(Mythical?) UK Sperm Shortage Easing?

Long-time readers may recall that I have written a number of times about reports of a sperm shortage in the UK.   (This is the most recent post–from 2012–and it links to many older ones.)   I’ve always been skeptical about the existence of this sperm shortage since the actual number of donors (as they are called) was increasing.   It is, of course, possible to have more donors and still have a shortage–if demand increases at an even more rapid rate, say.   But the reporting on all this was so inept that it was actually very hard to tell what lead to the reports of shortage.

In any event, it’s time to revisit this story in light of this report.   Far from a shortage, now there is apparently a “boom” in sperm donations.   (It’s important to note, though, that this story is sourced to a single sperm bank–the London Sperm Bank.  But the idea of an increase in donors does seem to be born out in the official statistics, which are apparently only available through 2010.)

The thing that interests me most here isn’t just the question of whether there is a decreasing or increasing supply of sperm (or number of donors).   The statistics here have always been presented in light of a change in UK law.  In 2006 the UK abolished anonymous sperm donation.  Going forward, men who provided sperm had to be willing to be identified to and potentially contacted by the children produced with that sperm.   At the time this change was instituted (and resisted) the alarm was raised:  The donor supply would collapse in the face of this requirement.

The idea here, of course, is that men would only provide sperm if they were guaranteed anonymity.   And I think part of what happened was the people continued to tell the same story even when the statistics didn’t bear things out.   (Sheer force of will bending reality to your ideas, maybe?)   But the more time passes, the harder it gets to sustain this particular story.

I’ve actually written about the London Sperm Bank in the past.   As you can see from its website, it takes a somewhat different approach to recruiting donors than most sperm banks I’ve looked at, and it is one that seems to be particularly successful given the change in UK law.   This interests me because I think the change in UK law is a good one.

It’s also one that potentially has far-reaching consequences.   I’ve noted this before, but the new press coverage hints at it again.   A different regime of sperm donation–one where donors are not assured of anonymity–will attract a different group of donors.   The typical anonymous donor is, I think, a college or graduate student.  Single.  Not a father.   And not thinking about much beyond the money in all likelihood.  As this donor to give up anonymity–to live with the idea that 20 years down the road someone might show up at the door–and he will very often decide there are other ways to earn money.

The donor who is willing to be identified and contacted will be starting from a different place.   He has to think about the child as well as about the money.  That might mean he is more on the altruistic side of things–donating to help someone else have a child.   What I’ve seen (again, written about before here) suggests he will be older and is far more likely to already have children.   Frankly, I hope he makes a more careful and considered decision.

The recent news story doesn’t speak in these comparative terms.  It says:

The new figures include 45 IT  managers, 36 financiers, 26 engineers, 19 teachers, 16 actors, seven lawyers and six film-makers as well as models, bar-tenders and chefs.

Still it seems clear that many of these donors aren’t college students (because thy have identified jobs/careers) and aren’t likely in it purely for the money (for the same reason).

I know for many the whole idea of sperm donors is an anathema, and of course, if that is the case this probably doesn’t seem better.  But for those who do support the use of third-party sperm (and I do), it seems like the non-anonymous route brings two different sets of benefits–the benefit to the child of being able to trace genetic lineage should he/she wish to do so, and a group of donors who seem to me more likely to be making careful and considered decisions for good reasons.

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179 responses to “(Mythical?) UK Sperm Shortage Easing?

  1. No I think its fantastic that they are willing to be known. You know because all bio parents pretty much don’t have a choice in that arena and this begins to try and align the rights of donor offspring with the rest of the population who obviously have a right to rely upon their bio parents to have identified themselves as such at the time of their birth or at least as soon as they were aware they had offspring. Anyway its a step toward equal rights. I wonder why they have to wait 18 years to know their bioparents when nobody else does? Also they don’t get to know who all their siblings and other relatives are out of the deal like they would had he just been named on their birth record. Their relatives can’t find them like they could if he were named on their birth record. See if he’d just give them up for adoption and the adoption decree was the only evidence of parental authority rather than a modified birth record everything would be on its way to fair.and the child of the donating party would at least not loose rights when they lost their father or mother to a commercial transaction. Also their father or mother would not be able to relinquish theim as part of a commercial or charitable transaction because they are people not objects for trade gift or sale so there is some protection added in having them named parents then they must behave like them rather than like factory workers producing widgets

    • In some circumstances (with the Sperm Bank of CA, say, that does identity release donors) there are options for a child to have the information sooner if that’s what the child wants. But (and I know you won’t like this), young children aren’t really the ones making the decisions–it’s the child’s legal parents who decide. (That’s what legal parents do–make decisions for their children.) Some kids might want into sooner, some not. I’m sure, as with everything else, it varies. And some parents will embrace the option and some will not. Ditto variation.

      • I think what I’m really pointing out here Julie is that people people who raised or are raising adopted or black market adopted minors have a level of authority to conceal information about the minor’s relatives that people who are raising their own offspring don’t have. People don’t have the right to try and hide the existence of those minors relatives from the permanent record and they don’t have the right to hide their kid’s records from their relatives. That information impacts whoever is related to the kid and as such is not the parent’s purview to keep private. Vital records only I mean.
        It’s like they paid for extra control to make up for the lack of physical relatedness or something.

    • Not sure what state you are in, but in my state, most legal relatives can’t request birth certificates. I have no right to request records on my siblings, or their kids. Adults can request the records of their children, grandchildren, parents, and grandparents, that’s it.

      • Yes you do what state are you in? You do too have a right to your sibling’s birth records.

        • Nope, in Connecticut I do not. It is strictly limited by law to only certain relatives.

          • The way it is in Connecticut is the way it is in most states. I think this idea that all relatives have to be able to access records are overblown. Rarely do the people who need to access that stuff are not allowed to. In the case of medical records a simple HIPAA form can be filled out by the patient to grant anyone including non family members access to their medical records.

            • Perhaps the individual states determine which of these records may be released to either the public (or to various relatives.)

            • You said rarely is someone who needs the information denied it. And you mentioned medical records. I’m actually not talking about people who are in need of accessing someone else’s detailed medical records due to some dire illness or anything. I’m talking about how people are simply allowed to obtain copies of their relatives vital records. Does not matter really what they need or want them for or frankly if the vast majority of citizens never seek to exercise this right and avail themselves of the information – fact is some people in this country have that particular right interfered with when relatives fail to be accountable as parents on their offspring’s birth records. It’s bad enough people dodge the law and are able to get away with it sneaky style but to specifically exempt some bio parents from being recorded as bio parents undermine’s their relatives rights and compromises public health generally by knowingly allowing biologically false information to be recorded as vital statistics. So let’s not find a work around let’s just apply the same rule to everyone. What is the big problem with that? Where is the objection to that?

      • I looked it up and in Connecticut you’re correct that siblings are not noted. I called the office there and they said that yes a sibling may request and obtain vital records – but I’ll grant you it does not state that specificcally for the certified versions. In my state and other states I know relatives request and receive what they call informational copies and it’s possible that the authority is granted under a section that deals with that. Your state interestingly does grant you full unobstructed access to all birth marriage and death records if you join one of the State’s genealogical societies for a minor fee a year so WOO HOO, I know what I’m going to be looking into in state’s where I have no access I had no idea there was special access granted to novice enthusiasts just by joining state historical societies. Anyway even if lets say it is just limited to access in direct lineage, still donor offspring are exempted and that is not fair. Their grandparents should be able to get a copy of every cotton picken one of their offspring while they are still minors – and the kids should be able to get that info within the lineage as well and can’t. Kinship rights for siblings are still lost by not having their common parent listed, even if, like in your state it appears that siblings can’t get siblings vital records. Though if you call they say yes so maybe the authority is granted elsewhere for informational non certified copies. Still hefty differential treatment for donor offspring and anyone with a falsified birth record

      • Ha found it on Vital Check which is the company that handles Connecticut vital records and every state’s vital records actually yes siblings can get copies. Its in there I coppied the text below. I mean why would they not let siblings? But anyway even if they did not allow siblings still donor offspring would be getting shafted.

        Clerk’s Office.
        Start Your Birth Certificate Order
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        Town of Westport Town Clerk’s Office Agency Information
        TOWN OF WESTPORT
        Town of Westport (Town Clerk’s Office) issues certified copies of birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage records, for events which occurred within the Town of Westport. You may order copies of Westport vital records through VitalChek on an expedited basis.
        NOTICE: Although VitalChek attempts to include accurate and up-to-date information on this site, state and agency information is subject to change without notice. VitalChek makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information herein and assumes no liability with respect to such information.

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        The Town of Westport issues only certified copies of Westport birth certificates, which are typically acceptable for passport, social security, employment and personal identification purposes.

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        Birth Long
        A certified birth certificate that can typically be used for travel, passport, proof of citizenship, social security, driver’s license, school registration, personal identification and other legal purposes. Birth Certificates are available for events that occurred in the Town of Westport from 1835 to present.

        First Copy: $20.00 Additional Copies: $20.00

        Birth Wallet
        A wallet size version of the Birth Certificate. The Birth Wallet can be used for informational purposes only and cannot be used for identification, travel or passport. The Birth Wallet is available for events that occurred in the Town of Westport from 1835 to present.

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        • Also I am super glad I went through this exercise with you because the staff writer at the LA times pointed out the same problem with my statements with regard to siblings in the state of Utah and I called and Utah said they’d release to siblings but I did not find it in the code – its going to be in the vital check application thing just like your state. If you look at the history of the law it only recently went from being just anyone could request a copy to that short list of family so anyway. There you go

        • Interestingly there are no age limits listed there for accessing copies are there? In theory a child could write and push the envelope if they could prove their relationship requesting copies of all the birth records where their mother or father is named as a parent. They are excluded in the code but it does not look like Vital Check specifically screens for that. Interesting.

    • so in other words, minors have no rights to any records at all, and adults have rights to only limited records.

      • Historically, the birth certificate as a critical document is new — a 20th century invention. And it’s not uncommon to find elderly people who were born at home and cannot produce a birth certificate.

        I am fascinated by the fixation of birth certificates as a record that has taken on a near mythical meaning in the adoption community. Census records and coronor’s reports are public, and are quite useful in revealing information. I find it interesting that birth certificates are seen as not only a critical research document, but also something that holds intense emotional meaning.

        I tend to see modern birth certificates as state documents primarily useful for identifying citizenship and acquiring other state documents, such as a passport, voting card and driver’s license.

        • I am just confused why she thinks it is so easy to get birth records of all legal relatives. Maybe there is some state out there where you can get birth records for any relative without their permission but it’s certainly not possible where I live.

