The Today show manages to be balanced. Ann Curry does an awesome job calling out the protection of the privacy of individuals and families. She’s brave enough to question genetic fetishism. Also, it’s worth noting that Nanette Ulster affiliates with rather conservative bioethics organizations.
I’m trying to decide what I think on this one. Is this a ‘yuk’ factor issue or is there a real ethical problem (pace Art Caplan).
My gut reaction: one person donating a lot of sperm resulting in triple-digit offspring is ok. Why? If one person has the most desirable sperm, then it is unfair for each individual child to select less desirable sperm because previous children were conceived with the most desirable sperm. What is an acceptable number? Do we follow Nick Agar’s species-typical enhancement ceiling and just wait until the Duggars exhaust themselves for us to have a maximum? So is 20 an ok number of donor children? 10? 5? 42? The only real threat from super-donors is genetic similarity affecting the population, which doesn’t come into play until you’re looking at tens of thousands of offspring.
Sure, it is unsettling that 150 kids are related, but as half siblings. The diversity of their respective mothers, the womb environment, mitochondrial DNA, and nurturing development ensure that none of these children are going to be more than genetic relatives. Any notion of heritage or attachment to the male donor is borderline superstition.
Bioethics is controversial.
No one endorses the ideas or concepts explored here, not even me.
You will develop a strong opinion about something you find here. I want to hear it. Philosophy is a conversation.
popbioethics [at] gmail [dot] com
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