My father was a sperm donor. Here’s why I hate my conception.
Life Site News

Life Site News

My biological father sold his sperm when he was in medical school. He was told what a wonderful, altruistic act he was doing, and praised for being so generous to a poor, infertile family. He was also promised anonymity. My parents bought that sperm and a doctor used it to inseminate my mother. I’m the child of a stranger, who altruistically sold me, his biological daughter, to a family he would never meet. He signed away his rights to be a father to me, and my parents gladly bought the gift that would give them a child. They were ecstatically happy when my mother became pregnant, but no one considered how I would feel about the transaction that took place, how I would feel about having no right to a relationship with my biological father, no access to my paternal family, not even medical information. Now it is my turn to speak. I hate my conception.

How can anyone sell a person? Sure, at that point it was just sperm, but it was sperm being sold with the intention of becoming a child. Why is it legal for a doctor to allow a child to be created with the purpose of being cut off from biological family to make the recipient parents happy? The process commodifies real human beings.

I’ve been involved in the state foster care system for about two decades, a system which encourages keeping families together and tries to support keeping children with their blood relatives unless there is a severe safety issue. Children thrive best with their biological families, even when those families need extra help, something our government recognizes within the foster system. Unfortunately, I was born as the result of a profit-driven medical clinic selling parental rights without regard for what is best for the end product, the child produced.

There aren’t any laws or even suggested best practices for my situation. Anonymous arrangements sell best, are least complicated, so here I am, the daughter of my mother and a stranger she hoped never to meet, being raised by a man who had enough money to purchase my existence. My birth certificate is false, listing the father who raised me, a man I’m not related to, not giving any indication that there was another party involved in my conception. It would have been completely legal for the parents who raised me never to tell me the truth, to lie to me about my origins and allow me to believe that I had accurate family medical history.

We, the donor conceived, are being denied some pretty basic human rights. We are commodified, existing only because our biological parent was willing to sell genetic material in order to make someone else a parent. We aren’t given access to information about who our biological parent is, with clinics protecting the anonymity of their donors over the rights of the children produced. We are at the mercy of the adults who created us as to whether they even tell us that we aren’t biologically related to them. We are denied medical family histories, histories that might one day save our lives, as well as genealogical histories that would help us piece together our identities. We live in a time when it is possible to track down our missing families, if we know they are missing, but when donors have been promised anonymity our contact may not be welcome. It seems incredibly irresponsible on the part of the fertility industry to give any illusions to donors in this day and age that they might be able to maintain anonymity, perhaps even dishonest.

Donor conception has caused this donor conceived person enough grief that I actively speak out against any donor conception to friends considering this route as a way to solve their own infertility grief. It doesn’t resolve the grief, but rather passes that pain on to the next generation by denying them access to their missing biological family. I would encourage people not to use any donor conception, but rather to open homes to parent the hundreds of children waiting in the foster system whose parental rights have been terminated or to find other ways to navigate through infertility grief.

If donor conception must be allowed to continue to give parents the children they desire, then anonymous donation should be more carefully scrutinized and seen for the illusion that it is. There is no more anonymity with commercial DNA testing, and it should not be offered as an option either for donors or recipient parents. I can imagine it is only a matter of time before that matter ends up in a courtroom when someone like me finds a biological parent who was told they would never be found. There should be no states with laws allowing anonymous donors when the donors can be found.

Furthermore, anonymity causes pain and identity confusion for the children produced. Medical records on the donors should be kept current and easily available for the lifetime of the child produced. Finally, birth certificates should be updated to keep up with reproductive technology. There should be space for both legal and biological parents on birth certificates, in order to be accurate and to allow donor conceived people to know their true origins. Australia, a country which is miles ahead of the US when it comes to rights of the donor conceived, provides a birth certificate with an asterisk, and the asterisk indicates that an addendum is on file, containing the full name of any donors involved in a person’s conception.

How can anyone sell a person? Sure, at that point it was just sperm, but it was sperm being sold with the intention of becoming a child. Why is it legal for a doctor to allow a child to be created with the purpose of being cut off from biological family to make the recipient parents happy? The process commodifies real human beings.

I’ve been involved in the state foster care system for about two decades, a system which encourages keeping families together and tries to support keeping children with their blood relatives unless there is a severe safety issue. Children thrive best with their biological families, even when those families need extra help, something our government recognizes within the foster system. Unfortunately, I was born as the result of a profit-driven medical clinic selling parental rights without regard for what is best for the end product, the child produced.

There aren’t any laws or even suggested best practices for my situation. Anonymous arrangements sell best, are least complicated, so here I am, the daughter of my mother and a stranger she hoped never to meet, being raised by a man who had enough money to purchase my existence. My birth certificate is false, listing the father who raised me, a man I’m not related to, not giving any indication that there was another party involved in my conception. It would have been completely legal for the parents who raised me never to tell me the truth, to lie to me about my origins and allow me to believe that I had accurate family medical history.

My father who raised me died when I was a teenager, before I knew the big lie. I loved him to pieces. He was the rock who held our family together. I wish so much that I could know his feelings about my conception. I remember many times as a child when his friends would jokingly say something to the effect of, “She can’t really be yours, you ugly old dog. She’s too pretty.” I was always embarrassed and looking for an escape. I wish I’d watched his face. I wonder if that gutted him? If I’d have known, I would have hugged him and told him that I’ll always be his.

In the confusion and grief that followed his death, my mother decided to tell me the truth about my conception. She had no qualms about having kept such a big secret from me my whole life, as it protected a fact that was extremely embarrassing to her… The father who raised me was sterile. She told me they had used donor sperm and that she thought I already knew how different I was from the rest of the family.

My world fell apart. I spent several days under a blanket in bed, crying hysterically. When I was able to regain my composure, as I was going about my morning routine I caught sight of myself in the mirror and came to the realization that I had no idea who I was anymore. The nose I thought had come from my dad wasn’t his. That round nose that I thought connected me to family was suddenly hideous. The shape of my fingers, so similar to my dad’s, now looked alien and terrifying. There were several years in my mid twenties when I couldn’t look at myself in a mirror without bursting into tears, so I avoided mirrors.

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