Wait, Was Joseph a Sperm Donor?

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An Illinois woman is suing her sperm donor ex-boyfriend for child support. I know what you're thinking: What does Charlotte Allen of the IWF have to say about this? Well, here's what:

Uh-oh. The whole idea behind sperm donation is that everyone's supposed to pretend it's a virgin birth—so that women can be moms but still claim their vaunted "independence" from men. As for what the donor-conceived child might think about the no-daddy arrangement, well, who cares?

Can't have any of that "independence" talk at the Independent Women's Forum! Now, I know that ever since that Murphy Brown episode, most women think raising a kid alone is something like winning an Oscar. But I'm curious: Does anyone still believe IVF is something women do in between burning bras and taking back the night, and then only in order to have a partial birth abortion afterward?

Jennifer Egan's very long New York Times Magazine story on sperm donation profiles a bunch of "single mothers by choice," and each and every woman comes across sounding more IWF than NOW. "Virtually all" of the women Egan interviews hope to find a mate, but they worry their fertility will fade before they find someone worth marrying. The only choice they see is between creating a family in a less-than-ideal order or not having a family at all. So they choose the former.

It's not a massive survey sample, and it's certainly possible that the NYT piece missed out on, or chose to ignore, a subculture of feminists raising kids just to prove they can. But the story Egan tells sounds rather more plausible.

NEXT: Genetic Manipulation A Sin, Says Pope

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16 responses to “Wait, Was Joseph a Sperm Donor?

  1. Daddy should have gotten something signed and notarized if he didn’t want to be in this pickle.

  2. Herrick,

    It looks like it was his signature that greatly contributed to his problem. My guess is he also signed a bunch of paperwork as part of the IVF. I’ll be interested to find out what happens in this case. There’s certainly a lot more information available than what’s in the Sun Times article, although I have no idea how much of that will become public.

  3. If woman are doing it for the perfectly understandable reason that they can’t find a husband and don’t want their biological clock to run out, how are we helping them by holding sperm donors liable for the children? Doesn’t that just mean no man in his right mind will ever be a sperm donor and deprive these women of the opportunity to have a child?

  4. Herrick:

    Would not have helped. The support is legally viewed as something owed to the child. No mother can sign that away. As I understand this guy just gave his sperm to his ex girlfriend, in fact, it’s not clear if had coitus to make the donation. This guy is screwed.
    Seriously, guys, don’t donate sperm. Right now sperm bank children are tracking down their biological fathers b/c the banks don’t take the donor’s privacy seriously enough, and because there are new technologies and databases that facilitate tracking down your biological parents.
    Most states don’t even have laws protecting sperm bank donors from being required to provide child support, the only reason it hasn’t happened yet is b/c no woman has been audacious enough to sue for it. If you donate sperm outside of a sperm bank, you’re fucked, especially if it’s a single mother. If it’s a couple and the man signs his name as the father after birth, you’re off the hook, but if he changes his mind sometime during the pregnancy, again, the donor is fucked. THERE IS NO GOOD REASON TO DONATE SPERM. Refuse to donate until they change the law.

  5. Guy,

    I repeat, no man in his right mind would ever donate sperm under the current legal regime. This is helping childless woman and couples who want children how?

  6. Well, if only the stupid people donate sperm, the next generation of IVF children would be prime candidates for the Darwin Awards.

  7. John,

    Just to be clear, I think the lawsuit should and will be thrown out.

  8. Guy,

    Read the article in the Sun Times. It was IVF. Technically it’s possible, although a bit messy, to have coitus as part of an IVF cycle, but it seems unlikely.

    Kerry,

    Based on what do you think it will be thrown out? To me it looks like a he-said / she-said case, except he-signed paperwork that suggests more responsibility than he’s taking.

    I fully support the ability of people to donate genetic material and bear no obligation (financial or otherwise) to the resultant child. My wife and I successfully used donor eggs; this is an important issue to me. However, our paperwork makes it clear what the donor’s intent was and what our intent was.

    To me it’s possible that the two were in a relationship where they both expected to participate in the rearing of the children. My guess is the paperwork at the reproductive technology facility will be key.

  9. “I think the lawsuit should and will be thrown out”.

    Sure, Kerry, man, sure! I mean, judges in Illinois are absolutely world-famous for throwing out suits of rent-seekers and shysters of all kind, aren’t they? Isn’t that a great country or what?

  10. but they worry their fertility will fade before they find someone worth marrying.

    Could it be that the women need a selfishness test?
    What happened to adoption? Possible at any age and status. Unless you are male. Or perhaps they could settle for the less-than-ideal-partner? Only if they are not the less-than ideal partner themselves of course.

  11. Kerry:

    I think the lawsuit should be thrown out, but won’t be. I bet the guy gets stuck w/ child support.

    Anon2:
    Thanks for the link, I caught this when it hit yesterday, and it called the man a sperm donor, but didn’t mention IVF. I still think he’s screwed since he was in a relationship with her prior to the IVF.

    John:
    I don’t fully understand your question to me. I am pretty sure we’re in agreement on this issue.

  12. Guy,

    We do agree and it was more of a rhetorical question. Sorry not to be clear about that.

  13. 1) IVF or no, it doesn’t matter. Paternity is strict liability. If you can be identified, you can be sued for child support, and you will lose.
    2) Egg donation: technically, egg donation is sufficient to sustain a child support order. More interesting, however, is whether this is all really about the “best interests of the child” or whether it’s about pandering to women and misandry. I’d like somebody to sue their egg donor for support, just to see if they win. My bet is that they won’t, because (a) the Rules Just Don’t Apply to women, and (b) it would piss off female voters.

  14. Seriously, guys, don’t donate sperm. Right now sperm bank children are tracking down their biological fathers b/c the banks don’t take the donor’s privacy seriously enough, and because there are new technologies and databases that facilitate tracking down your biological parents.

    At Christmas, my boss gave me a “365 Stupidest Things Ever Said” calendar. This is the entry for March 10, from an interview on Radio 4 (in the UK):

    Interviewer: What do you think will happen if sperm donors’ identities are revealed to their offspring?

    Fertility expert: It would be disastrous! They would just stop coming!

  15. Can’t have any of that “independence” talk at the Independent Women’s Forum!
    Heh. In the case they’re discussing, there is no independence at all, which is seemingly the reason for their criticisms.
    The woman in question is requesting that she be made dependent on the man and on the state.

    No mother can sign that[mommy support] away.
    They can and do so quite regularly.

    Most states don’t even have laws protecting sperm bank donors from being required to provide child support, the only reason it hasn’t happened yet is b/c no woman has been audacious enough to sue for it.

    Actually most, if not all states, specifically protect anon donors; it’s one way that women can “sign that away.”

    I think the lawsuit should be thrown out, but won’t be. I bet the guy gets stuck w/ child support.

    Exactly right.

    I’d like somebody to sue their egg donor for support, just to see if they win. My bet is that they won’t, because (a) the Rules Just Don’t Apply to women, and (b) it would piss off female voters.

    Exactly right.

  16. Virtually all” of the women Egan interviews hope to find a mate, but they worry their fertility will fade before they find someone worth marrying. The only choice they see is between creating a family in a less-than-ideal order or not having a family at all. So they choose the former.

    FYI: I do not doubt that this a stratagy employed by women wanting a family…but my view is that it is not a very good one. Me as i am sure there are many other men would not marry a woman who has already had a child.

    Sorry but it is true men want women to have “thier ” child not some stangers child.

    anyway carry on.

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