Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cheryl Miller Replies to my Rebuttal

This is my contribution to a back and forth dialogue on her article as a reply to her response:

I would like to see if Cheryl has any data (hard evidence) to support her assumption. I provided published data while she has made an assertion based on anecdotal evidence and a media beat-up of a story.
If appropriate measures are taken such as truthful, as opposed to fraudulent birth certificates then it will become impossible for recipient parents to hide their child's conception. This issue is far more complex than just accessing your genetic father or mother's identifying information. The ability to cause harm to a child should not be institutionalised to cater for would be parents. The child's welfare should always be of paramount concern. If in providing for the child's welfare we then thereby alienate potential donors (even though the data presented does not support this), then that is better than creating more harm.
The "whim" that I alluded to is the urge to have one parent being biologically related to the child. If this matters then it should matter to both parents, not just one, and conversely both genetic links should matter to the child. If a biological connection is disposable as is currently imposed on donor offspring then any connection should not matter to the parents also. There are countless children in need of adoption, but that in itself comes with it's own Pandora's box, not unlike the one we have opened here.

Here is Cheryl Miller's response to my rebuttal:

I agree with Damian Adams that the reasons for gamete donor shortages in Europe and Australia are complex. While bans on anonymity have played a role, so have laws limiting or prohibiting compensation to gamete donors (which many donor-conceived activists support) and donors’ growing fears that clinics cannot guarantee their anonymity. (Many donors were spooked when New Scientist reported in 2005 that a 15-year-old boy had found his anonymous sperm donor through a genealogy website.) Nonetheless, countries that permit donor anonymity—such as the U.S. and Spain—have not experienced shortages and are major destinations for fertility patients seeking a donor.

These would-be parents’ desire for children is hardly a “whim.” Donor offspring are right to fight for greater openness, but openness should not be their only goal. Indeed, as I noted in my article, the right to information does not necessarily lead to greater openness. A mandated registry might win offspring the right to know their donor’s identity, but if it means future parents are less willing to disclose their children’s status, it won’t be much of a victory.