Sperm donor offspring call for privacy law changes

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  • 7

    Himajin

    Keep the name private, but provide a medical history, that should be enough. What is happening more often in the US is that men who donate sperm are being tracked down and sued for child support.

  • 5

    zichi

    While I think its right for children reaching adulthood to know their truth births, there's also a need for privacy for sperm donors who may stop if their id's are known. There's a case in the UK where a guy donated three times and is now being sued for child support payments.

  • 3

    Himajin

    Is it not the right of every person, Himajin, to know who their parents are?

    Someone who donated sperm which can be used by multiple people is not a 'parent'. They contributed genetic material, it was purchased for use by an infertile couple. Do men who donate sperm want to know the children they make possible? If yes, fine. If no, then they deserve their privacy.

    I'm sorry, but if you sign a contract to purchase sperm because either your husband is infertile or you're a lesbian couple, and you agree to the terms of the contract and have the child of your own free will, you should NOT be able to sue the sperm donor for child support! Perhaps now they should allow sperm donors to be able to decree who can and cannot use their sperm, weed out the potential troublemakers. One sperm donor can be the father of tens of children. We get into really ridiculous territory if they can be called 'parents' and be sued for support, which is why I am against the abolition of privacy law concerning donation.

  • 2

    Kronos

    Being a father is not just about providing the sperm but being there to raise and mentor a child as he/she grows. Thus Kato-san's real father is the one who raised him and not the one who is the provider.

    To add to this, what is he going to do if he know who the donor is? Knock on his door and say that he is his son and expect that the guy will take him in? That also is not fair for the donor. Perhaps the donor would also like to be anonymous.

  • 2

    MiuraAnjin

    I was a sperm donor in the late 1980s in the UK. I was guaranteed anonymity, but it seems I now need to do some research - I had no idea about the ruling in 2005. For everyone's info, even 25 years ago all prospective donors were screened for all known genetically transmittable diseases both in the lab, and by family history check. Prospective parents were presented with a catalogue, for want of a better term, that listed donors' race, height, weight, hair colour, propensity for baldness and obesity, IQ, athletic ability, hobbies, drinking patterns - the lot. The screening process was exhaustive, and quite rightly so.

    Donors and parents signed several documents guaranteeing that we could never attempt to track down offspring or donors.

    Frankly I'm astounded that the 33-year-old editor at a Tokyo publishing company would ask why adoption is not enough. Would she feel the same if she discovered that her husband was infertile? Would she give up on her chance to bear children just like that? Did AFP bother to ask?

    And Kimuzukashiiii, you may be surprised to know that at least 1 in 20 of the people reading this article do not know the identity of their true biological father. The notion that such knowledge is a "right" is novel, but quite tricky in enforce when so many children are conceived through infidelity.

  • 2

    Alphaape

    And Kimuzukashiiii, you may be surprised to know that at least 1 in 20 of the people reading this article do not know the identity of their true biological father. The notion that such knowledge is a "right" is novel, but quite tricky in enforce when so many children are conceived through infidelity.

    There's an old expression in some parts of the US that goes: "Mamma's babies and daddy's maybes" which goes along those lines. If one really needed to know their genetic history, it can be done through genetic blood testing to determine if you have the potential to come down with a disease.

    It is a difficult subject with no easy answers. But as others say, I think that family is not only the "blood" relations but those who are there to help you grow up.

  • 2

    Fadamor

    “I hope it will be banned,” she said, referring to anonymous donors. “Why isn’t adoption enough?"

    If not being raised by a biological parent is such a big issue to you, then adoption is WORSE, you moron. With adoption, BOTH of your biological parents are not involved in your life. At least with a sperm donor you still have your mother. Get over it.

  • 1

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Is it not the right of every person, Himajin, to know who their parents are? It is the most fundamental point of human existence, that every child has a biological father and mother. To keep that from a child is cruel. I don't think a medical history only is enough - the child has a right to know its biological relatives if it chooses to.

    On one side, we have people here who get so angry when situations like divorce keep biologically related fathers and children apart. We see these issues every day on child abduction. This is essentially the same principle, however on a much bigger and more legal scale.

    In my opinion, if you choose to be a sperm or egg donor, you need to be prepared that one day that child might want to find you, find their extended biological family, and find his or her roots.

    I agree that privacy law changes are necessary, even if it prevents people being donors. They need to think about the long term effects on the child, not just about the short term desire of the non-biological parents to be parents and want a baby grown themselves.

  • 1

    kimuzukashiiiii

    I don't think its about whether her non biological father was good or not - Im sure the woman in the article loves him as much as she could any dad.

