Tag: sperm donors

Bioethics Blogs

When Women are Surrogate Mothers: Is that work?

Alana Cattapan, Angela Cameron, and Vanessa Gruben warn that speaking about “compensation” is a way of avoiding difficult conversations about payment to surrogates.

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A recent Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) news article reported that the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) has called for the federal government to reconsider the ban on payment for surrogacy in Canada. The article suggests that industry professionals and academics alike are coming around on compensation for surrogacy, with support growing all the time.

In Canada, payment for surrogacy, egg donation, and sperm donation is banned under the 2004 Assisted Human Reproduction Act. Under the Act, surrogates (like egg donors and sperm donors) can be reimbursed for receipted expenses. With a note from their doctor, surrogates can also receive some money for lost work-related income during pregnancy.

The Act states that this reimbursement of expenses must follow the relevant regulations. Until now, however, these regulations have never been drafted. After more than a decade, Health Canada is now in the throes of making them. This is occurring as surrogacy in Canada is expanding to accommodate more and more people from countries where surrogacy is more expensive, harder to access or banned completely.

Women Working in a Field by Winslow Homer 1867.

It is in this context that the CFAS (which is a part-medical association, part-industry organization representing the fertility industry and its doctors, lawyers, scientists and ethicists) has called for the government to reconsider the ban on payment.

 It is important to know that the market in surrogacy in Canada is a profitable one.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Who is the Father?: Sperm Donor Identification

The issue is whether the donor of sperm obtained via a sperm bank should be identified even though the donor provided the specimen with the understanding of anonymity?
The following are stories of how through current public accessibility to  DNA identification resources anonymity of the “father” is no longer guaranteed. There is an example of this accessibility in a 2010 issue of Slate and a more current example as presented in the Netherland’s Dutch News.

Providing sperm to a sperm bank is of monetary significance to both the donor and finally for the bank itself and the “donation” is still considered a needed action by society. Despite the potential with public-accessible technology and investigations as noted in the two above articles,  should the utilization of the sperm for fertilization continue to permit anonymity of the source?  Well, if the goal is to encourage further donations then a recent study in the journal “Law and the Biosciences” regarding loss of anonymity suggest a problem in procurement as outlined in the Abstract of the article.

Most sperm donation that occurs in the USA proceeds through anonymous donation. While some clinics make the identity of the sperm donor available to a donor-conceived child at age 18 as part of ‘open identification’ or ‘identity release programs,’ no US law requires clinics to do so, and the majority of individuals do not use these programs. By contrast, in many parts of the world, there have been significant legislative initiatives requiring that sperm donor identities be made available to children after a certain age (typically when the child turns 18).

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Who is the Father?: Sperm Donor Identification

  

The issue is whether the donor of sperm obtained via a sperm bank should be identified even though the donor provided the specimen with the understanding of anonymity?
The following are stories of how through current public accessibility to  DNA identification resources anonymity of the “father” is no longer guaranteed. There is an example of this accessibility in a 2010 issue of Slate and a more current example as presented in the Netherland’s Dutch News.

Providing sperm to a sperm bank is of monetary significance to both the donor and finally for the bank itself and the “donation” is still considered a needed action by society. Despite the potential with public-accessible technology and investigations as noted in the two above articles,  should the utilization of the sperm for fertilization continue to permit anonymity of the source?  Well, if the goal is to encourage further donations then a recent study in the journal “Law and the Biosciences” regarding loss of anonymity suggest a problem in procurement as outlined in the Abstract of the article.

Most sperm donation that occurs in the USA proceeds through anonymous donation. While some clinics make the identity of the sperm donor available to a donor-conceived child at age 18 as part of ‘open identification’ or ‘identity release programs,’ no US law requires clinics to do so, and the majority of individuals do not use these programs. By contrast, in many parts of the world, there have been significant legislative initiatives requiring that sperm donor identities be made available to children after a certain age (typically when the child turns 18).

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Destination Laos: the ever-changing surrogacy business changes again

The dreary design of the website and Facebook page of Find Surrogate Mother (aka surrogacy inc) makes depressing reading. The business describes itself as “a full service Surrogacy Agency in Manila, Philippines, helping to match Surrogate Mothers, Intended Parents, Egg Donors, Sperm Donors [which] provide[s] services for Heterosexual Couple, Gay Couple, Lesbian Couple, Single Woman, Single Man.”  

For desperately poor Filipino women, it must seem like a golden opportunity.

Unfortunately for them, the Filipino government is cracking down on what it describes as a “human trafficking syndicate”. It detained four women on New Year’s Day as they were about to leave Manila for Phnom Penh, there to be impregnated with the sperm of men from Australia, Germany, China and Nigeria. They were to be paid US$10,000.

