Couples struggling with infertility have quite a few options. Between IVF, surrogacy, and adoption, avenues to a child can vary depending on your personal preferences and individual circumstances. But apparently for some couples who are encountering male infertility, asking the father-in-law to make a sperm donation is considered appropriate infertility dinner table conversation.
Msnbc reports on a couple in the Netherlands who very much want a child with their genetic makeup. Hubby doesn’t produce sperm, they are not okay with using that of a stranger, and he has no brothers. Husband then came up with the idea of asking his father to pitch in and everyone agreed that the solution was perfect. There were some lengthy conversations with the ethics committee, but the fertility clinic eventually agreed as well.
But the decision has experts in the United States worried as they talk of the ethical challenges:
“I don’t know that laws should encompass forbidding intrafamilial donation,” said Adrienne Asch, director of the Center for Ethics at Yeshiva University in New York City. But couples who request it “should be very carefully counseled about the psychological pitfalls that could await them,” Asch said.
Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, said:
“I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m just saying it’s ethically high-risk.”
Another expert added:
“The notion that this child’s grandfather would be his biological father is just too bizarre for the child’s sake,” said George Annas, chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights at Boston University School of Public Health. “Family relationships are confused enough as they are when they’re not intergenerational,” Annas said.
So how does this practice sit with you? Because if hitting up your father-in-law for sperm donations isn’t “bizarre” to you, you’re clearly not alone.