For Father’s Day, IV (Late): Sperm Donor As Father

I’ve put up three posts about different depictions of fathers in the media.   All appeared on Father’s Day and I guess I assume the timing was not coincidental.    Considering the articles together creates something like a colage featuring different (and in this case, all somewhat unconventional) sorts of fathers.   There are two others articles I’ve been meaning to get to–both about sperm donors (I use the term “sperm donor” rather than my usual “gamete provider” because that is what the stories use) as fathers.  

One is an op-ed piece from the NYT.   It’s written by Colton Wooton the donor-conceived son of a single mother.   The other is from the New York Post and is about Todd Whitehurst, a sperm donor who has located nine offspring.   Both articles reference the Donor Sibling Registry, an organization founded and run by Wendy Kramer.  

There’s been extensive discussion here about the status (legal and social) of those who provide gametes for assisted reproduction.    You can use the tags to find many posts some of which have multiple comments and some really good discussions.  These two stories highlight some of those points.   For this post, I just want to pick out one of them. 

Wooton writes of his desire to locate the man who provided the sperm he was created from.   While the dynamic in the Whitehurst story is a little less clear, it seems to me that he was a sperm donor who wanted to find the children that might have been created.   (It looks like initially he was contacted by one of the children but the story implies that at some point he became the one doing the looking.)  Thus, both pieces stories portray the need to connect experienced by those who provided sperm and those who were conceived with that sperm.     

I do not know how common this need is–I know of people who experience this need and I know of people who do not.    Neither do I know where it comes from–that is, whether it is some innate biologically rooted need or one that is magnified by our culture.   (I’m generally inclined to the “both/and” school when it comes to many nature/nurture debates.)  But it’s obviously something which is important to a significant number of people and it ought to be acknowledged in some form and so I won’t get hung up on those other questions for the moment.   

The need to know (or to know about) the gamete provider does not speak to the legal status of that person vis-a-vis the child.   It’s perfectly possible to acknowledge that this might be an important person without saying the person ought to be recognized as a legal parent.   I actually don’t think any of the people in these stories is thinking in terms of legal status.   (There are long discussions elsewhere of what it means to be a legal parent. It’s hard to point to a particular one since that’s been the focus of this blog for over two years.)  

This brings me back to a point I’ve made before:   There’s a pretty good argument to be made that those using third-party gametes should act in ways that maintain the possibility that any children conceived can locate the people who provided the gametes.    But a great deal of what I read about globalization and commercialization of ART makes me think you  are not going to be able to require people to do this.   Thus, if it’s going to happen it is going to be because people see it as a good idea.    I don’t think this sort of shift is impossible to occasion.   Think about how attitudes towards adoption have changed over time.   

In this regard, the lack of clarity about the legal status of the gamete provider is unhelpful.   As long as the provider might have the legal rights of a parent it’s very risky to use a provider who is known and identified (unless of course it’s a person you want to raise the child with.)   Thus, it seems to me (and this is what I’ve written before) that advocates for the donor conceived ought to favor enacting laws that make it clear that a gamete provider is not a legal parent.    

At the same time, the success of organizations like Donor Sibling Registry make me think we are nearing an end of anonymity.   It is easier than it used to be to locate gamete providers and there’s no reason to think this will become more rather than less difficult in the future.   While Wooten is not optimistic that he will locate the provider in his case, I wouldn’t bet against it.  

This means that those who come at this issue primarily because they support the ability of people to create families using donor gametes also ought to favor the same clear legislation.   Maybe there’s a potential for convergence here–contrary to that last post about the infeasability of political solutions.  

I realize it seems counterintuitive that clearly defining gamete providers as non-parents might actually increase the likelihood that they’ll play some role in the lives of the people they help create, but it just could be true.  I suppose there is nothing to do but wait and see.  

 

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30 responses to “For Father’s Day, IV (Late): Sperm Donor As Father

  1. Julie you may be right that clearly defining providers as non-parents legally may be the key to creating a solution.

    I just wish people who wish to become parents through any form of ART would stop and ask themselves if they do this will they a) be denying their child something they need, and b) are the ethical questions being answered in the best interests of the child or c) is it all about me and my wants and desires.

    • It would be good if people using ART stopped and thought about those questions. Could I say the same thing about people who are engaging in intercourse–whether with the intent of creating a child or not? I actually think it is more likely that people using ART will have given the matter some thought than it is that those procreating via sex will have done so. After all, there are other reasons people have sex and no other reasons people engage in ART.