          • Sure it is go intio vital records with a copy of your own birth record ask for your Mom’s. You’ll get a copy of her record and it will have her parent’s names on it. Ask for a copy of their birth records and death records. Get a copy of every marriage certificate your mother has. Get a copy of all the birth records of any child that your mother has. Get copies of your sibling’s marriage and death records. They are not good for ID purposes as in they are issued to you for information, not them as an official identification document. its just stamped informational copy.

          • I think this is a bigger deal when the donor is anonymous. When the donor conceived person can contact their donor there is less of a need when they can slaw I asp the donor.

            • But they still are not on the birth record which leaves their offspring not legal siblings. I know you don’t have a problem with them named on the birth record or with legal kinship in the donating parent’s family which is progressive of you. But ending anonymity alone would not get you there, being on the birth record is in and of itself a parental obligation they would need to be recognized as having the same parental obligations as any other person with offspring just in order for them to have to be named and for their kids to be legal siblings. Much of the stuff that becomes a problem won’t come up until the parents of every variety are either dead or on their way out.

          • I’ve researched a lot of people who are entirely unrelated to me. Death records, property records, tax assessments, census records, military records, coroner’s reports. I tend to think of these things as public records, but perhaps states have placed restrictions on certain recent record groups.

            • In my state the restriction applies to records less than 100 years old.

              • Thank you — that clarifies the situation for me. I have been confused about the “birth certificate” internet discussions.

            • Prior to 911 it was much more open and anyone could get copies of people’s birth records just by making the request. Now you need to prove you are related to the person or prove that your an attorney or law enforcement. Also by related to the person step relatives and inlaws like say a wife could request copies of all her spouse’s marriage certificates, or the certificates of his children. I guess thats step though

            • Great points Tess. I don’t think the laws need to change for the very rare unusual case.

              • what unusual case do you mean and what changes don’t you think need to be made

              • It just seems that some people want to use the BC as some sort of record of lineage. That was never the purpose of the BC.

                In terms of public access, I thought the BC was able to be accessed by everyone. It sounds as if this was changed due to 9-11. I’m not sure why it would be changed as a result of that. That sounds like a odd reason to change it, and I’d just as soon have them be re-opened to the general public.

                • It’s overhauling a system for the rare unusual circumstances. It makes no sense to do that.

                  • But is that not the whole premise of minority rights majority rule? Like equality is assured for all people even if they are in the minority? It’s popular vote for non equality issues, but for discriminitory practices you would just eliminate the discrimination against that little minority group. Don’t overhaul the system just include the people who are currently excluded.
                    Am I misunderstanding you? What overhauls do you think are excessive? And if a small minority of people like donor offspring are not treated equally why not just treat them equally that requires no system overhaul at all really. Am I understanding what you take issue with?

                • Well I agree with you about reopening them. Then we are still left with the issue of when people fail to be named parent on their offspring’s birth records it then interfere’s with relative’s access to those records which in fact relate to them and define their own identity as someone’s grandparent or whatever. The existence of our relatives is relevant which is why the surgeon general encourages people to go get their relatives vital records. Anyway regardless the Fed’s expect them to be accurate for medical purposes so does the state and so do the people whose births the certificate’s record. So let’s get rid of any exemptions that allow for falsification. It’s bad enough it occurs in instances where the parents were not exempted.

        • Well regardless of what meaning they hold for people or what purposes they serve the content of them and access to them etc should be identical for everyone. So either all the info on them needs to be factual and accurate or its totally up to whimsy, date, time, location, doctor’s name I mean why should any of the information have to be based on concrete fact rather than how someone with control wishes it to be perceived or would prefer it. Some people might be superstitious about numerology and want their child to be born on a luckier day than they were born, change it to whatever works for them if its wide open for modifiation let it go let people get creative and let them craft the story they want the world to believe rather than recording the facts if the facts don’t make them feel secure.

        • I think it’s big in the adoption community for two reasons, first for those who came from closed adoptions they would have been a vehicle to locate their birth family. The second is that even with open adoptions birth certificates ara sealed and in some cases such as obtaining a passport the amended birth certificate does not suffice to obtain a passport.

          I think in both cases (donor conception and adoption) the legalities and kinship rights are secondary to knowing who people are. It may though help someone with their confidence of having a piece of paper of knowing which families they belong to. But in reality the piece of paper only does so much.

          • YES! HE’S RIGHT

          • Well but the piece of paper is the one tangible thing to seek legal changes in. Many on line discussions are not so much about actual violations of rights, but more psychological and emotional issues that will differ person to person and there can be little real change under those circumstances. You kind of have to focus on what do people really have a right to be complaining about here because nobody was guaranteed a rose garden. When you identify the ways that the group actually is treated differently and unfairly it turns out that a biologically accurate and complete birth record would resolve the vast majority of legitimate gripes. It won’t take away the pain of whatever caused them to separate from their families but it ensures that whatever tribulations they have to navigate they are navigating as a citizen with equal rights and legal protections and not treated as second class citizens whose identities are altered to suit individuals in power when they are too young to have a vote.

      • Rebecca the record itself is recorded properly the minor’s relatives can find them and when they are old enough to care themselves they can also go in and pay for a copy of their parent’ls grandparents and sibling’s records as well. The parent’s authority to block information does not outlast the childhood of the kid that they are raising. The parent cannot block other relatives from obtaining copies of their kids vital records.

  2. I’d be interested to see a study 12 years from now how the now adult donor conceived people are in England. I’m willing to bet that these adults who as long as they were never rejected from any non biological fathers will be better adjusted and more confident adults than donor conceived people from previous generations who came from anonymous donation.

    • While I think the choice for donor-ID release at 18 will be welcome, I would be very hesitant to assume that many in the previous generations are not not well adjusted. I’m thinking for example of Olivia, who personally knows many people through donor-connect, and I think they may be taken aback to be seen as less then well-adjusted then people brought up in other circumstances.

      That’s not to say that fraught familial circumstances can’t result in major confusion. But that also occurs quite frequently in biological families. Instability, emotional distance, or abandonment can, of course, cause distress and insecurity in children and adult children. Insufficient parenting skills or familial instability — such as death, divorce, foreclosure, or unemployment — can cause great distress. But that’s just as true for biological families.

      • Oh sorry Tess, I was referring to those who came from the anonymous donation era who were not told the truth until they were adults. You are absolutely correct about Oliva’s children who are well adjusted adults. There are many others out there that we don’t hear from. Despite some of the confusion that occurs the pain that some experience is usually relating to something that has nothing to do with their conception.

        • oh yes, I agree absolutely. That sort of secrecy has the potential to create a toxic atmosphere.

        • The whole truth/lie thing is very important to me. When people keep family secrets there is necessarily (at least in my view) a lot of tension and tiptoeing around, etc. At the same time, kids are incredibly resilient and I have no doubt that there are scads of perfectly well-adjusted adults who grew up with lots of family secrets.

    • I would like to see these studies as well. We’re really at the dawn of all this. To the extent their are studies of the donor conceived, most of those studied were conceived at a time when there were different ideas governing social practice. Secrecy was common, for example. I have little doubt that this took a toll on people.

  3. It’s lovely that more men have volunteered to be non-anonymous donors in the UK. It seems to me that the choice to contact the donor at 18 will be welcome.

    I think known donors involved from a young age would need to be a special person. These relationships may have the potential to be emotionally fraught, depending entirely on the people and circumstances.

    For example, if a known donor wanted to be seen as the “father” or “mother” by the child — if the donor believes that the genetic parent is the “real” parent or condemns the parents for using IVF — those situations could result in a very confusing or difficult situation for the child.

    • It the bio parent just wanted to play an active roll in the life of their offspring because they realized that is what they are supposed to do I’d hope nobody would begrudge them that just because it was not in their riginal contract. After all the contract won’t change the fact that they are the bio parents and the kid will feel better if the bio parent showed some concern at some level for their welfare.

      • A kid being told by the donor that they are not being raised by their “real” parents, who have “purchased them” like a slave, might get a little distressed.

        As Julie and Greg have suggested, if the status of “parent” is in question, that encourages anonymity and secrecy.

        • Well then if they want to feel secure in their parental authority the should have actually gone to court and adoped someone else’s offspring in the normal way that protects the child better

          • Well, they don’t need to do that. It’s much simpler, and much, much cheaper, to gestate an anonymous donor embryo. Many people donate embryos only under the condition of anonymity.

            Likewise, DI sperm insemination is much cheaper and simpler then adoption. And if something causes the intended parents to feel insecure — well, they will feel quite secure with anonymous sperm.

            If a movement would like to promote anti-anonymity, one would be wise to understand this psychological dynamic.

            You can’t ignore the intended parents if you want to propose a realistic outcome. The rhetoric of “real parenthood” potentially threatens the legal and emotional integrity of their family.

            • And in the long run insecure parents end up hurting the children who one day become adults and if we want to avoid that then we need to help limit the insecurity from parents.

              • Sure but not to the extent where its actually preventing others from living freely and exercising their rights. Make them feel secure but not to the extent where they are circumventing protocols that are there to protect kids from being treated like objects of contracts. Maybe being named on birth records makes them feel secure but it falsifies someone else’s medical record. You have suggested double entries on birth records because you do recognize that a need to comfort the rearing parent can’t be so great that we falsify the identity and records of other individuals. A double entry birth record would solve some but not all problems as it would still leave various individuals treated unequally. Specifically in regard to the lack of court approved adoption because the authority of the nonbio person on that birth record would not have been actually granted by anyone who was an objective third party.

                When people are going back to correct inaccurate birth records it really helps to illustrate the black market adoptive process for the people who don’t have an adoption decree for the non-bio rearing parent to support that they gained their parenthood in a proper way.

              • Exactly. Insecure parents are much more likely to hide the fact of donor conception. And insecurity is not a good dynamic for family relationships .

                • Insecurity leads to lies which leads to lack of trust. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped at the beginning.

                  • Let’s get them comfortable with the truth. Much better than lying in order to calm insecurities which leads to only a partial telling of the truth – telling it but not recording it makes it almost like it’s not real

                • Well it will be hard when they are required to adopt

            • Sure its much cheaper because it involves a massive failure to legally protect someone’s offspring. There are no objective third parties to investigate the reason why the bio parent is not going to raise the child, no attempts to secure the name or identity of the biological parent in order that the vital record be medically accurate and of use to the person named on it or the state. Of course it’s cheaper it’s black market adoption. It circumvents all of the steps, procedures and controls that protect bio parents, their offspring and adoptive parents. It’s quick and dirty and leaves wreckage in its wake.

