90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Debate Over Sperm Donors

Sperm banks are suddenly big in the movies. We look at the real life debate over test-tube daddies.

Hollywood is suddenly all over the subject of sperm donors.

Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston are both in sperm donor stories – The Back-up Plan and The Switch. Annette Benning and Julianne Moore have the big one right now – “The Kids Are All Right” – with them as lesbian moms and Mark Ruffalo as the donor guy. Does that make him the dad?

For some, that’s the issue. Culture war conservatives are looking skeptically at the sperm donor business. So are some donor kids. Hollywood has its own view

This hour, On Point: test-tube daddies, real life, and the big screen.

Guests:

Debora Spar, president of Barnard College and author of “The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception”

Katia Hetter, freelance journalist. She used an annoymous sperm donor to conceive her daughter.

W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. His op-ed “Daddy Was Only a Donor” appeared in the Wal Street Journal

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Lowell Stephens

    Looking forward to this show! My son of 23 years is the ‘product’ of my wife and a sperm donor. As I am a carrier of the Marfan Syndrome (an autosomal dominat genetic disease) it was the only way my wife could have a baby. My son is now a successful professional in Atlanta. At the time the information on the donor was sketchy at best; General description, race, occupation, general health and religion. Today the information as to genetic history and family health is much more detailed. As it turned out the one atribute we blew off had the most impact on our son as to his looks, religion.
    Keep up the good work VPR. A member for 17 years now living at the southern end of your broadcast range in Greenfield, MA. But thanks to the internet I was able to listen to you in Hanoi for the last 3 years.

  • Ed

    Because of human dignity, a child has a right to have a mother and a father, and the right to be the result of a free act of love between those two people. So, we shouldn’t encourage or support test-tube conceptions.

  • AKILEZ

    I used to work for a lab in Boston delivering specimen for IUI and IVF patients that was in 1993.

    Sperm Donors are really screened for genetic diffects and sperm counts. the former is hard to test and latter is pretty easy.

    It is still hard to find male donors with good sperms.

  • http://ddunn45@beld.net dan

    Only a moron would toss their genetic package to the wind and ignore the moral implications of such, in my opinion, an immoral and callous act.

  • Renee

    I have a daughter from the California Cryobank as well. I would not consider the donor a “dad” or a “father”. When my daughter is old enough, she can use all the resources available – and i will assist her as i can – to locate the Donor. More importantly, i have been in contact with her “donor siblings”, who she can also contact

  • Ellen Dibble

    Dan, you know what? I agree with you. I would feel that anyone cursed with my set of genes would need a large extended family with a similar set of genes to help me learn to handle that.

  • g

    FYI…

    “The Sperm-Donor Kids Are Not Really All Right. A new study shows they suffer.”

    http://www.slate.com/id/2256212

  • laurie Bogdan

    My Husband and I have a 15 year old donor Son. We consider the donor the donor our son has a dad. We did become intrigued by the possibility of ½ siblings and now have had several reunions with 8 of his siblings out of 10. We love our ½ sibs and their parents and will continue to keep in touch all over the country. I have found that although we are all curious about the donor we all have not taken the step to search. The single moms are a bit more interested than the kids with a dad.

  • ThresherK

    To swipe from Roger Ebert: This movie isn’t good because it’s about a lesbian couple with two children by the same donor. It’s good because of how it is, not what it is.

    I was once a teen and liked privacy, to the extent of not wanting to ask about not having to explain to my Dad and Mom about how I don’t want to have to ask for it.

    There are no words to explain how true that scene (11m after the hour) rings about the son who, isn’t rebelling or grunting or “slackering” but doesn’t want to talk about something private, to the extent of not wanting to talk about how he doesn’t want to talk about it.

  • Dan Sullivan

    What happens when the sperm donor child unknowingly has a child his sperm donor sister years down the road? Civilizations and cultures have legislated against sibling marriage for millenia and for good reason. This is just one of the pitfalls of sperm donor procreation.
    Creating life in this way is unequivocally immoral, unjust to the child and ultimately selfish, no matter what the impulse.

  • Ellen Dibble

    But I am not against infertile couples seeking reproduction in this way. A known sperm donor seems a better solution. He could be available to weigh in about this or that. Ditto of egg donors.
    To me “traditional family” applies to the Amazon outback, maybe. Or in the English upper crust with Sir or Earl to be handed on.