    However she is WELL within her rights as a human to want to know where she comes from at the same time - It must be awful wondering if you have your birth fathers eyes, or sense of humor, or if you like the same sports or foods. Those kinds of questions, the human ones, cant be answered by a DNA test.

  • 1

    Frungy

    They donated the sperm under the guarantee of anonymity. End of story. You can't reverse that now.

    Well, let's think about it from the donor's perspective for a second. What if they have a family and their own children and now some random kid arrives on their doorstep and says, "Hi Dad!", and starts demanding time, money, etc. That hardly seems fair or reasonable.

    For the future? Make the donor aware in advance and sure, why not. I'd rather see more people adopting anyway.

  • 1

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Someone who donated sperm which can be used by multiple people is not a 'parent'. They contributed genetic material, it was purchased for use by an infertile couple. Do men who donate sperm want to know the children they make possible? If yes, fine. If no, then they deserve their privacy.

    I agree, that a sperm donor is not a 'parent' - I also think that the person who raises them in and out every day is much more of a "dad" than a biological father can ever be. Not just in the cases of sperm donors either - in cases such as step fathers too. I personally have an amazing dad, who is NOT biologically my father. But he is a much better father than my own deadbeat one could ever have been. However, it is impossible to deny that the child and that man are biologically linked forever. Im not saying that they donor and the child should necessarily have a relationship, be buddies, go to football on sundays, but I DO think that child has a right to know where he or she came from.

    I'm sorry, but if you sign a contract to purchase sperm because either your husband is infertile or you're a lesbian couple, and you agree to the terms of the contract and have the child of your own free will, you should NOT be able to sue the sperm donor for child support! Perhaps now they should allow sperm donors to be able to decree who can and cannot use their sperm, weed out the potential troublemakers. One sperm donor can be the father of tens of children. We get into really ridiculous territory if they can be called 'parents' and be sued for support, which is why I am against the abolition of privacy law concerning donation.

    I also agree about sperm donors not being forced to pay child support.

    This is exactly my point though - the parents who decide to use the sperm are the ones who I am objecting to here. If they conceive a child using someone else's sperm or eggs, it is done for purely selfish reasons - That they WANT a child - and they can not not be surprised when the child wants to know where it came from.

    This is my point - You can't blame a person for wanting to know exactly where they came from. This condition of being anonymous should never, ever have been introduced in the first place.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    “I hope it will be banned,” she said, referring to anonymous donors. “Why isn’t adoption enough? To me, the technology is a way to pretend that you have a ‘normal family,’ to hide infertility in a society where the pressure is still high to get married and have children.”

    Because adoption laws in Japan are archaic AND at least with donor sperm or eggs one half is the biological parent.

    And if pressure is "so high to get married and have children" how come fewer and fewer are doing so?

  • 1

    Himajin

    This is my point - You can't blame a person for wanting to know exactly where they came from. This condition of being anonymous should never, ever have been introduced in the first place.

    And the answer is 'We conceived you with donor sperm'. That's exactly where they came from. Anonymity was to protect the donors, because a man could conceivably be the father of 50 or 100 children...men should stop donating, period, until these legal issues are settled.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Thats the problem with IVF treatment of any description - too often these children are made by parents who are ONLY thinking of themselves. THEY want a baby, but they cant do it natually, so THEY want donor sperm or eggs, and do so without thinking of the long term implications. Very selfish, and one of many, many reasons why I am completely against IVF.

    Are most if not all parents that desire children being "selfish". So your logic is for parents who can not have children of their own to not have any at all?

    I would think that parents who go to all the problems of having children, going to fertility clinics, and paying the expenses involved are very much considering the long term implications much more than people who have children the usual way.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Personally, I use the more formal names for the parents to indicate the biological parents, and the informal names to indicate the ones who raised the child. Thus the "Father" is not necessarily the "Dad" and the "Mother" is not necessarily the "Mom". An adopted child knows their mom and dad, but not necessarily their mother and father. A child conceived via sperm bank donation would know their dad, but probably never know their father.

  • 1

    badsey3

    http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2010/02/ewen-callaway-reportertexas-he.html

    There are these huge DNA databases that are unknown to the general populace. If this practitioner of the medical arts got into DNA related research he could cross-check the samples with his own DNA and get some good direction.

    Most new medical practitioners do not take the hippocratic oath and I do not consider them "doctors" anymore. Furthermore they liken humans to cattle whereas they (the Doctors) are the elite health controllers. So it sort of amazes me to see a newer doctor taking this direction trying to find his biological Father. From a human perspective I can totally understand that -and he is right.

