not fatherless by choice

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Dec 18, 2006

In a remarkable op-ed appearing in the Washington Post, a young woman named Katrina Clark explains what it's like to know that you are the child of an anonymous sperm donor.

It's not fun. The essay could be Exhibit A in any argument about the morality of artificially assisted human reproduction. The child of a loveless, sterile union between gametes speaks with authority when she reminds us that nobody asked for her opinion on the circumstances of her birth. Her mother (whom she still admires) got the baby she wanted. But the baby didn't get a father she could know.

Through childhood and into adolescence, the absence ate at her:

As a coping mechanism, I used to think that he was dead. That made it easier.

Eventually she dedicated her time to research, and with a lot of persistence and good fortune, located the man who donated the sperm. Now they chat by email. It's an odd, distant, but friendly relationship.

If I can't be too attached to him as my father, I'll still always be attached to the feeling I now have of having a father.

Clark observes that her mother won plaudits and support from her friends for her brave decision to become a single mother, while her biological father walked away from the sperm bank with an untroubled mind.

As long as these adults are happy, then donor conception is a success, right?

Eighteen years later, the child is still paying the cost.

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