-donors’ children are banding together to try to ban anonymous sperm donation in hopes of saving future generations from the frustrating search that all too often ends in heartbreak,” reports the Associated Press.

The story quotes the study My Daddy’s Name is Donor by Elizabeth Marquardt, who wrote for “On the Square” an article titled   The Kids Are Not All Right , a take-down of the recent movie’s cheerful and utterly unrealistic mythologizing of sperm donation (the ultimate absent fathers). From the AP story:

Lindsay Greenawalt wasn’t able to find her father, despite the fact that she’s been looking for him since 2003. She posted a Father’s Day entry on her blog, “Confessions of a Cryokid,” earlier this summer that read: “I’ve dreamt of you since I was a little girl. There are so many things I want to know about you.”

Many donor-conceived children feel this way, as Marquardt showed, but that doesn’t mean much to the donor industry. The firm declaration in the first sentence of the following quote is quickly trumped by the firm declaration that follows.
. . . The kids’ rights must be met, the group [the American Society for Reproductive Medicine] said, but so must the rights and interests of both the donor and the parents who’ll be raising that child. “The bottom line in the U.S. – we’ve always been big proponents of individual rights in regard to procreation,” Andrea Braverman of the ASRM’s ethics committee told the Associated Press. “We’ve always taken the approach that we get our own choices in terms of how we build and manage our families.”

Well, there it is. Individual rights and our own choices. But exactly what right does a man have to sell or donate his sperm to make a child he’ll never know, to be a father but not be a father? Just where is that right to be found in the Constitution or the laws of nature or anywhere else?

The article closes:

For kids who desperately want to find their biological dad and can’t, it’s hard to accept that line of thinking. Their search of a lifetime can be fruitless – and agonizing.

Of her dad, Greenawalt told the AP: “He knows I’m looking for him – and he doesn’t want to make contact.”


It may be significant that the AP writer gave Greenawalt the last line, which is sometimes a sign of the reporter’s sympathies. I suspect that for most people, other than those tempted to conceive a child this way (and infertility can be a devastating loss to suffer), one’s natural sympathies are with the fatherless child, even though those sympathies go against our belief in “individual rights in regard to procreation.”

Articles by David Mills

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