Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ethical Considerations for Sperm Donation - What is Missing From This Picture?

What are the ethical considerations for sperm donation? According to a slide show about infertility on the website of Stanford, one of the world's leading research and teaching institutions, these are the following factors that must be considered:

"1. The rights of the sperm donor.
2. The rights of the clients who are purchasing the sperm.
3. The criteria by which sperm are collected (i.e. choosing a donor who has certain traits).
4. The amount of sperm that a single man can donate."

However, one major group - in my opinion, the most important one - is missing from this discussion. Yes, the very people produced through reproductive technology! I find it striking that we are frequently not even brought up in this debate, yet we are the entire reason that the industry exists in the first place. We also happen to be the only ones who have no ability to consent to the conditions surrounding the "medical treatment."

This also brings me back to the donor-conceived octuplets with six older siblings who are currently receiving much media attention. It is very unfortunate that the doctor, the donor father, nor the mother (Nadya Suleman) really thought about the best interests of the children. I hope that their sad situation at least results in better regulations and places more focus on the children in the weighing of the ethics of the current practice of reproductive technology. Whether there are fourteen children conceived through donated gametes or one, they deserve to have rights.


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