      I don’t say this to diminish your point. And I do think there are special things that people using third-party gametes need to think about. But if a man and a woman have a tempestuous relationship, they probably ought to think about that before having sex that can lead to procreation or using ART. Which is to say there are many particular things that particular people ought to think about before having children.

  2. I’ve been doing a whole lot of reading on marital presumption and quasi marital children and I have to say the rules are so much more like you explained them than I ever wanted them to be. In fact they are worse. There are times when children are down right treated as the property of the wife’s husband for no other reason than he’s entitled to pretend to be related because he’s the one that married her. State’s would sooner look the other way while the husband pretends to be the biological father than correct the error in the presumption of paternity and record the name of the father that wants to be a father to his kid. But what about when fathers don’t want to be fathers. Yes they go after unmarried fathers for child support and name them as fathers but only if the Husband of the mother does not feel like pretending to be the father of her child, after all I’m finding that the actual father only gets to be legally recognized as the father of his own child if the mother’s husband passes. I can’t believe it the unrelated husband gets first dibs because he’s married to the mother, the baby becomes marital property if the child is one of those quasi marital kids which really in the end is what most of the people who refer to themselves as donor conceived are if they were raised by their mother and her husband got named as father on their birth certificates. My term for that has always been stepped on but its a term nobody else uses. Maybe the kid knows about it maybe they don’t or maybe their mother’s husband knows maybe not.

    I don’t know that the the fathers have anything to worry about in terms of paying child support the laws are so fouled up they actually would not give them the time of day even if they were changing their minds and trying to get custudy seems like they’d loose, I think its safe to just call them what they are. There are most deffinately children born in this country who have no legal protection against parental abandonment by the parents who reproduced to create them and in that regard they are treated unfairly, especially because the reason the government treats them unfairly is because money exchanged hands to conceal the identities of those peoplde

    • One way to think about the history of various presumptions and rules vis-a-vis fatherhood: Men are needed to provide financial support, thus all children must have fathers. Fatherless children are a drain on the public purse, so we like assigning them to men. If all else fails, we can use DNA to do that–because we know that there will be some guy somewhere whose DNA matches that of the child. But if a woman is married, the obligation to support her already resides with her husband, so he’s in the mix, too. Once, before we had easy DNA testing, the husband really was just stuck, because the alternative was no one. But with DNA we can now let the husband bow out when he wants to and we can assign the obligation of support to the DNA guy.

      All this can be done with no concern about the emotional/psychological well-being of the child. It doesn’t matter what setting will be most conducive to a healthy upbringing. We’re just looking for a reliable stream of income we can tap.

      Now much of what I said is quite dated, but you can also argue that there’s still some truth to it. And certainly you can muster historical support for this view. It makes me wonder how we might define fatherhood if we accepted some form of universal state support for children. (I’m not saying we are likley to or that we should.)

  3. Thank you for responding. In the past year or so, you’ve taught me that the law treats married men as the father’s of their wives children whether they fathered those children or not. So we’ve covered that already. I’d really like to delve more deeply into the marital presumption far beyond the surface issue of child support because I see a discrepancy between our constitutional freedom from being owned and the the fact that the legal theories applied in property law are identical to those used in the determination parentage and child custody disputes. The woman who gives birth is recognized legally as the mother of the child she delivered because she has possession of the child at birth and is therefore the owner of that child. If the owner (mother) is married her husband will be treated jointly as the owner of the property (child), because the child will be treated as marital propert the same as if the wife inherited a piece of property or some money during their marriage. Of course the law does not recognize an outsider’s claim to another person’s property unless they are given a share of the property by the owner. If the owner is unmarried she would be the only owner of the baby unless she offers a share to someone and they accept willingly the benefit and burden (VAP).
    We are all free in theory but not in fact as long as parentage and custody of minors turns on the legal principals of property law.

    • I think you can draw that property analogy up to a point. I’m not sure you can follow it all the way through, though. However, here’s another interesting topic to think about: frozen embryos. There are a number of cases where a divorcing couples fights over the disposition of frozen embryos they have created together. Courts have a hard time figuring out what framework to use. It seems there are only two possible ways to think about this–either the embryos are property or they are children. It just doesn’t seem like there are any other things in the world.