  • Steve

    I have a hard time being OK with “designing” new children when so many orphaned, abused and neglected children are crying out for a family. Our world — America notwithstanding — faces an orphan crisis, and these new frontiers completely ignore that fact.

  • RA

    Lazy radio at its best! I have NPR on for most of the day at my workplace and I believe this is the 3rd program on this subject in less than a week. Terri Gross did it and I am sure there was another program as well. They feature the Same audio clips and either the same commentators or people who voice the same opinions. Talk about a Stealth marketing campaign! Often wonder if this is a virtual package piped down radio row, all you have to do is provide the on air talent, Tom is this case, and have him follow the script; instant, low cost programing for an hour. Look for the same topic / script on Diane Rehm and Emily Rooney on your radio soon. // On the more broad scale, memo to Tom and staff – why is so necessary to determine the validity of a subject by viewing it thru the lense of popular culture? Put another way, ever notice Just how Many programs / topics utilize lifts from recent movie dialoge to make it appear relevent? NPR: New Publicity Radio? // Non Offensive Programing Radio??

  • Greg

    I wonder what kind of resemblances the 1/2 siblings have with the donor kids. Beyond physical traits, what is it like to see the kids playing together?

    I agree that donors have zero rights. But the kids have every right to know where their DNA came from.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If sperm donor kids are “troubled kids,” you can imagine those adopted can be troubled too. If you feel you and your partner can handle that, it is worth it in extraordinary ways. But the children are likely to continue troubled. There are alcohol syndrome babies, and crack babies. They can grow up a lot healthier and happier than if not adopted, but to my observation, expectations are not that said children will mostly grow up to be neurosurgeons. You have to be happy with happiness itself.

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Gattaca is a really good movie.

  • http://www.onpointradio.org/2010/07/the-debate-over-sperm-donors#comments Beverly Ewart

    How do they prevent people conceived through sperm-donation by the same donor from marrying each other later in life (because they wouldn’t know who their donor was)? (I concede that this seems highly unlikely, but there seems to be the potential for it.)

  • Ella

    So what about the children who are born out of wedlock, whos father is not in their life? I think that sperm donors are not responsible for the child. There are so many children that are born and the father does not want to be apart of their life. So what is the difference between that and being a sperm donor?

  • http://onanov.com Donald Baxter, Iowa City, IA

    Brilliant comment. Bring up a stupid popular song (“In the year 2525″) and extrapolate to this subject. Just as people throw around Aldous Huxley searching for parallels to “1984.” It’s nonsense. Of course adoption is a socially responsible activity to forming families but some seem to require that biological connection or want the experience of giving birth. These are not inconsequential experiences and I’d be concerned for the future if humans stopped wanting to have them.

  • g

    What about those kids who HAVE fathers, who are dead beat fathers who don’t want to have anything to do with the kid?

    Those kids aren’t included into THE study!!!!

    Just because a man is a biological father, it doesn’t make him A FATHER!!!

  • Lee

    Your guest says we should instead adopt. I sure hope he has adopted a child and has had the horrifying experience that it can be. The push to use a donor is not narcissism, it is the simple fact that the adoption procedure is too expensive and gut wrenching. Until the government gets serious about making adoption easier, no one should be surprised at the use of donors. Don’t judge until you have walked in someones shoes.

  • g

    Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy!!
    – Philip Whitmore Snr

  • g

    and another one …

    It is much easier to become a father than to be one.
    ~Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man, 1994

  • Peter

    Sperm donation and artificial insemination reduces the male to the level of a “seed contributor”. I thought we were working as a society to make men feel that their role in the family goes beyond seed contribution and economic support.

  • Karen Hamilton

    You know, the point that “donor kids” have a difficult time with coming to terms with where they’ve come from is kind of a moot point. Most children, even those who come from the white picket fence Leave it to Beaver families have a difficult time with these exact same questions. It’s human nature to wonder where we’ve come from, why we’re here, and who we really are. These kids’ problems aren’t worse than the problems that kids who have a mother and father in the typical sense, they’re just different. I myself had a typical mother and father type family and I still struggle with where I’ve come from and who I am. I don’t think that this should be a legitimate arguing point.

