Why Anonynous Sperm Donation is Over, and Why That Matters by Emily Bazelon

Posted On December 5th, 2023

I have directed an egg donation and surrogacy program for many years. A law requiring disclosure of identifying information many years post-donation will have real (and perhaps unintended) negative practical consequences. To be sure, the number of willing sperm and egg donors will plummet and this will mean far fewer choices for parents and more pressure on New York clinics to accept candidates who may be on the margins of medical qualification (but who are open to releasing identity). We have seen in England the ramifications of forced identity release – lengthy waiting periods for donor gametes and egg donors who are still able to participate well into their 30s (which means more medical risk). Few intended parents appreciate the flip side of identity release. A donor who is required to share his or her name and contact information and who will then need to always know that because of a sperm or egg donation, a child or children could well appear years later to “reunite” might want some shared information in return. Donors are not birth parents providing children for adoption; they view their role as more of a DNA provider (not that they are giving a child away). How many intended parents are going to be OK with sharing their names and addresses with their sperm or egg donor?

Sanford Benardo


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They Were Surrogates. Now They Must Raise the Children (New York Times, November 26)

Posted On November 29th, 2022

The New York Times article on November 26, 2022 (“They Were Surrogates. Now They Must Raise the Children.”) Sunday edition included an article about the legal challenges for surrogacy in Cambodia, which have resulted in women being forced to raise children they expected would be raised by their biological parent(s), while the intended parents are in turn being prosecuted for using a surrogate.


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Desperately Seeking Surrogates (New York Times, April 2)

Posted On April 2nd, 2022

The New York Times article on April 2, 2022 (“Desperately Seeking Surrogates”) has some accurate information contained within along with plenty of misguided and misleading statements.  Some key points:

  • Surrogate mother (gestational carrier) fees are NOT unregulated at all.  What they are not is “pre-fixed” (antitrust litigation in the third party area of fertility has made sure that won’t happen).  However, judges who issue parentage orders in surrogacy matters can and often do inquire as to the compensation and other costs which are paid.  There is judicial oversight – not the “wild west” atmosphere which is implied in the story.
  • When gestational carriers (“GC”) and intended parents (“IP”) are left to negotiate compensation on their own, it can often devolve into an unseemly and emotional exercise in bargaining.  IP are beyond eager for a child and know GC are in demand and the GC is aware that she is a scarce resource and is venturing into a negotiation with generally well-heeled and anxious benefactors.  Having set fees ahead of time – generous and known to all – eliminates this type of horse-trading and accomplishes the goals of both sides.  IP want their GC to know she is appreciated and being treated well.  GC wants to feel valued and respected for her vital contribution.

What is on the mark in this piece is the realization that there are fewer qualified carriers these days to go around.  More couples and singles (single men and women are intended parents,


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