The Case For Regulating Non-ART Conception

I sorry to say I am caving to an irresistible impulse I probably really ought to resist.   But at least I can keep this short.

I’ve written in the past about the case for regulating ART.   It’s often raised when some startling story hits the news–Nadya Suleman (aka Octomom) or a man with hundreds of offspring.   It’s not that these cases are typical ones.   Quite the contrary–they are unusual and eye-catching.   But they become the jumping off point for the regulatory discussion.

So it seems only fair to flag this story and consider (analogously) the case for regulating non-ART conception.   Desmond Hatchett has 30 children born to 11 different women.   Nine of the children are under three.   He earns minimum wage (which in Tennessee cannot be that much) and so (no surprise) is unable to support his children.    Should this spur us to consider regulation of non-ART conception?

To be clear, we don’t regulate this area and people will be quick to say that we cannot–both from a practical point of view and from a rights-oriented one.   Each of these merits a little thought, though.

Practically, can we regulate this type of procreation?  (Even if the answer today is “no” it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the answer changes to “yes” within a few years.)

And from a rights viewpoint–what exactly is the right?  If it is to continue one’s genetic line then it ought to apply ART or no ART.    If it is to engage in intercourse, then if you solve the practical problem above that right can be preserved without producing all these kids.

Which leads me to this–if we could (practically speaking) regulate non-ART conception, is there any reason why we should not do so?   Food for thought.

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34 responses to “The Case For Regulating Non-ART Conception

  1. No we should not attempt to make laws that say how many offspring a person can have. That should apply to people in general, qualifying as a donor should not mean you are no longer a free person entitled to have as many offspring as you wind up having. I am against limitations on the number of offspring per donor and I am against limitations the number of offspring anyone can have.
    I believe the law should obligate people in the care and support of their minor offspring. This man with 30 offspring is obligated to the care and support of his offspring but he cannot afford them. Those 30 offspring all are entitled to his support though. They’d split his social security death benefits, they’d split any property left to him after he died, they split what ever it is he earns leaving him just barely enough to live on himself. They are entitled to the same thing all other children are entitled too only their dad has very little to give. So little that his kids qualify for state aid. for children whose parents cannot afford to support them.

    If we are going to offer this service to children based upon their need without discriminating against them for the actions or inactions of their parents then we have to offer it up to however many kids he has that are in need. Its rare for a person to have that many kids outside of Art but it happens occassionally. He does not sound like he is breaking the law by hiding from being named as father although he may have done that I do not know. His children are at least entitled to have him named on their birth records have a right to one another’s birth records and have a right to a certain amount of whatever he’s got to give. If he inherits something during his life it will doubtless have to be sold and the money split up among them and they deserve that.
    We don’t have to provide a social safety net but we do and certainly if any children deserve that safety net it would be children of a man like that that cannot support his kids. Being poor is not a crime and people should not be penalized for being poor. If we did not provide the safety net he would be responsible for his kids and they would go hungry. That would be a fair state of affairs. We should not terminate parental rights for simply falling on hard times how horrible would that be to loose your job and have your children taken away and adopted out because of it? People should be able to seek help privately or publically for their children without fear that they will loose them. We must think broadly abou how such a law could be applied to the detriment of people with offspring in general.

    We must think broadly about what offspring of all people should be entitled to as well, not just offspring of people as opposed to offspring of donors. Offspring of donors are clearly entitled to half what the offspring of people are entitled to some times entitled to none of what people are entitled to when both genetic parents were donors. So tragic and horrid that we act as if being the child of a donor means they are less than human don’t need medical histories don’t need financial support or physical support from their genetic parents, don’t need to avoid inbreeding with their relatives – their whole existence is to play a roll in someone’s fantasy and everyone pretends like its reality its so sick so twisted so absolutely inhumane.

    • “Its rare for a person to have that many kids outside of Art but it happens occassionally”

      Actually, no, its happening ALOT. I recently heard of a man who has been donating through every sperm donor connections site and openly admits to having hundreds. Why women would therefore choose him if beyond me- but it is happening more and more.

