Let’s get one thing straight, you don’t become the second biggest selling newspaper in England and the most-read news site in the world by publishing stuff that everyone agrees with. You do it by publishing stuff with provocative headlines that make people angry, or upset, or want to voice an opinion. I know how this works. You know how this works, but that doesn’t stop us from having those reactions – it’s a gut reaction.
So even though I know all that, I couldn’t help but feel a bit “oh fuck”ish when I read the headline:
“How would YOU feel to find you are a sperm donor’s child? These women say it shattered their lives” on the Daily Mail website today.
Because although I know that the Daily Mail have an agenda to push (a family should be a married man and woman with their own biological children etc etc) so I know that the journalist who wrote this will have been tasked with finding women who felt that being the child of a sperm donor was a bad thing, and I know she will undoubtedly have passed up loads of happy children of sperm donors to get the story that she needed to get (note that the most positive case study, the one who “feels no anger towards her mother” is the one buried at the bottom), I defy anyone thinking about using a sperm donor (or egg donor for that matter) not to feel a bit “oh fuck”ish when you read:
“I would tell people not to have children by donor conception. I think it is selfish and an act of cruelty to deliberately deprive children of access to part of their natural heritage.”
But could we all just take a step back and breathe deeply before disappearing into a spiral of self-hatred (sorry was that just me?)
As some of the (normally completely bonkers) commenters have pointed out, in all of these cases, the sperm donor aspect of things was kept as a secret — as if it were something to be ashamed of — and not revealed until the child was an adult. I don’t know whether a child who knows from a very early age about their conception would feel the same. I genuinely don’t, but of course I hope not. Also, as the piece does point out, the law regarding anonymity for sperm donors has changed, so anyone born since 2005 by sperm or egg donation has the legal right to find out the identity of their donor parent, once they turn 18. So, if I were to have a child from donor sperm, while they wouldn’t have a conventional relationship with their father, they would, at least, have a right to know who he was when they got to the age of 18.
And I’m perfectly aware that I’m making arguments to suit my circumstances, justify my agenda, and make myself feel better, but then, that’s what the Daily Mail (and every other newspaper) does, so I thought someone ought to redress the balance in this case.