Children of sperm donors

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Wed 08/08/2012


As the child of a sperm donor, you may think you have a sibling or two out there, somewhere. But for some kids who join web-based registries, they are finding scores of siblings – some have over 150 siblings. While the sperm bank industry has long resisted regulation in the United States, perhaps it is time to look again.

Increasing number of babies from one donor As more women choose to have babies on their own, use the services of a sperm bank and participate in the ever successful process of assisted reproductive technology, the number of children born through artificial insemination increases. When women are allowed to review profiles of donors, there will be favorites that emerge. The idea of many children coming from one donor is not difficult to understand. There is growing concern about rare diseases being passed on to so many children. Also of concern are increased odds of inadvertent incest.

Between 30,000 and 60,000 babies are born through sperm donors. It’s hard to know the number because successful birth reporting is voluntary. It is believed that only 20-40% of births are reported.

More rules for a used car “We have more rules that go into place when you buy a used car than when you buy sperm,” said Debora L. Spar, president of Barnard College and author of The Baby Business. “It’s very clear that the dealer can’t sell you a lemon, and there’s information about the history of the car. There are no such rules in the fertility industry right now.”

No one is ready for 20 siblings Parents come to registries like the Donor Sibling Registry founded by Wendy Kramer hoping to find biological siblings for their children. “They think their daughter may have a few siblings,” Kramer said, “but then they go on our site and find out their daughter actually has 18 brothers and sisters. They’re freaked out.”

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