Viking sperm, yawn…what about the Americans?

What is it about Vikings that fires up the British media so much?  Yesterday’s Guardian had a central two page spread of some silly people wearing red outfits and horned helmets and tonight BBC2 has a documentary called The Vikings Are Coming about women who choose donors from Danish sperm banks.  Last year Kate Brian made a Radio 4 programme about the same phenomenon.

There are of course some interesting questions that are raised around how and why Denmark has developed such a thriving industry in sperm donation and export.  I speculated on some of these when commenting on Kate’s programme in an earlier blog https://oliviasview.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/what-are-the-needs-of-those-who-dont-tell-and-a-new-viking-invasion/

But that’s not really what I think this is all about.  It’s more to do with our fascination with the myth of the fierce and marauding warriors who not only raided Britain’s northern shores but also settled, trading and colonising great swathes of our country.  Their genes have become our genes.  And that’s what it’s about…genes, and the wonderful helmets of course!

What is interesting is that apparently much more American than Danish sperm is imported into the UK for use by those who need sperm donation.  No such excitement about their genes!

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About oliviasview

Co-founder and now Practice Consultant at Donor Conception Network. Mother to two donor conceived adults and a son conceived without help in my first marriage.
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36 Responses to Viking sperm, yawn…what about the Americans?

  1. marilynn says:

    Ruby is doing her Expolorer’s project in the 5th grade and its on the Vikings and we are mostly Norwegian. Funny about the hats I read tonight they did not actually have the horns on them. But they were really bad men actually roaming around taking whatever they want. They traded slaves but they were Europeans. She thinks the guy on the cover of the book is really cute so I guess there is something to the demand by women for them

  2. sandra says:

    Maybe the importation of scandanavian sperm is a more recent phenomena, and therefore more newsworthy? People have been import US sperm for ages, but certainly eight years ago, when I conceived, none of the sperm banks suggested importing from anywhere other than the US.

  3. sandra says:

    Maybe the importation of Scandanavian sperm is a more recent phenomena, and therefore more newsworthy? People have been importing US sperm for ages, but certainly eight years ago, when I conceived, neither of the two UK clinics I visited suggested importing from anywhere other than the US.

  4. My parent's donor is my father says:

    “What is interesting is that apparently much more American than Danish sperm is imported into the UK for use by those who need sperm donation. No such excitement about their genes!”

    Well, they can talk it up this way…America was the pioneer of the eugenics movement (pre-Natzi Germany) and most American’s are mutts. Mutts tend to be a heartier stock than pure breds. Something they can be proud of! (sarcasm)

  5. My parent's donor is my father says:

    Here’s another selling point promoting the use of more localized UK ‘donors’. Most ppl in Britian already have Viking DNA – given all the raping and pillaging the Viking’s did in their historic conquests.

  6. kate brian says:

    Sandra is right – it’s the very rapid increase in the percentage of sperm imported from Denmark which has caused all the interest. We did say in our Radio Four documentary that it’s still only 1/3 of total of the sperm imported to the UK.

  7. My parent's donor is my father says:

    And since the topic of reducing father’s down to genes, I wonder how often ‘donor’ conceived like this person reach out to the DCN for support (feeling that it is a safe place to share this kind of honesty of feelings)?

    This was written by a high school age ‘donor’ conceived person:

    “”Duck, Duck, Trigger: A Day in the Life of the Artificially Conceived
    So I started my new poetry class this semester and we have to bring a poem to the next class based on our prompt.
    Guess what our first prompt is? Father.
    We have to write about our fathers. Too fucking bad the only thing I know about mine is that he jacked off in a cup for money at least one time.
    I do have poems about him already though. About how much I hate the way I was conceived and how I wonder if the idea of my existence ever crosses his mind.
    After Poetry, I have Sustainable Agriculture. We talked about organic plants, which led to genetic modification, which led to breeding, which led to livestock, which led to the oh-so-fucking peachy “empirical” and apparently entirely ethical practice of collecting semen from bulls and stallions to artificially inseminate female animals in the hopes that they could breed a better, stronger, faster, whatever animal. Congratulations assfaces, you just triggered someone.
    The teacher started explaining it to me because I assumed more likely that they would just get the animals to mate. Explain to me please how I was conceived, because I don’t live it every day. So I just looked at him and said, “I know, I was born like that.”
    And then I was quiet for the rest of the class.
    Damage done. I get it. I’m not like everyone else. I was conceived like your livestock.
    So what? Am I supposed to be the prize race horse of humanity? The strongest bull? Breeding a better human, what a fucking joke.”
    (remove spaces to link) http : //halliedarling . tumblr . com/post/30475449048/duck-duck-trigger-a-day-in-the-life-of-the

