Ethical and Moral Issues in Sperm Donation
Sperm donation is a recent issue that is riddled with controversies. In truth, sperm donation has its advantages, as well as disadvantages. Similarly, there are two sides relating to the issue of sperm donation. On the one hand, there is a group of people who believe that sperm donation is amoral and should be shunned. On the contrary, there is another group which argues that sperm donation is acceptable since it plays an important role in ensuring happiness in families which do not have the capability or desire to sire their own children.
Sperm Donation and Individual Rights
In order to understand the amoral or unethical nature of sperm donation, the issue of rights should be explored and understood. In the process of sperm donation, there are two primary parties: the parents and offspring (Essig 34). These parties have rights. For instance, a donor has the right as a parent. However, when donating a sperm, donors forgo their rights as parents. It is a contentious decision for any person to cede their rights for whatever reasons. The question of parenting is given freely, and nobody has the right to take it away. In this regard, even the door has no basis to throw away his right to parenthood. Similarly, a recipient of donated sperms has rights regarding making choices. However, procreation is reserved for the natural process. Hence, undermining the natural and conventionally approved fertilization process is an affront on societal morals and ethics. Moreover, donors of sperms prefer being anonymous. Consequently, the recipients of sperms conspire to deny the offspring a chance to lead a normal life. In this regard, considering the rights of the offspring is also critical. It should be noted that the offspring is a human being which is entitled to all rights including the right to know and have parents. However, the act of sperm donation denies offspring such a right. For that reason, there is no moral or ethical justification to engage in sperm donation.
One of the issues that pertain to the ethics of sperm donation is anonymous versus non-anonymous sperm donation (Ekerhovd and Faurskov 67). This is an important issue to both the recipient and the donor. Before the procedure of sperm donation, both parties need to know the terms and conditions that govern the procedure. The right that each one of them stands to enjoy is also explained to them before carrying out the procedure. Sometimes, donors will try to find out who the recipients are. It is an unresolved question in sperm donation whether the offspring should be informed of their biological father.
Despite the ethical concerns, sperm donation has helped husbands who cannot father children for one reason or another (Van Den Broeck et al. 56). In the event that a few years down the line a stranger walks into his life claiming custody, then it ruins the bond that was once created. After solving the recipients’ problem of misconception, the idea may open other avenues for confrontation if the donors’ identity is made public. Many of those who undergo the procedure do not even have the confidence to go public. This is for the reason that they are concerned about fitting into society without raising any alarm.
Sperm Donation and Discrimination
Another contentious issue rests on the criteria used to select sperm donors (Laurance 1). To begin with, all human beings are deemed to be equal. This implies that for fairness to prevail when selecting sperm donors, each person has an equal chance of being selected. However, this is not the case since people have biases which they invoke when selecting sperm donors. For this reason, it is arguable that sperm donation is unethical since it discriminates against people thought to be of inferior qualities. However, proponents of sperm donation argue that sperm donation does not introduce discrimination since it happens in everyday life. For instance, when selecting spouses or life partners, people discriminate against others, yet, no one complains. Thus, the proponents of sperm donation can support their position by labeling antagonists of the idea as hypocrites who are ignorant of the truth. Nevertheless, sperm donation reignites the debate on good/desirable qualities. The criteria used to identify quality and poor quality or desirable and undesirable traits pose serious ethical dilemmas.
Another issue that adds to the controversy on sperm donation is the idea that sperms are sold. If sperms are sold, moral and ethical concerns arise. For instance, what criteria are used to determine the price of sperms? Opponents of sperm donation equate selling sperms to selling human beings.
Despite the assistance, this procedure compounds societal norms, morals and values (Ekerhovd, Faurskov and Werner 53). Child conception should be an act of love and not an experiment of science. Sperm donation is dehumanizing as the procedure involved in selecting and collecting the sperm sample is degrading. Trying to get men with certain features and suppressing others is questionable. Moral questions arise after allowing men to donate their sperm and giving them legal permission to stay away from any responsibility.
Although sperm donation has its advantages and disadvantages, sperm donation is amoral and unethical since it belittles natural procreation approaches. It also raises a number of concerns as discussed in this paper. However, two sides to the issue remain since there are those who support and those who oppose sperm donation.
- Ekerhovd, E., Faurskov, A., and Werner, C. “Swedish Sperm Donors are Driven by Altruism, but Shortage of Sperm Donors Leads to Reproductive Travelling.” Ups. J. Med. Sci 113.3, (2008): 305–13. Print.
- Essig, Maria G. “Semen Analysis”. Healthwise. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
- Laurance, Jeremy. So who’s the daddy? Ethics dilemma over sperm donor boom:
- Transparency about a child’s origins is encouraged, but not enforced. The Independent. Web. 02 April. 2012.
- Van Den Broeck, U., Vandermeeren, M., Vanderschueren, D., Enzlin, P., Demyttenaere, K., &
- d’Hooghe, T. “A Systematic Review of Sperm Donors: Demographic Characteristics, Attitudes, Motives and Experiences of the Process of Sperm Donation”. Human Reproduction Update 19.1, (2012): 37–51. Print.
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