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Are Sperm Donors Ready for Fatherhood?


In April 2005, the right to anonymity for sperm donors ended following a change in the law. As a result, there has been a huge drop in the number of sperm donations and some are saying there is now a shortage. The reasons for this are complicated, but the obvious reason is that many donors will now think twice. The idea that a few years later a teenager may turn up on their doorstep demanding they take a DNA paternity test could be a huge deterrent.

DNA Paternity Test and Children’s Rights

Many donors are eager to contribute their sperm to help infertile couples, and some do it for the financial incentive, but it’s clear that they don’t do it to become a parent, if they wanted to be a father in the full sense of the word. However, as children’s rights are now central to legislation, there has been a massive shift in recent years. It’s considered important for the child to know who their biological father is.

DNA Paternity Test – The Internet Boom

This creates a complexity of issues for potential donors. Many don’t want to end up having to undertake a DNA paternity test later on down the road, but do want to help infertile couples. The fact is genetics play a huge and important ingredient for many parent-children relationships – it informs their history, how they look down to their big ears or awkward gait, and even what diseases or illnesses they are susceptible to. It isn’t surprising then that there has been a recent boom in children using the internet to uncover their biological fathers using amongst other things, a DNA paternity test.

DNA Paternity Test – Nurture Versus Nature

Many children will be brought up by a father who isn’t their biological father and a DNA paternity test can prove this. But good fathering can be to do with nurture as well as nature. There are many reasons why good fathering matters, it is proven to:

  • Reduce the risk of a criminal record in sons
  • It’s been shown that successful women often have fathers who respect and encourage them
  • Children with involved fathers have better social skills and do better at exams
  • Good fathering helps your child have higher self esteem and trust in others

If a donor dad who didn’t intend to be a father but is unearthed by biological off-spring via a DNA paternity test is suddenly put on the spot to be a father, it can have huge emotional fall out. One news report followed the story of a 15-year old boy who by using genealogical records, internet searches and a DNA paternity test located his genetic father. This has huge implications on the thousand upon thousands of people conceived by donor sperm.

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