While PJ and Brooke wait for the genetic test results to come in, WNYC reporter Mary Harris brings us a cautionary tale about a family of sorts, reunited by a gene data bank.
Why is anonymous donation still allowed in the USA anyway?
The donor-conceived, rather than the parents, clinics, or donors, are the people most directly affected by donor conception, and they are the ones who have to live with the consequences the longest. They also seem to be mostly against donor anonymity, and secrecy surrounding donor conception. Some don't care, but there's no way for anyone to tell whether their child will want to know who the donor is or not, so they should always have the choice.
Countries that have already ended donor anonymity include the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand. Canada and Australia seem likely to follow. Why not the USA? Since anonymous donation was ended in the UK, sperm donor numbers have gone up six years in a row btw, thus reversing a three-year decline.
Ironic- we used Donor Sibling Registry to connect with the half-sibs of our daughters' donor and it has been great. Knowing the half-sibs enriches our lives, and we hope that when our girls are old enough to want more answers, more of a connection, that they'll find their relationships with their half-sibs to be comforting. However, I really really wish they hadn't opened this can of worms. Anonymous donation makes it possible for many people to have families when they might not have been able to otherwise. If the donor went looking for his offspring, that'd be one thing. But to ferret him down using his DNA (or his family member's DNA) seems wrong. All I can see this doing is discouraging more men from donating and possibly hurting the kids who tracked down these guys who signed up to be *anonymous*
This story should be required listening for anybody contemplating sperm donation. Just imagine having 5-9 "kids" showing up on your doorstep needing a kidney or bone marrow.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
On The Media is funded, in part, by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
the Overbrook Foundation and the Jane Marcher Foundation.