Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Got baby? - The no strings attached policy

A recent child support battle in New Mexico ruled that some sperm donors should be liable to their offspring.  A piece of legislation in Virginia to ban donor anonymity was recently voted down.  With this hearing and recent media attention towards donor conception a new debate has escalated in here in the US, about whether or not donor conceived children and adults should know the identity of their sperm donor.  Last week’s Parade Magazine had an online poll which asked readers the question “Should children of sperm donors be able to learn their fathers’ identities?”  As of this posting (8/26 @ 10pm) with 1,000 votes, 73% said yes, and 27% said no.  While this is an unscientific poll, the results are surprising supportive.  So why on earth is anonymity still the norm in the United States?  The answer lies in the multi-billion dollar infertility industry.

The biggest retort from the infertility industry and thus the government (since the government is just a puppet of big business anyways…) is that banning anonymous donations means fewer men donate and therefore fewer women can have children.  My response is that first of all I would rather have a few donors who actually care about what they’re doing and the children they’re creating than lots of donors who are only doing it for the money and want nothing to do with their own children they are selling.  And as for less women who are able to have a baby with a donor, I think it would force the United States to begin regulating a currently laissez-faire industry and determining who can and cannot use a donor.

In adoption, would-be adoptive parents must go through home visits, mental and medical health screenings, counseling, as well as background checks for red flags.  The system is far from perfect, and many pedophiles, abusers, and mentally unstable parents are granted adoptions – just take a look at the 19 ENTRIES on Marley’s The Daily Bastardette under the label “dead russian adoptees”.  These stories are only some of the thousands of tragic endings to adoptees lives at the hands of their “forever families”.

However, in donor conception there isn’t even the beginning of any assessments of would-be parents.  Now wanna-be parents just have to go online and look through catalogues of hundreds of donors and pick one and have it shipped to their front door in time for home inseminations.  No doctor required!!  Several DI moms have even told me that they know they should not have been allowed to use a donor for a variety of reasons, but not a single person mentioned to them that it might not be a good idea.  More than a few recipient parents are highly mentally unstable, abusive, financially unable, or downright unfit parents.  None of these women should have had access to a donor to have a baby, but alas – not a single person cared about the children created and what their lives might be like

The industry needs to take responsibility and prioritize the needs of the children that it produces.  The rights of the infertile and the rights of the donors do not override or negate the rights of the children and adults conceived through assisted reproduction.  Until the day that our government steps up and acknowledges the rights of children as set out in the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child, I cannot see it as a civilized and humane society.

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