            • Well I don’t promote the idea of non-anonymous gamete donation It’s not the gamete donation act that violates the rights of other people, it’s not even the agreements they sign promising to abandon parental responsibilities, its the follow abandonment through when their offspring are born that violates other people’s rights. Also the violation of their rights occurs by others who might enter their names on their birth records making them medically worthless. But the act of cumming in a cup in and of itself does not violate the rights of any other person. Everything I object to occurs after their children are born as a result of their failure to be accountable as parents for their own kids.

              If all they are doing is giving up their sperm, it would not be getting women pregnant and they would not be winding up with offspring that they don’t raise. They are choosing to have a bunch of kids and not take care of them and so that treats their kids unfairly. I’m not saying that I approach this issue the same as some of my friends do. Many of them have said they will settle for an end to anonymity because they say they’ll never have equal rights. I think they’ll never get their end to anonymity either they just need to ask for equal treatment across the board and let the chips fall where they may. Don’t worry about people saying that if they’d known they had to give them equal rights they never would have existed – they exist now, nobody can erase them now they are here and they don’t have to make good on some existential debt where they have half the rights of other people to show gratitude for having been born. Screw that.

              • I know you do not promote it. However, donor recipients do not consult with you prior to making this choice.

                In other words, if you ignore the stakeholders in the real world, you will not be able to accurately predict the results of your rhetoric.

                • Tess we are here to talk about the law as it is and to discuss seeming inconsistencies and to discuss ways that each of us feel laws should change in order to either be more fair or to give someone the upper hand whatever the commenting party’s view point happens to be. So I know that nobody checks with me first – obviously because look at all these people that don’t have equal rights. So I guess point blank I want to be like the blind justice lady, not concerned with compromise here and making anyone feel either good or bad. It’s fine to take into consideration the insecurities of intended parents when thinking about how the law should change – but not for the sake of striking any kind of mutually agreeable compromise in order to keep violating the rights of donor offspring or adopted people. They don’t need to compromise or be considerate of anyone else’s feelings beyond simply asking our government to grant them the same legal rights as others. By doing that and that only they are being completely respectful of the personal rights and freedoms of intended parents.

                  I’ll tell you what is not considerate of intended parents feelings – calling for bans and restrictions on medical care to single women or to gays and lesbians or denying legal recognition of same sex marriages or banning people from doing whatever they want to do with their eggs and sperm and bodies. Those things seek to restrict other people’s rights and freedoms under the misguided belief that preventing those behaviors will prevent any new donor offspring from being born. Well that does not solve the interference of rights for donor offspring that are here and the whole idea of preventing people from being born is so abstract anyway. Its just rude to interfere with other people’s freedom but it is not rude or unreasonable to expect people to be personally accountable on the record for their own actions – in fact personal responsibility accountability is the basis for justice generally. So if a person winds up having offspring they need to be accountable for them. Totally reasonable and respectful of everyone involved. Very sensitive to persons who would like to be intended parents because it does not interfere with their rights the way other strategies do. I’d also hold intended parents to the same standard as other people who want to have parental authority over other people’s offspring and I would expect them to do it in court out of respect for the minors they wish to someday raise.

                  • You haven’t identified an inconsistency that could be legally recognized as an equal protection claim.

                    I say this with the caveat that I perhaps I haven’t thought in detail enough about the subject. I would defer to Professor Shapiro’s expertise.

                • Exactly, if you ignore the donor’s and parents ultimately the kids suffer. It needs to work for all parties because in the end the child will benefit.

                  • In what way specifically would granting equal rights to donor offspring “ignore the donors and parents”? In what way would granting equal rights to donor offspring not “work for all parties”? In what way will the minor not benefit from being granted equal rights? What specifically is it that you believe equal rights will cost donor offspring?

                    I’m really trying to understand how donor offspring equal rights will do anything to undermine the personal rights and freedoms of anyone else. It’s much the same as how allowing same sex marriage won’t interfere with anyone’s opposite sex marriage. It should not mess with anyone else’s rights at all if its totally fair. I’m only interested in fairness, not giving donor offspring some odd upperhand or extra rights.

                • Stakeholder is a term that describes parties to a commercial exchange of some sort; it’s someone with an investment in that wants to get a profit out. How totally gross. Yes I for sure want to totally overlook anyone who feels they want to get their investment out of a contract for control of a human being. In fact I want to just not acknowledge the existence of contracts where human beings are the object. It’s horrid

            • Tess I’m not going to worry about the whole “real parenthood” issue this is real simple, if we equalize the expectations of bio parents, their offspring will have equal legal rights. Current laws are unfair because of exemptions offered to gamete donors that undermine the rights of gamete donor offspring. Correct laws that exempt them from parental obligation and hold them to the same standard as other people with offspring when their offspring are born. Has nothing to do with real or unreal anything. Pure equal rights. Why would you deny any person equal rights and fair treatment? It won’t harm the rights of anyone else so long as they keep the request and the legal revisions to equalizing rights. There won’t be an upper hand treating intended parents unfairly.

            • Well then people would simply have to make whatever choices they make given laws that would provide equal protection to every child when born.

        • Agreed Tess, that can be a dangerous situation that confuses and upsets the donor conceived person. It leads to tension between the parents raising the person and themselves, which ultimately hurts the person. There is no guarantee too that the child doesn’t have resentment towards the donor. The end result is a damaged donor conceived person, which we should be working to avoid.

          • Again the truth is the truth and concealing the truth and not recording it and not allowing them to live life in that truth as who they actually are builds its own stigma. If you are an advocate for truth telling then you can’t possibly object to the idea that record keeping be true and that the rights of all should be equal. I’m only saying that ending anonymity alone won’t fix the current violations of rights that donor offspring and their relatives experience. It’s more of a concession or consolation something to keep them pacified to reduce calls for absolute equality because indeed there would be fewer people willing to offer up their eggs or sperm if their offspring were afforded the same legal protections as any other minor. And really that is just people making sound decisions about not going out of their way to have offspring that they don’t want to raise. Its standard family planning behavior that they’d be exhibiting if they opted not to make a kid they were not going to raise. Family planning behaviors are considered sound and responsible for the most part as it is based on people understanding the consequences of their decisions and being accountable for their reproductive behavior. There are no bad side effects to personal accountability. Really nothing I propose is that radical, virtually everyone else on the planet plays by the rules they should be playing by. Not asking them to do something special or different

            • I have not seen an equal protection argument from you that works in terms of how we currently understand equal protection under the law.

              Perhaps I have not thought about it enough, and Professor Shapiro would be the authority on this subject. But to date, I have not yet seen one.

              • And how do you understand equal protection under the law? My arguments are not my own personal brain child entirely I did get to this point by reading lots and lots of scholarly papers on the matter and lots of law blogs and gleaning from each the bits and pieces that make up a cohesive understanding of exactly where donor offspring and adopted people are treated differently by law. I’m just saying treat them the same. Give them identical rights. What part of my argument do you take issue with, what parts are not true? You can sit there and say you’ve not read anything convincing from me but then your’e not supporting your statement and we cease to have any kind of meaningful exchange.

                Do you have any push back on donor offspring having rights identical to other people? Like for instance is there any reason that some people deserve to have vital records that are medically accurate while others don’t. People do get away with lying it’s true and not everyone has a medically accurate birth record but the information exists and is available to make their vital records vital and the original record is suppose to be biologically accurate for parentage so if we know where the information is why would we give anyone the ability to hide it. Women are compelled to disclose the identity of their children’s fathers sometimes when they’d prefer not to why don’t we compell the cryo banks to release the information claiming that their contracts and promises to donors are in conflict with public health? In fact I happen to know that most of the agreements explicitly state that the doctor or clinic may at some point be required to turn over their records for the names of donors to be recorded as parents of their own offspring. The agreements typically absolve the clinics of any claims in the event they are required to break their promise of anonymity – so the donors knew that when they became bio parents the possibility did exist that the clinic might not be able to keep their promise and that their identity might become public record. Every donor agreement I’ve seen has waivers that get the clinic or doctor off the hook in the event the law changes or simply that their name is requested under some existing law.

                • I do not see a claim that could be successful brought under either the 14th Amendment equal protection clause or due process clause.

                  Again, I will of course defer to Professor Shapiro as family law is not my area of expertise.

                  But I’m not even saying that I don’t think the case would win. I don’t see a logical claim for equal protection. I don’t think it can be argued on that basis.

                  • OK let me have you flip the issue then and explain the necessity of their differential treatment. They don’t have the same rights as other people with unmarried biological parents especially with regard to the UPA stating that identifying a minors biological parents is important for not only a sense of heritage but for ongoing health and medical information. Please explain why the sense of heritage and familial medical information ongoing is deserved by some minors but not others.

                    Let’s make it equal in either direction. Take away the requirement for any bio parent to be accountable as parents for their own offspring that will make it totally equal. People won’t be responsible for their own reproductive behavior and minors will just be privately traded and whoever holds the pink slip will get to be called their legal parent. Lets go full board. If its so great for donor offspring then why not have everyone jump in that same sinking boat.

                  • I don’t see a legal claim because I’m not seeing differential treatment.

                  • Again, I would defer to Professor Shapiro. But in respect to the little I know about family law, I’m not seeing differential treatment.

                  • It wouldn’t be Tess. We should defer to a professional but when you think about it logically there really isn’t an argument where it would ever go to trial.

                  • I certainly can’t think of a way someone could argue equal protection or due process harms.

                  • Tess donor offspring are specifically exempted in the UPA from the benefits of having their biological parents identified on their birth records those benefits are outlined in the UPA and they include an advantage gained from ongoing contact, heritage, medical information ongoing. Within paragraphs of that statement extolling the necessity of bio parents to be identified, there is a paragraph about how some bio parents are exempted from being legal parents which leaves their offspring at a disadvantage compared to their peers whose bio parents are not classified as donors. The exemption alone is differential treatment of bio parents. Treat them the same. There does not even have to be harm shown from the differential treatment. They just need to make it equal. Nobody even has to claim harm. That is the beauty of just asking to be treated fairly.

                    I have listed multitudes of times the various rights which are denied when people’s common parent is not on their birth record to establish them as legal siblings. There are hundreds of people on the DSR with siblings born abroad who are by rights entitled to sponsor their siblings for citizenship but can’t because their common parent is absent from their birth records. So there again differential treatment

                  • I don’t see a differential treatment claim because children born to non-ART families also do not have a right to the things that you articulate.

                    A large majority may have access to the various things that you list, but not all non-donor babies.

