If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years it’s unregulated sperm donation is here to stay. Black lungs on cigarette packets, the ban of smoking in public places and limited advertising hasn’t stopped smoking either after all. People do what people want to do.
Women who want to use a sperm donor without involvement of a licensed clinic do so for a variety of reasons. Many of these women are sensible and make sure to understand and act on the long-term medical, legal, social and ethical implications. It’s safe to assume they won’t use Facebook to choose half of their child’s genes.
This piece on BBC Radio 2 was about the women who do and the men who are more than happy to benefit from this desire. The mother and donor speaking on this show are actually rather measured – the donor calling for a maximum number of offspring is rather unusual! – and not typical.
I was the critical voice but stressed I genuinely get the ‘Why’ of these mothers-to-be. I too wish there was a system that combined the safety and security of the licensed route with the flexibility and choice of the unlicensed route. I understand that women don’t want to get sucked into an medicalised system and feel they’re paying over the odds for something that is clearly ‘freely’ and widely available on the street and online. What I don’t get though that as an alternative they go for the extreme of carelessness, examples mentioned in the interview.
Unregulated sperm donation is here to stay but lets at least recognise there are various degrees of sensibility. When it comes to the wellbeing of a child, choosing half the child’s genes and the number of its half-siblings is a choice for life. It should be treated as such.
Link to the show – piece starts at 34:45