      One thing interesting about this is that it highlights the degree to which children are not seen to be property. These cases emphasize the differences–you cannot sell children. We care about the well-being of children and it comes into play when deciding things about them. Things like that.

      But you have also hit upon the other side of the coin–parents have rights to make decisions about their children without interference and that can look like a property right. Plus you have to figure out who gets to be a parent and that’s where I think you are picking up on the possible property analogies.

  4. The law ALREADY treats anonymous donors as non-parents, I understand in all 50 states. So it seems like you’ve pretty much gotten your wish.
    If you are suggesting that sperm donor status be applied to men whose identity is known i have to say I wholeheartedly oppose. That is inconsistent with the pyschological reality of fathers and children. Out of the 3 parties involved in the parent child relationship- it serves only one- the biological mother, if she is not in a relationship with the child’s father.
    The spillover effect onto countless children who were conceived via intercourse is also a threat.
    (i suspect mother nature deliberately did not want us to think to much before having kids; otherwise far too few would be born!)

    • The law is more complicated than what you describe. In some states (say Washington or California) a sperm or egg provider (whether known or not) is not a legal parent. In other states (say New York–I did check) a sperm or egg provider is a legal parent, no matter how conception is accomplished. If you can identify the provider, that person has legal parental rights. Now if you cannot identify the provider, it doesn’t technically mean that she or he doesn’t have rights–it just means you cannot find the person who holds the rights. This can make it easier to terminate the rights sometimes and it ensure that the provider isn’t going to be sued for support. But it isn’t the same as saying the the provider has no legal rights.

      You might think this is splitting hairs, but it isn’t. it means that in states like NY using a known provider is very risky–that person can change his/her mind and claim rights. So it gives people there an incentive to use anonymous providers. There are a lot of people who should be troubled by this incentive. The only ways I see to eliminate it are to say 1) there are circumstances under which providers are not legal parents, whether they are known or not or 2) DNA folks are ALWAYS parents, no matter what. I don’t like the latter, so I go with the former.

      • “So it gives people there an incentive to use anonymous providers. There are a lot of people who should be troubled by this incentive.”

        As long as we are talking about anonymous until age 18 only, I am not troubled by this incentive. Firstly, it’s not clear at all that knowing one’s father but not being allowed to have a normal relationship with him is such a great improvement over not knowing until age 18. I’m sure there is a very high level of variation.
        Second: Excluding anonymous men from fatherhood does not violate the father’s rights. Excluding known men does.
        Third: In general, i don’t find it a convincing legal argument “Hey we have to pass some objectionable law, otherwise people might go ahead and do something worse!” It should be applied only in extremely clear cut circumstances.
        Fourth: Seems that people seeking a known donor already have some awaqreness and motivation not to totally sever the genetic relationship. Knowing that the law would not support them, they might be motivated to take the extra step and agree to full sharing of parenthood.

        • I think we are also talking about permanently anonymous. If you are really worried that a provider might assert legal rights you would want that person’s identity to be completely and permanently unknowable.

          • At age 18, the whole question of legal rights and obligations is a moot point.

            • Mostly, but not entirely. Legal rights and obligations can be important later. Inheritance rights, for example. And if the child becomes incapacitated and does not have a recognized spouse/partner the parents may become the default decision-makers. (I just saw a mention that after Jacyee Dugan (and I hope I’ve spelled her name right) was freed the man who was genetically related to her but who had never had any contact with her in the 11 years or so before she was kidnapped came forward to try to assert some claim to something. I believe he was unsuccessful, but you get the idea.)

  5. But Julie you get the SAME result without concealing the identity of the people the child was created by if they simply get put on the certificate and then give the kid up for adoption to the intended parents. That way the child always knows who they are and also knows who all their relatives are and the people that wanted to raise the kid still get to do it. Its more respectful and it does not make choices for the child as if, again they are merely the property of who ever paid for them to be created.

    • You may get the same result in the end–I need to think about that. But the process is quite different and in ways that matter to me. And the implications of making the man a father simply by virtue of the use of his sperm are really problematic to me for reasons I’ve discussed frequently. (For one thing, if a man has full rights to claim parentage based purely on having provided the sperm then all too often it gives men power over women, who must obviously invest a good deal more in the production of the child. Indeed, I think this is how the assertion of genetic parentage has often worked in the past.)