      I try to keep track of whats happening on FSDW as much as I can- actively trying to encourage men who are donating privately to limit this number and also to ensure that those who are parenting the child can support them. Infact that is why men often say they choose to donate through FSDW- because they couldnt bear the thought of helping a woman or couple build their family and not know the life in which their bio child would be raise. Most FSDW donors maintain contact with the parents raising the child leaving options open to the child for what they want, even before they turn 18. Legally this man would be obliged to financially support the child as private donations arent recognised (although Im seeing this changing when it is AI and the intent was clear) – however the man raising the child- or second parent – is actually doing that. And I believe in these cases that is as it should be. Those intentionally seeking to raise the child should not do so if they do not have the means in which to do so. And I do not believe it is immoral- or abandonement when a man chooses to donate and not raise the child- if he chooses those who will be raising the child- and is open to contact and a relationship with the child is the CHILD wants this. Multiple parents with different roles is not unusual in this day and age- and this is becoming just another. I hear from hundreds of former FSDW members and donors who have these relationships – and they are working- especially for the child. We even have a phrase’ Dondad’ which children use to define his role to others.

      However I am seeing more and more ‘sperm donation connections’ web sites cropping up where the only focus really is on getting pregnant- many seemingly unaware that the sperm is the DNA of a real person who will matter to the child- some more than others. ALL but FSDW allow men to request ‘NI’ – which to me means – literally- a free ride. Free sex, an agreement that there will be no obligation to support or even care about whos going to be raising your bio child. (an agreement some women are later going back on)
      On those sites- one in particular- man are fathering ALOT of children without fathering them! Finally or physcially. However rather than putting the spotlight on men I think this means we need to educate prospective parents regarding the issues. They can then do what they can do see if the man they choose actually is creating tens if not hundreds of other children elsewhere. Its not easy- men can do that anywhere- you cant get a list of sexual partners or children by doing any checks! But you can reduce the risks as much as you can- and spend a long time carefully choosing who this person is. Not by sending him a message through a sperm donation connections site asking if he could drop the specimen round next Tuesday and leave it on the doorstep- type scenario! Many FSDW donors have actually written to me – incredulously- to ask if these women actually care who has produced the sperm! They see themselves as more than ‘sperm donors’ in the official sense – and more as people helping to build families but who care enough about their future offspring to not do this through a sperm bank- but instead somewhere they can personally vet potential candidates.

      In reality how could you regulate it – other than (as is happening) determine legally that a man who donates through AI – where there is a contract outlining their pre-conception agreement- that this man is not obliged to make payments. This could lead to a registry that gives us much more useful information- also for the dc children- and this is something FSDW are still working on. The legalities are a mine field and we want to get it right. It will be a free service – aimed at promoting honest and early disclosure and information sharing- and potentially far more for children who currently dont really get much info until 18. Far too late- they have already formed self-identities etc- often inaccurately.

      I believe that if it is sex the man should pay- but this may be more to do with the fact that I want to try to wipe out this practice- which is risky in all manners of ways- and can often be the real reason the man is helping. This would give people more options, be more transparent, and allow greater sharing of information as the boundaries are clear- he cannot later sue for shared custody and the parent/s raising the child cant sue for child support. It is up to both parties to go into it with their eyes open- and ultimately the child should have the benefit of parents financially and emotionally able to support them as well as access to their bio father.

      So yes- I would like to see AI sperm donation become legalised – and therefore be a procedure that could be carried out at a doctors office at low cost if the recipient does not want to home self-inseminate- and this can be done after testing- even though the recipient understands the increased risk. FSDW recipients currently pay for their donor to be tested – in the UK they can do this for free. Or the sperm could be frozen etc if the recipients could afford that. The main point is that both parties have chosen each other before conception, and are going to this with eyes wide open. Options that allow people to choose their own ‘match’ based not on statistics from a catalogue and honour the man as the bio father and not a ‘sperm donor’ – therefore allowing the child to know of him and be able to make their own decisions BEFORE the age of 18. We can then have much more open support groups for these alternative families to reduce associated risks- eg crossing boundaries. (which we have with all families)

      But to me a man who has sex – or a woman who has sex to create a baby- is not choosing a sperm donor. She should know he can gain custody and certainly contact as the dad – and he should know that he will be paying child support. Sex is unecessary for private donation – and this distinction could be the answer for moving forwards regarding regulation. It could also mean there would be a ceiling on how many donations a man could offer and be legally protected. So once he has created – say- 10 officially recognised DC babies – through AI- then after that he has no protection from the law- and if she sues, hes paying child support! women can also check up on his ‘file’ to see how many are already there- knowing that if she chooses him and there are already 10 he could sue for custody!