  • RA

    Hey Tom – if Joni in the movie was named after Joni Mitchell, is it possible that character Laser was in fact named after Lazar Wolf from Fiddler on the Roof and if so – what are the possible implications?! Cue Fiddler music for the bump – out.

  • John

    The argument that a child is best raised by his or her genetic parents might be valid but the conclusions stated by W. Bradford Wilcox are not valid. If a woman uses donated sperm to reproduce, that child would be raised with 1 genetic parent which is 50% less than his ideal. Therefore, a child given up for adoption would be raised by parents 100% short of this ideal. Should they have been aborted instead?

  • John

    Are children of sperm donors better adjusted than most of us by not having to think of their parents having sex?

  • Mari

    Caleb made a great point about consumer ethics propelling the trend of artificially conceived “designer babies”. I agree that it ultimately diminishes the value of a human life simply because it is the result of a shopping trip. Caveat emptor.

  • Lisa Pike

    I’m one of two moms to my almost 4 year old daughter. we tried sperm donors for 2 years, then 2 ivf’s and finally did an embryo adoption. i know there are lots of needy kids who need adoptive parents, but i really wanted the experience of pregnancy, the bonding of breastfeeding, the ability, through my diet and exercise, to nurture a fetus – and now i have a wonderful and smart and confident daughter. we have no info on the genetic parents other than hair and eye color. We already do the bedtime ritual of “tell me when i was born” describing how mommy had trouble getting pregnant so i needed an egg and sperm from someone else …. and already in ther 3 year old class we get “why doesn’t she have a daddy” from other three year olds. i say ” why don’t you have two mommies?”

  • frank scott

    Sperm was never designed to be stored in tubes, frozen, or delivered by a syringe. Is there a degredation to the sperm after going thru these unnatural processes? Why don’t women looking for sperm select a donor, then arrange for an anonymous delivery in the natural way? It can be done, and is.

  • Terri Davidson

    I really wish NPR had included professionals from the infertility field in this discussion. You would be generating a much more well-rounded and unbiased discussion and could listen to how the field is addressing these issues. Even your introductory sentence about test tube daddies — is misleading. Most donor sperm is used in intrauterine insemination (IUI) versus in vitro fertilization, where the term “test tube babies” has been coined. Yes, the sperm is in a vial, but this is a stretch that is not entirely correct.

  • Carol Schuler

    I have known adopted children who even with the greatest parents still have problems accepting they have been adopted. I expect children born because of sperm donation to be no different. I believe most will be well adjusted adults. Look at hetrosexual couples and their offspring-same odds. I’m almost 70 and have 3 children, 4 grandchildren and believe sperm banks are a great resource for many lovely people. Am looking forward to seeing the movie!

  • Sharon Parker

    I agree with Peter. Fathers should be just as integral a part of a child’s upbringing as mothers. As with all things, balance is to be sought, and for that, you need the male and the female make-ups and perspectives for successfully rearing children. Yes, there are too many deadbeat dads, but that doesn’t take away from holding the true standard of a father and a mother as the best environment for a child. I believe homosexuality is wrong, and further compounds the wrong by bringing innocent children into the picture. There, I’ve said it, it’s wrong, and not in the child’s best interest.

  • James L. Beede

    Two comments:
    Mr. Wilcox’s statements re negative feelings experienced by children of sperm donors are noted: but are they at different from those felt by adopted children?

    Also, a close experience with parental figures of both genders ideally gives the growing child the pleasure of working things out with people of the same and opposite sex – to the satisfaction of both people. But an actual parent of both genders is not necessary for this.

  • http://silverimagelimited.com Alexander Thompson

    The greatly dynamic task of creating a same sex parenting family seems to be a response to the boredom naturally created in a relationship where conjugal procreation is impossible. Why burden a child with the question at all? Why not enter into an at least respectful if not ‘love’ relationship with a man who’s name will be known? Also this person’s full medical history would be available should questions arise later in the child’s life. Hint: Men, all men, are horny.

  • gemli

    Christian conservatives representing organizations like The Marriage Project are trying to put their own hateful, narrow minded views on the backs of children who were conceived outside of the one man/one woman family, using them as unwilling dray horses to carry their divisive message.

