Sunday, October 02, 2005

Randy Cohen, The New York Times Ethicist

If you read today's New York Times Magazine you may have seen the question posed to The Ethicist about the anonymity of sperm donors, and the ethics of trying to find out who they are, which we submitted several months ago.

This case provoked a lot of discussion in our office. While we initially took the case, in the end we returned the client's money. We agreed with Randy Cohen, that we should not take this sort of case, respecting the privacy of the donor.

In similar cases, we pretty much shy away from adoption cases, and take them only if the client agrees that we will get the permission of whomever we are seeking before we give the client any information.

Likewise, when a guy, for example, is looking for an old girlfriend, we don't give the guy the information unless we have the permission of the person we located.


John Howard said...

Hello Skipp, it is nice to see you have a blog, and thank you for writing that letter to the Ethicist. We have been discussing the ethics of donor conception for a while now, and many of us, including the children of donors, feel it is a lot more complex an issue than Mr. Cohen does.
Most children want to find their donor, and many donors want to meet their children, so maybe you could find him and ask if he'd like to meet his son?
How do you feel in general about donor conception? Some consider it a form of adultery, and you surely take adultery cases fairly regularly, don't you? Those participants don't want to be identified either.

Marty said...

I would consider the donor a typical "deadbeat dad" who has skipped out on his responsibility to his children.