      • right but hew is not legally their father he is fathering them under the ART exemption of donorism. So outside of Art, Emma I don’t believe its terribly common to find a man with 30 children where he is recognized as their legal father. You’ve lived 20 something maybe 30 something years right? How many men have you met that are the biological & legally recognized fathers of of 30 kids? Not so many right? I’m just saying its not common for men to have that many kids unless they’ve gotten that legal waiver of responsibility that sux so much for their offspring

        • Thanks Marilyn- Ive lived rather longer than that thanks. 20 or 30? Youve made my day.

          A man is only their ‘legal’ father if the courts deem it. In many cases outside of ART men – even outside of private sperm donation- arent recognised as the legal father because the woman may not know who it was or put him on the birth certificate or sue for child support.

          So Im unclear of your definition of ‘legal father’. We cannot use the term ‘legal father’ in this discussion as we arent talking about those men. We are talking about men who father children outside of sperm banks and dont support them- and how we can define this, or protect children in this regard. We are now limiting the number of children that can be conceived using ART- and I belive we should do that when there is clear intent to donate outside of sperm banks. And as I said- this is happening in the tens of thousands now- especially as the ‘Known Donor Registry’ (formerly Free Sperm Donor Registry) is offering this for free to anyone and everyone. Free sex here were come! (pardon the pun) You can hear men shout in glee as they register.

          I was saying that we CAN do something about limiting the number of children created through private sperm donation (I talk of this as we were discussing ART and donor conception?) by creating a legal situation where PRE-CONCEPTION both bio parents AGREE on their arrangement, and use AI. Im not getting into your tirade about any man who creates a child should support that child – or hed be doing that even when unfit and the child is put up for adoption- and it implies that he is somehow more important than the social parent actually raising the child. (resist the urge to highlight that Marilyn)

          I very much advocate that if a man is to do this and legally give up his parental rights in favour of ‘Donad’ rights (and I use these terms as I actually wouldnt want them to have the limited if any rights of a ‘sperm donor’ in the traditional sense) then he chooses wisely. But at least we can start to offer a legally rexognised route that could prevent some of the issues I am now seeing with ‘private sperm donation’ which is a nonsense term really. We are seeing more and more cases eg a UK woman who had sex with her ‘donor’ – advertising for a donor and not a co-parent- with her husband’s consent – who has now sued the ‘donor’ for child support when her husband left her. How does the courts see this ‘donor’ ? As the biological father if they had sex. My point for clearly defining intent – and having a written contract clearly outlining that intent before conception.

          Yes- regulate the private sperm donation world- and continue to legally recognise men who have sex with women as the bio father – because it would be impossible to do otherwise. But remember that- as happens now- the decision of whether or not the child gets the financial support first lies with whether or not the mother chooses to pursue it. And it is usually – for them – a toss up between ‘sharing’ her child or getting money.

          Lots of ethical dilemas thrown in there for you….and based on past experiences I will strive to not actually read the subsequent arguments that will ensue! Ive said my piece…

          Good discussion topic again Julie!

          Em

          • Interesting, Thanks for breaking it down for me. More complex and layered than I understood. Thanks

          • “especially as the ‘Known Donor Registry’ (formerly Free Sperm Donor Registry) is offering this for free to anyone and everyone. Free sex here were come! (pardon the pun) You can hear men shout in glee as they register. ”

            We’ve been through this before, but it’s unrealistic to suggest that men aren’t using your site to have free sex. You even linked (for four years) to a Daily Mail article about a donor who did exactly that. Your own site also says this: “Please note that I have been advised that sperm donations in Canada must involve sexual intercourse.”

            The stance of the KDR is that the method of insemination is up to the donor and recipient. We encourage AI, but if an informed consenting donor and recipient decide they want to have to have sex, then shouldn’t that be their choice? It’s also impossible to keep “NI” donors off a site, and if they are identified as such, it’s easier for recipients to avoid them.

