Panicking

Friday, June 20, 2014

Question

Dear Patrick: I saw an ad for a sperm bank and I thought it would be a good idea to go donate. I don’t want to get married but I think it would be a good idea if somebody could benefit from my genetic heritage. I have a high IQ and as far as I know I have no inheritable medical problems or diseases.

Then I got home and started thinking about how this organization might use my sperm. A friend told me that they could do anything they wanted with the material. I am afraid they might give it to a lesbian couple. I don’t want them to allow a gay couple to have children because I was a sperm donor. Can I call the sperm bank and withdraw permission? What if they were a couple who did not have firm religious convictions? The child could be raised without a religious education, maybe even without baptism! I want them to destroy my donation. This was all a big mistake.

Answer

Sperm banks give donors a release to sign before they make their “contributions.” (There is often a lot more paperwork than that!) I hope you were calm enough to read all the forms, which should have given you more information about the organization’s policies about who could use their services. Sperm banks differ a great deal in the people they will assist. Some will not help single women or unmarried couples. Many will not help same-sex couples. (And some will.) Some sperm banks are limited by the laws in the area in which they are located.

            These releases are intended to prevent legal problems from donors who later feel that they have made a mistake. I’m not sure why you didn’t think some of these issues through before you went to the sperm bank. But the fact is, you did not. So now you need to figure out how to fix the mistake. Despite having signed a release, you may be able to get them to simply dispose of your sample. These organizations don’t want any costly court battles. It is usually easier to get rid of a sample than it is to deal with a donor who is upset or threatening to consult with an attorney.

            Perhaps your first step should be to simply call them and speak with their ombudsman or whoever does outreach to donors. Just tell that person you have had second thoughts and feel that your donation was a mistake. Say, “I have not yet sought legal representation, but I would like to know if I can request that my sample be destroyed.”

            If you were paid for your donation, you should offer to repay that fee. I hope I don’t have to explain why.

            Maybe I should argue with you about not helping lesbian couples or non-Christians to have children, but you didn’t ask for any advice about these opinions. I have a hunch that you probably aren’t too flexible about these positions. Nor does it sound as if they are based on fact. I will, however, point out that there is something just a bit odd about an intelligent Christian man, an adult, who chose to reproduce via a sperm bank instead of via marriage. One glance at local singles ads will certainly reveal that there is no shortage of single Christian women looking for a fine young man like yourself to join them in holy matrimony. Instead of obsessing about how lesbians and non-Christians might raise your genetic progeny, you might want to raise a few children of your own. It’s called put up or shut up.

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