Who Decides? pp 179-192 | Cite as

Fathers Anonymous

Beyond the Best Interests of the Sperm Donor
Part of the Contemporary Issues in Biomedicine, Ethics, and Society book series (CIBES)


Alex Haley concludes his international best seller, Roots, with the burial of his father in Little Rock, Arkansas. Walking away from the graveside he ponders the past generations, observing “I feel that they do watch and guide.” The book inspired whole industries devoted to the development of family trees, and locating one’s “roots” has become somewhat of an obsession with many. Because of the current secrecy surrounding the practice of artificial insemination by donor (AID), there are an estimated 250,000 children conceived by AID (at the rate of 6,000–10,000 annually in the United States) who will never be able to find their biological roots. There is almost no data available on these children, their psychological development, or their family life. The entire procedure has been shrouded in secrecy that is primarily justified by fear of potential legal consequences should the fact of AID be discovered.


Good Interest Artificial Insemination Autosomal Recessive Disease Donor Selection Permanent Record 
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© Copyright 1979, George J. Annas 1962

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