      Here’s the process problem i see with your proposal. Presumably the man has to give consent for adoption after the child is born. (That’s always true in adoption cases and I assume you would not change that.) So what if he changes his mind. If the woman’s idea was to raise a child without him, this change of heart is a disaster. That’s why I’d tell her to go use an anonymous provider somehow–because then she can be secure that he cannot be found, cannot change his mind. Now I recognize that this is the behavior which you’d say is most harmful–because it effectively cuts the child off from contact with the person–but it is the best way to safely accomplish what she wants.

      Of course it is possible to say one shouldn’t assist her in creating a situation where the child will have one parent. But remember that I don’t agree with that view. I think she should be allowed to do that.

      • If a guy changes his mind and wants to support his child and be involved in his child’s life that is a very good thing for the child, the child can only benefit from that. What if the guy is not the kind of person Mom wants her kid around? Well, mom like millions of other divorced and separated mom’s who find their children’s father’s annoying, will have to suck it up and deal with it. Her relationship with the child’s father is severable and not permanent but the same cannot be said for her child’s relationship with him and so it goes, lets operate in the realm of reality.

        It may well be disasterous for her to have him decide not to give the child up for adoption but – so what. People that want to adopt deal with that all the time. People don’t become parents until their offspring are born. They can’t relinquish responsibility before they have it. That’s what those release forms do, kind of a blanket advance dirrective saying I agree to relinquish parental rights upon the birh of any children conceived with genes provided by me at the time of donation. Well I think advance dirrectives like that don’t take into account the fact that nobody is a parent until their offspring are born but all people with offspring are similarly situated after their children are born so they should have to sign on the dotted line that they know the child exists and they are willing to allow someone else to raise them. I think the children of those people deserve some proof some evidence that the people raising them got them fair and square. Take the mystery and mistique out of finding them and the rest of their family they are there you can contact them but they are not interested in pursuing a relationship with you but the person who adopted you on the other hand is interested in pursuing a relationship with you. Be mad at the guy who does not want to be around not the guy who does.
        If the kid has family that wants to know him why cut him off

        • I think we have travelled this ground but I would make two points in response to this. First off, remember that the question is whether the man who provided the sperm is a father. I know you think he is, but that’s not a point I concede. If he is not a father then the child doesn’t have a relationship with him and so most of the rest of this falls apart. So I want to push back and ask “why would he be a father?”–and it seems to me the answer is just because of the DNA. But the law doesn’t have to give DNA that effect and so we’re back to my question–why is a man a father and more generally why is a person a parent?

          Second, I do not agree with your opening statement–that the child can only benefit. It isn’t always better for the child to be raised by two people if the two people have no functional working relationship. And there’s no reason to think the sperm provider and the mother do have a collaborative working relationship. So you’re putting the child in middle of what will sometimes (often?) be a chaotic struggle for control. Two homes with nothing in common and so on. It might well be better for the child to have a single stable home. It’s really not the same as the divorced mom problem–unless you make that assumption that the sperm provider is a father just like the divorced dad. And again, I won’t make that assumption.

          • Let me really challenge you, press you on the question of whether or not we as individuals have any authority as to other people taking our genes and reproducing us and raising our offspring against our will. Do you feel that people should be allowed to raise other people’s offspring if those offspring were created without the knowledge and consent of the party who was reproduced. As we enter this new era where for the first time in history woman can become a mother without even knowing its happened. Other people can gestate and deliver a woman’s offspring.

            Where do we draw the line here and not give anyone the benefit of raising a child they obtained either due to error or outright graft either fully without the knowledge of the parties who reproduced or against their outright cries that they want to be responsible for raising the offspring reproduced from their bodies? Why would you think its ok to reproduce a person and raise the resulting offspring over the objection of the party being reproduced. I guess im saying nobody else should have a free pass to take away our offspring. And Julie A man is related to his offspring as a parent, that is what he is in terms of human reproduction. He’s not just totally irrelevant. His family is not irrelevant. Why would one say “oh you don’t have any paternal ancestors you don’t need those people” what is the point of that?

            Your subtracting something that does exist and for no good reason, not really knowing him, is different than him being a convicted serial killer. What are you doing other than being F-ing selfish and trying to keep the child all to your theoretical (not really you) self? I don’t need to show that knowing their father’s family will be of benefit, it will be whatever it is and will matter however much it does. Leave it at that. Their ancestors are theirs to care about or dismiss, not yours. They are not yours to simply brush aside because your not sure you see it as beneficial.

