|looking to mate|
In the current dust up Down Under, Neil Richards, 58, of Sydney, answered a gay couple's magazine advertisement more than 10 years ago for a sperm donor and provided sperm to Jesse Star, 49, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. This is a man who wanted to have a child:
Richards paid $5,000 for the fertility treatments for Star, was present when the baby was born, paid for the midwife who attended to the home birth, and gave the couple $150 a week in support for the first year. Star and her partner, Sofia Marita, agreed that he could be involved in the child's life, but how much was not specified. He now sees the child once every two weeks for five hours.
The couple has since split up, and now Marita has taken Richards and the New South Wales Registry of Birth, Death and Marriages to court to have Richards name removed from the child birth certificate. Richards says he has spent more than $50,000 in legal fees in the last ten years to keep his name on the birth certificate. Despite this, a sperm donor has no legal responsibilities and cannot make decisions about the child's upbringing and education.
The birth certificate is more than a bit of paper. It tells people who you are. No one seems to care about fathers these days," he said. We do; we believe they have the right to raise their children if the mother cannot or does not want to.
We applaud this father who is fighting to a) know his child; b) give his child an identity that is real--not fake--as putting Sofia Marita's name on the birth certificate would be. Here in America anonymous sperm "donation," is norm. Women and couples who go this route are then free to raise their children in peace, without nagging intervention on the part of the biological father.
But this is wrong on so many levels, and robs a child of knowing who is ancestry is on one whole half of him. It's all fine that such children will know, for the most part, half of their biological identity; but that is half a loaf, and not good enough when we are dealing with identity. Doctors seeking a family medical history do not say, Oh, just write down your mother's side; we don't need to know the rest of your genetic profile. Likewise, everyone deserves to know their full lineage.
Her demeanor indicated she expected us to think this was just fine and dandy. I mean, there were sperm-donor children attending as grown up and they were attending because they wanted to change the law and find their fathers. I know on other sites where sperm-donation is discussed, they do not refer to the sperm donors as fathers; but biologically, unless you are a new kind of being, that's what these men are.
Plucky Annette Baran, that early social-worker advocate of open records for adoptees, spoke up and told the woman what she had done was wrong. Wrong. Unethical. Selfish. The woman seemed quite nonplussed. I could only assume that she came to the conference fully expecting to be understood and accepted. Yet anyone who conceives a child with a anonymous sperm seller are thinking of no one but themselves when they procreate this way. They are not imagining the world ten, twenty, fifty years hence when the infant will be an adult with questions of identity, questions that are as old as the human race. At least, there are places in the world where anonymous sperm used for procreation is against the law: Great Britian, and now, as we learned the other day, in British Columbia.
As one commenter has noted: Even if you don't like the way it turns out, everyone deserves to know where she came from.--lorraine
Link to Sperm donor tries to stay on birth papers
For a convincing case that lies of omission can create dysfunctional families, read: Lethal Secrets, Annette Baran and Rueben Pannor's book on the psychology of donor insemination.
See also: Anonymous baby making in British Columbia is outlawed