            • It is absolutely realistic to think that people pay a fee to use FSDW so they dont have to have men asking them for free sex. They could join ‘KDR’ as you call it- although I know that being a ‘known’ donor is far from what most using that site are looking for. The case in the Daily Mail that you refer to every time you comment about this was appalling- I was so disappointed with her. And guess what- the man who had sex with her is now being sued for child support. And why will he lose? Because he had sex. The very point of why FSDW does NOT allow for sex- among other reasons. Women are now much quicker to report men who ask- and I ban them immediately. As your site is completely free why woulde women and couples choose to pay instead? Because of what they experience through FSDW! I am totally against what ‘KDR’ stands for- because regardless of your words- what is actually happening is that people are ignoring anonimity laws- and putting themselves and their children at greater risk. That isnt a choice you should be supporting.
              I understand what you say your site is all about- freedom of choice- but some people dont have the intelligence to make these choices wisely- choices that affect CHILDREN. I am open about the concerns I have with my own site and I am getting a much better quality of donors- look at the comments and testimonials in that regard. The women who want someone to drop off sperm and not have to meet him would of course choose your site- they dont have me constantly sharing my thoughts about the bigger picture- and making them look at their choices. Im trying to help build quality connections- not quantity. Choices the child would be proud of.
              And no, I dont think any site moderator should say ‘its ok if they want to’- because they have a responsiblity to their members who may not know any better.
              I am concerned every day about what is happening with FSDW incase it becomes like ‘KDR’ – and you are blinded by what you hope will happen with the realities of offering a free site that allows for free sex to be offered with a pre-agreed arrangement that the man will take no responsiblities. If you take sex off the table at least you remove one selfish reason for ‘donating’ and can find out who is doing this for the child- and will care about and be in contact with that child for life.

              • And – back to the actual topic- there is no way we can regulate private donations without specifying that they are AI only- and creating an agreement prior to conception- so the intent is clear. My view is that if you have sex then you are the legal father and have the rights and responsiblities that go with it. And that is how the courts still see it- they will never change that regarding sex as far as I can see- how could they? So through FSDW I am fighting for legal recognition- but this will be along the lines of what we are already doing- AI only- pre-agreed arrangement- and will enable us to put a cap on how many times a man can do this legally and be protected. There are far more benefit to all when not using commercial ART – however a line must be drawn. Just because a man says he is ‘donating’ does not mean he is a sperm donor in the eyes of the law. So to have this arrangement recognised it must clearly be a donation. Having sex is not necessary, is riskier in all manner of ways, and changes the arrangement from a donation to nothing more than a one night stand. Most people dont realise this as people like ml66uk- an NI donor- dont exactly open up and admit this to the women they have sex with. Infact many tell them how much more effective and ‘natural’ it is. I do the opposite, and am disappointed and angry if I find out anyone using my site has been stupid enough to fall for it. If you want free sex wear a condomn and have sex- dont deliberately bring a child into the world you dont want to raise- and are probably too blinded by the free sex to even care about. And why would men put themselves at this risk? There are numerous STDs passed by sex and not AI. A woman last year having sex then found out she had HIV. Do we really have to have a disaster before people start understanding my concerns? At least with FSDW people are given this info – from the day they sign up. Even so I am very aware of how risky this is. But the alternatives are appalling for the child in most cases- and thats the reason I do this.

            • And yes- of course I have to advise anyone joining from Canada that the laws there specifies that AI is illegal outside of clinic- meaning that people cant advertise for an AI donor – or that they are one. It is my responsiblity to inform people. But in reality are Health Canada there peeping through keyholes? Of course not. So I am fulfilling my obligation- at the same time as having a behaviour code that prohibits sex. Its a part of the law that needs looking at- because it is there to stop people donating outside of clinics. Its as illogical as surrogacy being legal in Australia and yet people cant advertise to be one or to find out – that is illegal. The law often isnt logical. But that doesnt mean we cant be logical,build families and put the child first.
              And Im not posting to you again- your site (KDR) scares the living daylights out of me- because I know what actually goes on there. The few success stories – people who are ready to build a family – rather than young girls who will then have to be supported by the state- or couples who do this as they dont want the man to have anything to do with them or the child after- are not an excuse for what you are creating. A potential for social disaster, and to keep familiy lawyers in business for a long time.

    • I’m actually surprised you wouldn’t move to limit number of offspring in some way–at least for the cases where it would be easiest, which are those through institutional ART. The whole point of this story (as it is has been reported to the media) is that the idea of child support in these instances is laughable. He doesn’t earn enough to make any meaningful contribution to his children.

