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(LifeSiteNews) — Back in 2011, the New York Times released an investigative report titled “One sperm donor, 150 offspring,” detailing one of the weirder pitfalls of artificial insemination as a reproductive technology: 

Cynthia Daily and her partner used a sperm donor to conceive a baby seven years ago, and they hoped that one day their son would get to know some of his half siblings — an extended family of sorts for modern times. So Ms. Daily searched a Web-based registry for other children fathered by the same donor and helped to create an online group to track them. Over the years, she watched the number of children in her son’s group grow. And grow. 

Today there are 150 children, all conceived with sperm from one donor, in this group of half siblings, and more are on the way. “It’s wild when we see them all together — they all look alike,” said Ms. Daily, 48, a social worker in the Washington area who sometimes vacations with other families in her son’s group …Now, there is growing concern among parents, donors and medical experts about potential negative consequences of having so many children fathered by the same donors, including the possibility that genes for rare diseases could be spread more widely through the population. Some experts are even calling attention to the increased odds of accidental incest between half sisters and half brothers, who often live close to one another. 

Since then, such stories have become increasingly common — and indeed, many fertility doctors have been accused and convicted of fraud for using their own semen to artificially inseminate patients. Dr. Donald Cline of Indiana conceived at least 60 children at his fertility clinic (he was convicted of fraud); Dr. Cecil Jacobsen of Virginia fathered a minimum of 15 children in this fashion (he was also convicted); and at least 10 other American doctors have been accused, in court, of what is being referred to as “fertility fraud.” 

There is historical precedent for this. A recent report at BioEdge by Michael Cook titled “A Genghis Khan for the Modern Age” noted that the famous warrior reputedly fathered between 1,000 and 2,000 children, with an estimated “1 in 200 men alive today” carrying Khan’s genes. As it turns out, “a close second is Bertold Wiesner, an Austrian Jewish physiologist who married a British obstetrician, Mary Barton.” The couple “collaborated scientifically and biologically on artificial insemination” at their Barton Clinic in London from the early 1940s to the mid-1960s, which promised to supply customers with “intelligent stock.”  

 READ: Oklahoma judge rules sperm donor baby belongs with mother and father, not mom’s lesbian ex-‘wife’

For Wiesner, this apparently meant using his own sperm in many cases, with which he artificially inseminated at least 600 women — his wife later destroyed the medical records, meaning that Wiener’s biological offspring — who could well number in the thousands — could not trace their origins. Wiesner’s story continues to crop up in the press as more people discover their link to him. As Jack Nunn, a British academic working on genomic research, told The Guardian: “I suddenly discovered that I was part of one of the largest known single ancestor cohorts on planet Earth, which was quite surprising. So, potentially, I’ve got 1,000 half-aunts and uncles out there, and a lot of half-cousins.” 

His mother Barbara, who had discovered that her biological father was Wiesner, was less enthusiastic. “Not revealing true parentage can and does have devastating medical or psychological consequences for some,” she said. “Fifty percent of DNA is from a biological father and all donor-conceived children have a human right to access half of their inherited medical history. This does not only affect them but any children or grandchildren they may have.” 

She’s right. Some years ago, I watched the powerful documentary Anonymous Father’s Day, on the struggle of young people to discover their genetic origins (which is also the subject of the book My Daddy’s Name is Donor). Many of these people have formed what are referred to as communities of “donor conceived persons” trying to trace their biological parentage, communities that are only growing— at least 30,000 to 60,000 new people are conceived using donor sperm each year, and it is a $3.3 billion industry. The “reproductive industry” has few regulations — and the unintended consequences are just beginning to be fully understood.  

READ: Suit against fertility clinic shows the lunacy of surrogacy after gays get a girl instead of the boy they ordered

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.