February 24, 2024

What about those deadbeat sperm donor dads?

Where’s OctoDad?

Where’s OctoDad, some observers of the
mother-of-14-IVF-kids saga are asking. Apparently Nadya Suleman used a
single sperm donor for all of her brood, even though he begged her to
stop after her first 6. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Kay
Hymowitz links anonymous sperm donors to the legions of American
"deadbeat dads" who have abandoned mothers and their children. "The
reaction to Ms Suleman and her brood typifies our cultural ambivalence
about fathers, an ambivalence fed in no small measure by the fertility
industry." She opposes anonymous donation because, she argues, research
shows that children need a close relationship with fathers:

"But our
equivocation about paternity is finally untenable. Out-of-wedlock birth
rates in the US are now 38%; among African-Americans the figure is 70%.
Fathers of children living with single mothers are far less involved
with their children than are married fathers; about a third of all
children in single-mother families have not seen their father in the
previous year. Yet decades of social science have made it clear:
Children who grow up without their fathers experience more poverty,
have more problems at school, more trouble with the law — and more
single motherhood in the next generation."

The problem is not just amongst the poor. A recent New York Times Magazine feature
focuses on the growing number of unmarried college-educated women in
their 30s, 40s and 50s who acquire children through adoption or IVF.
The birthrate for unmarried college-educated women has climbed 145%
since 1980, compared with a 60% increase in the birthrate for less
educated women. ~ Wall Street Journal, Feb 20