Abortion

The Kids are Not All Right: Children of Sperm Donors Messed Up

| by Jill Stanek

While at the show to watch Splice over the weekend we saw the trailer for The Kids Are All Right, about a lesbian couple whose children conceived via sperm donation become inquisitive to find their father. FYI, the trailer should be rated PG-13...

show http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RixlpHKfb6M&feature=player_embedded 

About the movie and topic Slate reports today:

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A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

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A police officer saw a young black couple drive by and pulled them over. What he did next left them stunned:

Finally, we have an exploration of how children born from such procedures feel, because in fact it turns out that their feelings about their origins are a lot more complicated than people think.

Each year an estimated 30k-60k children are born in this country via artificial insemination, but the number is only an educated guess. Neither the fertility industry nor any other entity is required to report on these statistics. The practice is not regulated, and the children's health and well-being are not tracked.

 

Co-authors of a new report released last week, "My daddy's name is Donor: A new study of young adults conceived through sperm donation." wrote in Slate of their disturbing findings, many of which, when you think about it, make perfect sense...

The results are surprising. While adoption is often the center of controversy, it turns out that sperm donation raises a host of different but equally complex - and sometimes troubling - issues. 2/3 of adult donor offspring agree with the statement "My sperm donor is half of who I am." Nearly half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception. More than half say that when they see someone who resembles them, they wonder if they are related. About 2/3 affirm the right of donor offspring to know the truth about their origins.

Regardless of socioeconomic status, donor offspring are twice as likely as those raised by biological parents to report problems with the law before age 25. They are more than twice as likely to report having struggled with substance abuse. And they are about 1.5 times as likely to report depression or other mental health problems.

As a group, the donor offspring in our study are suffering more than those who were adopted: hurting more, feeling more confused, and feeling more isolated from their families....

The donor offspring are more likely than the adopted to have struggled with addiction and delinquency and, similar to the adopted, a significant number have confronted depression or other mental illness. Nearly half of donor offspring, and more than half of adoptees, agree, "It is better to adopt than to use donated sperm or eggs to have a child."

The stories that donor offspring tell about their confusion help to illustrate why they might be, as a group, faring so much worse. Christine Whipp, a British author conceived by anonymous sperm donation more than four decades ago, gives voice to the feelings some donor offspring have of being a "freak of nature" or a "lab experiment":

My existence owed almost nothing to the serendipitous nature of normal human reproduction, where babies are the natural progression of mutually fulfilling adult relationships, but rather represented a verbal contract, a financial transaction and a cold, clinical harnessing of medical technology....

Others speak of the searching for their biological father in crowds, wondering if a man who resembles them could be "the one." One donor-conceived adult responded to an open-ended question on our survey by writing: "Sometimes I wonder if my father is standing right in front of me." Still others speak of complicated emotional journeys and lost or damaged relationships with their families when they grow up....

Listening to the stories of donor-conceived adults, you begin to realize there's really no such thing as a "donor." Every child has a biological father. To claim otherwise is simply to compound the pain, first as these young people struggle with the original, deliberate loss of their biological father, and second as they do so within a culture that insists some guy who went into a room with a dirty magazine isn't a father.

CatholicNewsAgency.com also has an insightful story on this study.