Quantcast
Connect with us

Some dangers of added regulations to sperm banks

Published

on

I'm seeing this story linked all over the place, and I want to hop in and offer some skepticism about the NY Times reporting on this.  There's two things that go completely unmentioned in the original piece, and these are two details that I think are critical to understanding the situation.  One, the story implies, I believe falsely, that the average sperm donor has dozens of children created using his sperm.  I doubt that's true, for reasons that will become obvious in a moment.  I suspect when sperm banks tell donors that it's a handful of children on average, they're telling the truth.  For most donors, it will just be a few.

ADVERTISEMENT

That said, there are a handful of donors who do end up having their sperm used to create dozens of children.  The story implies that this is strictly for profit, and that no other motivations could be in play.  But I've read a lot of literature from women who've gone the sperm bank route for child-bearing, and the story I get from these narratives is that the problem is way more complex than that.  A lot of women—especially if they're a little older—struggle to conceive with donor sperm.  They'll pick a guy out of the book, go a couple rounds, find they can't conceive, pick another guy out of the book, same story, rinse and repeat, and eventually the sperm bank will take pity on them and say, "Why don't you use this donor?  He gets everyone pregnant."  

See, not all sperm is created equal, especially when you put it through the storage process that sperm banks use on donor sperm.  Some of it just works better—the sperm is stronger and the sperm count is higher—and it's more effective at impregnating women.  Once banks realize this, they're going to make note of the donors with the most efficient pregnancy rates. Which inclines me to think that the accusations that this is all about profit are missing the point.  A lot of banks could wring more profit out of women by letting them keep picking donors out of the book without giving them any information about the efficacy of the sperm, and that they don't do that suggests that problem is, at bare minimum, more complex than that. No one likes the idea of one guy making 200 kids with his sperm donations, but I suspect the desire to make the customers happy and actually get them pregnant is in play here. 

Setting limits on how many babies can be conceived with one donor would probably go a long way towards preventing these "oh my god, he's got 150 biological offspring!" situations, but what the NY Times story fails to note is that it would do so by dramatically reducing the number of women who successfully get pregnant from sperm banks.  This isn't a cost-free situation, in other words.  It's easy for women whose kids are already born to focus on the only real concern to them, which is the number of kids that are biological half-siblings of theirs, but if they were in the shoes of the women who have failed to conceive with various donors and are being told, "Why not use this guy?  He gets everyone pregnant."  I think their calculations would be very different.  

I don't really have a dog in this fight.  On one hand, the pro-choice side of me wants to make a full-throated argument for women being able to use every tool possible to conceive, if that's what's important to them.  On the flip side, I also tend to think our society puts too much emphasis on the idea that you're an incomplete woman if you don't have children, creating a cultural space where it's basically unacceptable to say that this particular thing isn't going to happen for some people, and it creates situations like this. Of course, we're not going to fix the "baby at any cost" mentality simply by restricting sperm banks, so that's a factor, as well.  I just want to point out that there's a lot of ideologues putting their thumb on the scale of this one—people who object to single mothers and lesbians having children come to mind—and we should be incredibly cautious about calling for regulations without looking at the full picture.  If you determine that substantially reducing the number of single women, women partnered with infertile men, and lesbiansn who are able to fulfill their goal of motherhood is an acceptable price to pay in order to limit the number of biological offspring a man has through a sperm bank, okay. But know that's the price that will likely be paid. 


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Stop it! Stop it’: Shocking video shows young girl in Seattle crying after reportedly being maced by police

Published

on

Video posted to social media on Saturday reportedly shows the aftermath after a young girl was maced by Seattle Police.

The girl can be heard screaming as protesters attempted to deliver first aid.

"Stop it! Stop it," she screamed.

Here is a thread Twitter user Kayvon Behroozian posted to Twitter, tagging local media outlets, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.

Apparently Officer Campbell (see thread — mustache) of @SeattlePD maced the CHILD crying in this video. He did not provide his badge number upon request, unlike his colleagues. @seattletimes @Q13FOX @MayorJenny @carmenbest (posting on behalf of friend who took these videos/pics) pic.twitter.com/0ojb37RSJt

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Protesters chant ‘Eat the Rich’ while marching down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills

Published

on

Protesters in Los Angeles marched down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on Saturday in protest of police violence.

The protest was one of dozens being held across America following the killing of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Protesters could be heard chanting, "Eat the Rich."

https://twitter.com/jamieloftusHELP/status/1266862052762480640

Here are some additional images from the scene:

https://twitter.com/moscowmul3/status/1266861437030260741

https://twitter.com/disc0nap/status/1266862125781155840

https://twitter.com/WolfHudsonIsBi/status/1266861945514156032

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Large fires in Philadelphia — as police scramble to save City Hall

Published

on

Protests in the City of Brotherly Love resulted in multiple police cares being lit on fire as windows were broken in the town's iconic City Hall.

Anti-police violence protests have erupted across America following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Here are some of the scenes from the Philadelphia protests:

https://twitter.com/frozenfiyah/status/1266855169326747648

https://twitter.com/BenAlexander__/status/1266855077442195457

https://twitter.com/Mike_t_orres/status/1266856156577832962

https://twitter.com/anna_orso/status/1266851594047574016

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image