    AND her follow-up happy ending (see below) where her feelings and loss are recognized, acknowledged, validated and supported – without dismissing it having nothing to do with the nature of so called ‘donor’ conception and blaming it on some other problem within her social family, or personality disorder? Enfranchise the disenfranchised. We need more of this to help the offspring and help others learn from their pain.

    “”Crying In Class
    Today in my poetry class I had to read my poem about my father. One other person went before me and I was having this inner panic attack and getting increasingly nervous, so I knew I had to go next or I’d end up giving myself an ulcer from worrying again.
    I started crying in the third stanza. Like gasping and shaking.
    My teacher said, “It’s okay, sweetheart.”
    But I kept going. I had to cover my face with my hands at one point, and I stopped being able to see through my tears three lines from the end. I got through it, though.
    Everyone loved it. Two people started crying, too. A girl across the room got up and gave me a hug. My teacher said she’d never forget it.
    And the girl sitting next to me said, “That was incredibly brave.” Which is, by far, my favorite adjective to be called. Pretty is fleeting; smart is relative… but brave? Being brave matters.
    You know, I always see myself as constantly being in this battle with my identity, with my genetics, with my dad… and an overwhelming amount of the time I seem to lose that battle, but somedays, I am brave enough to win.
    Today was one of those days.
    When I perform my poetry, people hear me. And letting people know that what I live with isn’t okay, is the first step to preventing it from befalling others. There is a glowing dawn of brighter day. I can feel it.

    p.s. A girl stopped me after class and told me she was donor-conceived (and then adopted by completely different people, which I have never heard of happening) which is crazy, because I’ve only ever met two other donor-babies irl and one of those is my sister. There are only fourteen people in that class, what are the chances?”

    (remove spaces to link) http : //halliedarling . tumblr . com/post/30634316551/crying-in-class

  8. My parent's donor is my father says:

    Did it ever cross your mind that you might be doing more harm than good by celebrating and normalizing this practice as long as it’s done ‘openly, honestly, with identity disclosure and other government and legal regulations – advocating for local sperm ‘donors’ to help meet the demand – to help curb the demand for international ‘donors’, or non-clinic ‘donors”? Do you ever question that your good intentions might actually be unrealistic and unattainable for most people but serves to increase the demand and problems? I hope you do because any leader in this area (support) especially should always question themselves and be open to new and different approaches – with humility and not be defensive or come across as condescending when anyone (in the DC community especially) challenges the practice – wants the ethics/issues/problems to be given more attention than the ‘if only we did this this way, it would be okay’ and ‘happy stories;. I suspect that’s especially hard for you to do since you have a personal investment in this.

    • marilynn says:

      I appreciate you saying this K. My views about the topic have evolved from simply wanting to ensure disclosure then eliminating anonymity to finally realizing that there is no need for the children of donors to loose any contact or legal kinship or rights from either bio parent just because their bio parents did not meet one another in a typical way. Nobody cares what the intentions of bio parents were when they made their kid such feelings or desires don’t have any bearing on parental responsibility legally nor should they ever under any circumstance. There are so many fertile people that want to have biological children but don’t have a fertile partner to mate with even though they might have a partner they’d like to raise their kids with.

      Instead of going out and having their bio kids with strangers who will abandon their offspring pick a stranger in the same boat who poses no threat to their romantic relationship so that they have the bio kid they want and their partner will still get to help raise their kid with them and most important of all the child will get to have both bio parents on board and fully responsible for them as parents even if they are not together as a romantic couple. It is possible to do what they are doing now which is have kids with people they are not romantically involved with without the kid having to loose ta parent and half their family for no other reason than one of their bio parents wants to pretend they had a kid with their partner. All that loss and pain because they’d rather not have to cooperate with the other parent of their child and would prefer to raise their kid alone with their spouse. Boo hoo you will have an easier time adjusting to dealing with their bio parent than they would to living life without them. If having a kid with a stranger was second choice to having your own with your partner does it not stand to reason that kid you had with a stranger will feel the same? Wouldn’t they prefer to have had both bio parents raise them so they would not need someone else to to the job of the absent parent? If there is going to have to be a third person involved couldn’t’ that person just be added as a cooperative party? What does the kid gain from having their bio parent removed in stead of keeping the bio parent and adding a step parent?

