I’m not at all sure this will work. I’ve never actually used a post simply to ask a question. But given all the discussion on my blog recently, I thought I might try. If it’s a disaster I can always take it down, right?
First, for the sake of discussion here, let’s say I agree that there’s some right for a child to know her/his genetic history, perhaps even actually meet or have access to or have some social relationship with the man who donated sperm. I want to make two points explicit–1) I’m only assuming this for the moment and 2) I understand this to be a right or entitlement of the child.
Now here is my question: Is there any reason why this requires that the man in question be given the legal rights of parent?
The reason I’m concerned is this. As I have discussed on several occasions elsewhere on this blog, legal parents have substantial rights vis-a-vis their children. So certainly before I made the person in question a legal parent I’d ask whether this is a person we want to have power over the child.
Beyond that, having power over the child effectively gives you a certain amount of power over any other legal parents. For example, one legal parent might be able to prevent another legal parent from moving out-of-state to take a new job or cement a new relationship. At the very least, one legal parent can make it more difficult for the other legal parent to do these things.
This concern is part of why I am resistant to designating the man in question as a legal parent. I’m wondering if there is some affirmative reason to make him a legal parent or if the problems of access/relationship can all be addressed without that designation.