The Morality of Sperm Donation
A husband and wife come together to make their offspring. This statement was one of the core teachings the Jesus taught, and still stands as moral teaching for many today. However, there is not always a man and a woman. There are single females, homosexual couples, and infertile couples that still want the joys of an offspring. Sperm donation is one way that people in this position are creating an offspring. As this practice becomes more popular in the 21st century, many question its morality. Before looking into the morality of sperm donation, it is important to understand the background of the practice. The definition of sperm donation is “the process whereby a fertile woman is inseminated using sperm from a man other than her partner (Sydsjo).” People who receive sperm donations are single women, infertile couples, or homosexual couples. The only other options for having a child are adoption or another type of third party reproduction. For many people adoption can take years, and third party reproductions bring up the same moral questions as sperm donation. The most common way to receive a donation is by going to a sperm bank. The United States has a total of 675 sperm banks (Newton-Small). Out of these 675 sperm banks, there is only one sperm bank located in the state of Iowa. It is at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. However, there are no sperm banks located in the nearby states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. California is home to the largest sperm bank which is called the California Cryobank. The California Cryobank collected $23 million dollars in sales last year alone (Newton-Small). The United State’s sperm banks make approximately $100 million dollars annually from the process of sperm donation (Newton-Small). When looking at these numbers it is easy to see that it is a large economy in the United States. The United State’s sperm banks control 65% of the global economy of sperm donation (Newton-Small). Aside from the question of morality, it is obvious that the practice is continuing to become popular in the United States. Women are able to enter sperm banks and request sperm from anonymous men that they feel have desirable traits. In the 20th century, all donors used to be anonymous (Dockterman). People were looked down on if they donated or received sperm. This is where the process varies today. Although most men do not go around flaunting the fact that they donate sperm, it is not unheard of for a woman to admit to receiving the donation. Today some countries have come up with a law that they feel relieves some of the moral issues that people have with sperm donation. “A donor conceived child is entitled to request and receive their donor’s name and last known address, once they reach the age of 18” (Cohen). The countries with this law are Sweden, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, and most recently the United Kingdom. They feel that the donor child is deprived if he or she is not able to know who their real father is (Cohen). In the United States, a man can choose whether to be fully anonymous or not. Many times the child is able to find the father through the help of the sperm bank once they reach the age of 18. So even though some people find the anonymous donor to be immoral, there are ways to go around this part of the practice. It can be said that the process of “shopping around” for sperm is much like genetic engineering (Zodrow). Women walk in, select desirable traits, and walk out. There is a lot of information to back up both sides of this spectrum. It can be seen as immoral or convenient. It seems crazy that someone could name off exactly what they want their child to look like, but that is what a woman is asked to do when she enters the sperm bank. “The most commonly requested donor is 6’0” tall, blond or brown hair, blue or green eyes, medium complexion, medium build with dimples and a college...
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