Sunday, March 08, 2009

Interesting blog

I recently received an email from Kathleen R. LaBounty who was the woman interviewed in the Houston Press about being a sperm donor child that I mentioned in a previous post "Are you my father?" She let me know that she has a blog, Child of a Stranger: Conception Through Anonymous Sperm Donation that is full of information about what it is like to be the sperm donor child of an anonymous donor:

I am the child of a stranger, produced through an anonymous sperm donation. Despite writing all 600 men from my donor's former medical school yearbooks, receiving 250 responses, and going through 16 DNA tests, I have yet to find my missing family. While many other countries banned anonymous donations by the late 1980s to early 1990s and instead only use donors willing to release their identity, anonymous egg and sperm donations are still allowed and frequently practiced in the United States.

I especially found this post intriguing.


Blogger Unknown said...

Anonymity is the only safe way for a guy to do that sort of thing. Otherwise - he might find himself with however many years of child support payments his state favors.

7:56 AM, March 08, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There seems to be a big hole in her life. She is part someone she will never know. I can't quite get my hands around how that would make me feel.

I do hope who raised her loved and cherished her. And I hope she learns how to fill the hole with that.

9:30 AM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger M. Simon said...

Consider that about 10% of the children born do not know their real father. And most of them do not know they don't know.

12:05 PM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger Adrian said...

Yeah -- you hear all kinds of crap about rape. We've practically made it so that whenever a woman regrets sex it is "rape". Adultery, on the other hand, is completely legit. You just need to "grow up" if you've been abused that way. And its consequence, paternity fraud, is not even talked about. At all.

Talking about paternity fraud as something that baby mommas do to extort money out of men they aren't even married to and that aren't even the fathers of their children is like talking about rape as if it were just some ordinary physical assualt. To talk about rape that way, is to not talk about the actual rape -- the additional sexual assault -- at all. And, that is exactly how we talk about paternity fraud. If we handled rape like paternity fraud, then date rape, rape by intoxication, slipping rohypnol into a woman's drink and raping her would all be perfectly legal. We would say stuff like "you just need to grow up" to victims of that kind of sexual abuse. And, if they end up having to have their rapist's child for some reason, you wouldn't even hear about it.

If we handled adultery like rape, we would consider it something that women do to men -- a men's issue -- and we would be putting women behind bars for it. Men that find out after they are married that their wives were kind of slutty in their college days, would be able to get their wives thrown in jail for "adultery". And, the slightest bit of immodesty or indiscretion would be grounds for "adultery" and would carry severe legal and social consequences. You would probably get executed for something like paternity fraud if you could even actually pull that one off.

12:51 PM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger Notes and letters to myself.... said...

Dr. Helen -

My question to you is -- In your experience do you find that those kids who are conceived via sperm donation have a harder time because there is an absence of a father figure in their nuclear family? Whereas a child conceived of egg donation to a couple and is carried by his/her mother may not have that sense of loss because both a mother and father are present?

I am doing my own research about this because my son was conceived via egg donation and he has none of these issues that a lot of these donor sperm kids have. Frankly, it's very sad and breaks my heart that they are having such a tough time, and makes me wonder why.

Having sperm donors agree to open donation is fine if both parties agree, however, many many sperm donors like egg donors don't donate to sign up to be parents. That's not as I am sure you know what egg donation or sperm donation is all about.

And then there are lots of kids in the world today that are born to single mom's for many reasons. Accidental pregnancy, and the father (or sperm donor as I have heard them referred to) wants nothing to do with a child conceived this way, unplanned, unwanted, children that are born from rape, from adultery etc.. My point is knowing who your father is doesn't make one a whole person. Lots of kids know who their fathers are and frankly wish they didn't.

In going back to these kids who are products of sperm donation I often ask myself what they are missing to make themselves feel so incomplete and empty. Is it just knowing who they came from? And what if they meet this person and he has zero interest? Will that do more damage?

These are things can cause me to pause and say Hmmmm.

