Even Death Cannot Stop Fatherhood

Men are becoming sperm donors after their death 

Ben Jacobs // Contributor 

Normally, if someone were to die with the request of donating body parts, they would think about donating their heart or kidneys. But more recently, this idea has been expanded on: when a man dies, he can have his sperm donated to a sperm bank. With a man on his deathbed, his last request is to donate reproductive fluids for future purposes.  One life passes and another is given.  However, recent court cases raise ethical concerns over the process. 

In many ways, much would not be different than donating a heart or lungs in case of transplant surgery. This process would follow the same ethics as organ donation.  With normal sperm donation, an individual would be able to have it requested. The new variable in this situation, however, is the donor’s death. If someone donates their sperm while alive, all that’s needed is a request from the donor; on the other hand, while dead, there’s an extra variable involved: the family of the donor.  There also needs to be information on the donor’s health. Sperm can be considered a host for STDs, so it would need to be tested to see if any diseases are present. 

Those deciding the ethics of organ donation should be considering the anonymity of the donors.  Obviously, the child would not have been able to visit their biological parents because they’re… well… dead.  However, there is another elephant in the room—how the child will find out about their biological family.  After all, like donating sperm when someone is alive, a person should have every right to know their biological family—it’s only fair for the future children of these donors to receive such a disclosure. Courtney McKinney, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, illustrates this in her story about being the daughter of an anonymous sperm donor, sharing the aftermath of anonymous sperm donations from the child’s perspective: “That lack of consideration is something I feel the consequences of every time […]and every time I wonder what attributes of mine come from this anonymous man.” 

Overall, this is not anything new or different in any medical practice, since this is just donating a part of a human body for science. I say—go for it. Just be sure to consider the repercussions when making your decision. 

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