It’s interesting how often the weekend papers will bring news and articles that feature donor conception in one way or another. The Guardian on Saturday had a short column about a Spanish football club that had made a film for its fans appealing to them to become sperm donors…so that they could increase the number of season tickets sold in order to raise funds for the club! A bit of fun they said, but appealing to sports fans to become sperm donors is not new. The National Gamete Donation Trust did a wonderful piece of work with a rugby club in the N. of England which resulted in many of the players offering to become donors. They just hadn’t understood before what it involved and the enormous gift they would be giving.
A joyful feature about a family made up of a single straight woman, two gay men and their baby was included in the Style section of the Sunday Times (see my previous post on What is a Family). All three adults know which one of the men is the biological father but they will only be revealing this information to their daughter when she is a little older. In the meanwhile joint parenting takes place in one household. The men are civil partners and the whole set-up feels very supportive and respectful…particularly of the needs of the child. My only concern would be that they have not put any legal agreements in place and as conception was DIY via a Tupperware tub and a syringe at home the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act does not apply. I wish them all well.
Less joyful and verging on the disturbing was the story of an American woman who received permission from a court to extract sperm from her 21 year old son before his life support was turned off following a fatal fight. She wanted to be able to have a grandchild and appears to be currently organising an egg donor and surrogate so that her dream can come true. This could not happen in the UK as, following the Diane Blood case in 1998, men need to have given permission prior to their death for their sperm to be removed posthumously. And to be honest, I doubt if a man’s mother would ever be given permission for such an act. What happened in this family was a tragedy but this man’s mother needs to grieve for her child rather than trying to re-create him and at the same time completely ignoring the needs and rights of any child conceived.