Well the family movement is at it again; making a big push; this time on the sperm-donation-created-child issue. On 5/31/10 the Commission on Parenthood’s Future released a new report entitled “My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived Through Sperm Donation” which blasted the end result of children who were born as a result of sperm donation.
Sperm-Donor Kids: PR Claims: A press release from this report says, “…on average, young adults conceived through sperm donation are hurting more, are more confused, and feel more isolated from their families. They are far worse than their peers raised by biological parents on important outcomes such as depression, delinquency, and substance abuse.”
Sperm-Donor Kids: Rebuttal: I want to stop right there. I haven’t read the full report; this is just the press release I’m going off of. And while I understand that press releases may sometimes sensationalize things; there are some claims in this statement I need to address: “Young adults conceived through sperm donation are hurting more, are more confused, and feel more isolated from their families.” What does that mean? What is the ‘hurting’ metric? What is the ‘confusion’ metric? How can you compare individuals with such a broad brush? As a child, we’re ALL confused. If you’ve got a loving family surrounding you, you will be alright.
I never knew my biological father; I grew up with strained relations with my step-dad and as a result, my mom. I never really got close with my little brother; but I was also a teenager! There was an age difference thing with my little brother (we’re good friends & neighbors now). Teenagers are supposed to feel confusion and isolation from their parents! That’s what being a teenager is all about. My parents still loved me; the fact that my bio-dad might as well have been a test tube didn’t affect the fact that my step dad loved me. In the end, in my case, that’s what mattered.
The report goes on to say about kids of sperm-donor fathers; “two thirds agree; ‘my sperm donor is half of who I am.'” You know what; eventually; 100% will agree that their sperm donor is half of who you are! That’s the way life is. You are one part your mom and one part your dad. Just because I have the last name of the German-American guy who raised me; my Dominican bio-dad is still half of who I am. At my core. People never mistake me and my step-dad’s other son for being brothers; but they’re always commenting how much my brother looks like his dad. That’s something I’ve gotten over but it’s something that 50% of the kids of marriages (which end in divorce) have to deal with too. A broken home is a broken home. While we’re on the subject, I wish we could stop calling blended families broken homes. My home growing up was great. My home would have been broken if my mom and bio-dad had stayed together when they obviously wanted different things and wanted to lead different lives.
Sperm-Donor Kids: Positive: Another study as reported by cnn.com shows a different picture of what it means to be a family. “A nearly 25 year study concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers.” Okay, but if it’s two women…then that must mean these kids were in-vitro or adopted! The piece goes on to cite that these were actually sperm donated conceptions. So if two women can raise a family of sperm-donor kids, why do we always need to be cutting down the good work that good people and good parents do? No matter if it’s boy/girl, boy/boy, girl/girl, or single parents. Some of the best parents need to rise to the occasion; some of the worst parents are still married.
The family is what it is. You are family with who surrounds you and who loves you. Just because some kids were followed around and asked questions about being the product of a sperm donor doesn’t mean they’re any more damaged than anyone else. Kids with behavior problems or emotional issues probably have other influences causing this in their own lives. If these troubled kids are able surrounded by family and peers and people who love them; chances are they’ll work out the other stuff.