AP Language and Composition Argumentative Essay
Sperm & Egg Donor Privacy vs. The Child’s Right to Know
“About 40,000 children are born each year through donor eggs and sperm, according to rough industry estimates” (Harmon, New York Times, 2006). With a number as large as that, it is no wonder that there are so many arguments over the donor’s anonymity. One day all these children will discover that they are different from the other people they know. For naturally conceived children the people who they call “Mom” and “Dad” are the same two people that gave them life. For artificially inseminated children one of the people that they call “Mom” and “Dad” isn’t their actual parent. In the case of egg donated children, their mother did indeed give birth to them, but the egg that gave them life was not hers. Their life-giving egg was from a woman whose identity will most likely remain a mystery for the child’s entire life. In the case of sperm donated children, their “Dad” is the man who raised them. Their actual father is a man, whose identity is secret, who sold his sperm to a sperm bank. These donors will remain in the shadows unless something or somebody changes the way our government views donor privacy. “…behind the many successful outcomes there is a tissue of unresolved questions about the legal rights and obligations of the parties involved, from the clinics to donors to parents to the children themselves…” (Boston Globe, pg. C8, 2009) Artificially inseminated children, whether they are born through donated egg or sperm, and their families have the right to know who the mystery donor parent really is.
Knowing that half of one’s biological history is purposefully being withheld can be a hard burden for anyone to bear. “Children born under this system will have a natural curiosity about their biological roots” (Boston Globe, pg. C8, 2009). The lack of information on donors can lead to various negative consequences. An example would be is donor conceived child contracted a hereditary genetic disease from the donor parent, or if there is a life or death situation. That is the only way the government will willingly give up the donor identity to the family. “The only exception should be for life itself. In rare instances, otherwise fatal diseases can be cured by transplants from biological relatives” (Boston Globe, pg. C8, 2009). It should not have to come to that for the child to at least know the name of the person that helped give them life. “Troubled by the health history and backgrounds of some anonymous egg and sperm donors, leaders in the fertility industry have said in recent weeks that they would create a national registry to track donors and birth outcomes…a girl from Rancho Mirage, conceived with the help of an anonymous egg donor, was born with Tay-Sachs. She is nearly 2, and the neurological disease probably will kill her before she turns 5. The gay couple that chose the donor did not know that she was a carrier of the Tay-Sachs mutation… After learning about the child with Tay-Sachs, neither the egg donor nor the agency that hired her attempted to contact the other families and agencies that used the donor’s eggs… No system exists to alert couples to such problems or to prevent donors from continuing to provide eggs or sperm after they have been found to have genetic disorders or other problems… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, does not keep track of individual donors’ histories, diseases, or other problems, nor donors it link names to outcomes” (Heisel, Los Angeles Times pg B-1, 2008). Since the names and genetic information of donors are withheld there is no way for any potential parent interested in a donated egg, or sperm, to know if their child will be safe from contracting some type of rare disease form the donor. “… not all genetic disorders can be screened for, and there have been case reports in the medical literature of clusters of...
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