A new study from the Institute for American Values finds that teens and adults conceived using donor sperm will sometimes answer yes to leading questions about feeling confused about their parentage or distressed about not knowing their biological father.
That’s not the headline they’re touting as they promote the upcoming study. Instead they’re pushing the findings that make sperm donation look like a problem. Study authors Karen Clark and Elizabeth Marquardt have an essay in Slate today in which they stress the suffering of kids conceived through sperm donation.
They don’t mention that those same kids are more likely than others to donate sperm, eggs or the use of their wombs, nor do they focus long on recent research that shows lesbian moms do the best job raising their kids.
Sorry, ladies, your conservative agenda is showing.
As KJ pointed out in her earlier post here, the study is openly biased:
it doesn’t ask respondents to agree or disagree with statements like “I’m glad I was born to the parents I have.” It offers, instead, “I feel confused about who is a member of my family, and who is not.” It invites respondents to offer their insecurities about their origins, and they do.
A closer look at research on the role of fathers in this month’s Atlantic show that dads aren’t as indispensable as we like to believe. Single moms and lesbians do a fine job of raising their children without a man in the picture.
Of course, being conceived via donor sperm is unusual. It’s a path many families take, either due to infertility or because a woman or lesbian couple wishes to have children without a male partner. All family structures can cause children pain.
It’s a safe bet that the vast majority of unhappy families in the history of human civilization have been headed by a man and a woman who simply didn’t get on very well, or had other problems between them. I can readily believe that some children conceived with donor sperm have confused, conflicted or downright unhappy feelings about it.
But I don’t think the results of a plainly biased and leading survey are sufficient to condemn the entire process. Rather, I’m disappointed in Slate for giving such a large and highly-respected podium to researchers with a clearly political agenda.