    When you anonymously donate human sperm or eggs you are unbalancing life to an extent and it leaves a black hole that must be balanced. This doctor will go thru his life trying to balance that black hole. This unbalance is there, he can feel it, and is trying to correct that. No matter what his indoctrination is telling him he cannot look away from this.

    =You shouldn't be donating sperm or eggs anonymously and/or for medical research. This maybe even worse if you consider the Asian perspective of life and balance of life. -It is a definite negative energy in my book and should be avoided. Do you really want all that energy of your children looking for you as your biological parent?

  • 1

    WilliB

    The law of unintended consequences. The same will happen with the offspring of same-sex couples, which are now all told to pretend are exactly the same as conventional couples. In the effort to make everyone have everything, we forget that children are real people who will grow up and voice their own interestest.

  • 1

    WilliB

    Poke:

    " I don't think that there is any natural, inalienable right to know who one's biological parents are. Since when? "

    Ask yourself: if the adult who raises a child is, in your mind, identical to the biological parent, then what happens when people re-marry multiple times? The children´s biological parents change multiple times? You don´t see how absurd this thinking is?

  • 0

    kimuzukashiiiii

    It seems completely and utterly fair to want to know your roots, and have access to your genetics. Even if for the purpose of knowing what diseases you might be genetically prone to in the future.

    Thats the problem with IVF treatment of any description - too often these children are made by parents who are ONLY thinking of themselves. THEY want a baby, but they cant do it natually, so THEY want donor sperm or eggs, and do so without thinking of the long term implications. Very selfish, and one of many, many reasons why I am completely against IVF.

    My heart goes out to this poor man.

  • 0

    GW

    The mrs & I tried medical assistance way way back but when it didnt pan put we stopped at the point where donated eggs/sperm would have come into play, just a personal choice neither for or against.

    BUT if I cant remain anonymous I most certainly wudnt be a donor if I'd ever considered it.

  • 0

    Alphaape

    With today's advances in medicine, you can pretty much determine your chances for getting a condition just by looking at genetics. Who is to say tht the person who donated the sperm/egg themselves wasn't genetically related to their parents?

    Why isn’t adoption enough? To me, the technology is a way to pretend that you have a ‘normal family,’ to hide infertility in a society where the pressure is still high to get married and have children.”

    And yet you can read in so many articles on JT about how familiy members abuse one another or in some cases how they haven't spoken to one another in years, and then are the victims of some scam from someone saying that they are family.

    I can understand her pain, but the guy who raised her, and was there for her should be good enough (I would think). Someone stayed there to care for you, and not just drop off a "load" just for the cash.

  • 0

    serendipitous

    kimuzukashii

    I agree. For those who are unable to have children for whatever reason should think about the implications of 'having' a baby using someone else's semen or eggs or both. As sad as it may be not to be able to have kids, the feelings (and future feelings) of the unborn need to be considered. Keeping these things secret from people is not a good thing.

  • 0

    serendipitous

    One other problem with IVF is that there are rare hereditary diseases that are very difficult to test for (and so aren't tested for) so occasionally you get a kid who has some rare disease and because of the privacy laws, the kid can't be treated. Yes, it's rare, but is it worth it?

  • 0

    kimuzukashiiiii

    What if you're the outcome of a rape? Doesn't your mother have the right to keep that private?

    Absolutely ridiculous comparison to make, Nessie. Apples and oranges.

    The people we are referring to in the article above are people who want children but can not have them due to their own biological problems.

    Someone who gets pregnant as a result of rape is a completely different scenario.

    However, IF a woman gets pregnant under any circumstance (with an ex-boyfriend, through a extra marital affair, or even by rape to name a few possible scenarios) I still think that the child should be able to find out about his or her biological heritage. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the physical, mental and emotional well of the child, which is what the parents neglect to consider when they decide that "they" want a baby.

    • Moderator

      Readers, stay on topic please. Rape is not relevant to this discussion.

  • 0

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Yubaru - that woman was not talking about Japan, she was talking about Canada.

    Actually, Japan has one of the highest rates of adoption in the world, however in the very vast majority of cases, adults are adopted into a family with no descendants in order to keep the family name, and have someone to pass down the business, money etc to.

  • 0

    kimuzukashiiiii

    And the answer is 'We conceived you with donor sperm'. That's exactly where they came from.

    Sorry, but I don't think that really cuts it... The person on the end of this response needs a much more detailed answer than "from an anonymous source."

    I mean ... you just have to look at the doctor in the example above - the guy is a doctor, obviously smart, knows more than your average joe about the issues concerning fertility, and human biology, and well about the issues about nature vs nurture, however STILL wants to know his biological past. Its absolutely natural, and for many people, unpreventable. Despite how good his everyday father was, it is absolutely normal to want to know his roots.

    men should stop donating, period, until these legal issues are settled.

