Skip to comments.Laws to Catch Up With Science
Posted on 09/19/2011 7:13:33 AM PDT by Former Fetus
Many years ago, I was assigned to cover a story about a certain sperm donor, a newly graduated doctor in Kansas who had donated on such a frequent and regular basis that he was suspected of being the biological father to 500 children. You read that right, 500 children!
My research led me to learn that professors and medical mentors had often urged their male med school residents to donate sperm as a way to: a) Put a little money in their pockets and b) Help propagate future generations of intelligent children. The belief was that if the sperm came from a person smart enough and driven enough to study to be a doctor, well, all of mankind could benefit from the children they would sire.
An elitist viewpoint, to be sure, but a prevalent one back in the early '90s.
A problem arose following this particular Kansas doctor's years of donating when it was learned that many of the recipients lived within a small radius. The children who resulted from this man's donations began to grow up within miles of each other, and as they matured into teenagers, attending the same schools, churches or sport camps, they began to become attracted to each other, pulled together by an unexplainable and invisible magnet of familiarity. Some of the teens began dating and were sexually attracted to each other. Accidental incest was a real possibility if it hadn't already happened, I was told.
(Excerpt) Read more at jewishworldreview.com ...
A long time ago there was a Gahan Wilson cartoon which showed a deformed, crippled, chuckling old man walking down the street. Behind him was a building with the sign, “Sperm Bank.”
Morals and ethics aside, does anyone know how serious the results of a single half inbreeding are likely to be? I’ve seen cows do that without any apparent problem.
So wh at I’m wondering is whether this is really a practical issue at all, or mainly theoretical.
The children grew into teenagers with electric guitars, hair-straighteners, and attitude problems.
But seriously, folks, I believe it's not going to be long before sperm donation becomes a ticket to 500 child-support bills - several court rulings here and internationally have held donors financially responsible - and the issue will largely vanish.
>> I recently did some research on that Kansas doctor whose story I reported so many years ago. He is still in the same area, with an apparently successful psychiatry practice <<
The fact that this guy is a psychiatrist makes the situation potentially even worse. Sure, there are lots of sane psychiatrists in the world. But it’s no secret that many members of the profession got into that line of work precisely because they were seeking answers to their OWN mental problems — problems that frequently (usually?) have a strong genetic component.
Therefore, if and when the psychiatrist’s sons and daughters start procreating with one another, the odds would seem to be much, much higher than average that their offspring will inherit double dosages of certain recessive genes for mental illness.
>> Im wondering is whether this is really a practical issue at all, or mainly theoretical <<
Not theoretical at all. If my math is correct, the odds of a “defective” child are the same as when a girl is impregnated by one of her uncles.
Or put another way, Why do you think Arkansas and West Virginia have produced so many morally defective politicians?
It depends on if we are gonna make steak out of them
“Not theoretical at all. If my math is correct, the odds of a defective child are the same as when a girl is impregnated by one of her uncles.”
So what are those odds. Seriously.
You point out WV as an example. But that’s not the same case. There it has been going on for ~ many generations~ with closed populations.
My point was that, as with the cows I’m familiar with, it probably doesn’t matter at all unless it were to go on for several generations without any influx of new genetic material.
>> So what are those odds <<
I figure the offspring of two half-siblings will get “double dosages” for about 12.5% of their genes — whereas the corresponding percentage for first-cousin marriages is 6.25%, while for second-cousin marriages it’s only 1.56%.
(But I’m not a geneticist. So if anybody out there can correct me, I hope you will!)
Now nobody knows how many “defective” recessive genes a particular family may be carrying. But I feel confident in asserting that every family will have SOME of them. So every family is probably at risk for some defect or another.
If you marry your half-sister, your kids will probably have a risk of genetic defects that’s at least twelve times as great as the risk would be if you married an “unrelated” person.
This level of risk may be OK for cattle, where maybe one in eight would need to be culled — or simply would die very early — due to a serious defect. But human societies seem to have decided long ago that it’s not an acceptable level of risk for people, as witness the widespread bans on half-sibling marriages across many religions and cultures.
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