1:13 PM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...


I think there might be a longing to know where they came from. I imagine if must be hard not to know at all. At least if you know a father who is not interested, one can feel a sense of closure,perhaps? Kathleen, the woman who was a sperm donor baby emailed me with this information presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference:

The highlights include that:
-While only 1.2% of our participants had identifying information about their donors, 86.9% wanted to know his identity. More specifically, 35.7% of our sample wanted to meet him once, 26.2% wanted to establish a relationship, 25.0% wanted identifying information, 11.9% only desired nonidentifying information, and 1.2% didn't want anything.
-Most of our participants viewed the man who provided sperm as a biological father (versus donor).
-Most (80%) searched for him.
-Most wanted to know their donor and half-siblings.
-12.9% felt that sperm donation shouldn't be practiced at all, 1.2% supported only anonymous donations, 3.5% supported donors who provide some non-identifying information, 57.7% supported only donors who would release identifying information to offspring of any age, and 24.7% believed that donors who provide indepth nonidentifying information is acceptable.

2:27 PM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger Liz said...

honestly, this is the fruit of selfishness. People who want kids so badly that they really don't care what problems the kid has as a result of their getting what they want. The kiddos have birth defects because you used high level fertility drugs and got four or five of them??? NO got what you wanted. The kid grows up with emotional issues because you used a sperm donor...NO got what you wanted...
human beings are not commodities to be conjured into being...
and I am talking about married women who do this stuff. if you are a single person and are stooping to sperm donorhood to have a kid....that is to me the height of selfishness. If kids mean that much to you, then go volunteer to be a big sister. You will have far more of an impact than creating a kid with an anonymous daddy who will resent you half the time for bringing them into being...
we think in this country that we can mold life to be just how we want it. we are delusional as to some of the harsh realities that sometimes life just doesn't pan out the way you want it to. Thus we create more problems trying to force things to happen...but that's a whole blog post unto itself.
strong words, I know. And no doubt I will piss someone off with this..but it's how I feel and it's hard to sugarcoat it.

3:25 PM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Liz, there is another side to this.

My wife and I were working toward adoption when the fertility clinic we had tried called us about using donor embryos. The clinic had "left over" embryos from a couple who valued life and did not want the embryos to be thrown away.

Instead, they were given to us. It gave us three beautiful, intelligent children with no medical problems. They are all at the top of their class, and we get no public assistance.

Way I figure it, they will help pay your Social Security Liz! I know this is not the situation you were complaining about, and I think your complaints have validity.

But the other side of the story is wonderful.


8:16 PM, March 08, 2009  
Blogger Liz said...

No, I am not talking about that situation. Those embryos are already there. That is the same with adoption. The kids are here already, so we need to do what is best for them. No, I am talking about people who are CREATING children because they are so frickin' selfish that they can see nothing but what they want for themselves, even if it will wind up hurting the objects of their so called love.
And I don't care if they are paying my social security. I could also be footing their welfare payments if they are so emotionally damaged or physically handicapped that they cannot function, thanks to someone else's selfishness.
So it works both ways...

3:12 AM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"So it works both ways..."

My point exactly.


10:54 AM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Has anyone else noted that adoption type issues seem to be more salient for women than for men? I have known several women, including my sister, for whom adoption issues were very important. It seems that most of the adopted men I know, including myself, are not troubled by the arrangement.

Neurologically, women devote 250% more brain area to processing relational issues, I wonder if this difference I have noticed might be because of the neurological differences.


11:36 AM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...


There is a big difference between verbalizing the importance of adoption issues and telling people adoptions issues aren't an issue when it seems like they are.

I know of a few men who were adopted who also have some real challenges with forming lasting relationships, and have had some behavioral challenges. I can't help but think those challenges might go back to being adopted.

11:39 AM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger gizmo said...