    Perhaps Mr. Wilcox, in citing this study from the conservative Institute for American Values, should interview teenagers who were born unwanted into broken homes. They might have to visit homeless shelters and prisons to get enough respondents, but their comments might be enlightening.

    Couples who cannot have children do not need additional roadblocks, discouragement, or scolding. They should not be threatened with specters of unhappy, angst ridden children as a result of turning to modern medicine to circumvent their infertility. And they most certainly do not need medieval religious dogma informing their decision as to how to bring a wanted, loved child into the world.

  • Toby Kahan

    I want to thank Katia Hetter’s corrective in pointing out that no matter how a child comes into this world, and into a family — whether through sperm donation, adoption, or “the old fashioned way”, a term I use myself — the child is the parents’ “own”.

    I found it doubly as troubling that the caller who used the term “my own” was a social worker. I would expect those who work in the human services field to show far more respect and sensitivity to children and families who are meant to be together, no matter how that happens.

  • Frank Shaughnessy

    Tom:

    I’m listening to today’s program about sperm donors and the resultant children. I’m hearing terms like genetic father, partner, my child, etc.

    There seems to be a quality of possession connected to the child. The woman all seem to talk about wanting their child and the child as being my child.

    As a divorced parent of a child and a step parent it seems to me that the man’s role has been reduced to sperm donor, not father. A child needs a father, just as much as a mother. Both contribute to the child’s development and sense of self.

    If a woman could conceive without any input from a man then she would have “her child”.

    If men could be pregant then woman could be reduced to egg donors.

    Children need a mother and father if at all possible. Many single parents do cope without having the other parent, it can be done. But let’s not forgot the best interests of the child in the discussion.

    Frank Shaughnessy

  • g

    I am a single mother of a 7 month old boy.

    Baby’s “father” has put me through so much stress and problems all throughout my pregnancy and during the first few months of his life that I want to have nothing to do with him anymore. And he is still causing issues now.

    Sometimes I wish I would have just gone to the sperm bank to have the baby, versus deal with some a**hole.
    Yes, we loved each other, but that love fastly disappeared once the a**hole side came out.

    40% of women having babies now are single women and I am THAT STATISTIC.

    I believe that kids from gay families, with two parents are better off than kids raised by single women having kids by themselves. It is SO HARD and I wouldn’t recommend ANYONE to go through having a baby alone.

  • Caleb K

    To follow up with my earlier comment on the air and respond to one posted above.

    “Of course adoption is a socially responsible activity to forming families but some seem to require that biological connection or want the experience of giving birth.”

    What some seem to require for themselves is the whole problem with this way of thinking. The only socially irresponsible aspect of this whole debate is the fact that all of these women think in a self-centered vacuum concerning their personal life-decision to produce a child, their personal desires in what they want in their offspring, how it will compliment their life personally. However, what needs to be said is that IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. It’s about all of us. The world, as a whole, is gravely overpopulated already and adding yet another high-level consumer to the mix – versus dealing with the so many destitute millions already irresponsibly forced into its impoverished, exploited, indifferent reality – is repulsive, whether or not one inseminates naturally or artificially. To add in the biological reductionist tendencies of a myopic consumerist culture – I want a humble, high-achieving, active, affable Italian with brown hair (“I, me, mine” to reference another hokey pop lyric from the 60s) – on top of the basic atrocity of reckless child production adds insult to injury.

  • Brenda

    I have two comments. The first about the debate. I am a full time single mom of an eight year old. The father left me when he was five weeks old and left him when he was five years old. He was traumatized, but what I have found is that he has so many people that love him and are a big part of his life, that I no longer have the constant fear that he will not be ok. Now I just worry like a normal parent. He has plenty of love and he has one parent and many grandparents and uncles and family friends who put so much effort into him. This loss will always be part of him though. I do not understand why there would be any issue at all. These children have two loving parents or in some cases one, but in all cases, people thought clearly about there want to have a child. These children are lucky. Not all children have this luck with the parents that they were dealt. I think we need to stop focusing on the traditional family and start focusing on how we change our society to meet the needs and expectations of the non traditional family as that is now a big part of our reality.