      That said, I’m not sure that I think a regulation (no more than X) is the best approach. I do tend to favor transparency, which in turn can allow people to choose what the want to do. But that doesn’t really help in cases like this–because I don’t think the people involved here are deliberately choosing to have kids in the first place.

  2. I think it is called debtors prison…if you can’t pay then you do time and don’t allow conjugal visits. Of course that only applies if court ordered support is mandated. My view would be that if you want out there are two options pay or chose voluntary sterilization which doesn’t have to be the permanent kind but like parole you must comply.

    • Really adopted ones? What about a parent with only 1 child who lost their home in this recent morgage debacle? What if they worked for hewlett packard and were one of the 10,000 laid off and they have no family to go to or whatever and they can’t afford to support their child? Should they loose their rights to be with them? Should they be thrown in debtors prison where they cannot work or care for their child? Are you against welfare in general do you think kids are better off in adopted homes than raised by poor welfare mothers and fathers? This guy just does not know when to quit but the policy that your suggesting if applied to the average family with 5 or 6 kids tops really tanks

  3. I’d rather empower women to understand that they can be much more than simply a repository for a man’s genetic material. Life has so much to offer. Why waste it on this fellow?

    • There’s a thought. Puts me in mind of this earlier post. https://julieshapiro.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/a-quick-note-about-teen-parents/

      I would guess that the women who are the mothers of the 30 children are not demographically similar to the women who use sperm banks. The study that’s the subject of the earlier post might lead me to expect that the women who are the mothers here have fewer other opportunities–education, employment, etc. By contrast I’d expect that most of the women going to sperm banks are in the process of created planned pregnancies (seems sort of definitional) and they must have some disposable income.

      You’ve made me realize that I’ve really narrowed the focus too much in these posts–shouldn’t be only on men. Good to remember. I’ll have to see what comes of a broader view.

  4. “And I do not believe it is immoral- or abandonement when a man chooses to donate and not raise the child- if he chooses those who will be raising the child- and is open to contact and a relationship with the child is the CHILD wants this. Multiple parents with different roles is not unusual in this day and age- and this is becoming just”

    I would not consider it abandonment either so long as he is named on their birth record 1st as father and then gives his child up for adoption. Agreeing off line privately is not taking full accountability for your child it has that chief element of black market adoption – not money but lack of accountability allowing someone else to be named in his place on the birth record.

    You mentioned before I think you advocate for them being named and giving the child up for adoption I think maybe I’m giving you credit for something I wished you’d said

  5. Marilyn – my response was pretty clear that I was speaking about the actual man with 30 children in the post – it becomes crystal clear when you read the second sentence (copied below for your reference). My response is NOT speaking to any families that have lost their homes due to the mortgage crisis or families on welfare. It speaks to deadbeat dads who keep on procreating and letting their kids suffer. Jail is currently used today in the USA.

    “I think it is called debtors prison…if you can’t pay then you do time and don’t allow conjugal visits. Of course that only applies if court ordered support is mandated.”

    • I read the article this post is about just to make sure I was thinking the right thing. He is a legal parent to all of his children no different than any other legal parent, me for instance. Sure he is obligated to pay support so am I all parents are. He’s just poor and spread really thin. He knows all his children’s names and birth dates. The article did not say if all or some of the children also receive public assistance. All the article said was that with as little money as he earns there are times when all the children get is a chedk for a couple of dollars. He can’t afford them. But that happens on a smaller scale as well what I’m saying is if we are going to provide welfare we can’t make it not available based on how many children a person has. How fair would that be to the child it is not his fault he has many brothers and sisters he needs the help even more maybe. This guy could be found guilty of neglect maybe but then your opening up a can of worms saying not having any money or food is neglectful many people are very poor they don’t take their kids away and terminate the relationship they don’t throw them in jail. He does not sound like an abusive guy he does not seem like he is shirking responsibility for them or hiding from them he just does not earn enough to support all of them. He is an anomoly. He won the record for the most children for their county or something. He sounds like he takes it seriously (after the fact) I mean he is not flippant or smug sounding. Half of a minimum wage check probably leaves him barely enough to eat – i can see why he would want it adjusted just enough to live so he can keep working. Thing is if they terminate his rights then the kids become the state’s problem and if this guy dies at least they’ll get his death benifits, if he inherits property from a parent or grandparent while his children are under age the state will get some of its money back maybe or the kids would get it, the state is better off in the long run allowing him to remain legally obligated and they will just take half of everything he earns forever its better than throwing him in jail – not only would those kids be poor now they would be without their father at all. Not evil just kinda selfish and dumb seeming.

