May 25, 2024


frozen sperm

An ingenious 15-year-old boy has proved that preserving sperm donor anonymity may be nearly impossible. The boy had been conceived with donor sperm and wanted to track down his father. He paid an on-line service, US$289 for his genetic profile. Using this, he found two men who had the same Y-chromosome and the same surname. Armed with the surname and his father’s date and place of birth and college degree, he purchased the name of everyone who had been born in the same place on the same day. Only one had the same surname — his father.

According to the New Scientist, this news “will be especially unsettling for men who donated anonymously before the power of genetics was fully appreciated. Donors were often college students who traded their sperm for beer money. Many have not told their wives or children and have never considered the implications of having a dozen offspring suddenly wanting to meet them.”