Not quintuplets, but actually five exposures of the same girl, artfully manipulated to appear as if quintuplets dressed in the same clothes are standing together.
The growing number of sperm donor siblings in the U.S. is causing trouble. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/Hafiz Issadeen/Flickr)

As more women are choosing to have children on their own via artificial insemination, a problematic genetic phenomenon has begun to occur. According to the New York Times, oversized groups of donor siblings are becoming more common. In some cases, as many as 150 children have been traced to a single sperm donor.

A modern take on the extended family

Half-siblings from the same sperm donation customers are cropping up across the nation. Medical experts and prospective parents are concerned that numerous negative consequences can stem from the lack of gene pool variance, such as the spread of rare genetic diseases and accidental incest.

“My daughter knows her (father’s) donor number for this very reason,” said the mother of a teen conceived via sperm donation in California. “She’s been in school with numerous kids who were born through donors. She’s had crushes on boys who are donor children. It’s become part of sex education.”

Booming baby business brings botheration

Fertility clinics and sperm banks have earned huge profits in what critics label “the baby business.” These same critics lambaste the businesses on the grounds that too many children are conceived with the sperm of popular donors. To safeguard against this, activists like Dr. Debora Spar, author of the book “The Baby Business: How Money, Science and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception,” believe that limits should be placed and the cloak of anonymity should be lifted, if only a little.

“We have more rules that go into place when you buy a used car than when you buy sperm,” said Spar. “It’s very clear that the dealer can’t sell you a lemon, and there’s information about the history of the car. There are no such rules in the fertility industry right now.”

The United States has placed no limit on how many children a sperm donor can produce, unlike most other developed nations. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has recommended that individual sperm donors be limited to 25 births per population of 800,000. Some estimates place the number of sperm donor births in the U.S. as high as 60,000 per year.

Making donor registries mandatory

The sensitive, personal nature of sperm donation and concern in the U.S. regarding the right to privacy have made it difficult to prevent the rapid growth of donor sibling groups. Websites like help, but some sperm banks continue to treat donor families unethically, says registry founder Wendy Kramer.

“Just as it’s happened in many other countries around the world,” Kramer said, “we need to publicly ask the questions ‘What is in the best interests of the child to be born?’ and ‘Is it fair to bring a child into the world who will have no access to knowing about one half of their genetics, medical history and ancestry?’”

What sperm donation may become (Note: Adult humor/situations)


American Society for Reproductive Medicine:

Donor Sibling Registry:

New York Times:

Warnock Report on Human Fertilization and Embryology:

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