    Secondly, I do not know if your staff gets these. I spent a half hour trying to call, and before I had even given my name, was very rudely hung up on. I probably will not waste my time doing that again. It was not a hang up, but a rude hang up.

  • g

    To Caleb K … re:atrocity of reckless child production

    Let me see if I understand your point correctly.

    Obviously, you are pro abortion which is also called … pro-choice. Meaning, women get to choose whether to have a child or not. And then you rave against single women deciding to have a child??!?!?!?!
    You contradict yourself.

    So, you advocate that anyone, who got pregnant by mistake and is not part of a traditional family, man/woman, financially able to support a child, married, and will NEVER get divorced should be the only ones to keep their child? Everyone else – off to the clinic?!
    That will solve the “problem” of teenage pregnancies as well. Single women wanting to have their own child, own – as in not adopted, should not have children by themselves unless they find a guy who a) will marry them, b) will be a productive member of this society and will provide for his child and family, c) is mature enough not to lie, cheat or disrespect his partner and not leave that family in the future?

    ARE YOU SERIOUS?!

    Show me this futuristic land of such responsible and mature men that somehow we, single women, are all missing?!

    Did you hear the program npr did on the decline of ‘male’?!

    Maybe you’re one of those men, and maybe you have friends who are also like that, but believe me, you are not the norm.

  • Kayelle

    We are looking forward to the birth of our daughter within the next two weeks thanks to the Sperm Bank of California and the Fenway Clinic. Our donor, like most donors today, is an identity release donor meaning that when our child is 18, they will be able to have some limited contact with the donor to deal with any questions. But until then, both the donor and our family are protected.

    The “My Daddy is a Donor” study is from a very biased group with an conservative anti-gay political agenda. The authors were advocating against donor insemination before the study was ever commissioned. They also oppose divorce and have been actively involved in try to repeal no fault divorce laws to force people to stay in unhappy marriages. Even with their bias, less than 10% of the kids reported negative feelings about artificial insemination and the majority support it.

    People should also be aware that calls to eliminate donor anonymity are a stealth way of eliminating artificial insemination entirely. Donors don’t want to take the chance on being sued for child support or having a family they don’t want thrust onto them, families don’t want to take a chance on a donor suing for custody. It all falls apart, which is exactly with the “pro family” groups want.

  • Inna Faktorovich

    I have some statistical and sociological concerns about Brad Wilcox’s claims. From what i can gather, his article compares children born by artificial insemination to SINGLE mothers, with to TWO-PARENT biological families. This is a comparison of apples and oranges! It tells us little of how artificial inseminations compares with children born of a sexual union, or how 2 biological parents might differ from a lesbian couple (or even a heterosexual couple!) who chose artificial insemination (which after all is the controversy that, it seems to me, the movie raises)! A telling study in this field might have, for instance, compare two-parent couples (homo as well as hetero-sexual (ideally having these as two separate groups in the study)) and two parent biological couples. And single mothers who had children via a donor and via a partner. Only then can we actually see whether there is any significant difference between children who are conceived through a sexual relationship between the parents or artificial insemination. It seems to me that the way Wilcox is currently presenting the data is purpusefully misleading with the aim of advancing his and his organization’s political and moral stance. Which, i must admit, is something i as somebody who was trained in sociology (in Wilcox’s department, nonetheless), feel uncofortabble with.

  • Inna Faktorovich

    Cont…
    It may also be the case that i may be wrong and Wilcox might have actually considered this in his study – in fact, i hope that as a statistician that he has. I would like to see these statistics (including the significance and the precentages)would actually show. I simply see no traces of such analysis in his article.

  • Caleb K

    In response to “g” who replied to a severe mis-reading of my comment above at 12:21 pm.

    1) I’m not necessarily pro-choice…while I do think that some allowance should be made for the termination of a pregnancy under extenuating circumstances, I personally consider abortion to be an unfavorable, last-ditch effort that should not be encouraged in law by a complete open-door policy.

    2) From what place in your outlandish interpretation of my comment did you derive the following?

    “So, you advocate that anyone, who got pregnant by mistake and is not part of a traditional family, man/woman, financially able to support a child, married, and will NEVER get divorced should be the only ones to keep their child?”

