Search This Blog

Custom Search

Sunday, May 22, 2011

British Woman Going to Denmark for Sperm

Amsterdam used to be the sole destination in the Netherlands to partake in certain products outlawed elsewhere in Europe. Now, in an story by Paul Henley for the BBC:  we find Denmark has become a popular destination to procure a new highly-coveted substance: sperm.

It turns out that after the 2005 UK ruling which made anonymous sperm donation illegal in the UK, British women have been flocking to Denmark where anonymous sperm donation is still legal.

The article highlights the fact that anonymous sperm donation and insemination are truly a commodity-based industry just like any other from the diamond to oil trade. When a coveted item is prohibited or difficult to come by demands shift sending consumers to different markets and in some cases, laying the groundwork for illicit trade. If the recent Canadian ruling in British Columbia outlawing anonymous donation spreads across all the provinces, one wonders if the US will experience a similar onslaught of mother's seeking anonymously donated sperm.

Unlike diamonds and oil however, sperm is purchased with the goal of producing life. Human beings are involved in this "sperm economy."  What I don't understand, however, is why a similar article on people traveling to Africa to get a kidney would make people gasp.... aghast at the injustice of life (via organs) for money. Yet, when we are talking sperm trade, things are different. It's acceptable to travel to another country and buy genetic material in an arrangement which is detrimental to the child.

There is one major mistake in the story, it references multiple times a "shortage" of sperm in the UK and this is incorrect. There is plenty of sperm in the UK, it just isn't provided via anonymous donation. What mother's are flocking to Denmark for is the chance to create a life without the responsibility of providing access to their child's genetic heritage.

Technorati Tags: Anonymous, ChildrenFamilyParentingSperm DonorPregnancySocietyWomenSocialInfertility


  1. "the responsibility of providing access to their child's genetic heritage."
    what? The child IS genetic heritage, it's the living product of that genetic heritage, it contains all the genes relevant to it's biology, and considering it only has half the set from the sperm, any "genetic heritage" from the father would be a half truth.

    Though I'm still confused on two things:
    What is this definition of "genetic heritage"? How is this (the lack of knowing the genetic donor) detrimental to a child, and is preventing this detriment the "responsibility" you're referring to?

  2. Hi Anonymous - Yes,that is right your child is part of your genetic heritage but the parent's genetic heritage or background is not the only thing of importance here. The child too deserves the chance to know their genetic heritage - that is the both of the individuals that provided the DNA that dictates much of who they are.

    In the anonymous sperm donor scenario the child has half of their genetic heritage from their mother. The other half, provided by the sperm donor is indeed a "half truth" as the donor possesses half of their chromosomes and genetic code and they may have no access to that individual. This means they may not know about potential health risks, they may not know their ancestral heritage, they may not know numerous siblings in the world and they may never even know who they look like.

    A parent is responsible for the well-being of their child. If you choose to be inseminated by an anonymous donor you are making a decision that is not in the best interest of your child. I have not discovered a donor conceived adult via an anonymous donor yet who does not feel the selection of an anonymous donor was not in their best interest. This is the "responsibility" to which I refer. A known donor should be selected.

    Just as a mother feels it important to be genetically connected to a child and therefore opts to be inseminated, so too will a child desire to share a genetic connection with both their parents.

    To be clear, I have no issue with artificial insemination of fertility counseling. It is anonymity which I am against.


Please let me know what you think. I appreciate feedback of every kind.

You Might Also Like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...