  6. “Jail is currently used today in the USA.”

    Used for what? Abandoning and abusing kids sure. He is not missing his child support payments. He pays for all 30 of them the state takes half his check, he knows their names and birthdates he sees them and spends time with them. Its not like he is not paying and usually they don’t put people in jail for not paying their child support cause how can they work ?

    I know you did not speak specifically about people loosing their homes in the mortgage crisis. The point of me framing out a scenario that you might be sympathetic towards and see how that family would be hurt if we through poor parents in debtors prison. Fine you don’t want to apply your statement broadly to see how it impacts other poor families in different situations, you don’t have to but you can’t actually say that this fellow is a dead beat if he is involved with them pays support everymonth. He has not trying to avoid taking care of them he’s just financially incapable of it he is in over his head. You really think he should be thrown in Jail? He’s on the hook anything he earns ever until he dies is going to his kids or paying back the state. Really you would put this man in Jail where he cannot work and his kids would go visit him in jail? This is real rare anything over 10 is going to be rare.

  7. Marilyn,
    I’m done – you took a statement and ran in all different directions and wanted to know what I thought or wanted from this and that and everything inbetween.

    I don’t do stress.

    Have a nice weekend.

    • huh? I wanted to know if you thought debtors prison was an acceptable soloution for all parents who are required to support their kids and can’t – regardless of the number. I went in one single direction. Sorry that you found it stressful to think about the implications of what you were suggesting by throwing poor parents in debtors prison.
      You go lay down II better go to work because I’m behind on my bills and don’t want to have my child taken from me. I had to borrow money to put food in my fridge to feed my kid. That’s true there is no money for food until the 1st of the month. No savings to cash in for quarters for laundry. Put people in Jail when they cannot make ends meet to support their children? That is all I wanted you to consider. This man is not an island with rules you would make for him alone.

      have a nice weekend.

  8. ridiculous. Reproducing is a privatehuman behavior much as eating and sleeping and therefore a human right over which government has no say. ART however is a business as well as expensive medical procedure.

    (Let me point out that I do not consider untreated sperm inserted manually, as “Assisted reproduction” that is within the category of natural to me.)

    • But others dont have your idea of natural. So isnt it great that you can build your family in the way you want to build it- and others can choose how to build theirs. Thats why FSDW was created…because of our diverse and wonderful society…and so that ‘normal’ doesnt become something one person or set of people can decide it is their right to determine. Just as those born with short sightedness – ‘normal’ to them- can choose to wear glasses.

      • it’s not my idea. it’s basic science. if it does not involve any chemicals or medical procedures, what is “assistive” about it? It’s only our cultural veneration of sex that makes us think of it as something essentially different than manual insertion of sperm. Actually my understanding of FSDW is that it is an assisted reproduction site…. FSDW is basically a personals site. What the people do afterwards, as I understand, is none of FSDW’s business any more than match.com

        • sorry i meant that FSDW is NOT an assisted reproduction site

        • I was referring to your choice of the word ‘normal’.

          You also used it elsewhere. “This post is just one other example of how ART activists, in efforts to present ART as normal and identical to natual conception- attempt to curtail other’s people’s rights to bring them down to their level. infuriating.”

          Natural conception? So only people who are fertile, who are having sex with someone who is fertile, are ‘normal’? – or are the ones doing it ‘naturally’? Now THAT’S an infuriating and narrow minded view of the human race. Are we still living in caves? No- we are learning more about how we can build famillies and improve our lives and the lives of others every day. And this is NOT always at a cost to the child.
          It isnt ‘natural’ to me to think of a man/ woman put his or her hand into another man’s heart and change it for one that has been beating within another human prior to being killed in a card crash.
          It isn’t ‘normal’ for But we do it- in a multidue of ways we do more than

          I do not agree with commercial ART if the would-be parents have not personally selected the bio father and vice versa- and agreed on an arrangement with the child at the centre of their decision making. I think anonymous sperm donation should be seen as criminal- intentional child abuse. But its not ‘all or nothing’ – why should it be?