      In the long run people contemplating mating with gamete donors should realize they don’t have to have the kid all t themselves and the proper thing to do if they are going to be orchestrating arrangements instead of falling madly in love would be to set up an arrangement where the kid gets both bio parents. Too bad if they can’t experience exclusive parenthood with their partner. That is not what is actually happening anyway so its just pretend to act it.

      • marilynn says:

        And yes I believe marriage is the best solution and raising your own kids. But realistically people have arranged relationships for making babies for eons. Then do it in a way where at least legally there are no losers.

    • oliviasview says:

      DC Network is there for everybody. No feelings are a problem. No question of denial of anyone’s feelings.

  9. Liz says:

    “Did it ever cross your mind that you might be doing more harm than good by celebrating and normalizing this practice as long as it’s done ‘openly, honestly, with identity disclosure and other government and legal regulations”

    People are bound to disagree, especially on subjects surrounding hot-button issues such as sex and reproduction.

    It’s difficult to control other people’s uteruses. I’m baffled at what you hope to realistically accomplish with condemnation, stigma, and shame. (Is there any evidence that this is an effective strategy in _any_ area related to sexuality?)

    Olivia has recently posted a worrying report about people who chose to go outside the clinic system. The medical community is not required for donor conception. Do you want to use shame to encourage that movement?

    And if we do look at the international situation, haven’t we just read several posts that show the ease at which frozen sperm may cross international boundaries? And vitrified eggs are now travelling internationally.

    I am quite confused on how you propose to use shame to any pragmatic good effect. What would shame and condemnation accomplish that is a good?

    A pragmatic person might ask the question: What would be the likely consequence of instituting shame? What would be the logical consequence of attempting to restrict donor conception? What will parents do if they fear this knowledge will injure or harm their child in any way?

    Parents who fear stigma will not reveal the circumstances of the conception. Parents who fear the knowledge will damage their child will hide the truth. Parents who fear society’s opinion will hide this knowledge from everyone. Parents who fear consequences from the state will most definitely never tell.

    Parents will not tell the truth unless they feel confident the knowledge will not damage their child and their family.

    • marilynn says:

      I’m sorry Liz where is your evidence that K is condemning or shaming anyone into or out of anything? Condemning would mean she or her cohorts were in a position to punish people and they are not. She’s not even suggesting punishment of any kind. At worst she has expressed a desire that they not solve their problems at the expense of people who have no say in the matter. If people with offspring were responsible for their own offspring how would that punish people without offspring? If they want to be resoponsible for an adopted kid they could adopt a kid. That is not anyone punishing anybody else its being responsible for taking care of someone you caused to be dependent or taking care of someone you elected and were approved to care for. Not punishment and not shame. You use these terms to intimidate people from standing firm on their perfectly reasonable and harmless expectations that everyone follow the same rules when they have offspring and when they don’t. What you re doing by spinning it that way is an attempt to shame them for speaking out against some serious bullsht inequality. Go ahead and use the old legalize the crime so it does not go underground where you can’t regulate it. That’s a load. If they do it in secret then they’ll be doing it and the children impacted would have some legal recourse against them.

      • Liz says:

        “where is your evidence that K is condemning or shaming anyone into or out of anything?”

        “Did it ever cross your mind that you might be doing more harm than good by celebrating and normalizing this practice…”

        “…I hope you do because any leader in this area (support) especially should always question themselves and be open to new and different approaches…”

        If she does not advocate the ethical condemnation of the practice, perhaps she might clarify her position.

        What approach does she advocate that differs from Olivia’s present behaviour?

        • marilynn says:

          To condemn is to punish someone and to shame someone is to ostracize them outcast them banish them turn them away and not associate with them they are unworthy of recognition – bad dog go to your kennel as punishment.

