blog

Feature Menu

Should anonymous sperm donation be banned?

Is anyone not thinking about sperm donation right now, given the ubiquitous billboards for the movie THE SWITCH featuring Jason Bateman sniffing a cup of jizz?

Anonymous sperm donation is now banned in Britain and several other European countries, and some people are pushing for the same to happen here in the U.S. Proponents of the ban point to a recent study by the Commission on Parenthood’s Future, titled “My Daddy’s Name is Donor,” which surveyed 485 sperm donor offspring (all now adults) and found that they were more prone to depression and other emotional troubles compared to other young adults in control groups. The authors of the study recommended an end to anonymous sperm donation.

And then there’s the recent movie THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, in which two teenage siblings track down their sperm-donor dad and bring him home… to mixed results (no plot spoilers here). But it’s fair to say that the film is very sympathetic towards donor kids’ desire to track down their father.

So should we continue to allow anonymous sperm donation? It’s always mystified us how egg donation seems to weigh so much more heavily on women than sperm donation does on men — and it goes deeper than the physical differences in the donation process. Sure, egg donation is a huge pain in the, er, uterus, but this doesn’t seem to fully explain how many more men are willing to donate than women. (After all, women can easily clear massive credit card debt with egg donation — sperm donation is not such a lucrative affair.)

Of course banning anonymous sperm donation would make the decision weigh more heavily on male donors — but while we think this would be good for the male psyche (more self-awareness, yay!) as well as all those depressed donor offspring who want to meet Donor Dad, we’re not sure what would happen to the donor sperm supply if this happened. Would all donor sperm suddenly be from men who weren’t self-aware enough to think through the consequences? And would that be a bad thing?

What do you think? Why does egg donation seem such a consequential decision for women, more so than for men? And what would be the consequences of banning anonymous sperm donation?

MORE FROM EM & LO: