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Sun Feb 17, 2019, 02:36 PM

A Mother Learns the Identity of Her Child's Grandmother. A Sperm Bank Threatens to Sue.

Source: New York Times

A Mother Learns the Identity of Her Child’s Grandmother. A Sperm Bank Threatens to Sue.

The results of a consumer genetic test identified the mother of the man whose donated sperm was used to conceive Danielle Teuscher’s daughter. Legal warnings soon followed.

By Jacqueline Mroz
Feb. 16, 2019

Danielle Teuscher decided to give DNA tests as presents last Christmas to her father, close friends and 5-year-old daughter, joining the growing number of people taking advantage of low-cost, accessible genetic testing.

But the 23andMe test produced an unexpected result. Ms. Teuscher, 30, a nanny in Portland, Ore., said she unintentionally discovered the identity of the sperm donor she had used to conceive her young child.

-snip-

So perhaps it’s no surprise that the fertility industry is facing questions, too. For decades, the business relied on the idea that sperm banks can guarantee anonymity to donors, and promised that there wouldn’t be any relationship with offspring unless the donors wanted.

-snip-

In Ms. Teuscher’s case, NW Cryobank, the sperm bank in Spokane, Wash., from which she had bought the donated sperm, sent her a stern letter.

It threatened Ms. Teuscher with penalties of $20,000 for “flagrantly” violating the agreement she’d signed by seeking the identity of the donor and contacting his family. The bank also said it would deny her access to four vials of sperm from the same donor that she had hoped to use.

-snip-

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/health/sperm-donation-dna-testing.html

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Reply A Mother Learns the Identity of Her Child's Grandmother. A Sperm Bank Threatens to Sue. (Original post)
Eugene Feb 17 OP
TDale313 Feb 17 #1
Harker Feb 17 #2
pnwest Feb 17 #3
Harker Feb 17 #4
Mosby Feb 17 #5
Harker Feb 17 #6
Oneironaut Feb 18 #7

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 02:54 PM

1. The reaching out on her part...

Particularly not to the donor but to his mother, was the biggest problem here, imo. She crossed lines she legally had committed not to.

As far as the DNA testing sites... the whole industry is a massive privacy issue... not just for the person taking the test but their blood relatives. You are voluntarily giving these private companies very personal information. Once they have it, you really have very little say in how it gets used or who eventually has access to it. It’s very interesting technology, but the laws are way behind the science.

Editing to add: even if the parents never go searching for the donor, how in this day and age could any sperm bank guarantee complete anonymity? There is nothing preventing an adult who was conceived this way from taking a DNA test.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 02:59 PM

2. Come again?

She gave her five year old child a DNA test as a present?

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Response to Harker (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 03:18 PM

3. Right? That's what I came away with - the other

gifts were cover, she wanted to know about her kid.

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Response to pnwest (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 03:27 PM

4. Yes... seems to me she was sniffing around.

I would think she was well briefed on protocol, prior to signing the contract.

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Response to Harker (Reply #4)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 05:58 PM

5. Did you read the article?

You can’t sign away the rights of a child who hasn’t been born, said Dov Fox, a law professor at the University of San Diego who specializes in bioethics and the regulation of technology.

“Even if they could stop parents from reaching out, there's no way they can keep offspring from trying to find their genetic donors,” said Dr. Fox. “If a sperm bank asks prospective parents to sign away their not-yet-existing child's ability to test her own DNA, a court shouldn’t enforce a provision like that.”


Glenn Cohen, a professor and bioethicist at Harvard Law School, agreed and questioned whether such a contract is “contrary to public policy” and thus unenforceable.

The mother of a child conceived with donated sperm might well argue that in trying to determine whether the child has any inherited medical issues, she inadvertently discovered a donor’s identity. A sperm bank likely can’t prevent her from obtaining that medical information, he said.

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Response to Mosby (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 06:21 PM

6. I did.

Last edited Sun Feb 17, 2019, 09:08 PM - Edit history (1)

I'm no legal expeft, but offhand, I'd say the child didn't do any research or contacting on her own.

I'm not personally affected, to my knowledge, by whatever happens in this matter, but the mother having admitted to not reading the fine print, and having stated that she thought it would be "a cool thing" limit her.

Seemingly, legal experts disagree. If the bank's position is "precarious", maybe they'll lose a court decision. It's undecided.

Certainly, there are subjects where my opinions might have greater value. I appreciate yours.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 02:39 PM

7. Imo, the idea of sperm donation is kind of problematic.

A few people have sued for child support, I think. Also, privacy is not 100% guaranteed.

What happens if the court system considers the sperm donor a child’s biological father?


Edit - Not sure if this is true, actually.

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