          She has no authority over anyone she is not in any position to shame anyone ro condemn them to any particular fate. K is informing Olivia of the collateral damage caused by bio parents who agree not to raise their children as a favor or service ffor hire. Olivia does present her organization as being intended for the benefit and good of the offspring of gamete donors. She’s not hammering at the people raising them to disclose the truth to the kids they are raising because its a law or anything. Olivia believes that there is an unwritten human right to know if the people raising you are not your biological parents. It’s an ethical not legal passion of hers that her organization is built upon. She does not take it much further than that – for instance she believes people should know if the people raising them are not their bio parents but she does not necessarily believe they should be told who their bio parents are. K and I and others believe what the offspring of donors deserve goes WAY beyond just knowing that the people raising them are not biological parents and WAY beyond being told the bio parents identity at some point down the line.

          All K is doing is I guess keeping her fingers crossed that Olivia’s opinion might continue to evolve over time since she did not start out as a huge advocate for telling its something she says developed over time for she and her husband. Its a great thing for sure but there are many like K or like me that really hope she will at some point apply the same logic she uses in thinking its appropriate to disclose the truth that the people raising are not biologically related – and see they deserve not nothing less than other people deserve from their bio parents and so the same laws should apply and gamete donation would simply be something people did for research purposes and not as a means of ‘helping’ other people get kids to raise.

          I would really like it if someday she felt as strongly about not treating minors as a commodity as she does about not representing ones self as a bo parent if it is not the truth. Her principals she states are quite logical and are child focused and person focused. She means well so therefore there is a glimmer of hope that the same spark might take off and light something in her so its quite worthwhile for K to invest time in communicating the problems donor offspring experience regardless whether they are told early and often or not. Telling is super but it does not stop the other damage caused by the practice. Informing someone that they are hurting others is not condemning them – that would be to sentence them and put them in jail for causing the harm. I don’t think K wants to throw anyone in jail to condemn them she would like them to cut it the Fk out. She does not think that its realistic to have laws stop the practice so she endeavors to educate on the damage not condemn

          Your a serious belittler you love to make stuff sound worse than it is. K is just trying to let people know how bad it actually is.

          • Liz says:

            You appear to be misreading my comments.

            I am addressing tactics and strategy. I think Olivia’s strategy can effect change.

            I do not think moral condemnation will effect change in the areas of reproduction and sexuality. This is simply my opinion about the effectiveness of this type of tactic/strategy.

            The other commenter (MyParent) seemed to suggest that Olivia should ethically condemn and stigmatize, rather then normalize, donor conception. If I am wrong, then I apologize for misunderstanding the comment of My Parent.

            If My Parent does not think that Olivia ought to ethically condemn the practice of donor conception, then I am confused. I do not know what she believes ought to change regarding Olivia’s approach.

            • marilynn says:

              Again Liz to condem is to punish and K (My Parent) is in no position to be handing down punishment and neither is Olivia. Moral condemnation? What kind of fire and brimstone talk is that? She is suggesting to Olivia that she not advocate for the advancement of child trafficking and human rights abuses. That is hardly condemning and shaming.

              Morals are really personal things that vary from person to person and group to group they often involve following rules that are not required by law across the board as in no public law requires anyone to be faithful to their spouse. You won’t find some people required by law under the family code and others not required under the tax code or anything they simply are not required to be sexually faithfull by law and it’s not illegal to cheat on your spouse. There are people that might waste time talking about how bad it is or how it should be illegal but that’s just not the same as identifying a whole group of people who are excluded from the same benefits as other people. These are human rights violations and denial of due process and its a public health debachal of massive proportion. Telling Olivia and others that the whole practice is damaging and problematic no matter how early or often disclosure occurs is informative and its an appeal to not advocate for continued human rights abuses. It’s not condemning.

              You just say that to be sensationalistic.

              • Liz says:

                I do not understand your position or your comment.

                Are you saying the following, or do I misunderstand you?

                You believe donor-conception is child-trafficking and a human rights violation. But you do not condemn the practice. Nor do you think the practice is shameful.

                • marilynn says:

                  No I don’t believe that conception by a donor or anyone else is child trafficking. Helping people obtain parental rights over other people’s kids outside of court and off the record is child trafficking. Having doctors handle all the arrangements is a stroke of brilliance they can call these off the record adoptive agreements a fertility treatment and justify the falsification of the child’s medical records by suggesting that the treatment cured the patients fertility problems and any record of the child’s absent bio parent is locked away and unattainable under doctor patient privlidge and patient privacy laws. These doctors and cryobanks are not practicing medicine they’re trafficking kids into undocumented adoptive relationships with their clients.