          When using ART the bio father isnt legally recognised – and in the US not even traceable. I was raising the point regarding what happens outside of this arena- because private ‘assisted reproduction’ is becoming so common. I was addressing the actual post.

          My points were in regard to the definition of ‘father’ – relating to the topic in hand. And the difference between a ‘legal’ father and bio father- the two may not be the same.
          I believe that a man who offers sperm for manual insertion – having agreed on their arrangement before conception- should be protected legally- as should the parent/s raising the child. The arrangement is that the bio father will be recognised as such- but not as the legal father- and therefore have no parental rights. I also said that there should be a ceiling on how many times he can do this- and be protected by law. Id even go further to say that this arrangement must include the sharing of info for the child and ability to contact him at 18 at the very latest.

          On the other hand if a man has sex- whatever he calls it- he should be liable. The woman still needs to file though of course. Often the child’s needs- emotionally and financially – arent the primary consideration in this regard however.

          I am not comfortable with a man having 30 children through sex and not supporting them- but the women who choose to be pregnant by him know this also. If they are planning on raising the child isnt this something they should take more ownership over? But this is not something we can mandate in situations other than where an agreement was made betwwen both parties prior to conception. child alone with no real means to support herself and the child- but

          Actually FSDW ‘donors’ and recipients very much share their business – before, during and after conception. We are creating a ‘Dondad’ registry so that they can keep in touch without putting their arrangement in jeopardy because the laws in their country or area may not honour it- and where they can offer as much to the child as possible. Most FSDW are in contact with the child from birth – as the ‘Dondad’. More than a sperm producer, less than a ‘dad’ who is parenting.

          And I disagree with you 100% that – when donating privately – and the recipient is manually inseminating with a partner- that this has nothing in common with the sexual act. Infact when this is between two loving partners it can be a much better experience than the one you consider to be ‘normal’ !

          So – back to the post- I agree that ART should be regulated- but I disagree that people outside of ART could or should be regulated. We should look more at why these situations are happening within our society. I did however offer up a third option- of regulating private AI arrangements that are made prior to conception. And with the huge numbers of children being born through private sperm donor connections sites we need to really look at this.

          People use my site- and pay a fee because they are, generally, people who have thought about this a lot. They are mainly couples 30 – 45 years of age- or older single women who are ready financially – and understand that the child should be able to know of their origins. The men choose FSDW as they want to ‘vet’ who they donate to- and remain contactable. It is the only strictly AI only site in the world and I get ALOT of flack for that. Men (and some women) saying they should be able to choose, and criticising me for being the ‘moral police’. My stance however is that if you intend to donate and are not just looking for free sex, then reduce the risks. AI also clearly shows intent. Private sperm donation is NOT legally recognised- calling it a sperm donation doesnt make it this- however offering sperm for manual insertion does provide an argument for this arrangement should it go to court. I do think we need to be able to have these arrangements- despite the obvious considerations. I believe that children (and the parents- social and bio) benefit far more. To me there shouldnt be this all or nothing.

          30 children and he cant support them financially (and probably not emotionally either) Why are we focusing on him? There is something else that is not ‘normal’ for a human body- contraception. And every one of those mothers chose not to make use of it. So this ‘natural’ act has created all sorts of issues for the resulting children. On the other hand, the ‘unatural’ act of ART often results in children being raised with more than enough money, in a secure and stable home and with two loving parents. Which child is getting the better deal? (you dont need to – and of course couldnt possibly- answer that. Only the child can know that)

          • Sorry- pressed submit before finishing one of the paragraphs:-)

            • “And I disagree with you 100% that – when donating privately – and the recipient is manually inseminating with a partner- that this has nothing in common with the sexual act. ”

              You misunderstood me. I agree with you on this point. Manual insemintation with freshly ejaculated untreated sperm is exactly the same as sex. I thought I had said so clearly. I reject that the law in some locales treats them differently.

              Shipping gametes all over the world via brokerage firms (for money or free) has nothing to do with sex.

              As for your websiter, its very nice that folks choose to share the outcomes with you but your website neither provides any gametes or medical procedurles and has no legal responisibility as to what happens.

              • Yes- the act can be a positive one- just as sex can be- however my point is that AI sperm donation outside of ART is still a ‘sperm donation’ arrangement whether you agree with them or not. In the same way that this is seen as legal- whether you like it or not- I am stating that there is a case for private AI donors who have completed an agreement with the potential recipient prior to conception should be offered the same legal rights- ie of NOT being known as the legal father.