    I am not a heterosexual myself and support Gay marriage, single parenting, alternative this and that, etc., etc. I simply propose that far more people than currently do – straight, gay, married, single, cohabiting, etc. – should consider adoption as the FIRST solution to building a life or family with children, should they desire children at all. We are in a vastly different demographic-ecological-economic situation than we were even at the mid-20th Century as a species. The logic of child birth as a right needs to be jettisoned and replaced with child rearing as a major, major responsibility that is only appropriate for a noble few. Declining population growth and more equitable (though not equal) distribution of wealth and life opportunities should be our collective concern. Most of this problem, admittedly, seems to be stemming from runaway growth in the developing nations – but this is not an entirely accurate picture, as high-level consumers leave a much larger ecological footprint and contribute to global exploitation of labor and resources in a more significant way than a child born into a semi-industrializing, low-income region. It should be the burden of those in the highly industrialized regions to adopt those spun out by those women in developing nations without access to birth control, who live in very subordinated conditions with respect to men, who have no access to education, who are subject to high infant mortality rates (which, ironically, contributes to HIGHER not lower family sizes), and whose use of child labor (whether industrial sweatshop wage labor, or agrarian subsistence labor) is a fundamental part of their economic survival.

    One FORCES life onto every new child; the child has no say and to momentarily displace the existential and material misery forced onto them (esp. in the context of Modernity and global industrialization, which renders life functional and purposeless), many end up simply deferring their dreams for a different reality into the image of themselves transfigured into something other: their own child. What a sick and desperate neurosis this is.

  • BEAT

    Correction it was Defect my bad…

    I don’t understand this topic it is like talking about Abortion. Pro- Choice and Pro-Life

    People have the right to have children.

  • Mischa

    One of my favorite books from this past year is “Perfect Life” by Jessica Shattuck. The book is about a group of college friends, who are about 10 years post graduation and have families- through very different means: traditional, anonymous sperm donor and a one time friend who donates sperm. “Perfect Life” is a timely piece of social commentary that makes for a great summer read or great conversation starter for a book club. I wonder what Ms. Shattuck- or any of her characters would have thought of today’s show.

  • cody

    in re the study mentioned:

    the study was also collecting socialized perceptions of what adopted means. we have historically treated it as sub-optimal in the US. the reality is that families and humans are evolving quickly. adopted children of the past sought out their biological parents because we taught them that they were supposed to do so because they were somehow less human. like any other class of citizens who is marginalized for being different.

    there is amazing potential here for a new era of parenting and family.

    the mechanics of how we got here don’t matter much relative to what we do when we arrive.

  • http://scottfenton@madisontherapy.net Scott

    Some research that counters what your guest is saying about children being healthier in a “traditional marriage.”
    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/126/1/28?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=sperm+donor+children&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT

    Draw back to the research is that it is based on responses from the mother’s, so there may be a “halo effect” when lesbian mothers report about the well-being of their children.

  • Cara

    I am dubious about Mr. Wilcox’s claim that children born to women who used sperm donors have “more problems” than children conceived the “traditional way”. A woman or couple who choose artificial insemination are making a very deliberate choice to have a child, and the likelihood that these potential parents will be well-prepared, loving, and conscientious parents is at least as high as it is for heterosexual couples. These are all children who are WANTED and planned for.

    The only people implying that children who were conceived through sperm donation should feel like second-class citizens are people like Mr. Wilcox. His anti-gay agenda is all too clear.

  • Olivia

    I am a single mother with a 12 year old son created with donor sperm. At times my son has expressed his longing to know his dad. While he went through a period os sadness about this loss mostly my son is a bright, beautiful and happy child. I do not regret for an instance choosing to have my son. He is the light of my life and he clearly knows that. The love and support you offer your child is the most important gift. Is he any less than any other child because of the circumstances of his birth? I know he is not. As a teacher, I have had the opportunity to observe that there are many married couples too self involved to pay much attention to the needs of their child. How many children are there out there that have been abandoned by one or both parents? Adoption is a wonderful way to create a family, however many of those children have significant issues be it health, emotional or cognitive. Our society does not provide the much needed support and resources to help the parents and children. That may make adoption a more difficult choice for many as well as the significant financial costs that may preclude this option. I agree with the guest that said there are many ways to become a family. You have to go into this journey of becoming a parent knowing that this is the most important decision you will ever make and that it is well worth it no matter which road you choose.

