|Here’s something I never expected in the mainstream press: an article by a young woman on the experience of being a sperm donor child. In the article entitled, “Father was an anonymous sperm donor,” 18-year-old Katrina Clark wrote in the Washington Post about how she felt ripped off that her feminist mother who, when she was 32 and thought she might never get married, “allowed a doctor wearing rubber gloves to inject a syringe of sperm from an unknown man into her uterus so that she could have a baby.” Katrina Clark is not angry with her mother for the circumstance of her birth or even for being robbed of her patrimonial heritage. But she has been damaged by these facts and has coped by lying to herself, daydreaming of having her father around her at some times, telling herself that he was dead at others. Still, she always had the feeling her family was “broken.”
A few paragraphs provide, in brutally honest words, a perspective we seldom hear when discussing in-vitro fertilization: “I’m here to tell you that emotionally, many of us are not keeping up. We didn’t ask to be born into this situation, with its limitations and confusion. It’s hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won’t matter to the ‘products’ of the cryobanks’ service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place.
“We offspring are recognizing the right that was stripped from us at birth – the right to know who both our parents are.”
Clark writes about her feelings of emptiness and coming to the conclusion that as a donor child, she was a “freak.” To figure things out, she searched for her biological father and found him. She also participated in online discussions with others from the sperm donor “community” – donor fathers, recipient mothers and their resultant offspring. Clark notes: “When I read some of the mothers’ thoughts about their choice for conception, it made me feel degraded to nothing more than a vial of frozen sperm. It seemed to me that most of the mothers and donors give little thought to the feelings of the children who would result from their actions. It’s not so much that they’re cold-hearted as that they don’t consider what the children might think once they grow up.”
You would hope it wouldn’t be that way, but is so obviously is. Why else would women choose to pursue solutions to their biological or social infertility through such a dangerous procedure?
At about the same time this first-person account appeared in the mainstream press and put a human face to the emotional trauma experienced by IVF-conceived children, a study out of Finland documented once again the physical harm associated with IVF.
Doctor NDTV reported in its November newsletter on findings from the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health in Helsinki. Researchers there found that children conceived through IVF have increased rates of various abnormalities, such as brain abnormalities and defective urological systems.
Researchers examined the health of 4,559 children up to four years old who were born using IVF technology between 1996 and 1999. As a control group, the study relied on more than 190,000 children who were conceived naturally during the same time period.
Numerous previous studies have discovered that IVF-conceived babies have higher mortality rates and more complications at birth, as well as an increased risk of hospitalization and cerebral palsy.
The Finnish research team called for more study of the issue.
With the extensive studies, of which the one out of Helsinki is but the latest, and the personal stories, such as Katrina Clark’s in the Washington Post, it is well-established that IVF is an unhealthy option for women seeking fertility assistance, to say nothing about the moral issues involved.
No doubt, such women and IVF clinicians will claim that having such treatment is a matter of choice. But once again, the context of choice is completely insensitive to the needs and well-being of children. Whether it be the “choice” of a pregnant mother to have an abortion, the “choice” of homosexual couples to get married or the “choice” of women seeking IVF treatment, this particular mantra of freedom ignores, and is often quite hostile to children.