Wife of secret sperm donor calls for change in law to require partners' consent
The unnamed mother-of-one from Surrey said she feared that children conceived using the sperm – who would be half-brothers or sisters of her son – might one day 'disrupt' the family by contacting their biological father.
She has written to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority calling for guidelines on sperm donation to include the spouse's views – and says the sperm should be treated as a joint 'marital asset'.
Since a change in the law in 2005 children born through sperm donation have the right to trace their biological father when they reach adulthood.
In her letter to the fertility watchdog, the woman said her husband had donated sperm against her wishes after suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following the birth of their child. Their own plans for more children had been put on hold due to her husband's illness. His sperm could be used to father as many as 20 children.
The woman said: "I am personally in this situation with my husband having donated sperm against my wishes when he was suffering from PTSD.
"Despite my contacting the clinic (I never received an acknowledgment), this sperm may already have been used to father children who in 18 years' time may come knocking on our door, disrupting family life and unsettling our own children."
She continued: "There is then a huge emotional debt I would owe the child. I would not feel that I could push them away. It is something I would need to explain to our son.
"It is not something I had ever imagined having to encounter.
It would almost feel like introducing the offspring of an adulterous relationship.
The wife believes that the procedure for sperm donation "should also include the wife or partner being asked about their views and signalling consent".
She said: "I think it is a decision both parties should make. It [the sperm] must be some sort of marital asset."
The woman has made contact with Diane Blood, the widow who won a legal battle to conceive her two children using her late husband's frozen sperm after his sudden death from meningitis.
Mrs Blood said: "There needs to be a public discussion about the matter. When fighting my own case I quoted the marriage vows which say 'All that I am is yours'."
Sperm donors are not paid by clinics but can claim reasonable expenses for travel and lost earnings. A man who has donated sperm may withdraw his consent before it has been used.
There is no obligation for clinics to establish whether the wife objects, although some counsellors suggest men discuss the subject with their partner. Since the 2005 ruling against donor anonymity, men must provide a name and address.
An HEFA spokesman said: "Donors must, by law, be offered counselling to discuss their donation before it takes place. This helps to ensure consent is fully formed free and properly thought through."
What do you think?
How would you feel if your husband had donated sperm to help someone desperate to have a baby but without telling you?
Or are the wishes of the wife irrelevant?
More on Parentdish: Sperm donor who fathered 14 children is a 36-year-old virgin
Gingers need not apply: Sperm bank refuses red head donors