Philippine Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the police had uncovered “a new modus operandi of a human trafficking syndicate that preys on our Filipino women who are enticed to bear children of strangers for a fee because of their poverty”.

Surrogacy for foreign clients is officially illegal in Cambodia, but surrogacy brokers are still active there, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The incident shows just how flexible the surrogacy industry is. Only months after surrogacy clinics for foreigners were closed in India, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, they opened in Phnom Penh. According to the Herald, “The operators look for poor, lightly regulated countries that don’t have laws dealing directly with surrogacy, such as Cambodia.”

With the crackdown in Cambodia, the operators are simply shifting their business to Laos.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Financial Abortion: Should Men Be Able to ‘Opt Out’ of Parenthood?

December 5, 2016

(Australian Broadcasting Co) – A financial abortion (also known as a paper abortion or a statutory abort) would essentially enable men to cut all financial and emotional ties with a child in the early stages of pregnancy. This means he would opt out of all rights, privileges and responsibilities of parenthood in a binding and not reversible decision, similar to sperm donors. But sperm donors’ actions are only motivated by the possibility of creating a child without becoming a parent.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

DNA: Donors Not Anonymous

Special Guest Post by Wendy Kramer [In response to Sperm donor anonymity and compensation: an experiment with American sperm donors, published in the Journal of the Law and Biosciences.] My son Ryan and I were contacted by Family Tree DNA in … Continue reading →

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Clarifying the AHR Act After 12 Long Years

Alana Cattapan calls on Health Canada to ensure substantive public engagement including surrogates and gamete donors in policymaking on assisted reproduction.

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On October 1, 2016 the Government of Canada announced that it will be introducing regulations to clarify and implement the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (2004), twelve years after its passage. In addition to improving screening and testing for gamete donors, the new regulations will “clarify eligible reimbursable expenses for parties involved in surrogacy arrangements, and semen and ova donation.”

Currently, reimbursements of “expenditures” for surrogates, sperm donors, and egg donors can occur when receipts are available “in accordance with the regulations.” However, since the passage of the Act there have been no regulations. As a result, it has been unclear whether, how, and for what reimbursements can occur. The new regulations will provide guidance about what is a legitimate expense under the law, ensuring that people helping others have a child are not out of pocket in doing so. Presuming that they are enforced, the regulations should also work to ensure that reimbursements to surrogates and gamete donors occur within the bounds of the law.

While clarity in the Act’s provisions on reimbursements is an important goal, the process being used to develop the regulations has continued the long-standing practice of failing to include surrogates and gamete donors in policy consultations.

The announcement of the proposed regulations follows a controversial consultation process about the reimbursement of expenditures under the Act. In 2015, Health Canada asked the Canadian Standards Association to develop voluntary standards on the reimbursement of expenditures in accordance with the Act.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

IVF Services Offer Women Detailed Lists to ‘Design’ a Perfect Donor

October 10, 2016

(The Australian) – Major fertility services are providing would-be mothers with baby photos, voice recordings and a run down on the physical and emotional characteristics of potential sperm donors as they cater to an increasing number of single women seeking to have a child. New figures show single women are increasingly choosing to start a family by IVF and that about half of women awaiting a sperm donor at major fertility services do not have a partner.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Biological ties are unimportant, says bioethicist

The search for one’s “real” father or “real” mother is a motif not only of yesteryear’s literature but today’s news. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Shakespeare’s Pericles, Fielding’s Tom Jones, or Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker draw on the same anxieties as AnonymousUs, a website for children of sperm donors, and the unexpected parentage of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

But is that feeling good or bad, justifiable or unjustifiable? An ethical evaluation of much of contemporary assisted reproduction rests on the answer.

The Journal of Medical Ethics today published a sturdy defence of the idea that genetic parentage is not intrinsically valuable by Ezio Di Nucci, of the University of Copenhagen.

Di Nucci begins by disputing an article by J. David Velleman, of New York University, in Philosophical Papers. In the way of philosophers, it is described as a “recent” paper, but it was published in 2010. Velleman, the descendant of Russian Jews who emigrated to the United States, tried to make sense of our attachment to our genetic heritage. He argued, basically, that knowing our forebears helps us to make sense of our own identity and he concluded that “donor conception is wrong”.

Adoptees can certainly find meaningful roles for themselves in the stories of their adoptive families. Even so, they seem to have the sense of not knowing important stories about themselves, and of therefore missing some meaning implicit in their lives, unless and until they know their biological origins.

Di Rucci’s immediate focus is on IVF with ROPA (Reception of Oocytes from Partner), in which one partner in a lesbian relationship provides the eggs and the other gestates the baby.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.