    Absolutely, 100% agree.

  • 0

    kimuzukashiiiii

    Are most if not all parents that desire children being "selfish". So your logic is for parents who can not have children of their own to not have any at all?

    Well ... they cant have children of their own, at least not biologically or naturally.

    Personally I think 2 people who are in love having a baby is entirely natural. Its been going on for thousands of years. There have, throughout history, always been people who could not make babies naturally, and in the past they just didn't make babies. That was that. Often they would do a form of adoption instead, stepping in to raise those children who had been orphaned, in the local community. Of course nothing as formal as we have nowadays.

    Unpopular is my viewpoint is nowadays, I still feel that mother nature knows best, and forcing conception like this is always going to end in disaster.

    I would think that parents who go to all the problems of having children, going to fertility clinics, and paying the expenses involved are very much considering the long term implications much more than people who have children the usual way.

    I disagree. It seems that many, many of these people undergoing fertility treatment* are finding it necessary due to their own lifestyle choices - mainly, age. More and more people are leaving having children VERY late in life biologically, late 30s-40s, due to the fact they wanted it all - a career, travel, money, big wedding, cars, houses, etc.

    Then they hit their late 30s and 40s and realize there is something they have forgotten to do - procreate! And they are so used to having it 'all', that when they realize biology is refusing their request to make babies, that they just keep trying anyway they can. Of course, not to mention the risks of being an elderly parent brings to both parent and child.

    So yes, in my opinion, while I can understand why people want a genetic child, I cant help but feel that it is fairly selfish. It often comes down to the mindset that "I want a baby" but without any real thought or concern for the child involved.

    *And by this, of course I am not including people such as cancer patients, who are infertile due to chemo, etc.

  • -1

    Alphaape

    Is it not the right of every person, Himajin, to know who their parents are?

    I wonder if this person was adopted or the result of a sperm/egg donor into a very wealthy family, would she still be trying to find out her biological parents? And if she did find out who they were, and they may have done something really bad, would she be willing to say "That's my dad?"

    I say that the situation of her birth was out of her control, and that if she was raised by people who actually wanted her then accpet that and move on. I just keep reading all these stories on JT of how some people get scammed by persons calling them to say that they are their sons or daughters or relatives in trouble, and send them money. If bloodlines are so sacred in Japan society, then why is it that some families can go years without seeing each other, and not know if some stranger is really their family on the phone, since family is supposed to be so sacred.

  • -1

    Nessie

    Is it not the right of every person, Himajin, to know who their parents are?

    What if you're the outcome of a rape? Doesn't your mother have the right to keep that private?

  • -1

    edbardoe

    We refer to laws like these as "lawyer enrichment legislation". Since lawmakers are almost all lawyers, they slide right through to join many other "expansions of rights" which are really just expansion of the right to claim damages, 50% of which stay in the lawyers pockets.

  • -1

    Carolee Thumma

    It just seems to me that it's just another excuse for unhappy people to think that "this" is going to make me happy. So many adults who are unhappy with their lives seem to think that if they find a parent who put them up for adoption or now we're talking "sperm & egg donors" that it will automatically make their life "make sense".

    Well it doesn't, it makes it more harrowing to find a parent who really doesn't want you in their life to begin with. Okay sometimes a very small amount want to meet the children they gave up, but not sperm or egg donors. They donated and forgot all about it probably. I read a book in the 90's (can't remember the name) written by a woman who searched for her biological parents and found help from a US television show, and when she found them the drama and bullshit (that wasn't shown on tv) was horrible for her. She ended up wishing she had never tried to find that lost family that turned out to be a huge problem in the end for her.

    Humans have to find out what makes you happy by themselves, finding the "miracle" family isn't going to do it. And people who tell themselves "I won't feel complete until I know" are kidding themselves.

    bec

  • -2

    Poke

    I don't think that there is any natural, inalienable right to know who one's biological parents are. Since when? Derived from what? Many, if not most people, are lucky enough to know due to the circumstances of their birth (some people don't feel all that lucky to know). That doesn't make it a right. Perhaps it is natural to want to know, but that desire does not translate to a right. Frankly, these people who can't go on without knowing seem to me to be self-absorbed, greedy, and a bit hysterical. Perhaps they should just be happy to have been given life? If anonymous donors gave their sperm or eggs on the premise of anonymity--which then became the very premise of these children being born into existence--doesn't that trump the desire of the people in the present to know? The answer should be obvious. Some of these people seem to think it would have been better not to have been born at all (and none of us had a say in that). I'm also surprised that there's so many people on this board who support this "right"--seems like a purely emotional response that hasn't been thought through.

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