Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Daddy's Name is Donor

The piece below (Kapten Nemo's Barn) by Alana S. on the Swedish documentary reminds me of the important and path-breaking study of adult children of sperm donors. How cavalierly, completely, and callously we disregarded the importance to the children conceived in this way of the biological connection to both their parents.

Now the voices of those young adults There is a basic difference, still widely ignored, between adoption that finds a home for children in need of one and IVF, which involves the making of children to satisfy the wants of adults--children who are deliberately denied from birth the right to be raised by the two parents who made them (as specified in the U.N.'s Declaration on the Rights of the Child). Not to mention the destruction or indefinite freezing of countless other children at the embryonic stage of development.

"So why," Alana asks, "is it so surprising that we, the offspring of commercial conception, find it so appalling that we have been separated on purpose from our (dare I say it?) real parents?"

My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation
A Report Released Internationally by the Commission on Parenthood's Future

Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval D. Glenn, and Karen Clark, Co-Investigators

Not surprisingly, [donor conceived] Americans have a complicated relationship to the reproductive marketplace that made their existence possible. Their inner lives are the subject of a fascinating study from the Institute for American Values . . .
—Ross Douthat, New York Times, May 30, 2010

[The] provocative study by the Commission on Parenthood's Future, titled "My Daddy's Name is Donor"...surveyed 485 donor offspring, concluded they were more troubled and depression-prone than other young adults in comparison groups, and recommended an end to anonymous sperm donation. The study's authors said they sought to ignite a debate, and they succeeded. . . .
—David Crary, Associated Press, August 12, 2010

A debate over the emotional implications of sperm donation on offspring (an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 are born each year) has developed recently in the wake of a controversial report from the Institute for American Values...
—Julia James, "Scope," the blog of the Stanford School of Medicine, 8/15/10

My Daddy's Name is Donor, a survey led by Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Children and Families at the Institute for American Values, is an unprecedented study of young adults conceived by sperm donation.
—Noelle Daly, in "Vial of Tears," The American Interest, Sep/Oct 2010

The report is available in full in pdf at

For the Executive Summary and 15 Major Findings, go to

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