April 20, 2024

Fatherhood: superannuated or evergreen?

Has sperm donation made the status of fathers obsolete? Several items popped up in the media this week which give different answers.

Has sperm donation made the status of fathers obsolete? Several items popped up in the media this week which give different answers.

NOPE: fatherhood is a primal urge. Hollywood identity Jason Patric has won a two-year legal battle to become the legal father of the child of former girlfriend and massage therapist Danielle Schreiber. The pair separated acrimoniously after Ms Screiber had conceived an IVF son with Mr Patric’s sperm. She then claimed that as a sperm donor he had no parental rights. He fought this in the courts, in the media, in the state legislature and on the internet. Now he has won.

NOPE: fatherhood is overwhelming. In an extraordinary story from Australia which was reported around the world, a woman who used an anonymous sperm donor to conceive a child ended up marrying him. Now Hollywood is interested in filming the story. After using a sperm donor who described himself as “happy and healthy”, Aminah Hart, a single woman, gave birth to Leila. Shortly after her daughter’s first birthday, she contacted the donor, who turned out to be a farmer, Scott Andersen. He was besotted with the little girl who looked so much like him and the couple fell in love.

“Maybe we’re rushing it. Who knows? We’ve both got a track record of marriages that have ended, says Ms Hart. “As Scott said, ‘I’ve got five kids to three women and you’ve got three kids to three men!’ But it just feels right – I feel very certain of that. None of this has been at all conventional. We certainly are a very modern family.”

KINDA SORTA: genes do count. An odd article in The New Republic describes the feelings of Stephanie Fairyington and her wife Sabrina as they sought for a sperm donor. When the lesbian couple started feeling broody, Stephanie suddenly realised that she wanted this child to carry her own genes. She asked her recently-divorced brother to be a sperm donor, but it turned out that he had had a vasectomy. “I still can’t adequately express the sadness I continue to feel when I realize that I’ll never look at a baby born of both of us. Instead, I will be looking at half of a man I don’t know, a stranger. I wish I could say that I’ve evolved from the selfish, animal longing to forge a bloodline with Sabrina, but I’m not there yet.”

YUP: men, who needs ‘em? Lucinda Bird, 38, conceived her daughter Raphael with the help of a Danish sperm donor who does not mind becoming contactable when the child turns 18. She didn’t see any particular reason why she needed a father to become a parent. “I had my parents and close friends to celebrate with, and it never occurred to me that I should share this with a man. ‘While I’m certainly not a man-hater, I know what’s right for me. I didn’t want to trick some guy into having a baby. This seemed a more honest way of creating my family.”

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