Monday, November 17, 2008

British sperm donations face impotency

Apparently, sperm donations in Britain—and in London especially—have fallen so dramatically that it can be quantified as a critical shortage, and a radical overhaul of sperm donation services is required.
Now for the million-pound question: Why, exactly, is this a bad thing?
You only have to look around you at any point in the day or evening to conclude that Britain certainly does not, in any way classifiable or conceivable, have a fertility problem. Little buggers are everywhere, getting pushed along the sidewalks in their oversized prams by chain-smoking mamas or picking their noses as they waddle four-square along the sidewalks on the way to school.
I wonder if the freefall in sperm donations is in any way related to the fact that over 50 percent of British adults view children as "animals"? Which really distresses me as I consider that a grevious insult to animals.
Of course, mind you, I don't necessarily consider children on the same level as cockroaches, but all people in general. I found myself nodding solemnly while reading this column by Charlie Brooker, in which he opines: "Two's company. Three's a crowd. And whoever they are, I don't trust them. Yes, in the ever expanding list of things I don't 'get,' the most crippling entry has to be people. I don't get people. What's their appeal, precisely? They waddle around with their haircuts on, cluttering the pavement like gormless, farting skittles. They're awful."
Anyway, getting back to sperm donations, that's one thing that I've never gotten. Who in their right mind wants to consider the fact that somebody, somwhere, will be conceived carrying half their genes, possibly even their same facial features, hair and eye color, blood type and the same curious inability to not say "heeeellll, yeaaah!" at the end of every conversation? Honestly, who can be comfortable with the thought of spreading themselves around without even enjoying the so-called action? (Don't get me wrong: I'm very much a keep-it-in-your-pants sort of guy. I simply ask on a theoretical level.)
On a more serious note, sperm donation also encourages single motherhood. I cannot in all honesty say that I am a fan of that lifestyle. There is definitely a straightforward relationship between the "children are animals" sentiment and the emotional effects that single motherhood creates in a child who, through no choice of his or her own, has been denied the vital male influence.
The article cites the removal of anonymity in 2005 as the biggest reason for the nose-dive in sperm donations. In other words, once a child born in 2005 or after turns 18, they can chase their sperm donor down. This was just the sort of thing sperm donors never had to worry about in the past.
Which leaves me to conclude one salient point about all this: For once, this Labour government actually did something good. Only the sperm banks would disagree.


goddessdivine said...

While I think children are wonderful creatures (they're not animals....most of the time), I think sperm donation is one of the worst ideas ever. Seriously, show up to a sperm bank, pick out a donor, and impregnate yourself. And then become a single mom. Not healthy.

And I've always wondered....what possesses a guy to donate his sperm? Is it the money? Because you know if that's the motivating factor, then the quality of guys that attracts..... (would you want those genes passed on to your child?)

Mark Lyndon said...

According to HFEA figures, the numbers of sperm donors have gone *up* in the two years since the ending of anonymity, thus reversing a three year decline. The 307 donors in 2006 was 48 more than in 2005, and the highest figure since 2001.

I don't see a problem with the numbers of children per donor being increased, but we should never go back to the days of anonymous donors. The donor-conceived are the ones who matter in this, not the parents, not the clinics, and not the donors.

If a sperm donor wants to be anonymous, then he simply shouldn't be a sperm donor. I was a sperm donor over 20 years ago, and if I have any genetic children looking for me, I've made it as easy as possible for them to find me.

It is possible for UK sperm donors to say that they don't want their donations used for single mothers btw. For what it's worth, I chose for my donations to be made available to heterosexual or lesbian couples, or to single mothers.

goddessdivine: UK sperm donors have only ever been paid expenses. It's way too much hassle to do it for the money. This donor reckons he ended up £1,250 out of pocket.

I believe that most UK gamete donors are primarily motivated by altruism, very much like blood donors.