Feature Article of Saturday, 6 October 2012
Columnist: Bonna, Adu
Kindly allow me a little space in your esteemed newspaper to publish this article in response to an article that appeared in myjoyonline.com on October 2, 2012 entitled “sperm selling business boom in Ghana”. Sperm donation (selling) occurs when a man donates (sells) his sperm with the intention of using it to impregnate a woman who is not his sexual partner. I prefer to use sell rather than donate as some men, like the medical student at Legon mentioned in the article who sold his sperm for GH50, 000 on five occasions to cater for his education.
Peace FM followed-up on the article by interviewing a sample of Ghanaian men and women who indicated that they are in favor of eugenics and sperm selling business. Almost all the men interviewed were ready to make business out of it whereas 80% women interviewed were willing to go through all emotional and psychological pain to achieve their child-bearing goal.
It is not wrong to desire the blessing of children as we also desire the blessing of good job, good family, good friendship, and good Christian life. But when we pursue these blessings inconsistent with biblical principles, then we end up unconsciously blocking our blessings from God. A biblical look at eugenics and sperm donation business raises valid religious, social, health, and legal concerns. The process uses a common sperm retrieval technique of masturbation, which is erotic fantasy of having sexual intercourse with a woman with or without use of pornographic materials. God is not in favor of masturbation and urged Christians to get rid of sexual sins including even just looking at a woman lustfully. Jesus said “do not look at a woman in a wrong way. Anyone who does that has already committed adultery with her in his heart (NIV Matt. 5: 28).
Now if a married woman buys the sperm of another man (outside the marriage bond), she is inviting the intrusion of another man’s seed into herself. This act is an adulterous occurrence even if the husband consents to the act or not. The fact that another man’s sperm has entered the body of a woman she is not married to brings adulterous behavior into picture although there is no physical sexual contact. Marriage is designed to be between a man and a woman (2 people) and children be born out of that union (NIV Gen. 1:28, Gen 2:24, Psalm 127:3). To buy a man’s sperm means there is a third party either known or unknown in the marriage. We understand the advancement of technology and medicine in modern global world but that does not change the plan of God for his children.
Another serious concern that worries me the most is accidental incest that can easily occur in our society with its dire consequences. In the 1940s a British man, Bertold Weisner fathered more than 1,500 children in a fertility clinic by donating his sperms. Studies have shown the possibility of fathering more children from other fertility clinics in Britain because there was no regulation about sperm donation at that time in Britain. The concern was a greater likelihood of accidental incest from uncontrolled sperm donation. Accidental incest occurs when two people that have the same father from sperm donations ‘meet’ and/or produce a child. The family then suffers the consequences of an incest relationship despite the parents having no idea of blood relationships. Ghana’s constitution forbids incest and God condemns incest in all forms and there are serious consequences of generational curse and death (NIV Gen. 19: 32 -36: 2 Peter 2: 7-8: Lev. 18:16).
There are also health and safety issues associated with sperm donation. Donors are generally required to present extensive family and personal medical histories, history of genetic disorders, as well as medical evaluation including screening for sexually transmitted diseases. There are health risks and safety issues because of inadequate testing, human errors in testing, and false presentation of family and personal medical histories. In a developing country such as Ghana where record keeping is in its infant stage how can sperm sellers’ family and medical records be accurately verified? Couples or potential mothers who want to have a child through sperm buying have to understand the imperfect circumstances they are putting themselves.
Legal issues can arise if the sperm donor has access to the woman’s identity by claiming to be the biological father of the child when the child has been successful in life. The non-biological father has no hereditary or genetic relationship with the child and legal battle may happen. Again, when disagreement occurs in the marriage it is possible for the woman to tell the husband that he is not the father of their children causing severe sadness in the man’s heart. We Christians have been forewarned by God that scientific knowledge cannot add to our permanent happiness because “… much wisdom comes much sorrow, the more knowledge, the more the grief (NIV Ecclesiastes 1:18). Family cohesion may be threatened in the future by sperm buying. Finally, parents can feel burdened by their own multiple lies to conceal the secret from their children.
God has provided us with knowledge to avoid some of these problems with the aim of making our happiness complete. God said “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge … because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children (NIV Hosea: 4:6).
Sperm selling should never be a booming business and government should pass laws and regulations to regulate it. Couples wanting to go through this process should receive counseling from their pastors so they do not incur the wrath of God in the end. We have to understand that children are a gift from the Lord (NIV Psalm 127:3). If couples are more concerned about child-bearing rather than love sharing in marriage, then I suggest that they go for reproductive genetic testing before marrying. Some churches have introduced testing of sexually transmitted diseases in their marriage counseling programs and reproductive genetic testing can optionally be added for the would-be couples. The couples can use adoption as an alternative of receiving the child-bearing gift from God.
Fleischman, R. (2012). A biblical look at sperm donation. Christian Life Resources for Life, and Family retrieved from www. Christianliferesources.com
Ruutainen, T (2010). Anonymity and secrecy in gamete donation: Reconciling family values and individual rights. Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy, 9 (2) from www.tuftscopejournal.org
Sperm donation: Conservatives line up against sperm donors, but lack the power to ban them. This article was retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com
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October 5, 2012