New report: My daddy’s name is Donor


The fertility industry in American is a $3.3 billion business. Highly regulated at the consumer end with potential parents having to face an array of invasive and detailed questions about physical and mental fitness. Meanwhile, the sperm and egg donors while screened in a wide variety of ways may remain anonymous and the clinics that provide the matter of life are largely unregulated.

In addition, records are almost non-existent. It is assumed that there are about 30,000 to 60,000 births each year in the US resulting from sperm donation. There are an estimated 6,000 children born from egg donation. Perhaps, right now, there are about one million adults in the US who were conceived via these assisted reproduction techniques. This is just a guess.

A report has been released by the Commission on Parenthood’s Future which explores never before asked questions about the experiences of these donor children. The study “is the first effort to learn about the identity, kinship, well-being, and social justice experiences of young adults who were conceived through sperm donation. The survey included a million families in the US. They brought together 485 adults who knew their mothers had used sperm donors, a comparison group of 562 adults who knew they were adopted, and 563 adults who were raised by their biological parents.

The results are disconcerting and will hopefully lead to broader studies. The group found that the sperm donor children are, on average, more confused and feel more isolated from their families than their comparison groups. They fare worse than the bio kids on “important outcomes such as depression, delinquency and substance abuse.” They feel a strong identification with their sperm donor father, a person they will likely never know. Apparently half of these young adults were disturbed that money was required for their conception. The report also reveals that almost half worry about unknowingly becoming intimately involved with a blood relative. Amazingly, about half of the donor children, even after discovering their own status, were opposed to donor conception itself.

“The extraordinary findings. . . will be of concern to any policy maker, health professional, civic leader, parent, would-be parent, and young or grown donor conceived person, anywhere in the world,” states the report.

The authors “aim for nothing less than to launch a national and international debate”. They have hit their target.



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