Here’s a shocker: Children of sperm donors are twice as likely to be depressed, have substance abuse problems and run-ins with the law, as opposed to adopted or biological children. Why? Because a lot of them consider themselves “freaks of nature.” According to Slate magazine, about 60,000 children are born every year in North America via artificial insemination. Researchers at the University of Texas wanted to find out if their family experiences or sense of “self” were the same as other kids’ – or different. The result? Donor offspring are highly likely to be severely affected, conflicted and upset about their identities. For example:
- Regardless of how rich or poor they may be, donor offspring are twice as likely to have run-ins with the police before they’re 25 years old.
- They’re also twice as likely to struggle with substance abuse, and
- one and a half times as likely to suffer from mental health problems, like depression.
What’s particularly disturbing is that half of the kids born from insemination believe it’s better to adopt a child than to use donated sperm or eggs to conceive. Partly because they consider themselves “freaks of nature” and partly because they think they’re missing half of their identity! After all, adopted children can contact adoption agencies to track down their biological parents, but donor offspring don’t have that luxury. In fact, most donor clinics don’t even keep a donor sign-in sheet. Parents who raise donor offspring often emphasize the idea that the biological father isn’t important by calling him a “seed provider.” The fact is, most donor offspring are obsessed by thoughts of their donor father and if they pass a guy on the street, they wonder “Could that be my dad”?
So how can these donor offspring heal? Some psychologists are calling for an end to anonymous donations. They envision programs similar to adoption, where doctors and psychologists interview potential donors, and ask them detailed questions about themselves and their history. With these records, donor offspring could find out if they’re predisposed to health conditions or even if they have siblings, in case they decide to search for their roots.