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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

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