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Maybe you did it for the extra cash. Maybe you wanted to be part of the sperm cube public art project. Whatever the reason, it’s possible, just possible, your sperm took on a life of it’s own, once you left it.

And now that a genome is no longer an entirely personal bit of information, you may be in for a surprise meeting someday, with the end result.

That’s right.

Male adoptees are getting their DNA tested and getting information about their possible surnames.

According to the BBC news:

At least 30 men registered with US consumer genetic testing firm Family Tree DNA have found their “biological surname” in this way, the company’s chief executive told BBC News. The company has an online database called Ysearch containing genetic information from 125,000 men, along with surnames and other genealogical data.

As yet, I don’t think there’s anything that protects a sperm donor from a lawsuit from a child, claiming to need, oh help with college expenses, or just whatever.

It might be something that you want to look into.

Hat tip to Genome Technology. More information can be found here, and here, and further discussion of the ethical implications here.

Comments

  1. #1 John Lloyd Scharf
    October 21, 2008

    There is no provision in the law that compells a donor to provide for offspring, but even if it did, there is no provision in the law requiring parents provide a college education. SO, why would a sperm donor be required to provide one.

    You CAN demonstrate with a yDNA test that you are related, but that indicates only a common paternal ancestor rather than paternity. In fact, you cannot establish a surname beyond a reasonable doubt.

  2. #2 Sandra Porter
    October 21, 2008

    The yDNA test may not be enough to establish paternity, but there are tests that can do this with a high probability. Recently, a paper in Plos showed that DNA samples from different individuals could be identified even in a mixture where it was thought that this wouldn’t happen.

    As far as the question of legal responsibility: do parents have a legal responsibility to support their children? I think they probably do, but I’m not a lawyer.

    I remember that Washington state used to require women to have paternity tests done before they could qualify for aid. I thought the reason was that the state would get fathers to pay before using taxpayer funds.

  3. #3 Shawna
    October 22, 2008

    These sperm donors ought to realize that with their little drop-off specimen, that they are potentially creating a human being. That human being has a right to know her/his identity. How foolish are people to think that any human would not not want to know who their father is, regardless of how the person was conceived. If you don’t want to be found by a daughter or son, then don’t sell your sperm. As far as college tuitions being at the forefront of a donoree seeking her/his roots – think again – they just want to know the other half of their identity.

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