Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Another Gallaudet student on the rampage

I feel like I have made this point before, but a search of the blog archives turned up nothing. I'm not feeling well and I'm grumpy, so forgive me if this is a repeat.

Some Gallaudet student is agitating for a ban on anonymous sperm and egg donations. One of her arguments is that offspring of anonymous donors don't have health histories that could help spot genetic illnesses and defects.

Read my lips: knowing your biological ancestry is no guarantee of perfect or even any knowledge about such health risks. Your family could be estranged, die before such defects manifested themselves, or just plain be too tight-lipped and secretive about medical information to tell you just what Grandma or Uncle Stu died of. If anything, the offspring of anonymous donors might be better off than many naturally conceived people, since presumably any reputable gamete bank would inquire about genetic predispositions on its intake documentation. I highly doubt hemophiliacs' sperm or eggs from sickle-cell anemics are being implanted willy-nilly.

This is such a helplessly bourgeois objection to anonymous donation that it makes me sick(er). Not everyone has a family tree with medical notation in the file cabinet in their spare bedroom. To say that there's a right to this information presumes that, absent anonymity, it is available. But for many people it is not. The offspring of anonymous donors, like millions of other Americans, will have to wait for personalized gene sequencing to find out what horrible deaths may await. Suck it up.
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