                    That is one of the reasons that a differential treatment argument does not work.

                  • Exempting bio parents from being recorded as bio parents does result in differential treatment for their offspring. Their vital records are medically inaccurate whereas other people whose parents were not exempted have vital records that are medically accurate. Other people have the right to state assistance in locating and testing men who might potentially be their fathers they have a right to their bio father’s support based upon the fact that they are his offspring. Donor offspring are excluded from that right.

                  • Tess,

                    I don’t see a difference in what they have access to either. The more I think about it from what you are arguing a bigger deal is being made out of this than it actually is. It doesn’t appear to be infringing on their rights. Just seems like a way to get donor conceived people riled up and angry rather than confront what is really troubling them.

                  • Greg,
                    Agreed.

                    Marilynn,

                    American citizens conceived via ART _and_ those conceived during coitus do not have a legal right to a genetic connection with DNA lineage peoples. They are similarly disadvantaged, and thus there is no equal protection claim that can stand.

                  • Tess in regards to your last comment – I know where you are going with that and strategically it is an argument that will best be worked around by not pigeon-holing people into groups based upon being conceived in any particular way or based upon being adopted or anything else. Under Hippa rules people do have the right to have errors in their health/medical records corrected which means at the very least they should be able to have people who are not their parents for medical history purposes removed from their birth records when/if they become aware that they are not the offspring of one or both individuals named on their birth records. That there is taking a right that every citizen has and using it to correct any deliberate falsification of their records without framing the request as an adopted person’s issue or as a donor conceived person’s issue. Instead of requesting to see or have a copy of “their donor’s information” or see or have a copy of “their original birth record” they can simply ask that their current record be corrected so that it is medically accurate and it should be incumbent upon the state to correct the record with information obtained either from its own records or from the records of companies or institutions that have that information.

                    With regard to how people wind up in a situation where their medical records are inaccurate it really does not matter it simply needs to be corrected or they won’t be able to exercise the myriad benefits that arise from legally recognized kinship with their biological families. Right now there are benefits available to people whose bio parents told the truth and were accountable as parents on their offspring’s birth records. People whose bio parents did not tell the truth and are not named parents on their offspring’s birth records don’t have access to those benefits that arise from legally recognized kinship with their bio family. This is not because they have no bio family upon which to exercise those benefits, they are not allowed to exercise those rights because of something outside their control that their parents did and this is not fair to them. In some instances people have bio parents who were exempted from parental responsibility because they were classified as gamete donors and the offsprng of gamete donors are not able to have the benefit of kinship rights within their own bio family. An exammple of penalizing a child for the parents choices might be not deserving financial support if their father was not married to their mother. Another example might be not deserving to vote or have a public education if their mother or father was incarcerated at the time of their birth. In reality their parents choices and behaviors should not be the determining factor in recording them as their offspring on a vital record or in legally recognizing their kinship as their offspring or kinship with their siblings. Many people have 10, 20, 30 brothers and sisters in the same metro area as them and they could find out who all of them are if their bio parent was named on each of their birth records because then they’d be siblings and allowed to order the records of their siblings. The info is out there and available and not impossible to access. Other people who have truthful records can seek out information on their families without any legal road blocks. The road blocks are unnecessary and unfair.
                    Tess there are so many rights people can’t excercise because information is being concealed to benefit their bio parents. It really needs to stop. Luckily other people find the discrimination and equal rights argument compelling and there is starting to be movement in that direction away from the previous approach of begging for copies of “donor records” or begging for copies of “original birth records” They have to try a different approach. I do hope it starts to work. It’s sad that you don’t think people deserve access to this information.

                  • I’m wondering if an example may illustrate:

                    Take, for example, a case where a non-genetic father has cared for a child as a father, but years later discovers or declares in court that he is not the genetic father of said child. Furthermore, the biologically unrelated, non-genetic father has identified the correct genetic father before the court. In such cases the state has continued to declare the non-genetic father as the legal father. The courts insist that the non-genetic father continue to fulfill his parental obligations of child support.

                    The genetic father is viewed as alien to the child in the eyes of the law in such cases.

                    This is a common judicial response. The courts do not find that the child has a right to a legal relationship to the genetic parent. Furthermore, the courts find that the genetic parent does not have any legal obligations to the child.

                    To summarize:

                    In the United States there is no Constitutionally protected right to a relationship with genetic parents.

                    Furthermore, the equal protection claim does not work, because of the above examples. Nobody gets a Constitutionally protected right to a relationship with genetic parents.

                  • Ending anonymity won’t gain them legally recognized kinship within their bio families either.

                    Tess here is an example of differential treatment – people who never before met their siblings can meet them on line as adults and if they become close and one becomes disabled the other can take their sibling in and care for them and claim them as a relative dependent on their taxes and take family leave time off work if their sibling relationship is recognized legally. If their birth records show a common parent, they have access to those benefits. If their birth record does not show a common parent they do not have that legal recognition even if they can prove they are related with a dna test. So the rights of bio children are currently dependent upon the choices and actions of their bio parents which are entirely outside their control. It is discriminitory to deny them benefits because of their parent’s actons and behaviors.

                    Like American citizen’s whose bio children are born in other countries can be citizens in the countries of their birth and in the United States but the relationship has to be biological and not what the government terms as maternity or paternity fraud and that includes unrelated husbands named on birth records as parents in the old fashioned black market adoption style of marital presumption. They frequently require dna proof that the child is really his by blood before extending citizenship to his foreign born offspring. Oddly it’s not enough just to have the dna evidence, you need to be on that birth record as well for the record and thousands of foreign born offspring of gamete donating men deserve citizenship based on being the offspring of an american but can’t have it because their birth records are medically inaccurate. All the opportunities that might be available to them as U.S. Citizens are not available because of their bio father’s choice not to be named as a parent. Even if they find a U.S. born sibling that could sponser them for citizenship, it won’t be allowed because their common parent is not named on their birth record.

                  • Tess I do want to thank you for the last comment that frames a good retort to what I’m saying. It is the common one. The idea here is to get outside the box where people argue nobody has a constitutional right to a relationship with a biological parent to instead pointing out that biological relatives do have kinship rights and benefits availble to them but sadly those rights and benefits appear only to be available to those whose parents names are recorded on their birth records. This leaves people in a situation where their rights to benefits are contingent upon their bio parent’s choices and actions. Very similar to when children of unmarried parents were denied legitimate status and denied all kinds of benefits of legal kinship. This is in fact a virtually identical situation where certain bio parents are exempted from having to be named as parents on birth records just as unmarried fathers use to be exempted from being named on birth records. It’s unfair that their rights and benefits hinge upon other people’s choices and actions.

                  • Marilyn,

                    I’m jumping down to the below comments to explain differential treatment. This thread is too visually narrow to read.

          • So are you saying sometimes people don’t deserve to know the truth or that sometimes its OK to falsify records? The whole idea that anyone would have the authority to decide that its acceptable to record things as we’d like them to be rather than as how they actually are is pretty scary. I think people generally like to be trusted that they can handle the truth.

          • Also how a person becomes a legal parent really matters, We currently have people that gain their authority by purchasing it and a child away from the bio parent. That’s really bad and they should not have any authority if they gained it through any sort of transaction that compelled the bio parent not to raise their own kid. The decision not to raise the kid needs to be totally separate from the intended parent’s desire to raise their kid else its not fair or ethical treatment of the minor in question

          • That comment thread was too narrow to read comfortably. I apologize and hope this comment doesn’t end up in an entirely illogical place.

            Marilynn,

            I don’t think you understand the legal definition of differential treatment.

            Again, I defer to Professor Shapiro. I’ll try to explain from an area of non-expertise, and apologies in advance for any layperson’s errors.

            The court, in many instances, classifies genetic children as not legally related to their genetic parents. They are not their legal parents in the eyes of the law.

            You are claiming that it’s differential treatment to treat someone who is not legally classified as the child of her genetic parent, as a person who is not legally classified as the child of her genetic parent. The court would uphold this treatment as the child is not legally related to that person.

            That’s not the definition of differential treatment.

            Genetic children do not have the legal right to be seen as the legal children of their genetic parents. This is true for _all_ children, not simply children who are adopted or DC.

            The court does, and has, make legal ruling that demonstrates that genetic connection is not the sole determiner of legal parenthood.

            That means that you cannot successfully claim an equal protection violation on the basis of genetic connection.

            • Tess,

              This all makes perfect sense to me. You have made a compelling argument that there is no discrimination but rather the discrimination argument is a distraction from what is truly hurting donor conceived people. What is truly hurting donor conceived people is when they are not told early and often and/or when they are rejected by their non biological parent. Also, not having access to the donor is another issue that has been addressed in other countries.

              • Greg,

                Agreed. I’d even put it like this: What particularly injurers DC people is when legal parents do not fulfill the obligations of parenthood. (emotionally, socially, legally.)

                Legal parents who are present emotionally, socially, and financially are much more closely correlated with a happy families.

                • So true Tess. I’ve had a professionally licensed therapist tell me that even with the adoptees they see the ones who hurt don’t hurt from their adoption but rather other things in their lives. I think the same thing in different ways apply to donor conceived children.

                  • That wouldn’t surprise me.

                    I personally know of adopted people who are against open records and actively do not want to know their genetic lineage. One acquaintance frames it as preferring to “invent his own history.”

                  • Oh Greg its not the adoption that is the source of the pain its the rejection of the bio family. Generally the adoption is not a problem save for the differential treatment they get by law. The adoptive family itself is generally not the frustrating thing its the legal restrictions and any angst about why they were given up but adoption is a solution for childre from separated families where as having children with a donor is a cause of family separation. See the difference?

              • Greg, is it really your place to make statements on is the cause another person’s feelings? Pretty sure you don’t appreciate it when it is done to you.

                • There’s a difference between making a statement about a particular person, and suggesting something about environmental causes.

                  I’ll note that commenters on this blog _frequently_ make assertions about how genetic conditions affect the emotions of other people. (And make assertions about how various things will affect the emotional health of children, adults, ect., ect., ect.)

                  • That’s all I was doing Tess is implying environmental not legal causes of where the hurt is based from. Thanks for recognizing that.

                • You’re right Tao, let me rephrase that. IMO, what seems to be the general cause of hurt in donor conceived people is when they are not told early and often, they are rejected by the non biological parent and when they can’t access information from the donor. However, for each individual person it will be different.

                  My intention was not so much a one size fits all but a general statement based upon the donor conceived people I’ve encountered. Apologize for the confusion.

                  • Have you read DOD’s blog today. Does not sound like being told early and having a great relationship with her step dad woulda cut it

                  • DOD is a great example of someone who was not told until she was an adult but was rejected by her non biological father.

