|Some sperm donors get more than they bargained for|
|Written by Renee Changnon, Columnist|
|Wednesday, 07 September 2011 20:15|
When a young child asks, “How are babies born?” most parents simply stick to either the stork story or try to go in a bit more detail: “Mommy and Daddy loved each other, and mixed a little of each other together to make you…”
In our society today, the complexities of these answers have most likely changed immensely with all the different ways one can conceive a child. Whether it’s the old-fashioned version, In vitro fertilization, surrogacy or egg or sperm donation, we may as well let kids believe in the stork.
While there is no “right way” to conceive a child, recently those individuals who are repeated sperm donors have come under fire. Although these gentlemen are helping bring life to the world, it seems as though several have been almost too generous.
According to the New York Times, families with children conceived through sperm donation have discovered that the number of half siblings grow to epic proportions, as one such donor has fathered 150 children.
What these numbers show is that not only regulation of sperm banks are practically non-existent, but also the potential of possibly dating and marrying a half sibling unknowingly is a new concern for these families as well.
The article goes on to state that, “some experts are even calling attention to the increased odds of accidental incest between half sisters and half brothers, who often live close to one another.”
For this very reason, several people born via sperm donation have their donor’s number memorized, so that when they find out the boy or girl they are interested in is born via sperm donation, they may be able to rule out the crush early on.
One family decided to create a registry system online in order to build a list of relatives. Thanks to that family, many of the registered siblings can meet each other and get to know one another.
According to the article, Wendy Kramer, who had her son through a sperm donor, started donorsiblingregistry.com in order to connect people with their half siblings. What she says many people find shocking is that when they expect to find a few half siblings, the numbers are typically around 18 to 20.
While many may think these numbers indicate the sperm donors allowed this to happen, several of the donors have come forward in shock after discovering how many children they really helped bring into the world.
In the article, Kramer went on to describe the feeling of one such shocked sperm donor who learned that he had 70 children, which he tracks on an Excel spreadsheet.
According to spermbankdirectory.com, to be a sperm donor one must be between the ages of “18-44, was not adopted, has no family history of genetic diseases, has the ability and willingness to produce a specimen 4-8 times per month in the laboratory, and an ability and willingness to make a minimum 6-month commitment.”
It goes on to say that the donor typically is paid $35-$50 per specimen. While these numbers are not huge, for poor college students interested in making some cash and getting paid to look at porn, it’s highly likely they may become like one of the other donors found on the sibling registry website.
While I am wholly supportive of those who seek to have a child and choose to do so with the assistance of sperm donors, I think these recent findings mean that definite regulations must be made on the process.
If sperm donation continues with this same process, how many more children and donors will become part of this new unique family base?