Kids can wind up with emotional problems for any number of about a bazillion reasons, so I'm reasonably sure we shouldn't paint people who use sperm donors as “selfish.” There’s no evidence that someone conceieved via sperm donorship is any more likely to have emotional problems than someone conceived naturally. In any event, everyone has some sort of emotional problems, so why pillory people who use sperm donors to help themselves reproduce?

You’re also missing the fact that Ms. LaBounty is a professional victim. This is a woman who asserts that the fertility industry is intentionally creating emotionally damaged people as a part of keynote addresses at a symposium!

She could learn to accept that her life doesn’t actually suck, that she has two loving parents, and that the most she’s really missed out on is some information on medical background. But that sort of healthy thinking doesn’t get you feted on Oprah and The Today Show and in the pages of People, Parade, and the Houston Press now does it?

11:56 AM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...


Has anyone actually done a study to find out whether kids brought into this world under less-than-usual circumstances have more emotional problems than others? If not, I'd hold my opinion until someone does such a study.

How about a study about kids who are conceived with egg donation? In vitro fertilization? who have been adopted?

The study I want to see done is when parents are so desperate for a kid they pursue both adoption and fertility treatment as a solution. Sooner or later they successfully adopt a Chinese girl or a small child from Central America only to find out that the fertility treatments are working.

Then we see a family with an odd looking older kid that seems out of place and a number of younger kids that look like the parents. I want to know how that little Chinese girl feels. But we will never ever know because the psychologists will never research this political hot potato. The ardent right-to-lifers want all of us to think that adoption is this big panacea for all the ails. The adoption industry wants to make money. These two groups will make sure those studies will never take place.

12:20 PM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger gizmo said...


Until someone does such a study, there is no evidence for the assertion, which is why I said "There’s no evidence that someone conceieved via sperm donorship is any more likely to have emotional problems than someone conceived naturally."

I am adopted, which is why I hold such disdain for people like Ms. LaBounty. She has two loving parents, and she's still not satisfied.

12:26 PM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Cham wrote: "There is a big difference between verbalizing the importance of adoption issues and telling people adoptions issues aren't an issue when it seems like they are."

You are exactly right. That is why I confined my observations to people who had actually sought their birth parents. I figure actions speak louder, well, you know the rest. 8)


2:21 PM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

Yes, the adopted adult children that find the birth parents are often the women.

3:41 PM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Why do you think that is?


5:08 PM, March 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope she finds what she seeks. Closure is good. There are a couple things in my own life I'd like to get some closure on.

5:32 PM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

I don't know, I've never really thought about it. Maybe it has to do with women being more social and more interested in the family unit. Women are also familiar with writing letters, paperwork and making phone calls maybe. I guess when you do one of these searches you may eventually get to a point where you have to pick up the phone, call somebody, introduce yourself and explain what you want. Again, that may be more easy for people who are comfortable with talking, hence, women.

My male friend's sister did a successful search and traveled to Texas to find out what was what, my male friend refused to assist with the search or travel to Texas, but he did reply to an email and was appreciative to find out about the twisted and dysfunctional family who did him a huge favor in giving him up. If anything, both of them learned there are good reasons why people give up their kids.

5:36 PM, March 09, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

BTW, it's pure bigotry to say that artificial insemination is any less good/bad then sexual conception. How dare you judge people!

3:13 PM, March 10, 2009  
Blogger Bolie Williams IV said...

So what about couples where the man is infertile but the woman is fertile? They want a child but probably don't want the wife to have sex with another man. Sperm donation is probably their best answer. And anonymous sperm donation potentially avoids problems that may come up with custody or child support later (for all three parties).

1:01 PM, March 11, 2009  
Blogger linda said...


Fertility drugs do NOT cause birth defects. Very few people have 4 or 5 children as a result of IVF as well. It's a fluke when this happens - nearly all doctors tell a woman the risks of putting in excessive numbers of embryos, but the final decision is left to the women. But even if you put in two embryos, they can split and you can wind up with 4. So even a responsible woman can easily wind up with more children than she anticipated.

3:26 AM, April 01, 2009  

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