                  The only way to put a stop to the rights violations that go with this trafficking effort is to make sure gamete donor agreements don’t promise anything other than custody of a gamete to be stored and observed. Parental rights and custody should be specifically excluded from their agreements to eliminate the problems experienced by the donors offspring if and when they are born.

                  Best case senario people who are fertile and single or fertile with infertile partners would find a person in the same situation of the opposite sex who actually wanted to have kids instead of having a child with a donor who was promising to abandon the kid under contract. The industry and the money being made from the trafficking effort would end and people would still be able to have their much wanted children with people they were not in romantic relationships with. The kids would not loose what they are currently loosing because both their bio parents would want them instead of just one.

                  Shame and moral condemnation would be the kiss of death to anyone wanting to change the law. I stick to law and let people worry about answering to their own higher power. Condemnation by me would not cause them to change anything

                  of the child is concealed under doctor patient privacy laws makes it really

    • marilynn says:

      Wow so lets give everyone who robs a bank or mugs a old lady a bubble bath and a bottle of campaign so that maybe they’ll consider not leaving them for dead when they are done robbing them blind and taking what does not belong to them. We want them to be comfortable and feel safe so that they won’t do anything worse than they’re already doing.

      That is some jalopy ass swamp selling finery right there. Stretch way way out on the limb but don’t let go of the trunk because even you might admit that this was not one of your more convincing scare tactic attempts. It’s just way too unreasonable to suggest we need to make bad things legal because we are afraid they might do worse if we are not accommodating. Bahahaha. Your not arguing that making abortion illegal will drive women to butcher themselves at home…Your suggesting that outing a bunch of black market adoptions that exist and putting a full halt stop to government sanction of any future ones will drive them to treat the children they are raising unfairly and not tell them.

      Do you really think that donor offspring would be so stupid as to leave things as they are because it might encourage a handfull of people to be more forthcoming when they traffic minors out of their own families and into the aging arms of AARP members who refuse ride out their midlife crisis in a sports car with a hooker the way they did in the good old days.

  10. My parent's donor is my father says:

    I think it needs to be addressed with balance. It’s good to ask questions.

  11. Silver says:

    I thinks that Liz is right – making a practice that is already out there illegal would certainly lead to increased secrecy, shame, dishonesty and risk (we only need to look to drugs and abortion to see that). Donor gametes bring out a whole range of views and morals in people and who is to say which is “right”. Given that, I think that the most important thing is honesty – that children conceived through donor gametes are aware of their origins from the get-go and that they have access to information about their genetic heritage. The ideal is that they know that their birth parents want and love them very much and that the person who donated the gametes did so to help others.

    • marilynn says:

      Yeah well silver look at drugs and alcohol and shaming I’ll agree but saying it’s legal to drink a fifth of vodka in your closet and pass out on your bed is one thing saying its legal to do it and drive a school bus or operate a tower crane is another….you know? If we are going to place others in a compromised position financially or physically by our actions compared to if we behaved according to the most respectful and least reckless manner society can absolutely step in and say I don’t care if you don’t like it – its illegal because there is a reasonable likelihood your actions will cost someone other than yourself something they value (money, property, family, whatever)

      • Silver says:

        To continue the analogy, I’d compare the scenario of drinking the vodka and driving the bus to unregulated donor conception, where someone is using untested donors’ sperm or eggs, travelling to countries that have poor medical standards, and (in my opinion, I hasten to add) using donor gametes and not telling the resulting offspring or ensuring they have access to information about their donor. If the practice is properly regulated (medically and ethically), with reference to the concerns of all parties involved (prospective parents, donors and, most importantly, children) and there is an expectation of honesty and openness, I’d rather compare that to having a glass of red wine with friends and walking home.

        • marilynn says:

          OK from the way you described that you seem very logical and if I did not know a ton of people whose parents were donors I would probably agree completely. There was a time when like you I believed that the harms of the practice were generally associated with not telling and withholding information about the identity of their biological parents. I no longer think that because it turned out to be untrue and I did not know that until I met a whole bunch of people whose parents had been gamete donors that agreed not to raise them when them if and when they were ever born. The practice may not damage the emotions of the donor’s children but it absolutely puts their offspring at a legal disadvantage compared to the offspring of other biological parents, they simply don’t have the same legal rights within their biological families which means their biological families don’t have the same rights to information about them either when normally they would if their relative had offspring. Beyond that the government has undermined the accuracy of our nation’s vital statistics attributing the birth of children to elderly and infertile individuals rather than to their very healthy prolific and fertile parents. The people who have the most children would be the most critical families to keep track of yet their kids are being recorded as the only children of people who in may instances are incapable of reproduction.