            One day they will make children grow soup to nuts in a virtual womb. I bet they’re doing it right now. Will the laboratory techs who monitor the fluid in the sac be the child’s mothers? Will the person paying the lab fee’s be the mother? What if they take the eggs and sperm from people who don’t want to give it? What if they take them from women that need help gestating their ownoffspring. Be more compassionate.

            Even in “sperm donorship” there is theoretically consent to reproduce himself and abandon the children he creates a t birth and there is theoretically consent from the woman inseminated by him. The people who reproduce are still the parents or should be in that they decide what goes down if they dont agree, there is no baby.

            • I think to even attempt to respond to this I need to work carefully with the language you are using. I’m also going to approach the questions slowly (and I may not, almost assuredly will not, get to all of them).

              I think people have a perfect right to donate blood as they will. (I recognize that when you allow people to sell blood it raises more questions.) Now is sperm different from blood? (For the moment I will distinguish between sperm and eggs here, as sperm is, it seems to me, far more like blood (you replenish your stores) than eggs (a limited supply). More on the egg/sperm distinction is already elsewhere on the blog.)

              Of course there are important differences between blood and sperm: blood is essential to life, sperm can be used to create new life. Does this difference lead me to conclude you should not be able to give away sperm as you can blood? I think I’ll put the question a slightly different way–why would this difference lead to a different analysis? And here is where I think it all depends on what assumptions you make. IF you assume that being the source of the sperm gives a person a parental sort of obligation to a child THEN of course the difference does lead to a different analysis. But suppose you do not make that assumption–and remember that I do not. Then I don’t see why the identified difference does lead to a different analysis. Just as you can let someone else have your blood and be done with it, you can let someone else have your sperm. Which is to say that it all comes down to the starting assumptions and I think you know we disagree about this.

              Which is to say that yes, I think we have authority to give up our sperm (and when you get around to the analysis, eggs) without having any responsiblity for the resulting child.

              Now that’s not exactly what you asked–because you asked about when things were taken against the will of a person and this, it seems to me, is problematic. It’s an offense to autonomy principles to take organs/blood/sperm against a person’s will and I am troubled by that. I think ART mistakes raise a slightly different problem, though . Sperm is voluntarily given but then is used for a purpose other than that intended, and this is done by accident. These are hard problems and we will have to deal with them–no matter how careful folks are it’s quite likely that mistakes WILL happen. The solutions I can offer (I suspect you could search the blog for “mistake” and find some) aren’t perfect, but it’s the best one can do in a bad situation. In these instances I do want to take specific circumstances (knowledge of various parties, passage of time, etc.) into account. The fact that mistakes will happen does not make me want to cancel the entire operation.

              This is quite long now and only a partial answer, but at least I’ve tried.

  6. kisarita
    “Excluding anonymous men from fatherhood does not violate the father’s rights. Excluding known men does.”

    Bullsht Kisarita. If a woman gets inseminated with supposedly donated sperm from an anonymous man she has no proof, none at all, that he actually agreed to get her pregnant or that he agreed to have his child be raised without him in the picture. She is trusting the clinic she pays to be telling her the truth. She is trusting the clinic not to make a mistake. She is trusting that the profile description she picked from a catalog is real and not some creative writing excercise by the clinic staff filling vile after vile with their own semen. That does happen. I help people find their fathers and believe me lots of the doctors actually turn out to be the fathers. More than I’m comfortable with actually. But forget them, what about guys like this guy who never consented to donate their genes to get a strange woman pregnant, but ended up doing just that because of a clinic error, fought for his child tried like hell to be part of his childs life and he gets told by the courts tough luck you don’t have a right because the kid is her property and because she’s married the kid is marital property and her stupid husband gets to pretend that he is the child’s father. I HATE THIS SYSTEM. HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT.

    They are all thieves. My heart breaks for this man who is this childs father. And breaks for the child because his mother is an evil wretched woman and so is her husband. I hope someday it all works out and they let the kid see his dad.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003669871_webfertility17m.html

  7. I agree Marilyn, this is a travesty of justice.
    I wouldn’t call the couple evil as much as misguided.
    I would still maintain, however that absent clinic mixups, anonymous donor status is a violations of the child’s right only, not the father.

