Are Sperm Donors Really Anonymous Anymore? (Slate)
In an age of sophisticated genetic testing, the concept of anonymity is rapidly fading. With some clever sleuthing—tests that can track down ancestral origins, donor numbers, and bits of biographical information—parents and offspring can find out the donors. “With DNA testing and Google, there’s no such thing as anonymity anymore,” says Wendy Kramer, the founder of the Donor Sibling Registry. “Donors are choosing anonymity because they’re not educated. If they were properly educated on the consequences, then many would choose not to donate.” …
[I]t will become increasingly difficult for a donor to hide, which means the moral decision of whether to trace him and ignore his request for anonymity will rest less on the banks and more on the parents and offspring. If DNA testing does become more ubiquitous, it may be that even a very few traits will make the men traceable. What will they do then? wonders Kramer. “Create men without DNA?”
Mapping the God of Sperm (Newsweek)
[Kirk] Maxey, 51, happens to be one of the most prolific sperm donors in the country. Between 1980 and 1994, he donated at a Michigan clinic twice a week. He’s looked at the records of his donations, multiplied by the number of individual vials each donation produced, and estimated the success of each vial resulting in a pregnancy. By his own calculations, he concluded that he is the biological father of nearly 400 children, spread across the state [Michigan] and possibly the country.
Doctor Accused of Inseminating Patient with Own Sperm (WPIX)
A fertility doctor based in Connecticut is accused of using his own sperm – instead of a patient’s husband’s – to impregnate a woman who ultimately gave birth to twins. … According to court records, after the child was born both parents – one of whom is African American and the other Caucasian – were shocked at the baby’s fair complexion. … “DNA testing performed at the suggestion of the twins’ pediatrician showed that [the wife] was the mother but that [the husband] was not the biological father.” … Dr. Ramaley claims the whole ordeal was an accident.
Sperm Banks Can Be Sued Under Product Liability Laws, Federal Judge Rules (Law.com)
In the first decision of its kind, a federal judge has ruled that a sperm bank may be sued under product liability laws for failing to detect that a sperm donor had a genetic defect. … Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas N. O’Neill Jr. cleared the way for a 13-year-old mentally retarded girl from Pennsylvania to sue a New York sperm bank under the theory that the sperm used to conceive her had a defect known as “Fragile X,” a mutation known to cause a syndrome of maladies that include mental retardation and behavioral disorders. … [In response to the mother’s inquiries,] doctors at [sperm bank] Idant continued to assure her that Brittany’s developmental problems were not related to Fragile X and couldn’t possibly be the result of the sperm that was purchased through Idant.
$35,000 for One of My Eggs? (Hastings Center Bioethics Forum)
My eggs are ripe for the taking – I am a 22-year-old female Yale graduate. On a semi-regular basis in college, I opened the school newspaper to find advertisements soliciting my demographic to donate. … Nearly all offered high sums of money for prospective donors, ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. … High payments could lead to “undue inducement and exploitation” that cause women to discount the physical and emotional risks associated with donation. Such payments could also lead prospective donors to conceal medical information relevant to their biological offspring, make donor oocytes available only to the very wealthy, commodify gametes and devalue human life, or promote the birth of persons with traits deemed “socially desirable.” … In addition to physical risks, young women [donors] face psychological ones, such as stress caused by feelings of attachment to the eggs or resulting offspring.