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Woman goes to court for info about her donor "dad"

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure if this story is hitting the states or not but up here in Canada, and especially my home province, BC, this story is getting heaps of press and creating all sorts of discussions all over the place...

Here is one link (very biased) but you can google the story and read more angles/viewpoints. I think it's an important and interesting story to watch...
post #2 of 11
Ugh, I hate how "dad" and "donor" are used interchangeably in that article. It's an interesting point though. Humans are curious beings. A choice that was right for the person/couple in terms of anonymous/willing to be known/known donors might not seem like the right choice to the person created in the process. Honestly though, despite human curiosity, I think that if a donor was promised anonymity, he should be legally entitled to stay anonymous. What a sticky situation.
post #3 of 11
It is such a hard and complex topic. I'm curious to see what happens.

When a child is born of a "normal" heterosexual coupling there is the assumption that the offspring will know who their parents are. But as we have seen with closed adoptions, unspoken family adoptions, unsure paternal heritage and, heck, lying, that isn't always the case. Sperm "donation" (c'mon, they're paid! at least around here) is akin to the wild west- very few rules, or regulations, and few agreed upon practices (there are folks on here with children who have 30+ genetic half-siblings) I'm not sure what we should do about the future of sperm donation, but I know that kids that know they were conceived via donor sperm are bound to have questions about their backgrounds and the men who made their lives possible.

We felt it was too risky to have a known donor. Legally, it just felt like we'd be in unchartered waters. So we chose a donor who was "FI"- he would be willing to consider being contacted by his offspring when the child(ren) reach age 21 (legally unable to sue for child support.) Will he choose to be contacted? Will our kids (or the 6 other half-sibs we know) want to find out who he is? We'll have to wait and see.

My biggest concern is being open and honest about their conceptions (as though we have much of a choice and providing them with as much age appropriate information as we can so they can make their own decisions. I haven't heard about this particular woman's story, but I have watched documentaries where the kids and sometimes the women who had them have regarded the donors as absent fathers. That bothers me to no end. I would hate for families like mine to have fewer options because of anti-anonymous donor laws (it's already expensive, and I can't imagine what it'd be like if they guys weren't compensated or they had to release their ID) but I also feel like it's not fair to our kids to tell them "too bad!" you'll never know where half your genes came from. Then again, other kids aren't necessarily born with that guarantee, either.
post #4 of 11
For me, it comes down to this: a child I create with another person has rights I'm not entitled to deprive them of. Unless we want to radically overhaul our laws (and maybe we should, I don't believe that parental rights/responsibilities for a guy whose participation ends at conception make any sense at all), it seems best to assume that the person you gestate might someday have need of the person you got half their DNA from, and might try to seek them out. I don't think it's honest or ethical for women seeking donors independently OR fertility clinics recruiting them en masse to promise donors perpetual anonymity. They can't speak for the next generation's agenda, and they don't know how things are going to shake out legally.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Update on this story...court rules in the "donor sperm conceived child's" favour....



post #6 of 11

some may disagree with me, but I think this is awesome.  I know people make their decisions and one is to have a completely anonymous donor, but I do agree with the judge that having access to your donor in some form is in the best interest of the child. 


The two families I know who have completely anonymous donors, it really was a financial decision, which is sad because there is so much risk of the child getting hurt.  Bigger picture, there needs to be reform in the TTC industry in general so people don't make so much money off people who can't conceive sans technology, reducing the cost so donor ID release isn't one of the things people sacrifice when they're trying to make a baby.  And I agree that no sperm donor should be guaranteed anonymity in general. 


This is why I'm so happy we have a used donor.  I know there's risk, I know there are horror stories, but it's such a good thing, and in WA state we have a lot of (untested) protection.  My kids will never have any type of question mark hanging out there, they'll always have a very clear story of where they came from and will always know the man who helped make them (who we should see tomorrow!).  I'm going to give him an extra hug because I'm so deeply grateful to have him.  I love my babydaddy!   


Interestingly, we started the whole TTC/KD process I think 5.5 years ago.  At the time the lawyer we used for our contract told us that it used to be all KDs, then the sperm banks opened up to single women/lesbians and it was ALL anonymous, and that in the recent years she'd started to see a big upswing in KDs again.  I think because of the cost of TTC people are increasingly willing to use someone they know.  I'm happy to say that both DS and DD were conceived with only $100 put into the coffers of the fertility industry. 

post #7 of 11

I think it's awesome, too. Our donor is anonymous, but I very much regretted the choice after our kids were born and I was better able to think about it all through their eyes. I've always felt confident that the kids would likely be able to track down their donor based on the info. we have about him, but I hope that he will simply come forward before then (and connect with us via the DSR or one of the other social networking sites where we keep in touch with donor sibling families).



post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

It's such a difficult decision to make and the spectrum of possible outcomes is so varied....


But I have to agree that I think it's awesome too. I think the rights of donor sperm/adopted children are often forgotten in the very emotional situations that go along with wanting a family and it's good to see that things are starting to shift from "protecting" parents to giving children rights. I thought it was interesting that the doctor in the article said that the majority of his clients choose ID release already. That surprised me (pleasantly!).

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
post #10 of 11

I don't think this is awesome at all. What's next -the ability to sue your donor for child support? There's already a movement in Britain to call them "dads." The more restrictions they put in place, the less men are going to be willing to be donors, which will hurt everyone TTC. Anonymous means anonymous -period. Unless the donor himself changes his mind, which sometimes happens. If a couple chooses to use an anonymous donor, they need to be willing to explain to their child(ren) why they can't know anything about that half of their ancestry -and tell them what they do know. It's not like this situation is unparalleled in human history -how many women have had babies with men who either weren't around, were one-night stands, etc? Sperm banks provide a lot more info than a one-night stand does. We chose a WTBK donor so our child would someday have the choice, but I can understand why some couples might choose otherwise.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
I agree it's difficult when the donor has already been guaranteed that he will remain anonymous. I think this woman is likely wanting things to change in the future - at least that's how I'm reading her motivation.

I think an important point is that the decision about disclosure of a child's biological identity and background is being made for them....and they have no say in the matter. I feel it's similar to open vs. closed adoption. To take away any option for a person to know where they came from seems wrong to me. I don't think it has to mean the donor suddenly has rights and/or becomes the "dad" or is responsible in any way. n my opinion I don't think it's about that at all. But the information and the option to learn more or even meet the person, if both sides want that, can be very important for many people and to me I think that information is a right and not something that someone can decide is or is not important. Of course I also believe that there should be guidelines around that...like the age of child, when/how they are told, etc. The donor could end up being a total whacko!

I think a one night stand or dad bails is quite different. There isn't a conscious, deliberate decision made to not provide that information to the child.

I've seen many cases all over the spectrum in terms of adoption experiences. Two of my friends were so, so anxious to learn about their birth families (and did) and another friend of mine actually took steps so her birth family couldn't contact her at all. But they all had that choice and I think that's key.

I wonder what the stats are in terms of # of donors declining as laws about anonymous vs. Wtbk change on other countries. It sounds like most people choose wtbk anyway....
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