  • http://90.9 Lynette Scott

    Regarding Donor Gametes

    I have been helping childless couples have babies for 30 year. Children are the most magnificent gift to anyone. According to an army 4 star General (here in the USA), reproduction is a natural body function, like breathing and eating; its part of what and who we are. Hence IVF in the armed forces. Removing that ability from any individual removes a fundamental part of them as a functional human being. Now with the Tea Party usurping the constitution, I claim it back for the right to bear children. For anyone. Heterosexual, Lesbian, Gay, Single. Go forth and reproduce.

    I take issue with aspects of the show (which I picked up in the evening slot so could not call in). The USA has the oldest and most accurate tracking system of sperm donors. Each donor is registered in an FDA site, have a unique number and YES can be tracked. Oocyte (thats eggs) donors?? we are not there yet and that is more troubling.

    In fact go and look at People magazine and other junk publications where kids have Googled their donor, linked with other kids from the same donor and found him. This is NOT a closed system. And the kids tend to be not interested in their gamete donor but more interested in any brothers and sisters they have. Kids are into themselves, and only blame you if you hide stuff from them … like where they came from. Tell them up front and they will not be upset, something utterly lacking in your 2 studies about the “trauma” kids went through. The “researchers”!!! did not tell you when the off spring found out their “Dad” was a donor sperm. That is so totally important. Makes so much difference.

    Onto tracking. And how the kids feel. See above. Fine if they know, angry if they find out.
    It comes down to honesty. The earlier you tell them they are “adopted, come from donor sperm, donor egg” the less issues you have. If you wait until puberty problem!! Adulthood, say 20+ disaster. Kids are very accepting. There are 7 huge European studies on this and your sources clearly have done NO reading (or have an agenda) and quoted none. Although the EU does not have the same tracking system for sperm donors that the USA does they are beginning to adopt it, as it is good. We now need to set in place a similar system for oocyte (egg) donation.

    I am an avid NPR listener and wish that sometimes you would get the experts to comment and not just right wing fundamentalists. The lesbian couple warmed my heart. I treat many couples like them and as I live in the socialist NE we even accept them as married. Wow. As we do our gay (male ) couples (who use donor egg and a surrogate. Maybe the ner-sayers should look at women raising kids on their own when their spouse quits (who is Daddy now, the guy in jail?? or that nice man who gave his sperm?), or kids in inner cities being raised by grandmas….Do I have any parents??. All my donor gamete kids are being raised by totally dedicated loving “parents”. who cares what their sex or marital status is. They love their kids and provide a home like I was raised in: love, food on the table, homework help, laughter, support, safety and a M or D figure to look up to..

    A

  • p

    G is incorrect in so many ways along with the article you posted. I have a son by sperm donor and an adopted daughter. We had to prove we would be good parents in order to be legal parents of my biological son. However, we had to prove nothing to adopt my daughter. If your against abortion don’t have one and you better be adopting children. I am adopted by white parents and many of these arguments were said to my parents about transracial adoption. I was loved, my college paid for and I am contributing to society in many positive ways. People ask me how I can be pro-choice and be adopted. If my bio mom had an abortion how would I know to be angry. Of course you would have one less lesbian on the earth so maybe you should be for abortion. But I am guessing that the many children whose life I have made a difference in would disagree. In fact I could have made a difference in the life of some children in your life G and you wouldn’t even know it. Stop the judgements and inaccuracy of quoting. I would also be willing to bet any of you people who spew this hatred and call yourself Christians will be in hell way before me. A true Christian does not feel the need to spew hatred to boost them self. And don’t get me started on the Catholics who spew this hate while covering and aiding their pedophiles. Straight white males molest more than any other population so if you want to get on a bandwagon there is one for you. Why don’t we keep kids away from any straight white male since studies show….. Sounds stupid huh?

  • informed American

    This is just another blatant attempt by Hollywood to promote it’s ultra pro-gay agenda. Hollywood is bankrolling a pro-homosexual, anti family agenda.

  • Zinovy Vayman

    Let me know about female donors of eggs and hiring women to carry children if men do not want marriage.