                  • I’m do not think someone can retrospectively know how a vastly different familial experience would feel, or how it would have affected them and shaped their life.

                    In any case, it would be bizarre to feel emotionally unattached to the man on one’s birth certificate.

                    I’m speculating for myself, but I would feel very odd if a legal parent didn’t act like a _parent_ in any of the traditional ways: emotional support and love, financial support for University, listed in his will, refused to sign his name as Dad on my birthday cards, ect.

              • OK you can think that the legal argument is a distraction from what is really hurting them. And laughably you can sit there and say they are not subjected to restrictions on exercising their rights when as a group their rearing parents continue to have authority over the flow of information to them long after they turn 18 when bio rearing parents don’t have that level of power. Fine it’s all emotional. Everyone can keep violating their rights – just find a nice work around to keep them docile, give them something that sounds like progress maybe a mutual consent registry and great rearing parents who are truthful with them. Course not documenting the truth and allowing them to live that truth rather than just hear about it might be the reason its not going so smoothly.

              • Hey Greg let’s say that you are correct and they are not really hurt by the legal stuff but that its really not being told the truth and also not having a supportive step father as a rearing parent. OK is there any reason why people can’t make progress on those issues while simultaneously also adjusting the law so that the offspring of donors rights and records are identical to any other child born? Where their bio parents names would not legally be allowed concealed and withheld and their bio parents would not legally be exempted from following the same rules that all bio parents follow upon the births of their offspring? Can’t the issues you are concerned with be valid and worth resolving in their own right and also make legal changes to equalize obligations of bio parents in order that all people had the same legal protection at birth? It’s possible and I’ll certainly give that not being told early and not having a supportive social rearing father figure is the source of trauma and anger in some donor offspring. I speak to more the universal legal losses of rights that need to be corrected whether they are traumatized by those losses or not, they should not be subjected to them in the first place.

                I believe it is possibe to address the emotional and inter family dynamics that clearly cause stress in some people and also feel a social responsibility to support through activism any group who is denied access to benefits based upon discriminating criteria. I think it’s possible Greg for some people to be upset that other people have advantages that are denied to them and their relatives unfairly and that some people might not be upset by the denial of those benefits. I think differential treatent in the disbursement of benefits or in the procedures for record keeping should be a concern for all people. Whenever a law treats a minority of people unfairly I don’t want to here how that unfair treatment should be able to continue because it does not effect that many people and those things they are denied are not that important anyway. That is not how this country is supposed to work. In principal that very thought process might be applied to anyone in any situation and its wrong and hurtful no matter the topic no matter the minority. The criteria used to determine who gets what benefits or rights needs to be carefully scrutinized otherwise we have tyranny and injustice and imbalance. So your beliefs about giving another person’s offspring a loving home and truth from the beginning are no doubt the right and most respectful way to raise a secure child and and failure to do so will result in the kind of sadness you suggest I really believe that. But please understand that discussions about having the law change to treat all people equally at birth is not a distraction its just another larger topic and is stuff that people may or may not also be pissed off about and its wrong whether they are mad or not. I have lots of rights that I’m too lazy to exercise – freedom of speach is not one of them, the right to bear arms I could care less about but I have it and would not want to be denied it based on something my mother or father had done or said like that he promised I’d never own a gun. How fair would it be if I lost my right to bear arms that I will never care to exercise, but how fair would it be if I was not allowed to if I wanted to because my Dad cut a deal saying that I would never own a gun? Not fair. I would only be pissed in principal because I’m cranky like that. But it would be wrong and other people might want to exercise their rights and their Dads said they’d never own a gun. The law would have to change so we’d all be equal. It’s the evolution of law to correct stupid unfair stuff. It’s not a distraction. You are coming at all this just a nice guy trying to figure out the best way to become someone’s legal parent and your focused on child rearing only. Its a big deal and an important thing and I’m sure it will net you a secure parent/child relationship. If you are careful to keep the kid’s legal rights in mind not just as kids but in the long view thinking what they might want or need after you and your wife are gone, then you I’m sure will choose a path that will be best for any child that you raise. OK? The legal is not a distraction.

                • What they need is not a “supportive social rearing father figure”. They need their dad not to reject them despite him not having a biological connection with them. He is their dad, plain and simple. If he rejects them then the secondary legal stuff that isn’t really important gets overblown and distracts them from being rejected by their dad.

                  • Agreed.

                    I’ve noticed that family dysfunction highly correlates with DC people who are against the practice.

                    My social and legal father who is emotionally and financially distant or actually abandons the child.

                    A social father that is insecure and cannot deal with his infertility and insists on secrecy.

                    A brother being placed for adoption.

                    A father who prefers the adopted child to their DC child.

                    Outside of these categories are DC people who are against the practice due to religious reasons.

                    Finally, there is a category of people who were told quite late in life, and were lied to by their parents for their formative years.

                  • OK so they call their mother’s husband “Dad”, so he does not reject them. He tells them “the truth about their conception” which is that they are the offspring of their mother and another man who is not the “Dad” whose raising them. How will not being rejected by “Dad” help them deal with being rejected by one of their two bio parents?

                    What will “Dad” say to the kid when they want to know why one of their biological parents kept them and the other one did not? What will “Dad” say about the fact that their bio father’s name is available and known to authorities but won’t be released to them for 18 years? What will Dad do to make the kid feel secure if they are being told a truth that is not written down anywhere where anyone can see and they are not allowed to live it. Why are they kept from knowing who and where all their siblings are? Exactly how is having a stable home life with their Mom and Dad supposed to make them feel secure if those two people went out of their way to set it up so that they’d loose their entire paternal family? How secure could anyone possibly be knowing that the people raising them would want them not to be part of their own paternal family or to be raised with their siblings? They did not even try to collaborate with their bio father and his family before cutting them off. What should Dad say if the kid asks if he still would have loved him and taken care of him if his bio father was totally in his life? Did the kid have to loose all that to gain the love of “dad”?

                  • They write children’s books to help guide parents in answering these questions for their children in an age appropriate manor. The key is for the home life to be stable, honesty and the child being supported (not rejected) by both parents regardless of their biological connection.

                    Tess,

                    You forgot one other category the people who were not only rejected by the father who was supposed to raise them but were also not told of their conception until they became an adult. These are the people that had the most to deal with and really have every right to be angry.

                  • Greg –
                    oh yes, I entirely agree. The child is experiencing rejection, but has no idea what may be causing it. And children tend to blame themselves for the rejection. I can only imagine the dislocation and rejection experienced by the DC person in that unfortunate situation.

                    Marilynn,
                    It appears that the great majority of the people born via DC are happy with their legal families, and would not have wanted the donor to be their “Dad” or “Mom” and exert the legal rights of parenthood over them as children. Additionally, most are not looking for money, being placed in the will, or whatnot from their biological donor.

                    Furthermore, in a mathematical sense of the word, the majority of people who are DC support using donation as a way to create families. Even that study, that some call biased, sponsored by Family Scholars revealed that fact that the majority of DC people in that interview were not bothered that money was exchanged in their conception. In the answer to the question, “The circumstances of my conception bother me” — in NO category (single parents, lesbian couples, or married heterosexual parents) did the response reach 50%. This means more then HALF of the respondents are NOT bothered. Furthermore, for the question “It is wrong to deliberately conceive a fatherless child” — again more then 50% believe it is not wrong.

                    And this study included people from an older generation who were told much later. Furthermore, it didn’t filter for environmental factors such as class differences, family poverty, divorce, ect.

                  • And that was a study sponsored by a group that wants to end donor conception!

                    I suspect that if environmental factors, such as divorce and poverty were filtered out — if all the people interviewed grew up in stable, loving families — that study would probably reveal even greater approval levels then those positive responses I cited above.

                  • Tess,

                    I had a therapist who works in the adoptee/donor conceived field tell me that the loud voices are either those who had really bad or really good experiences. Those who are in the majority typically have middle of the road experiences and thus are more likely to be silent because they don’t have strong feelings one way or the other.

                    This Therapist also said that almost all of their patients troubles have nothing to do with their adoption and are typically due to other familial factors such as a messy divorce or a unsupportive parent.

                    As the husband of an attorney who does a lot of family law, I hear stories of messy divorces at the dinner table frequently. All of them involve children who are used to get back at the other parent. It’s very sad to hear these stories.

                  • Yes, I completely agree. Olivia, who has a quite a bit of interaction with DC folks, also agrees.

                    I think the power of emotionally fraught divorces to cause long-lasting distress to children should not be underestimated.

                    Something I’ve been thinking about for other reasons — studies have shown that people are horrible at self-diagnosis and self-evaluation. I think it can be applied to this situation. It’s a very human response.

                    When people are distressed, they search for reasons for the emotional discomfort. If something is “different” about their situation, that can be the easiest thing to identify as the source of the distress.

                    But self-diagnosis is difficult. It’s hard to locate the source of the distress. Take heart attacks, for example — the pain often manifests in the arm, or the back, or even the gut. The placement of the pain confuses people, and people don’t recognize the symptoms as a heart attack.

                  • I don’t mean to say that people can never diagnose or evaluate themselves. And people’s distress and pain needs to be respected.

                    But self-evaluation is difficult. The studies are interesting, in this respect.

            • Oh really? Then end child support to millions of kids based on positive paternity tests. Lets put that in writing cause nowhere does it say that maternity or paternity does not give rise to a support obligation either. Kids have a right to support from both parents and when the identity of parents is in queston the state tests people to determine who the parent is. The fact that some people are successfully able to keep their false claims of parenthood under wraps and not called into question does not mean that biological maternity and paternity are not the basis for establishing support obligations out the gate. If a child is to be adopted and the identity of the parents is unknown or in question the state is obligated to go out and look for the child’s biological parents to try and find the child’s biological family before the child is subjected to being adopted into another family. I don’t think they try nearly hard enough, but the modest attempt made is sufficient to show that some minors are afforded this level of protection of being a legally recognized member of their bio family while some others like donor offspring are not. As far as I can tell that differential treatment occurs only because of the shady back room nature of the pre birth agreement and concealment of identities.

  4. Tess quite possibly the term “rights” is over and mis-used. There are legal benefits which may not be rights. If the thing offered is not a right, like nobody has a right to a job for instance but if jobs are being offered then they need to follow non-discriminitory hiring practices. So maybe there is no right to XYZ benefits of legal kinship for bio relatives but its offered so then they shoud follow non discriminitory practices in granting legal kinship. Certainly the right to medically accurate medical records is totally reasonable.

