Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Friday, May 20, 2005

More sperm donaton

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is weighing a case with the potential to strike fear in the hearts of sperm donors who thought they were getting $50 for their genetic material and nothing more -- certainly no responsibility for babies created with it.

The justices heard arguments this week in a case that forces them to weigh the right of children to financial aid from two parents against the right of men to provide sperm for in-vitro fertilization without the donors being held responsible for any offspring.

The case goes beyond the usual anonymous donor, as the donor was an ex-lover of the mother. But they had an agreement that she would absolve him of responsibility for the children, in this case twins. The initial judge ruled that the contract was invalid because the mother couldn't bargain away the rights of the children to support. While that seem a plausible argument from a legal perspective, from a utilitarian one, such a ruling would certainly keep a lot of potential donors away.

The article does note California has a law protecting donors, which Pennsylvania does not, but probably should


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