Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Used to be everybody had family. Mom, Dad, Grampa and Gramma. Aunts, Uncles, cousins. And, before the word ‘sibling’ came into fashion, we had brothers and sisters, too.

For a lot of folks, family is still important. My brother, Ray, has become a genealogy guru. He’s one of millions who spend their days searching for their roots, finding every branch of the family tree.

But more and more, these days, family is losing ground.

A recent news story on the telly introduced us to a woman who had discovered that the sperm donor who sired her two children has accounted for more than seventy others.

The lady was shocked and dismayed.

How dare that rascal go about randomly spawning half- brothers and half- sisters of her offspring without her approval or consent?

What, indeed, is the world coming to?

Google turned up this:

Xytex Cryo International Sperm Bank provides a diverse panel of donors that meet strict criteria before being accepted into our donor program. Use our intuitive search features along with the extensive information we offer about each donor to find the perfect match.

The web site goes on to say that pictures of their stable of studs are available in various formats, as well as transcripts of audio interviews.

After all, at $500 a pop, you don’t want to be buying a pig in a poke.

You can pick a daddy with bright blue eyes and long lashes. With a dazzling smile. Maybe a cute little dimple on the chin. Tall. Athletic. A college graduate.

Of course, the guy might be on heroin. Or his mother an alcoholic. Or his father a serial killer. But hey, dimples matter.

Some sperm donors have sired over a hundred children. Nobody really knows. The industry is basically unregulated.

Ah, yes. Free enterprise. The free market. Supply and demand. The American way.

Isn’t it wonderful? Our omniscient federal nanny tells us what kind of light bulbs we can buy and what we must do with them when they burn out, but nobody much cares where our DNA comes from or where it is going.

Back in the day, folks had to get a license from the state to make babies. It was called a marriage license. Had to have a blood test. Two witnesses and a judge or clergyman signing off. The county clerk kept all the records and called them vital statistics.

Lots of young people are going online these days looking for daddy. And half- brothers and half- sisters. Some stranger who looks like them. Some stranger who can provide a sense of belonging. A feeling of indentity.

Now there are registries on the Internet. Places where you can go to find out who you are.

Sperm donors can make as much as $1,000 a month. It’s all very discreet. The clinic is usually located in a large office building. Lots of traffic. Nobody notices a guy checking in three times a week.

Donors are screened so that the most fertile are selected. High sperm count. Good motility. High performers are in demand.

Of course, not all studs are handsome. One web site says that it is natural to feel rejected if you are not chosen. Some sperm banks won’t tell donors whether they are daddies. Don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. And besides, it’s none of their business.

Anyway, in America, unborn babies are chattels. They belong to their mothers, who can abort them for any reason or for no reason.

You don’t need a father. You don’t need a family. You don’t need grandparents or a name. Or a history. You’ve got a nanny in Washington, D.C. And nanny will protect you, defend you and define you.

What else do you really need? A pedigree? Nah. Pedigrees are for dogs and horses.

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