    • I’m not sure if it is reasonable to ask for the current medical records of a legally unrelated person.

      I would agree at the time of donation. But I don’t think anyone has a right in perpetuity to anyone else’s medical records.

      For example, if a person disowns their family, I do not think that person has the legal obligation to reveal current medical conditions to family members.

      • no I’m talking about their biological parents vital records. Not their hospital records and doctor’s files. Just the same records that everyone else is able to access. Just having the name of their bio parents on their records so that the record is medically accurate and truthful. Its a health record. If the information was not collected and used by the CDC for statistical purposes as in amended birth records of adopted people then its of no use to the adopted person for health reasons either and as such does warrant correction. They do have a right as citizens regular citizens to have errors on their health records corrected. I say they all go after that like gang busters and leave the tired old request for their obc’s behind. Have the current one corrected. You don’t need two birth certificates you got an adoption decree that proves your a member of your adopted family and documents your name change. Its really a reasonable thing to do not as an adopted person whose rights are obscenely restricted, but as a normal guy whose got an error on his birth certificate. Its a shot I’m glad people are starting to try to get the corrections made in the UK and in Australia and here in the US several of the families that I helped reunite are going to approach it from the back end and see where it goes.

        • No, I do not think there is a fundamental Constitutional right or obligation that mandates the reporting of one’s genetic progenitors or forbears on hospital records.

          • People with offspring are required to support them that is the way that it works all other kids have the state’s protection in that regard. A man who is a bio father can be chased down and tested and be forced to be named as father on his offspring’s birth record totally against his wishes and have his checks garnished against his wishes because his child has a right to her bio father’s supprort.

            • I thought we were talking about medical records?

              In any case, the law clearly does not require the genetic progenitor to support his/her offspring in all cases. Please refer to the earlier example that I discussed today.

              • The fact that it ever does is good enough for me and good enough to prove the point that if some kids get the benefit of knowing who their bio father is (and the word benefit is used in the UPA and examples of benefits are given) then that benefit should be something that all minors deserve equally. If some kids don’t deserve it then why should any kid deserve it? If there is no benefit to support guaranteed from both bio parents then why offer that opportunity to only some minors? They are treating some minors differently and denying them access to things our government says benefits children and their families.

                • I think this aspect of the conversation is not useful to either one of us. There’s not a equal protection issue — it’s simply not true that some are entitled and some are not. Some are in a relationship with their genetic parent, and some do not, but they are not legally entitled to it, and in some cases the law prefers a non-genetic parent for both ART and children born via coitus.

                  • I know what your doing shutting down the only arguments against treating donor offspring unfairly that have teeth are interference with them accessing benefits that are available to other people – you want to shut the conversation down until I take a class on constitutional law. Your good. Really. I appreciate the tactical thought process behind what your saying but, I think we can keep talking about their ways the law treats them unfairly because its the only argument that can’t be countered with someone else’s anecdote about happy donor offspring they know. Because their happiness has nothing to do with the fact that they are at a disadvantage compared to people who are the offspring of people named on their birth records because it prevents them and their relatives from accessing information and benefits that are only granted to legal kin or legal adoptive kin, step kin, in-laws etc.

                    Wisconsin has a bill that is about to pass where people are correcting their birth records and removing the names of non-bio parents without undoing their status within their adoptive families. The bill has compromises like consent from the bio parent which are OK for now but later I bet will be changed since bio parents in other situations don’t have a choice but to be named on their offspring’s birth records and in the case of adoption it’s not like they were never named on the certificate to begin with, its just the current certificate is being corrected. The adoption is not un-done and the original birth record has not been unsealed. It is medically accurate and won’t impose any obligations on them. There should be no issue.

                  • oh good lord. Look, someone on your donor conception board must have been a lawyer who paid attention in Con Law I or II. Ask them to explain it to you.

                  • Tess,

                    What Marilynn isn’t telling you is that the bill in Wisconsin has nothing to do with donor conception. The situation was that three kids were conceived from their mother and father. Their father died and their mother remarried. That man then adopted those children as their father while he was married to their mother. It resulted in amended birth certificates for all children. Then their mother divorced this man and he ended up rejecting those children after the divorce. Now these children are attempting to have this man removed from records as their father and reinstating their deceased father as their legally recognized father.

                    So as you can see the bill was initiated from a situation where there was no donor conception. This bill was initiated because a messy divorce and rejection from a non biological father who inherited children from his ex wife’s previous marriage. IMO, using it as an argument relating to donor conception is grasping at straws.

                  • Does not matter what the circumstances were that led to the siblings wanting to correct their birth record so that the name of their biological father appears on them instead of their non biological father’s name. It is and will be the basis for other siblings coming forward to do the same thing in a variety of other situations. Could be that they are donor offspring and each have a different non bio father named or could be that a person’s mother had an affair and her husband is the non bio father named on their certificate or it could be like with these siblings that their adoptive father is the non bio father named on their certificate.

                    What is significant here is that these adopted people are not requesting a copy of their original birth record. They are requesting that their current birth record be corrected and that request simply makes them have a valid vital record it won’t change the fact that their adoptive father is their adoptive father – there is an adoption decree for that. If their names were legally changed upon their adoptions, it won’t change their legal maiden name back to that of their biological fathers because the legal name change would have been approved as part of the adoption process and would be in the the adoption paperwork. So this is a very significant move towards the idea of correcting biologically inaccurate birth records rather than begging for copies of the originals rather than begging for a copy of the clinic’s donor records. It is simply a request for inaccuracies to be corrected so that they have a factual and accurate vital record that identifies their biological parents or at the very least does not name anyone if a biological parent is not known.

                  • These children were raised by their dad until he passed. That is completely different than a DC person who wasn’t raised at any point by the two people who raised them.

                    It’s completely irrelevant to DC no other way to argue otherwise.

                • Tess talking with you is great exercise and I appreciate it. I get far more meaty challenges from you than from Greg or even Julie. They are going to start getting their birth records corrected and slowly the laws will change in favor of facilitating those corrections and at some point the law will change to stop amending birth records upon adoption, leaving adopted people with a single identity as the chid of the bio parents recorded on their birth records and the adopted child of the adopted parents on their adoption decree if they are ever adopted. Its cleaner for the federal government who has tasked states with figuring out how to reconcile a birth certificate for each death certificate. It’s a mess and allowing people to correct their certificates will actually help State’s respond to that daunting challenge. Allowing false presumptions of paternity to stand uncorrected will ultimately be understood to interfere with a minors right to the due process of adoption or step parent adoption because other minors receive protection from the adoption process before assigning parental authority to people for children that are not their own offspring. There is no reason why some minors would get this protection before having someone other than a bio parent assigned parental authority over them while others don’t receive that same protection. It appears the only reason they don’t receive that protection is that nobody knows they are not the offspring of the people named parents on their birth records. The arrangements in advance of their births to conceal their biological identities at the time of their birth so nobody knows that someone gained parental authority over children that are not their offspring without court approval. It’s a short cut, cheaper and faster and without the disinterested third party back ground checks and home studies that would expose the commercial or charitable reasons the bio parent is not raising their offspring. Other people have to follow those procedures before being granted legal parenthood of other people’s offspring and so should they. Agreements and arrangements before their birth should not impact their rights at birth. Their rights are violated because although the agreement to not raise them in exchange for reimbursements are drafted at or before conception the terms of the agreement cannot be executed until their birth. Donors are paid in advance for services to be rendered after the birth of their offspring. So the fact remains their fathers are not raising them and are not performing their parental obligations and are not challenging the State’s false presumption
                  of paternity once they were born and they were compensated for that service prior to their children even being born. They are making good on an extended warranty they sold to the people who wanted to raise their kid. Everything bad that happens to donor offspring happens after they are born not before.

              • That is my whole point – not in all instances you are right and that is where the law is flawed and treats them differently. That is what needs to be addressed why not in all instances? What is the support for offering it to some but not all. Herein lies the differential treatment. The thing denied may not be something spelled out as a constitutional right but the law is not being applied equally to all people at birth and why not? Differential treatment itself is wrong in addition to whatever it is that they are denied equal access to.

                • please see the above comment. There is no equal protection claim in these cases.

                  • One constitutional right that anyone in a black market adoption senario is denied is due process. The procedure for a person to gain parental authority over someone else’s offspring is in place for people’s protection and it is not followed when it is short cut for the the convenience of the person’s wishing to adopt and the person wishing not to be identified as a parent.

                  • Due process takes place prior to conception. Again no constitutional rights are being violated. The argument is grasping at straws.

                  • I’m sorry, but in this aspect you do not have a due process claim under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

                    If you’re interested in the legalities of the 14th Amendment, I suggest auditing a con law class.

                • Tess you are so much smarter than me. I give up. You win. I don’t know what I was thinking. The rules are different for them than for other people but it does not mean they are not treated equal. You are correct I should go take a law class and then I’ll be able to know the difference between the kind of differential treatment that is OK and the kind that’s bad.

                  • No one wins or loses this sort of thing — we aren’t in debate class.

                    I suppose it’s a question of whether the argument is interesting and informative. Clearly for both of it, it’s not profitable to continue.

                  • I think you are confusing ethical inequalities vs legal inequalities. The latter doesn’t exist in this case.

          • Whatever on the constitution stuff, there are federal guidelines for birth record content that states have to comply with as a matter of public health and record keeping. These standards are either complied with or they are not. When they are not complied with it results in benefits being denied to families of people who are not named parents on their offspring’s birth records.

            There is a legal concept of a right to rely upon the consequesces arising from the anticipated actions of another person I have to go look that up. But there is a ripple effect where the thing they loose out on may not be a constitutional right but is a benefit that others similarly situated have access to that they would were it not for the exemptions from standard protocols that were offered to someone who would otherwise have had obligations to give rise to the expectation that is unmet

            Believe me when Kathleen Labounty at some point wishes take on the grueling responsibility of becoming her brother’s permanent care giver in the future after his adoptive parents pass on – the fact that she won’t qualify for family leave and can’t claim him as a relative dependent on her taxes – that is most assuredly discrimination based upon the actions of their bio parents which they are then being penalized for. Other people can receive those benefits which may not be constitutionally guaranteed but are offered and they are denied them based upon differential treatment and discriminatory practices. It is not fair to deny benefits offered to citizens based on how their parents behaved toward them. She’d be doing what we want families to do by trying to pull together and care for her family members but would not be able to get the same help offered up even to people and their step relatives.

            • Kathleen LaBounty’s parents apparently put her brother up for adoption and relinquished her legal rights. LaBounty’s parents refused to care for their child because he had a disability.