          The biggest reason why the practice of gamete donation has a negative outcome even when efforts are made to disclose the truth and make it medically safe is that every other minor has a right to their biological parents care and support the right to have them named on their birth record but donor offspring don’t. Exempting their parents from parental responsibility means they don’t have equal rights because their parents don’t have equal responsibilities. They are also denied the due process of adoption before other people get parental authority over them. Why? Why at the very least are these people not made to do step parent adoptions? Whay are they brining home babies that are not their offspring and using black market adoption methods to gain parental authority by writing their names on the birth records? If other kids deserve to have the situation vetted in court when their bio parents abandon them why not these kids? It would expose the financial exchange for abandoning them and that would preclude the adoption from going through. People are being traded out of their families as gifts or as objects for sale essentially and the whole thing is covered up by saying they were compensated for their time donating but who would pay them for their time if they could not keep their kid? Gamete donation for research is typically uncompensated and never involves relinquishing parental rights or obligations to offspring.True gamete donation involve the giving of the gamete and just the gamete (no embryos and no children) for free and does not include promises to allow others to claim parental title or custody or rights or obligations.

          It would be great if you learned about the damage that is done beyond lying or telling late or concealing records or transmission of disease. It’s in trafficking minors to infertile and unpartnered individuals to raise as their own children – fertility treatment is the explaination that is given to explain how they are obtaining other people’s kids without having to go through court adoption and court relinquishment. Theese people loose their identities and are often forced to live life under an identity assigned to them that could be their step parent or some totally random person that could pay a fee. So you can see its not enough to tell a person that this happened to them we need to be asking why on earth this had to happen to them we should be looking at stopping this from happening in the future.

          People I know who have known their parent was a gamete donor all their life are amazed that the people raising them thoght they could drop a bomb on them like ” we arranged for your bio parent to be absent so we could keep you all to ourselves and pretend you were ours with no other biological family.” and those people really expected them to be fine with the situation because they were told the truth. If you rob something from someone or in this case pay for them to be robbed and you confess but don’t give back to them what you took then what do you think the kid will think? I mean they may not complain to their faces for fear they might take something else away but they’ll complain and blog and scream behind their backs. In many cases anyway. You are a logical person you can draw your own conclusions but they are not getting what everyone else is entitled to and so it is not unreasonable to venture a guess as to how one might react to being treated unfairly for someone elses benefit.

          • Silver says:

            Where I am from, you *do* have to go through a vetting process to ensure that the welfare of children resulting from fertility treatment is protected – quite rightly – and three are age and health limits on prospective parents.

            I don’t really understand what you are saying about children who have known all along that they are the result of donor gametes having a bomb dropped on them with the info – if they’ve always known, how is that a bomb? I also know people who have resulted from donor gametes and from adoption. Those who were adopted have mixed feelings about their origins but no ill feeling towards their adopted parents. Those resulting from donor gametes just seem to see it as “normal” for them. As for having the same rights as the donors other biological parents – they have the rights of the family they were born into instead – do they need rights to both (beyond the right to information and access, which in-country donor children have in my country)?

            I also think that a lot of your points are “opinion” issues – we all know murder is wring and being decent to others is right but children have a lot of different opinions about their upbringing and negative ones can just as easily be about their bio parents as birth parents.

            • marilynn says:

              Silver I have really spent a lot of time learning to talk about this subject without relying upon anicdotal evidence that can easily be countered with annicdotal evidence to the contrary because as you said – for every example of a person disgruntled by the situation a person with an opposing view can offer an example of a person who is perfectly happy with the situation. So to support a change in the law a person must be able to prove that an action is harmful to others whether or not those other people are mad about it. The harm is resident in a group of people having a different set of rights than the rest of the population. Not every woman cared about being denied the right to vote but the differential treatment was wrong anyway and needed to be corrected. I’m sure many argued that the right to vote was not truly harming them in anyway and they were surviving for millions of years just fine without it so whats the harm in continuing with the status quo.

