Monday, July 31, 2006

Is there an obligation to donate sperm?

Earlier, I blogged about blood donation, and concluded that there was no obligation to donate, in part because my pain cannot be traded off against someone else's gain. According to the Independent, though, the UK also needs sperm donations. Now, unless one's doing something wrong, sperm donations usually aren't painful. So, is there still a cost to donating sperm that cannot be traded off against someone else's gain? I'm hard-pressed to find one, which suggests that, although there may not be an obligation to donate blood, there may be one to donate sperm.


Anonymous said...

The potential con to donating sperm now is that there is no longer anonymity for the donor - meaning 18 years from now, your doorbell ringing may bring with it the child that your baby-batter created. Worse would be the legal ramifications that could financially obligate you to that child should a judge lose his/her damn mind and decree that you have responsibility to do so.
A spell of brief dizziness and the brief, sharp pain of a needle drawing blood seems like a much less painful donation in my book.

ADHR said...

That's only a contingent problem, though. Laws could be changed to keep one's anonymity. And, in principle, sperm banks could give you the option of signing a form swearing that they won't ever reveal your identity. Recipients could have the choice whether to accept sperm from a completely anonymous donor or a temporarily anonymous one.

Furthermore, I can see a similar problem happening for blood donation. Suppose you have a blood disease that you don't know about and the blood banks aren't screening for. (Similar to the recent Canadian Red Cross tainted blood scandal.) What's to keep blood donors from being sued? After all, the standard of proof in tort cases is preventable negligence. If you could have known you had a blood disease, and donated anyway, then the people you make ill are your responsibility.