Fatherless: New documentary questions morality of anonymous sperm donation industry
November 22, 2011 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - A new documentary film released Monday explores how children conceived through anonymous sperm donations are left searching for their true identities, and questions whether the “anonymous father” industry of sperm donation should exist at all.
“Anonymous Father’s Day presents the untold stories of children of sperm donors. Featuring the heart-rending reflections of now adult children fathered anonymously, these donor-conceived children share the pain, longing and uncertainties created by the secrecy of their conceptions,” stated a press release about the film on Monday.
The film was created by the The Center for Bioethics and Culture (CBC), producers of the award-winning documentary film Eggsploitation (2010) which focused on the egg donation industry. While the “world premiere” of Anonymous Father’s Day will be in New York City on January 29, 2012, the film is now available for DVD purchase, and can be viewed on the Internet.
“There really is a growing community of people who are making their voices heard, and they’re angry about what’s been done to them, and want to stop it for future generations,” a woman who states she was conceived through anonymous sperm donation says in the film’s preview trailer.
“Should we be conceiving children in the first place who will be deliberately denied the ability to know, and be known by, their father?” another woman asks in the trailer.
According to the legal website LegalMatch, anonymous sperm donation, which is usually done through a sperm bank, is allowed in almost every state in the United States. “Since your contract will be with the bank itself, (and not with the mother), your anonymity and waiver of rights/obligations will usually be upheld.” But laws in each state, and in different countries, vary on donor obligations and child rights when it comes to anonymous sperm donations.
“It’s quite possible to be grateful for your life, and question aspects of its conception,” says a man in the Anonymous Father’s Day trailer.
Some of the potential negative consequences of the sperm donation industry were highlighted recently by The New York Times in an article which brought attention to a case of one sperm donor in the United States who conceived 150 children.
“Sperm banks and fertility centers are running a mostly unregulated 2-billion dollar industry annually and are churning out mass produced children the way the auto industry produces cars,” wrote Dr. Denise Hunnell, a fellow of HLI America, on the Truth and Charity Forum. “In fact, there is more concern about the health and safety consequences of a minivan than there is about the health and safety consequences of children conceived with donor sperm.”
Dr. Hunnell, a former Air Force physician who currently teaches at Northern Virginia Community College, fears that both the medical and the moral risks associated with anonymous sperm donation are too great.
“Clearly, unfettered artificial insemination risks the widespread dissemination of genetic diseases. In addition, it poses the threat of accidental incest as children who are conceived by the same donor often live in the same geographic area,” Dr. Hunnell said.
She also comments in her article on a subject that Anonymous Father’s Day promises to explore in the trailer: the commercialization of children.
“Taking procreation out of the marital embrace and putting it in the laboratory or clinic treats the children so conceived into commercial products,” said Dr. Hunnell. “Parents become consumers: Children are no longer considered gifts to a marriage, but goods that are purchased for the benefit of one or both parents.”
Reprinted with permission from HLIWorldWatch.org