              You say nobody would argue that murder is wrong well there are laws against doing that because that action interferes with the enjoyment of rights by another person. That principal is applied generally in the making of laws about any topic. The speed limit is to prevent people from acting in such a way that will jepordize other people’s safety. So if all people are obligated equally under the law like we all are required to follow the speed limit then all people have a right to rely upon others to follow the speed limit and when they don’t and someone is injured then the injured party at least has some legal recourse. People are going to break the law. People are always going to abandon kids outside of court but when its illegal for all people with offspring then all offspring have some legal recourse if and when that happens.

              You said that donor offspring simply have rights to the family they were born into instead of their biological parents. Why? I mean they are human beings and they do have two biological parents that could easily have their names recorded on their birth records. It’s not like they can’t be located. It’s not like they are unfit to care for their offspring (they are heavily screened they are not drug addicts or criminals that pose a danger to their offspring). So why is it that this group of people are winding up in the custody of someone other than their biological parents without getting that bare minimum protection of due process first? What makes a person above having to follow the normal rules when they want parental custody of someone else’s kid? “Born to” is a meaningless term. If a man is not present at the birth of his child to be named on the birth record and the state hast to hunt him down and dna test him in a paternity suit nobody is saying that his abandonment of that child should lessen his legal obligations as a parent. There is no valid reason for this group of people and their relatives to have a different set of rights than the rest of the population. It does not matter if it bothers them or not it is not equitable treatment and for that reason alone the law simply needs to change. Nobody is hurt by treating people equally or by equally obligating people.

              Opinions and shaming and moral condemnation are useless for effecting change in the law. Until the law does change it is a good thing to let people know how the practice compromises legal rights of donor offspring and their relatives. That knowledge will impact decision making in many people and that is a good thing. This is the same as Olivia’s desire to educate people on the psychological harms of not telling only these are legal harms from orchestrating abandonment for hire.

  12. My parent's donor is my father says:

    I do not think this should be illegal because that is not practical for all the reasons you have stated. But I do think that, as Olivia’s writes in her post “Is Fertility Friends really such a good friend”, we can’t shut down conversation or thought just because we disagree or it hurts our feelings. That is what I mean by balance.

    • marilynn says:

      nicely said. That was a good post about fertility friends too. It could have been written by any of the donor offspring activists actually

  13. My parent's donor is my father says:

    Here is an example, take sex, whether it’s a one night stand, with multiple partners etc. is not illegal because, well, that would be impractical. But society openly talks about responsible ways to do this and/or the many problems involved with doing this. We, as a society, would be irresponsible not talking about those problems or educating ppl about it because it might hurt some ppls feelings or stigmatize. That is counter productive.

  14. Liz says:

    “Here is an example, take sex, whether it’s a one night stand, with multiple partners etc. is not illegal because, well, that would be impractical. But society openly talks about responsible ways to do this and/or the many problems involved with doing this. We, as a society, would be irresponsible not talking about those problems or educating ppl about it because it might hurt some ppls feelings or stigmatize. That is counter productive.”

    It’s not realistic to expect everyone to agree about hot-button topics that involve sex, reproduction, and relationships.

    I don’t think “society” has a uniform opinion on virginity before marriage, one-night stands, birth control use, or, really, a universal opinion on many sexual behaviours. I’m not sure what is meant “society.” The people commenting on this blog are multi-national, living in multiple countries. We are members of multiple societies.

    There is not even universal societal opinion on sexual topics that seem rather obvious (to me) for public health. For example: there’s no social agreement about the use of condoms to reduce the spread of AIDS. Some major religious authorities (and other prominent figures in societies) disagree, and will not advocate condom use even in geographic areas that experience high rates of infection.

    I suspect that stigma, shame, or moral judgements do not exert much influence over sexual or reproductive activities. It makes sense — adults rarely listen to the opinions of strangers in making decisions about their personal lives.

    But people are free to talk and give their opinions about all sorts of sexual and reproductive subjects. The internet provides public space and makes it easy to share opinions.

    • marilynn says:

      Tess you make some truly fantastic points. I found the one about some religions being against condom use despite the obvious public health benefit in areas where aids remains rampant in heterosexual populations to be very enlightening.