                I am unsure of the point of your last paragraph.

                I have already spoken of the Dondad registry (on another post I believe) where FSDW donors and recipients keep in contact post conception and where the child can access information and keep in touch with him BEFORE they turn 18. The registry is not just so that the child can know of their bio fathers medical history but also of sibblings, extended familly etc-Many choose to do this – regardless of whether they have a legal responsiblity to or not- for the child. And while the laws are taking their time catching up with alternative families – created outside of ART – this registry will afford them peace of mind. The ‘donor’ can remain in touch without sharing personal contact info- and the ‘recipient’ can do the same- he doesnt have to worry about being sued for child support despite there being a clear agreement that he would take no parental responsibilities- and she doesnt have to worry about him suing for shapred parenting or even custody (as has already happened in Australia and the USA)

                I am 100% against commercial ART – because it does not allow the bio parents to meet or for the child to have as much info as THEY want- and to contact him while forming their identity. It reinforces the incorrect view that the sperm is not really the DNA of the bio father- who counts – and who the child has a right to access. If a man doesnt want this he shouldnt donate. And thats why so many FSDW donors donate through FSDW- and NOT through sperm banks.

    • It seems to me that intimate sexual conduct is private behavior (or at least can be) and consistent with that the courts have recognized some right to engage in it without government interference. I’m not sure I’m convinced that producing genetically related children is also private human behavior. There are so many ways that producing children has broad public/social impacts while just engaging in sex doesn’t. Thus, I can see a stronger grounding for a right to engage in sex than I do for a right to have genetic offspring.

      • except that for the vast majority of humans having sex and producing genetically related offspring takes place via exactly the same act. Only in ART is it possible to differentiate between the two.

        • Again, not true. Many are now choosing AI outside of ART facilities – watch this as an example. http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8525349
          I support private AI arrangements- when sex is involved there can be no argument- the man should be liable for child support. With private AI however the intention is as clear as when a sperm bank is used. They are just putting the child’s needs first in ways no sperm bank could do.
          I am against ART – but I am for private AI arrangements that allow for increased information sharing and the opportunity for relationships to develop from birth – even if the bio father is not raising the child in the traditional sense of the word.
          See how baby Roma- in the clip- benefits – and wouldnt have this through ART.

  9. This post is just one other example of how ART activists, in efforts to present ART as normal and identical to natual conception- attempt to curtail other’s people’s rights to bring them down to their level. infuriating.

  10. the institutionalized sale and/or transfer of human tissue is regulated in many other areas, and there is no reason why reproductive tissue should be any different. Once it is being regulated, there is absolutely no reason why the criteria chosen for regulation can not include considerations for the future offspring. It has nothing in common with sex and trying to pretend they are the same so that you can curtail everyone elses’s rights so you don’t feel discriminated against- sorry but that is a no go.

  11. There is a middle ground. I think anonymous sperm donation is a violation of human rights- and I do not agree with the way in which ART is conducted. However I do believe that people should be able to build families- ideally, of course, if emotionally and financially ready. So we need to find solutions- and this is why FSDW was ‘born’ almost a decade ago. Nine years ago I was condemned by health authorities for what I am trying to do- recently I had an email from the HFEA inviting me to express an interest in joining a new group- to discuss the issues relating to donor conception. People are realising that we must look for solutions- that centre around children. ART traditionally puts the children last. I am now pushing for a legalized option that can be conducted through clinics- but with the clinic simply a place where the sperm is tested and quarantined ready for AI (preferably home self-insemination) So we get the peace of mind of safe sperm- but with all parties protected by law- and therefore we could put a cap on how many times men can do this, and be protected from having to assume the same responsiblities as if he was in a relationship with her. Ultimately relationships are honoured- he isnt a number in a catalogue- and they are all much more likely to be able to develop positie relationships as the chose each other. I fear for some donor conceived children who manage to meet their bio father and find that hes not interested in him or her at all- he just needed $100 when studying. I would also propose that we offer much more in the way of education and support – many men donating have no idea about research into donor conception- and what the children / now adults think about it. Many wanting to build their family have no idea either- and dont want to ‘share’ the child.
    But to offer more support we have to be more open about this- and that cant really start until its something people can openly admit to without fear of being taken to court.

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