What is a donor child?
As soon as genetic and social parenthood fall deliberately from birth, the so-begotten children are donor children. We members of the donor children association have all been conceived through a sperm donation (also called donogen or heterologous insemination). However, there are other forms of artificially assisted procreation through which donor children arise.
What is sperm donation?
Sperm donation refers to the transfer of semen from another donor to the womb of a woman to induce pregnancy. Sperm donation is a very old method of artificial insemination. Some successful experiments have been reported since the 19th century. Since 1930, a medical practice exists for this, however, sperm donation was initially seen as morally and religiously offensive and connected with adultery. In Germany, it was even considered in the 1960s that they be punished. In 1970, the German Medical Council decided to no longer treat semen donations as contrary to the law. Due to the existing legal risks for the doctor, however, the German Medical Association did not recommend sperm donations. With the general liberalization in the seventies, the medically mediated sperm donation spread as a method to counter unwanted childlessness in infertility of the man.
The normal fertilization with a sperm donation is compared to the in vitro fertilization (= “fertilization in the glass”, ie outside the body), a relatively simple technique of artificial insemination. The seed is introduced directly into the woman’s uterus. An in vitro fertilization can also be done with a sperm donation.
According to the guidelines of the Donogenic Insemination Working Group, the sperm donor must be healthy, in good physical and mental condition and free from infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and syphilis. Depending on the quality, the donor receives between 75 and 150 euros for a donation. Fertilization may only be done with semen that has been stored frozen for six months and whose donor is still free of HIV at the end of that period. Until 1983 often fresh seeds were used. In contrast to other countries like the US, the desired parents in Germany have few opportunities to choose the donor. The clinics usually look for a donor based on the appearance of the husband and his blood type. However, some clinics are said to offer a limited choice of hair color, eye color, blood type, skin color, occupation, hobbies, height and weight. It is estimated that between 4,500 and 5,000 children a year are donated by donating sperm in Germany.
Advantages and disadvantages of a sperm donation
As benefits of a sperm donation are often called:
- The pregnancy can be experienced.
- The child is at least genetically related to a parent, the mother.
- It is a relatively simple procedure, which is usually not painful and does not require surgery or inpatient hospitalization.
But there are also disadvantages and challenges:
- For couples, the fact that the mother is genetically related to the child and the father is not, can lead to tensions in family life. The position of the parents to the child is never the same, because at least the parents know of the missing relationship of the man. This can not be changed, however much the father loves the child.
- The family situation requires a lot of reflection and openness about one’s own feelings and about what constitutes a family, and also an examination of painful topics such as one’s own infertility. If not be >
Other forms of assisted procreation
The above aspects can be transferred to the other forms of medically assisted procreation, but not as frequently as donated sperm are used and in Germany are not allowed so far. Which includes:
Egg donation (position of donor children to egg donation)
During egg donation, the ovaries are medically stimulated by a donor to mature several oocytes. These are then removed, fertilized with sperm by in vitro fertilization and transferred to the recipient or frozen for later transfer. The recipient is therefore not genetically related to the child, but carries it out. For fertilization, a sperm donor can be used, so that the child was then conceived by both egg and sperm donation. The egg donation is prohibited in Germany under § 1 Abs. 1 Nr. 2 Embryo Protection Act. The reason for this is above all that the legislator fears damage for the well-being of the child when genetic and legal maternity fall apart. In semen donations, however, it is assumed that fatherhood has always been relatively insecure and falling apart is therefore not so unsettling. Another reason for the ban is the increased health risks compared to semen donation. There is a risk of hormonal overstimulation in the donor and there are also risks for the recipient and the child. However, egg donation is allowed in some European countries. Many women go to the Czech Republic or Spain as part of the so-called fertility tourism, where donors are invariably anonymous and it is obvious that economic hardship is being exploited. Open egg donation is available in Europe in the UK, the Netherlands and Finland. There is also the possibility of an open egg donation in Denmark and the USA. A licensing of the egg donation in Germany we see critically – if at all, it should be possible only under strict conditions and accompanying regulations within the framework of a propagation law.
Embryo adoption (position of donor children for embryo adoption)
The embryo adoption (often referred to as embryo donation) is discussed only because of the effects of reproductive medicine: In the generation of children by in vitro fertilization, more embryos or impregnated eggs are sometimes produced than the mother can be used. These are usually kept cryopreserved if the parents want to have more children. However, if they do not want to have more children, they are faced with the question of what to do with their frozen embryos (or impregnated eggs). Embryo adoption will be given to other couples or individuals. The child grows then as in the egg donation in the body of the wish mother, but the child is not related to any of the social parents. In Germany it is disputed whether the embryo adoption violates § 1 Abs. 1 Nr. 2 Embryo Protection Act if cells are further cultivated prior to the merger (in the so-called pronuclear stage) in order to transfer them to other than the genetic parents. Despite these legal uncertainties, in the autumn of 2013, the Network Embryo Donation was established, which would like to further advance embryos in the pronucleus phase. In the design of this transfer, we see clear points of criticism, for example, the donation between donor and recipient pair without exception anonymously.
A surrogate mother rents out her ability to conceive and deliver a child to other couples or individuals, and gives birth to the child after birth. Surrogacy can occur in two forms: the surrogate mother is fertilized with seeds of the wishful father or a donor, then she is also genetic mother of the child. In the second form, which is almost exclusively used today, the surrogate mother carries out the embryo produced by means of IVF with an egg donation, which is then a genetically alien child. This second form is now often chosen, as it is feared because of the “Baby M” case in the US that the surrogate mother would rather keep a genetically own child. So in extreme cases the child has up to 3 mothers: the egg donor, the surrogate mother and the social mother. The mediation of surrogacy is prohibited in Germany due to the Embryo Protection Act. Surrogate surrogate contracts are immoral in Germany and can not be legally enforced, because they make the resulting child a commercial object, which violates its fundamental rights guaranteed dignity. In the UK, non-profit surrogacy is allowed. There are two English-language blogs in which surrogate mothers report their experiences: Son of a Surrogate and The Other Side of Surrogacy.
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