It’s a precious gift

Fatherhood: A man's greatest joy, but would donating his sperm be his wife's greatest anguish?
Fatherhood: A man's greatest joy, but would donating his sperm be his wife's greatest anguish?
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All that I am I give to you... you both said those words when you made your marriage vows.

So does that mean literally? Does it make your husband’s sperm a joint marital asset, like the house, the AppleMac and the caravan?

One woman thinks so - and is commencing a legal battle to force fertility clinics to seek a wife’s permission before accepting a man’s sperm donation.

Donors must, by law, be offered counselling to discuss the repercussions. But at the end of the day, the sperm donor still has total say.

Her husband donated sperm without her knowledge while suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

She is worried - selfishly, I’d say - that up to 20 potential half-siblings to their own child could one day come knocking and causing emotional distress.

She may cite that marriage vow, which was successfully used by Worksop widow Diane Blood in her court battle for the right to use her late husband’s sperm to conceive.

Diane eventually created legal history and two sons; Liam, born in 1998, four years after his father’s death and Joel, born three years later.

Diane has already been contacted by the campaigning unnamed mother-of-one from Surrey.

So too have watchdogs the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Men are in uproar over her attempt to metaphorically shackle their testicles and their free will.

Whatever a man chooses to do with his sperm is his decision and his alone, regardless of his marital status, say some.

Which is clearly ridiculous. I don’t believe we need a law, but anyone with an ounce of decency would see that such an important decision could only be made after lengthy discussion with their life partner.

You don’t need permission, but you do need their blessing.

Absolutely valid is the other male argument, though; that it cuts both ways. Yet there is no law to prevent a woman from donating her eggs without permission from her husband, or one which insists the father must give his consent before an abortion is granted.

Infertility is on the rise; we don’t need a law that could make the prospect of parenthood more difficult.

We just need couples to talk to each other. Giving someone else the life of a child that is partly yours is a huge undertaking with a welter of emotion, present and future, to deal with. Together.

It could turn out to be a huge responsibility, too.

A ruling in 2005 gave children born via sperm donation the legal right to trace their biological father when they reach adulthood.

Couples have to discuss how they would feel should an 18-year-old step-child turn up.

And what the campaigning wife and her husband need is marriage therapy.

She clearly needs to find out what made her husband take such a step without consulting her.