UK Sperm Bank Charged with Discrimination

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on January 4, 2016

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The largest sperm bank in the United Kingdom is under fire for accusations of discrimination and eugenics after turning away a man with dyslexia who was seeking to donate his sperm. The sperm bank also noted they would not accept donors with ADD, autism, or Asperger’s. The Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, the agency in charge of regulating sperm banks, is now investigating the matter as it is illegal in the UK to discriminate against persons with such conditions.

While we at the CBC oppose sperm donation on the grounds that it intentionally severs donor children from their biological fathers, their medical histories, and their origin stories, this latest case is another example of how reproductive technology can be used to aid in eugenics.

When sperm banks advertise for clients, they often list specific requirements or target a certain demographic. For example, a football player at a major university or an engineer at an Ivy League University is far more likely to be recruited than someone with less than stellar physical or intellectual capacities. Sperm banks know that part of their business model must be offering a “top quality” product to parents looking to create the children of their dreams.

So for this, and many other reasons, we oppose the practice of sperm donation. As the case of the gentleman in the UK reminds us, it’s a discriminatory practice. And it’s that much more discriminatory to children who long to know where they’ve come from and are denied access to vital health information. It’s a practice where there are far more losers than there are winners. Is anyone else beginning to wonder how much longer we’re supposed to tolerate it?!

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