I’ve been thinking about an earlier post I wrote. It’s the one before the last one–where I speculated about whether transparency might help alleviate the problem of men with too many offspring. What I was thinking is that not many consumers of third-party sperm would really want to have sperm from a man with scores of offspring. Of course, that’s really an assumption that says something about my personal inclinations, I suspect.
Anyway, I have an additional thought to add. It seems to me the reasons people wouldn’t want sperm from these men might fall into two categories. First, there are concerns about unintentional incest–the possibility that people who do not realize they are genetically linked might end up having children together. This is a specific concern that can probably be assessed by some good statistical analysis with an underlying foundation in genetics.
But there’s a second reason that people might shun a provider who had scores of offspring. It might just feel too weird or creepy or otherwise undesirable. Though I may not be articulating it well, I can certainly understand this reason. And I’m not convinced that it is subject to any sort of scientific or mathematical analysis. It’s a preference, and though it may not be a rational one, it is one which I suspect is likely to be widespread and deeply held.
I think it is useful to be clear that there are too different reasons at work here for a couple of reasons. For instance, given the nature of the accidental incest concern, this is a place where a professional organization like the ASRM might usefully weigh in. Information from professionals like those in the ASRM would be helpful to people making these decisions–assuming it was reliable and trustworthy and that people felt that the source was credible.
But the ASRM and similar organizations cannot address the second concern noted above. Indeed, I’m not sure anything can express that concern. But surely it would motivate people to act in selecting a sperm provider just as much as the first one would–assuming of course, people have the information they need to make these decisions.
Small points, I know, but I wanted to add them.