  8. How are they not evil Kisarita? The child’s father WANTS to pay support! The child’s father IS BEGGING TO SEE HIS CHILD! He IS one of the two parents that child has! The other man is IRRELEVANT . He happens to be the guy the mother is married to. So F-ing what? They are more than evil they are Machiavellian.

    That child will grow up and HATE them. Deservedly so too.

    • Okay, I have to confess that I’m not sure who we are talking about anymore–what couple? What father? Is this about Whitehurst? Does it belong with some other post?

      But even without knowing (or especially without knowing) I’m sort of shocked at the judgments you are willing to offer and the authority with which you offer them. It seems that you are prepared to say that a man who the child has never seen is far more important to the child than the man who puts the child to bed every night. Really? What do you know about the man the child has never seen? What if he is a bad person (whatever that might mean)? What do you know about the child’s relationship to “the other man?” Or does that actual real and existing relationship just not matter?

      I won’t go on. Suffice it to say that I find your certainty and your willingness to pass judgment based on your certainty really troubling.

      • http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003669871_webfertility17m.html

        the link in my earlier comment that is who we are talking about

        • Ah–thanks. I’m sorry–I see you posted it before and I missed it. Really interesting story–one I might actually write about for its own post.

          I notice his action is against the sperm bank. There’s nothing much about the couple that ended up with his sperm–certainly nothing that makes me want to call them evil. Maybe they’ve told the child (now six?) all about the mix-up. Or maybe the will. Maybe they are willing to have some sort of contact. But the guy isn’t just seeking some sort of contact–he wants parental rights, and in our world that means he wants to take away parental rights from one member of the couple–undoubtedly the man. If that’s his approach to them, I cannot blame them for resisting. It’s hard for me to say that at this point the child should be raised jointly by MH (the sperm provider) and the woman in that couple. That seems like it would be pretty miserable.

          I wonder what happened to the lawsuit against OHSU? It’s been a while. Perhaps I’ll write to one of the lawyers.

      • No child should wind up being raised by an unrelated parent without benefit of a court approved adoption and some concrete evidence that the parents they originated from knew about them and consented to giving them up to be raised by other people. I think its totally reasonable to expect not to be taken away from the parents who created you without their consent.
        This kids father never consented to donate his sperm or to relinquish his parental rights upon the birth of any children conceived with that sperm. He gave his sperm to that clinic because he wanted to be a father and instead of putting it into the body of his girlfriend they messed up and put it in the body of a different chick who, happened to be married. If she happened to be single, would the court have reached a different conclusion? A man should not be named as father of a different man’s offspring ever in my mind, but most especially not over the objections of the father. Why would the court not just say the woman’s husband is his step father and the father is his father there is way way more benefit to the kid that way financially and emotionally. Too bad if reality strains the mom’s marriage. Its not about her marriage, its about her child. She needs to suck it up and realize her kid will out live her and her need to appear like the wife on father knows best.

        • It seems to me you’ve got the assumption that the kid will be happier being raised jointly by MH and the woman in Marion. Is there any basis for that assumption? You’re just assuming that genetics will make it all real and better, aren’t you?

          I don’t dispute that MH was badly treated and ought to complain. But I am not prepared to order the remedy you are without thinking about the kid and the other players. Money from OHSU–not a problem. But parentage? More thought required.

          I will do a post on this and then we can continue this conversation under that heading–it will be easier for others to follow.

          • “It seems to me you’ve got the assumption that the kid will be happier being raised jointly by MH and the woman in Marion. Is there any basis for that assumption?”

            Flip that. Any basis for your assumption that the child would be happier having a fictive kinship replace a person who does not want to be replaced? Why can’t the child have both? Is too much financial support and too much love ever a bad thing?

            • I think the assumption I’d offer is that a child is better off having existing social relationships (whatever they are) protected and maintained. One thing that means is not giving those with no existing social relationships the right to muscle in–and that would include a man who happened to provide sperm. I might also offer the assumption that, all other things being equal, low or no conflict is better than high conflict. Thus, I’m loathe to force people who have no history of working together to work together on a project as demanding as raising a child.

              I think I can find support for both of these assumptions. And while maybe more financial support is always better, I’d say more people involved in raising a child isn’t necessarily better if the people cannot get along.

              It’s one thing to educate people and encourage them to voluntarily do things that are good for their kids and perhaps this includes creating opportunities for contact with gamete providers. It’s a different thing to say that they have to do it.

  9. can i borrow your crystal ball for some of my investments too?

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