  • Zinovy Vayman

    sperm banks everywhere
    ovary credit unions
    not even mentioned

  • Lisa

    All this pro-right wing so-called ‘family first’ propaganda is absolutely sickening. I am a 32 year old single female who plans on using DI next year to start a family. My reasons for doing this because as a person who was raised in a two parent heterosexual family, I can tell you that the nuclear family way of doing things can be a LONG way from the best way. I experienced a lot of emotional bullying from my father. The man terrorised me for years. He was a b*stard of the first degree. Unfortunately, men tend to raise daughters to be the kind of women other men like them would be interested in. If I raised a child in the same circumstances that I grew up in, I could never forgive myself. That is why I have decided to do what I am doing.

    I fully support that the child has the right to know their genetic origins, and that is why I am having the procedure done in a country that mandates all sperm donations be open so that my child can get to know their genetic father. I would be 510% supportive and proactive in helping my child achieve that. I have put more thought and research into the costs, both physical, emotional and financial envolved in raising a child then most other people do. I plan on being totally honest with my child and talkng through any issues they have with coming from a single parent family.

    I have seen comments on other pages saying that ‘nature requires a man and a woman for a reason’. What those people are forgetting is that nature also gave us problem solving and tool making abilities to overcome our natural limitations. That is how we have become the dominant species on the planet.

    The second thing I wanted to mention is that both my grandfathers grew up never knowing their real fathers. In fact, one didn’t have a father at all! It didn’t stop them (and especially him) from being productive and prosocial individuals who were a WONDERFUL, LOVING, role models.

    The third thing I think needs to be said is that we have to look at where all this ‘anti DI single mum/same sex couple parents’ hatred is coming from. I can’t help but feel that it is coming from the side of conservatism that has traditionally demonised independent women. You know, the ones that refuse to be shackled to marriage? The women who are a threat to the power base behind it all? The one that has always favored men over women? Organized religion, anyone?

    The questions that these kids agonise over are no different to what kids who come from nuclear families have. I thought I was the ‘black sheep’ of my family, because I am the only one of my immediate family to have blue eyes and red hair. I did feel alone at times. But it was hardly a crushing, life destroying feeling that would would obssess over. I was lucky enough that I was able to meet my mother’s extended family at one time and I saw that I was the norm rather than the exception.

    Having been around the world a bit (literally!) I can tell you that the world needs people raised in a variety of family situations in order to best maximise humanity’s chances of survival.

    The bottom line is this: People from two parent families are not necessarily better off than those people in one-parent families. Right-wingers who suggest otherwise need to get over themselves.

  • roger

    just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.

    with 8 billion humans crawling around and consuming the earth, give it a rest already.

  • peter

    Most children are resilient enough to overcome obstacles that occur in the environment in which they grow. However, whether children produced from a sperm donor develop normally or not is irrelevant to the issue of whether anonymous sperm donor-ship is good or bad for a society. To deliberately deny a child a father to satisfy ones own desire for motherhood robs the child and denigrates the role of men. I’m not a particularly religious person and base my opinion strictly on the belief that this practice will only diminish men and produce future societal problems.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 18, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to the blockade of Moldova’s separatist province of Trans-Dniester. Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since a 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.  (AP)

Deadly clashes in Eastern Ukraine. A white supremacist rocks Kansas City. The Marathon bombing anniversary. And Bloomberg on guns. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Apr 18, 2014
This undated photo provided by NASA on April 2, 2014 shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. The "tiger stripes" are long fractures from which water vapor jets are emitted. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP)

Oceans in Space. The new discovery on a moon of Saturn, and the possibility of life there.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 17, 2014
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men burn leavened items in final preparation for the Passover holiday in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, April 14, 2014. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday that celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites' escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt. (AP)

In the week of Passover and anti-Semitic gunfire, we look at the history of the Jews with acclaimed historian Simon Schama. Plus, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church today.

 
Apr 17, 2014
Students cheer and wave as President Barack Obama, not pictured, exits the podium after speaking at the University at Buffalo, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, beginning his two day bus tour speaking about college financial aid.  (AP)

The inside dope on college financial aid. The way it really works, who gets what, and how.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

More »
Comment
 
Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

More »
Comment