              I’m not sure how the actions of her parents, and their choice to place their son with another family, is related to LaBounty’s status as a DC person.

              If they hadn’t placed him for adoption, LaBounty would be the legal sister of her half brother, despite her status as a DC person.

              • And it’s not as if her brother’s adoptive parents won’t have a care plan for him in place when they pass. It’s being made out as if her brother will be left in a ditch when his parents pass. It’s more overreacting to something that has nothing to do with the issue.

                • I don’t know her brother’s personal circumstances.

                  But I do find these arguments off-point regarding DC.

                  Honestly, I think there’s a simple reason that we end up with these bizarre discussions.

                  It comes down to a problem for the “let’s abolish DC” people that the majority of the people born via this method do not want to ban the practice. The arguments against DC are not very compelling to the general public. As a consequence we end up with these discussions that seem rather off-topic, as the anti-crowd attempts to find a rhetorical position for the abolition of DC that is compelling.

                  • To be honest I think the legality arguments against donor conception are extremely weak while the emotional ones are a lot stronger and hold value.

                  • The emotional damage that comes from secrecy holds water for me. For others, I strongly suspect familial dysfunction as a cause.

                    The DC seems to be blamed for the family dysfunction.

                    For example – Alana Newman blames the lack of a genetic connection for how she was treated in her family. She believes in something called the “Cinderella Complex” — that unrelated men may be abusive to stepchildren. She applies this theory to donor children, and assumes that DC daughters are more vulnerable to abuse by the legal fathers.

                    Another example: I assume LaBounty blames the DC as the reason her parents put her brother up for adoption.

                  • Well why would they want to ban practices that caused their conceptions Tess? Nobody asked them if they wanted to change the laws that allowed for someone other than their bio parents to be granted parental authority over them without benefit of a court approved adoption.

                  • Kathleen has never said she blames donor conception for anything least of all her brother’s adoption. Blame is not in her vocabulary and in fact I can’t recall that she particularly has a problem with donor’s conceiving children. It’s my understanding that she has a problem with the fact that there is no written record identifying her as the offspring of her biological father, identifying her biological father. She wants to know him and the rest of her paternal relatives the way that other people with accurate records do. I don’t know that she has a position on conception or reproduction. She loves her step father he’s supportive of her efforts to find her father and as far as I know she’s known about not being related to her mom’s husband since she was a little girl, not in adolescence. Not told as an infant but not someone who learned late in life and felt betrayed or lied to I don’t think anyway. She’s a very nice kind person. She just wants to know her family, she’s not a big “banning” anything kind of person that I know of. She’s happy to have been conceived and exist and stuff. It’s what happened to her after she was born that is the problem. We need to stop talking about conception and focus on what the adults do once they are born. All the pre birth agreements and talk of intentions is irrelevant because they did not exist yet.

                  • Your question: What do I get out of this — I assume you mean her brother’s adoption?

                    I think you have to take this up with her parents, and ask them why they decided to put their son up for adoption.

                    It’s was their decision — to put their son up for adoption and relinquish rights — that made her half-brother into a non-legal member of her family.

                    Did they decide on an open or closed adoption? I assume she grew up without contact, but I have no idea. In any case, this would also have been their decision, and something I have no control over.

                    To the casual observer, the correlation between dysfunctional families and DC activism suggests that individual family dynamics, rather then the fact of their conception via DC, may be implicated.

                  • It sounds that deep down Kathleen resents her parents for putting her brother up for adoption and that her DC is the distraction. Doesn’t matter if she “loves” her parents she still can resent her mom and DAD.

                  • Tess I meant what would one get out of denying them legally recognized kinship as siblings or denying the benefits that come from that. What do you get what does anyone get out of allowing some bio siblings legal recognition of kinship and rights but not others. Differential treatment of bio families.

                    You keep saying that donor offspring activists are blaming their problems on their conceptions and I know that you are listening, you know that is not what they blame, they blame the rules that conceal the identity of one of their parents and all their relatives. They blame rules that allowed them to be separated from their biological families or concealed from them. What game is it that you keep saying they blame their conceptions? Are you trying to see if by your words you can influence the terminology used by others? Circle back around get everyone talking about conception and the time before their births again? I think they are going to be leaving that all behind pretty soon. I think the time for influencing their choice of words is just about done. But go ahead. I’ve noticed more and more writing by donor offspring talks about the here and now and is no longer talking about preventing people from “conceiving children this way” but its an interesting sociolgy experiment if nothing else.

                  • DC people are absolutely talking about preventing people this way. Saying otherwise couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s their belief they have a right too. People like Alana and other DC people believe heterosexual couples who can conceive children should be allowed to become parents and that those who can’t should just live childless. I’m not making this up it’s how they truly believe.

                  • I think her brother was relinquished a year before she was born. As a child I would have found it uncomfortable — to know that my parents would have relinquished me if I wasn’t healthy.

                  • Marilynn,

                    I don’t know why it appears that DC activists want me to pretend that the majority of them are not from very messed up family circumstances that clearly affect how they view DC.

                    We already know that the majority of DC people agree with the practice.

                    It seems to be an self-oriented point of view: “Because I experienced this traumatic situation — it must also be traumatic for every other DC person and for future children.”

                    These individuals do not have the capacity to or wisdom to understand that other similarly situated people may experience radically different experiences and reactions to their DC conception.

                    Internet personal testimony does not hold some form of special significance in argumentation. Anecdotes are not data. There are millions of DC people currently living in the world. And the majority do not share your perspective.

                    You are aware that the majority of the DC population is happy with their legal families.

                    You are hoping that the world (and it will have to be the world) will change its mind regarding donor conception. I will be quite surprised if this occurs, for a variety of reasons, of which the legal component is one.

                    But the larger reason is that historically societies have not seen the DNA genetic component of families as the defining aspect of family. This statement will strike you (and many) as counter-intuitive.

                    But as you continue to read about the subject — remember this point. It is the most important aspect of the situation, and it is why DC was accepted in the first place. It is the reason you cannot make a successful equal protection argument.

                    And it is the critical point that you have been missing in your own analysis of the situation. And it is why DC will not go away.

                  • My parent's donor is my father

                    Tess states: “We already know that the majority of DC people agree with the practice.” What are you basing this statement on? How exactly do “we already know that the majority of DC people agree with the practice”?

                  • There was a study that Tess referenced that found more than 50% of the respondents approved the practice.

                  • My parent's donor is my father

                    What study?

                  • Responding to K with “what study?” He is talking about your study my dear. Do you care to talk about the 50% of donor offspring respondents saying they were cool with donor conception?

                    See my feeling on that is that the question is asking about conception which can only affect a person in a positive way since they are alive and likely don’t wish they never existed. The question does not really address how they feel about the people raising them nor does it address the more important question of how they feel about not being raised by the absent bio parent part of their paternal family as well as their maternal family. I think asking about conception leaves it really fuzzy cause you don’t really know what they were thinking about when they answered the question. Was it their life and the people raising them? The moment a sperm hits the egg? The absence of their paternal family from their daily reality? What was it that they were saying they were OK or not OK with?

                    Gosh if there is ever another project like that I have a list of questions boy do I.

                • Cause care by nurses would be preferable over care by or under the control of his sister who loves him? I am just saying this is an example of a situation where as adults siblings might want to act like siblings and provide care to an ill or disabled relative taking advantage of benefits that other bioloigcal relatives have available to them but they can’t because of their records. And all you have to say about that is its perfectly OK to deny legal recognition of their kinship and deny benefits available for people caring for their dependent relatives because his adoptive parents might have a care plan for him? I am sure they do they are lovely people, but they have told Kathleen they think of her as part of the family. Should they all decide that after they pass part of the care plan is for her to be involved in his daily life and care why should she and he not be afforded things like family leave act or relative dependent tax status? Why should she not officially be allowed time off work to attend his funeral if he were to pass? Why would you defend that kind of differential treatment for people and their bio relatives? What do you get out of that?

                  • I personally think anyone named as a guardian or partially responsible person in a will should be able to get those benefits, whether there is any kind of legal or biological rerelationship.

                  • Who knows what his parents have planned for him when they pass. Who is to say that don’t have a relative that isn’t Kathleen? The answer is you don’t. That’s a case of a DC person blaming something on their being DC that doesn’t exist.

                  • However, gsmw, I would think that if they were to choose Kathleen, if the young man in question is disabled enough to require a legal guardian, and she was that guardian, wouldn’t she have those rights anyway? As that is a type of legal relationship.

                  • She definitely would Rebecca.

                  • Good guys find a work around for her situation that won’t solve the problem for kinship rights in general. Why are you looking so hard for a way to stop them from requesting simple changes that would just apply to them equally the rights of kinship to their bio families

                  • If they die and appoint someone else as a guardian some company or institution she would have no legal relationhship as a sibling to challenge the guardianship being that she is his sister and was prevented by her own mother’s actions from growing up with him or helping him all of his life.. They might further be isolated from one another because his “care plan” was not written to include her. She should at least have the ability to offer to have him come live with or near her – hell this is not even about her specifically this is not about finding a work around they are siblings and it should be legally recognized it does not need to invalidate the adoption.

                  • The issue is care for her brother. If her brother is being cared for by let’s say his adoptive parents brother or sister (her brother’s uncle) it means he’s in the care of a family member. So what does it matter? Again this is more about her resentment for her parents giving him up for adoption than it is her brother’s care. Her brother will be cared for when his adoptive parents pass. That’s not the issue.

              • again the problem is not being a member of a group its having falsified or incomplete birth records. you state the facts were it not for their parents actions they would be legally recognized siblings

                • birth record = born, not genetics.

                  In any case, it’s a state document used to establish legal parenthood, so it’s not a “falsified” record unless a legal parent is not listed.

            • I did smile after reading: “whatever as the constitution stuff.”

              Apparently Yale Law is offering a Constitutional Law course through coursera. I haven’t looked at it myself, but an acquaintance who received his law degree in Brazil took the course and recommended the content. You may be interested in taking this course.

      • If a person disowns their family they can’t prevent them from going and getting copies of their marriage records or their birth record. Come on you go down to vital records and try and take a relative you disowned off your birth record. Try to erase the name of your spouse from your marriage certificate. You can’t because you can’t change how people are related to you. You can’t control other people’s reality by altering records that relate to them. The best you can do is pretend that you are not related to them. But you are still and you can’t have your mom stop being your mom on your birth record. That is why its so strange that people do it to minors in both black market adoption and court approved adoption. Nobody could just go down and change records that impact other people based on the fact they don’t feel like being someone’s daughter. Why should someone get to do it because they don’t feel like being someone’s parent?

