While the technical side of reproductive technology produces many novel ethical problems, an underrepresented concern is the ‘products’ of reproductive technology itself: the children.
While the technical side of reproductive technology produces many novel ethical problems, an underrepresented concern is the ‘products’ of reproductive technology itself: the children. We take anonymous sperm donation as a paradigm case to show how practices and rules surrounding this means of reproduction produce the potential for one to have quite different psychological experiences than one born by non-technological procedures, specifically those caused by a denial of one’s paternal heritage. Three important aspects that result from anonymous sperm donation are discussed. The first is the question of whether sperm donor children have a right to know of their genetic heritage. This might include information about one’s biological father that is in one’s interest to know, such as medical information, or information that one desires to know, such as having a photo, finding out the father’s hobbies, talents and paternal family lineage and so forth. The second is the issue of parental responsibility in light of anonymous sperm donor contracts. The contract between the sperm donor (seller), the bank, and the mother exempt the donor from all rights and responsibilities a biological father has in the production of a child, a procedure that is not allowed elsewhere. We question this process, and identify that it upholds conflicting standards. The third section is intended to be a moral exploration of the parents’ assumed right to engage in the anonymous sperm donor contract. It is argued that what maintains this assumed right is, once analyzed, also what argues for its limitation.
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