      Thing is we are not talking about legislating sex or reproduction when we talk about the problems that donor offspring are subjected to. Their difficulties don’t have anything to do with sex or reproduction they have to do with one of their parents being absent at the request of the other after they were born – not before. They cut the agreement prior to their birth but they did not execute its terms until after. If you can even call them terms of the agreement – which you can’t. They are just statements of intent by a person about what they’d do if and when they had offspring resulting from reproducing under contract. Nobody has any right to rely upon the biological parent to keep those promises and there could be no claim for damages if they just decided they wanted to challenge maternity or paternity in court they could. No harm no foul the people would not be out any money since he or she could not legally have been paid to make or keep such a promise. Anyway as you can see when we get down to the nitty gritty it really is impractical to try and ban sexual reproductive behaviors. It’s really not even important enough to talk about and has nothing to do with donor offspring rights violations and banning art or payment for art or eliminating anonymity are foolish wastes of time.

      The only reason donor ofspring get stuck in conversations about not liking how they were conceived is they were trained and conditioned to think of being abandoned as a miracle method of conception for people who are infertile or don’t have reproductive partners. It’s a dirty trick linquistically because they wind up in conversations about things that happend prior to their births talking about things that nobody has a right to exert control over like another person’s sexual behavior. At any rate people raising them have cultivated the use of terms like reproductive therapy and fertility treatment to explain away the fact that people who can’t reproduce are bringing home hundreds of thousands of babies a year that are other people’s kids and they’re doing it without ever stepping foot in a court room or having to admit that the child is someone else’s biologically by telling everyone they received an infertility treatment that allowed them to have their own children through the miracles of modern medicine and smoke and mirrors and money and money and money.

      So while I think you are well prepared for arguing against puritanical plays to to control people’s sexual behavior thee is no such case to be made with regard to attempts to equalize the legal expectations for bio parents. Society in all countries does have a legal expectation that biological parents will have their names recorded as parents on their offspring’s birth records for public health reasons if nothing else. There was always a margin of error understood to exist for false paternity but it was recognized as potentially being FALSE despite being undiscovered and maternity and paternity can always be challenged with proof to the contrary despite the fact that mariage gives rise to a presumption of paternity that paternity can be challenged with facts if its false and be corrected if it is found to have been technically inaccurate. Well now we have hundreds of thousands of people falsifying public health records because we have laws that exempt some humans and their offspring from being recorded like humans with offspring. This allowed inaccuracy is now a problem for CDC and the solution is expensive and so far ineffective. If we are going to knowingly allow some of the people to be excluded from recording themselves when they have offspring then there is really no point in requiring anyone to do it. It’s either important or its not and if its not important enough to do for donor offspring and their bio parents then why bother. And why bother holding any bio parent financially responsible for their kid if donor offspring don’t need bio parents support why should anyone?

      These are just a couple of the hundreds of inequities caused by gamete donation agreements and they all occur after people’s offspring are born far away from the sex and reproductive rights that you so eloquently defended in your comment. At least you don’t have to worry that any of that is important here because sex and human reproduction can stay free and unchanged while all their real problems are getting addressed. Nobody would object to addressing the problems they are facing by using the methods that everyone else is using for the same situation. So Really they just need to join the rest of the population. It really is the perfect solution where nobody gets hurt and everyone wins. Nothing is banned so nobody has their reproductive options reduced by actions that are fair.

  15. oliviasview says:

    I have just returned from four days away (no internet access) to find the above rash of comments. I have responded briefly to one or two but I think it is about time I reiterated a brief statement I have made before.
    My position is that of an ethical pragmatist. Most people want to have children. When they are unable to conceive using their own or their partner’s gametes (or they are without a (male or female) partner) some will go to extraordinary lengths to bring a child into their family any way they can. Some will use the gametes of a willing donor, someone who does not intend to become a parent themselves. No laws can stop this. People will find a way. I believe that we should put every effort into this happening in the very best way possible for the children who are the result of gamete donation. This means identifiable donors, telling children from an early age and most important of all working with intending parents to make sure they feel confident and comfortable about the decisions they are taking. Gamete donation is NOT the solution for every infertile couple.
    The suggestion that such practice is against human rights and amounts to child trafficking is in my opinion beyond laughable. In fact Marilynn using such an argument really undermines some of the better points that you sometimes make.
    I respect K’s position, but I cannot support it.

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