Thursday, 28 October 2010

Anonymity in BC

If one misguided person gets their way, it looks like the last sperm donors in Canada will lose their right of anonymity.

For what appears no better reason than the rather selfish "But I want to know!" One lawsuit threatens to screw a lot of good people who desperately want to be parents and haven't the biological wherewithal to produce children the old fashioned way. Cui bono? To whose benefit? It's a big lose-lose all round.

This is wrong on so many levels that it makes my eyeballs spin. Stripping people of their anonymity where no wrong is either intended or done is counter productive, and will ultimately force childless couples south of the border in search of genetic material to father a child they cannot produce themselves.

This is not to say that there should not be some form of regulation regarding donors. Whilst there is no issue with donors needing proper testing to eliminate genetic diseases and potentially harmful recessives, what does bother me is the trivial nature of the lawsuit, and the law of unintended consequences lurking just around the corner.

The UK has made this mistake, with the effect that sperm donation has dropped off the face of a cliff, thus reducing the gene pool available to potential parents. Said potential parents are now reduced to going to less well regulated clinics outside of Britain. No-one wants to give, free of charge, their own bodily secretions to have the result turn up on their doorstep demanding recognition some twenty or so years later. I mean think of the awkwardness factor alone. How would they introduce themselves? "Hi there. I'm your ejaculation." springs to mind. No doubt once the door of donor anonymity is prised open, another lawyer will be after financial support from sperm or egg donors.

One more good reason for the judge to dismiss the plaintiff's case; families are complex and fragile things. Who can tell how one's spouse of the moment would react if, in your forties, a young man or woman turned up on your doorstep, barging their way into your family life and demanding recognition? I've seen what my wife's ex did to his daughters with the revelation of a new half sister. Speaking as an interested bystander, I was not impressed. Neither were my stepdaughters.

There is so much more to being a parent than mere biology, as I've found out for myself. A simple biological contribution isn't enough to qualify. Being a parent is about mutual learning, shared affection, commitment, and a whole Himalayan sized spoil heap of heartbreak, joy, and sheer hard bloody work. It's not just an issue of gametes. Only a complete Sociopath looks at it that way.

As for the facile "If you don’t want to be identified, don’t be a donor." statement on the part of the plaintiff. That demonstrates outright contempt for the rights of others. People have the right to a past, they have a right to family life, they also have a right to privacy providing they have committed no crimes, and to steamroller over those rights just because one person has to know is just plain wrong and ultimately to the detriment of many others, past and future.

I'm sorely tempted to call the plaintiff in this case a silly selfish entitlement-seeking bitch, but I'm far too polite for that.

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