Children can now find their sperm donor fathers thanks to science and the Internet, and sperm banks are rethinking their policies as a result. Over at Slate, Rachel Lehmann-Haupt tells the story of a mother who went in search of her child’s biological father because she wanted to learn more about his health and genetic background. Using the Internet, DNA testing, and networking with other families who used the same donor, she actually managed to track him down.
And that has sperm banks worried:
Some sperm banks are changing their policies for fear that anonymous donors might withdraw from the program and hurt their bottom line. Cryos International, a sperm bank based in Copenhagen, Denmark, that claims to be the largest bank in the world, has started to offer a new program that it’s dubbing “Invisible Donors.” It’s a system where donors can offer very few registered characteristics so they will be more difficult to track, and the bank keeps track of them by fingerprints instead of donor number.
“I’m fully aware of the future child’s needs, and I fully understand and support children who will search for their donor [and] half-siblings, but the fact is that it is wrong to search for a donor who claimed anonymity,” says Ole Schou, the director of Cryos International.
The articles goes to say that because it will probably become more and more difficult for sperm donors to hide, the “moral decision of whether to trace [the sperm donor] and ignore his request for anonymity will rest less on the banks and more on the parents and offspring.”