        • I think marriage, birth and death records should be open access documents to the general public.

          I thought anyone could acquire marriage records. What in the world is going on in California that all of your public records are restricted to particular family members? What’s next, census information becoming private?

          It seems to me this is a battle for public open access, which must be taken up with the states. I see no reason that only particular relatives (how bizarre!) should have special access to these records.

          • To be clear – I think the states are being bizarre and strange in closing off public access to these records.

          • You are correct in that it is in part a battle for access to records. The general public however won’t necessarily be impacted by specific content on any particular record unless the information on that record relates to them because the people named on the record are his or her kin. It is reasonable that it would be accessible by relatives and those in law enforcement or whatever. It’s distressing to me that in many instances I can get access to records that adopted people have not had the right to access and it is THER FAMILY.

  5. Julie – I think you could also add a third benefit or combine with the second benefit of this statement you made at the end: “[snip] it seems like the non-anonymous route brings two different sets of benefits–the benefit to the child of being able to trace genetic lineage should he/she wish to do so, and a group of donors who seem to me more likely to be making careful and considered decisions for good reasons.”

    Non-anonymous donors would also be more likely to be concerned with the number of children they contributed to…a self-policing of not having 500 children from one donor.

    • Right. Know what else would help keep the numbers down? If they had to go to court and give each one up for adoption after they were born. They keep talking about how “donor conception” is moving towards the open adoption model. Well they should just handle it as an adoption then the minor would have the benefit of what meager protections are afforded by court approval and disinterested third party investigations into the circumstances leading the bio parent to relinquish. Also since states are required to try to find the bio parent and obtain permission the identity of the bio parent could not be withheld and concealed by a cryobank if the name is available somewhere it should have to be disclosed before the adoption can go through. It’s not like a real one night stand.

  6. Oh and Greg – on the subject of being denied the due process of a court approved adoption which would protect them from being traded gifted or sold out of their families by identifying their biological parents and investigating their reasoning for wishing to relinquish and would vet instances where their child had been commissioned or where their child was being given as a gift, or was being traded or sold or where the bio parents were reimbursed in exchange for agreeing not to raise their child–On this subject of them being denied that due process of court approved adoption which would at least attempt to keep them within their own families and exhaust all other alternatives for guardianship, adoption or fostering by relatives within their own families before allowing them to be transferred into the custody of persons out side their families– On this subject of denying them the due process of only being transferred into the homes of adoptive families who have been thoroughly background checked and evaluated as the most suitable situation for them given the circumstances – on this subject of granting parental authority over another person’s offspring only after due process intended for protection of all parties involved — On this subject that a donor’s offspring and their relatives are categorically denied these meger legal protections before granting parental authority to a person outside their own family – you said they got their due process before they were born., you said they got their due process before they were even conceived. You said they got what they deserved in terms of protection from trafficking before they existed to be trafficked out of their own families.

    You said donor offspring got their due process before they were born. Do you understand what you are saying? You are saying that its OK to buy and sell some human beings so long as it’s all set up in advance and kept off the books so it looks like they were born to whoever is purchasing them. I know and have felt for a long time that this is the subtext of all this but to see it in print Greg, that they got their due process before they were born is so profoundly disturbing that it strikes at the very heart of all that is fair and just. They only get rights thru whoever got to raise them according to the contract huh? They get all their human and civil rights – they do. They have a right to live life as the child of the people who received them as a gift or who bought them and they have a job to do a role to play an act to perform and that is their whole recognized identity because they had their due process before they were born. They are who the contract says they will be. They had their due process before they were born and now they have their parents and their rights are not being violated. This all works beautifully as long as nobody points out the fact that they are people who can call for their due process now and for due process to be afforded to all people once they are born where we can keep an eye and a thumb on the shady fkrs who are perpetrating crimes against their fellow human beings.

    • I think this episode has jumped the shark.

    • You aren’t buying and selling humans. You are buying some cells to make a human. You realize at the time the agreement is made there is no human. There could be a human created but there is no guarantee one will be created. So again more non logical rhetoric.

      Tess is right this discussion has jumped the shark.

      • So when someone buys cells to make a human being do you think that they really actually own that person’s cells? Like they actually bought and own and have control over another person’s body and have sole authority over what happens to that portion of their body that they purchased? Like do you think that the purchaser of the body part would have more authority over what happens to that body part than the person whose body they bought it from? So like along with the body part they also purchased the other person’s free will and right to change their mind, withdraw consent and request their body part back? The person selling the body may loose physical possession of it but nobody will ever be able to refer to that body part as theirs because it’s not. A body is not even a possession of the person themselves it can’t be fully transferred to the extent where someone else could call your egg their egg, no matter who has possession of your egg it is always your egg. One time someone answered these questions by saying that it was in fact now her egg but the DNA in the Egg was still the donors. She said the same of the child she gave birth to was her child but the donor’s DNA. I asked what part of the egg does not have the donor’s dna in it then and what part of the child does not have the donors dna? Which part of the egg and the child was not still belonging to the donor whose egg you bought? So is it your egg if you bought it? Is it your child if you birthed it? Who winds up with offspring? The person who bought the egg to build the person does not wind up creating offspring for themselves, what they end up doing is raising offspring made by the person they paid to give them a child.

        You say that you buy cells to make a human do you really own the right to decide if another person reproduces or not? Do you really think anyone can buy control over someone else’s reproductive freedom the way you describe? Owning other people’s freedom of choice and their body parts? The buyer is not reproducing themselves and they are not in a position of authority to own the rights to reproduce other human beings. Buyers are not creating human beings they are paying other people to create and abandon their offspring. Never, not even for one minute is anyone else owning anyone’s body parts. They are not even really donating their eggs and sperm. They sign agreements to create offspring with a cryobank’s clinents and agree not to challenge paternity or maternity with DNA evidence that would prove their parent/child relationship after they are born. They request medical assistance in reproducing themselves with parties determined by the cryo bank and allow their genes to be harvested for that purpose. If you look at the medical treatment consent forms a donor signs agreeing to treatment they are no different than any other patient who is in full control of their own body and seeks assistance in order to create offspring. There is a very false sense of ownership on the part of the people who are paying. There is a very false sense that they are in any way creating a child of their own or even a child of the donors. There is a very false sense of responsibility for causing the existence of a child when at best they influenced the parents to create the child. The egg and sperm never belong to anyone but the body they came from even when that person really wants to think of the eggs or sperm as not belonging to them anymore and anything that happens with their egg or sperm is outside their contorl its all still totally them that reproduces nobody but them will end up with offspring except the other bio parent. It won’t ever be the truth to call it someone else’s sperm or egg and it will never be their child either, it would be your child raised by someone else because you wanted it that way and said it was OK. Whatever happens to that kid is ultimately still the result of your choice not to raise them yourself.

        So much for buying cells to make a person but that’s very Mary Shelly of you. Build your own personal monster.

        • Why is your writing so much better on DoD’s blog?

          I’m sorry but I couldn’t get through this comment. There is clear evidence that you know how to write well from your posts on DoD.

          Anyways – The Fonz has jumped the shark for this thread.

          • I’m glad it’s not just me Tess because I wasn’t sure how to respond to that comment because it just made no sense. It’s like trying to argue with someone who believes the world is flat and having a long elaborate reasoning for it.

          • You were the mean girl in high school huh?

  7. Malarkey Tess. Biological parents automatically have obligations to their children and their children automatically have rights to be taken care of by them and if not them then their biological families prior to being allowed adopted out of their families. States are required to attempt to identify and obtain the consent of not just any parents but a child’s biological parents in order to determine if they really want their child to be adopted and if so why. There are indeed instances where the people giving up a child for adoption are presumed to be biological parents and are not but the state is proceeding on a false presumption without knowing it. States are specifically obligated to seek out the biological parent and/or their family to obtain their consent before allowing any person outside the family to have parental authority over the child. In my opinion the adoption should never go through if the bio parents are never identified to provide consent. That is not how it works though. If the court is satisfied that a valid attempt to locate them netted no results the court actually terminates the biological parents parental authority over their children and then the state has custody of the child and then can consent to the adoption of the child to someone outside the child’s family. They have parental authority over their children whether we know who they are or not until their authority is terminated by a judge and only after an attempt to find them and get their consent has failed. So people most definately are protected from being adopted out of their biological families by the state. The state is even supposed to exhaust the possibility for placement of the child with one of the bio parents relatives before allowing the child to be adopted.

    Now I don’t know if that is a constitutional right or not Tess, but it is a requirement for states to follow that procedure before allowing parental authority to someone over a child that is not their offspring and that procedure is not being followed by people who are clever enough to avoid the court entirely by making it appear as if the child is being raised by their bio parents. All minors are supposed to be protected by the state in this way before allowing someone other than a bio parent to have authority whether by adoption or by guardianship. This is an equal protection problem on many levels. They are not receiving their due process prior to birth there is no court approval prior to birth. A court would never accept an anonymous relinquishment by a bio parent that could be identified whose name is known to be on record at a cryo bank. If we end exemptions from parental responsibility by donors then they’ll be required to behave as any bio parent would. If they are really only donatng their sperm and not their children, this should not alarm or disturb anyone at all. If people are disturbed by this idea it points to the fact that they’ve been giving up their children, not their sperm all along. These people need the same protection as other minors not in the custody of their bio parents.

  8. Tess is in the entertainment industry. Jump the shark is supposed to be a term in the TV industry I have a friend who is a producer for CBS and told me. and I take offense to the idea that what I said is the activist equivalent of when happy days went to Hollywood and Fonzi jumped the shark. Ayye.

  9. Responding to Greg and Tess about correcting birth records not being relevant – the law is not written to get into their feelings or their relationship with either the bio or non bio parents. They don’t care if he was not around or if he was around if he divorced or stayed married that is not the point. I suppose its a good thing people like you won’t find these legal changes interesting and won’t think they will be applied to donor siblings having the names of their non bio fathers removed from their birth records because then nobody will raise any objections to the laws passing and I know at least 200 families personally separated for all kinds of reasons that have an interest in getting their records corrected if they can’t get their information and rights any other way. So good I will look at the bright side and hope that these changes occur quietly and that nobody comes along whining that their right to lie trumps someone else’s right to the truth because someone promised them 30 years ago they’d be able to lie and not get caught at it.

    • I never said anything about correcting birth records being irrelevant. All I said was that the Wisconsin case is irrelevant to discussions having to do with donor conception. It’s not a donor conception case. It has nothing to do with lack of interest in the case and everything to do with it not being relevant to this discussion.

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