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.
California Cryobank (Reproductive Tissue Services)
I have a neighbor who conceived her first child through an affair with a married man (used him). To add a sibling, she went through the above. She stated she “finally found the right way to do this”. She is a professor at a college, a Catholic college at that. Sad and revolting.
My adopted relatives know who their parents are. They were raised by their parents. Birth parents...that’s another matter.
God bless you and yours. Yours.
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.
When I read a phrase such as, “...been empowered to vocalize...” I get deeply suspicious of the true authorship of what I am reading.
Too often these young people have others who give them the diologue to recite or the writer of the piece wants to take over and rewrite as he types.
When are you going to tell us all about that boat (ship?) you built?
Mostly on the Abbey The Missing Teen Sailor threads!
I feel bad for them but OTOH how many men would donate if they knew in 18 years someone migth show up on their doorstep?
As an adoptee and adoptive parent, I feel qualified to answer your question. We both know the names of our biological fathers. When I adopted my daughter, I asked questions of her birth mother regarding know health issues of both parents. Just knowing a father's name already brings some form of identity. My german background comes from my birth father, whereas my daughter's biological father was 100% Italian and contributed to her saucy personality ;-)
A few years ago, GMA arranged for a young girl to meet her sperm donor father. The girl was about 16 and she was so excited to FINALLY know her "dad". The meeting took place via a large studio monitor. "Dad" was there with his wife and two little boys. The girl blushed when his face came on the screen and after a series of questions, commented: "Oh, that's where I get my big feet from"! But then the segment took a turn when the moderator asked the man if he had any other children from his 'donations'. "Yes", he responded, "I understand there are more than 100 and I hope they don't all come looking for me", he laughed. The young girl's face became crestfallen. Her joyful blush was replaced with a grimace.
Every one of us has a God-given right to be loved and appreciated.
Donum Vitae - INSTRUCTION ON RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE IN ITS ORIGIN AND ON THE DIGNITY OF PROCREATION
Wow. How sad.
I don't know what I'd do.
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Both lists, since homosexuals often use unnatural methods to "have" children, other than adoption, or from previous relationships. I thought the article would be about physical or health problems, of which I have also read in connection with IVF. But this is a different issue. This is not knowing your father at all other than an anonymous masturbator, who often did the job for money.
Nature knows best, and that means children should be born the normal, natural way. God has designed how children are conceived and born, and this issue is another example of how peoples' intellects can create things that are dangerous and wrong. Science if not guided by natural moral law can and does create evil.
It is often said that "well, this woman wants a baby and has no husband" or "this woman wants a baby and her husband has a low sperm count".
My reply is - this world is not designed or created so that every single want, whim and desire a person has MUST be satisfied. That is a self-centered, infantile and dangerous mentality. If a husband and wife want children and cannot produce any themselves, there are children to adopt; and there would be more, if they were not aborted.
One demoniac act generates many more. Kill the babies, then there are none to adopt, so people who cannot for some reason produce ones of their own will go to unnatural and dangerous lengths to have them. All wrong.
Just one of the reasons the Catholic Church opposes in-vitro fertilization. The egg is fertilized outside the womb and then the fertilized egg is implanted into the womb.
|1711 Endowed with a spiritual soul, with intellect and with free will, the human person is from his very conception ordered to God and destined for eternal beatitude. He pursues his perfection in "seeking and loving what is true and good" (GS 15 § 2).
Because it was deliberaely planned as a form of conception from an unknown stranger — a quick hoookup might not result in a pregnancy.
Not much; and that is deeply embarrassing for the unfortunate offspring, too.
And their grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins.
with adoption the adopted baby is already there. This is creating a child witht he deliberate purpose of denying it a father.
I write because it is my duty to God.
If anyone listens, it’s their duty to God.
Good to see you, friend!!!
Hope you and yours are all well.
This kind of selfishness is so destructive — you have to have been raised by an unstable, narcissiscitic mother incapable of a relationship with a man to know what it’s like.
That's the entire point. It's just as immoral to donate sperm for anonymous donation as it is for the mother to exclude a true father from a child.
Instruction on respect for human life - Donum Vitae
Catechism of the Catholic Church
2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' "right to become a father and a mother only through each other."
2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children." "Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses' union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person." 2378 A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception."170 2379 The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord's Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.
2378 A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception."170
2379 The Gospel shows that physical sterility is not an absolute evil. Spouses who still suffer from infertility after exhausting legitimate medical procedures should unite themselves with the Lord's Cross, the source of all spiritual fecundity. They can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others.
In case of women who are not married they may be denying a father but deliberate? Many men have no sperm, that is the case with my husband and that is the reason we adopted. We might have had an AI child in 1963 but my husband has an adopted brother and sister so that was the natural way for us to go.
Adoptions are more open now, in the past you were told nothing about the birth parents, NOTHING.
Indeed! Thank you for reminding me of that universal truth.
It’s called the “who’s your daddy now” syndrome.
Much better than what I had.
And that was WRONG, because it is deceptive. It is one of the worst lies and once a child catches you in this, and they eventually do, they never trust anything else you say to them again. My entire family fabricated a preposterous story about my birth father (BTW, I am the 2nd immaculate conception ;-). Even as in my earliest childhood, I recognized the fallacy in their story. It wasn't until I turned 21 that a cousin told me the truth. When I adopted my daughter, I made certain she understood she was adopted from the earliest years. On the other hand, I chose not to have an open adoption as I believe that creates confusion. My daughter chose to meet her birth mother and then chose to come home to her family.
“I was conceived in moment of passion”
is much more romantic than
“Some guy jacked-off into a container and then sold his sperm to my mom”
You have misunderstood me. I told my 3 children at a very early age that they were adopted. They heard the word adopted long before they could understand what it meant, but they knew it was something good. It was information about birth parents that were not told to us, the adoptive parents. They came from a very respected adoption agency and we were told nothing about their birth parents and the birth parents were told nothing about us.