There are a lot of controversial issues related to sperm donation. Donating sperm is the right of an individual that gains authenticity powered by medical ethics and the informed consent of the person. But issues crop up as these do not enjoy the legal technical mandate. Sperm banks are set up in various countries with the approval of the respective national health departments and in cases where there is a lapse of any given criteria, the accreditation is simply stopped.
Sperm Donation Ethics
The ethics of sperm donation is dependent on the following four criteria:
Given below are the explanations of the ethical aspects of each of the four issues.
- Right of the man who is donating his sperm.
- Right of the client or purchaser.
- Criteria used to select the sperm donor, that is, he is selected on the basis of possessing certain characteristics or traits.
- The amount of sperm that can be donated by single donor
Right of the Donor - The donor’s identity is always kept anonymous. The clients do not enjoy right to gather information about the identity of the donor from any other source or solicit info that can lead to his identification. The donor is also not responsible for the future or well being of the off spring resulting from the pregnancy of the woman whom he donated the sperm.
Right of the Client - Every information related to the limitation and the probable complications that happen to be a part of the sperm donation process should be informed in advance to the client. Donation may not always result in successful pregnancies. There can be a requirement of successive and multiple treatments. This entails that the sperm bank is also absolved of the accountability that the sperm provided by them is free from every possible disease and genetic abnormalities.
It is true that a strict screening procedure is followed but they cannot be considered to be foolproof. The client must be made to realise that only he or she is completely responsible for the child resulting from the sperm sample.
This is assured through the signing of the informed consent form which also carries the verification of the client’s doctor. It is devised on the principles of scientific and medical ethics.
Criteria of Sperm Choosing - All sperm banks may differ in the selection process. They are by and large highly selective but some can be more stringent or particular than the others. Usually they prefer their donors to be tall and trim. They must be heterosexual, free from certain diseases and of course the genetic ones. They should be between 19 to 34 years. However, many banks can accept clients who are in their mid forties as well.
It is interesting to note that CryoGam Colorado, Inc., a sperm bank only accepts sperm from Nobel Prize winners! So issues arise on the elitist or the ‘normal’ selection of clients of the sperm banks. The point that should be given prime importance is the adherence to the required laboratory standards and the extent to which they value the concept of informed consent.