Skip to comments.Study shows problems for adults conceived by sperm donation
Posted on 06/12/2010 6:56:37 AM PDT by GonzoII
Study shows problems for adults conceived by sperm donation
Alana Sveta and Olivia Pratten.
.- A recent report by the Commission on Parenthoods Future indicates that adult offspring of sperm donation struggle with questions of identity as a result of not knowing their biological father. Fr. Thomas Berg, who specializes in bioethics, told CNA that the practice of sperm donation has grossly underestimated the human need to connect with one's biological parents.
The report, My Daddys Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Through Sperm Donation, was co-investigated by Commission members Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D. Glenn and Karen Clark.
Many people think that because these young people resulted from wanted pregnancies, how they were conceived doesnt matter to them, said Marquardt.
But this study reveals that when they are adults, sperm donor offspring struggle with serious losses from being purposefully denied knowledge of, or a relationship with, their sperm donor biological fathers, explained Clark.
The study is the first representative, comparative examination of the identity and well-being of the adult offspring of sperm donation. It is estimated that 30,000-60,000 children are born every year through sperm donation in the U.S. alone.
The study found that young adults who were conceived through sperm donation exhibit higher rates of confusion, isolation, depression, delinquency and substance abuse than those who were raised by their biological parents.
Two-thirds of the donor-conceived adults agreed with the statement My sperm donor is half of who I am. About half reported being disturbed that money was involved in their conception.
More than half said that when they see someone who resembles them, they wonder if they are related, while nearly half said they have feared being attracted to or having sexual relations with someone to whom they are unknowingly related.
In addition, two-thirds of the donor-conceived participants affirmed the right of donor children to know the truth about their origins, and about half have concerns about or serious objections to donor conception itself, even when the children are told the truth.
Donor-conceived Alana Sveta tells her story on FamilyScholars.org. She describes how she often tells people that her father is dead so she will not have to tell them the truth about being conceived by a sperm donor, a fact that she considers creepy and disgusting.
It embarrasses me, she said.
Sveta said that other donor children feel the same as she does, but have remained largely voiceless. Its just that we, the children, havent been empowered to vocalize our issues yet. The needs and concerns of our mothers and their partners have trumped and stifled our own, she said.
Olivia Pratten agreed. Unfortunately, many of the physicians who run the fertility clinics continue to ignore or dismiss what we say as being a 'bitter few,' she said. As this study proves, we are not a few.
Pratten, conceived via an anonymous sperm donor, explained on FamilyScholars.org that she has yearned to know more about her father since she was told of her conception at age 5. I never saw him as a sperm donor, she said. To me instinctively he was my biological father.
Speaking of the flaws inherent in the system itself, she said, When the parents using the technologies are called the 'consumers,' that means the resulting children are the 'products.'
In an interview with CNA, Fr. Thomas Berg, Director of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, explained that he believes this will be a very hard-hitting study.
It raises all kinds of issues, he said. I think this is one of those 800-pound gorillas that's been sitting in the room for a couple decades now.
Fr. Berg said he was not surprised by the findings of the study. It makes a lot of sense to me, he said. The need for connection with the biological parents is a much more powerful kind of thing than many people realize.
He explained that the assisted fertility industry has grossly underestimated the need that people have to make that connection and the result is a huge gaping hole in the self-understanding of those children conceived without such a connection.
Human beings need to be grounded, said Fr. Berg. We need a story that tells us who we are and where we came from. The human person can't develop fully and normally lacking that narrative.
For children whose history is tied to an anonymous sperm donor, there is just necessarily a huge part of that foundation that's missing, he said. Part of the 'Who am I?' question never gets answered.
I think there's something about self-identity which is just disturbingly left unsettled for children who come into the world through sperm donors.
Responding to the study finding that about half of the individuals questioned were disturbed that money was involved in their conception, Fr. Berg said society is reaping the fruits of the way we have commodified life.
That just speaks volumes, he told CNA. These poor children have come to the realization that they themselves, from the very beginning, were treated as objects, about which there was monetary consideration.
To prevent causing further harm, we must eliminate the possibility of people coming into the world through sperm and egg donations, said Fr. Berg. This will require an entire change of mindset, as society must rediscover the genuine God-given meaning of sexuality, marriage and family.
Renewing our understanding of this three-fold relationship is essential, he explained. The whole meaning, richness and importance of that for culture has been utterly disregarded.
"Donor-conceived Alana Sveta tells her story....She describes how she often tells people that her father is dead so she will not have to tell them the truth about being conceived by a sperm donor, a fact that she considers creepy and disgusting.
It embarrasses me, she said.
My heartfelt sympathies, beautiful sister.
This is the unfortunate result of the "Me, myself and I" generation that "can do whatever they want" in their "private" lives. You see, it's "their" business.
They would prefer not to be here? Geez.
So! How is this any different from a quick hookup with a person you have never met before and may never see again?
I didn't catch that in the article..I think they would prefer to be here in the normal way.
Kick it up a few notches. How many “people of means” are now totally “creating” designer babies, using only a check book?
Michael Jackson did it that we know of. He bought the sperm, the egg, the surrogate mom. Then he took these kids home. All he put into it was money. Yet he got to keep the resulting human beings, virtually as his property.
And I’m sure he’s not the only one. And some of these checkbook “parents” might be creating designer children for some very dark purposes.
No different, if the child never knows who the dad is.
Very different, if they have some kind of relationship to the father. Even just knowing who he is.
They would prefer to know their father.
Taking no comfort in this study - but from the first test tube baby’s birth in 1978 (Louise Brown) IVF seemed intuitively, unnatural and wrong.
Having been flamed on many threads for not understanding the *desire* of the birth mother - and the discarding of embryos - perhaps we will better understand the wisdom of the biblical rules for sexual mores, marriage and parenting.
This is different from adoptions in what way?
You raise good points about designer babies. But face it, being conceived by Michael Jackson the normal way would still result in a screwed up kid, if raised by Michael Jackson. It’s not so much the conception, its the raising.
Now when we get into designer genes, we get into serious issues, I would agree.
Now I thought it was “The more babies the better?”
Many sperm doner kids not only have no father but also have two mommies. People are selfish. If a woman can not develop a normal relationship with a man then they shouldn’t have a child. We already no Kids in singleparent family kids regardless of conception are born with a disadvantage.
I know several adopted kids. They are told the truth. Your mom just wasn’t capable of raising you for this or that reason. So we became your parents, because we could give you all the love. It works out well, in the cases I know of.
But there’s something creepy about “mommy just wanted a baby, so she bought some anonymous sperm.”
NOt much. Who wants to be conceived that way, either?
Adoptions aren’t financial.
These kids are “bought” like commodities.
A guy who donates his sperm is likely to be weird.
A woman who receives a sperm donation is likely to be weird.
The offspring of two likely weird people is likely weird.
Seems to support Darwin.