Skip to comments.Sperm donor, 72, to father his own grandchild
Posted on 10/06/2007 5:53:56 AM PDT by NYer
A man of 72 is to donate sperm to try to father his own 'grandchild'.
He has been cleared to provide the sperm to his daughter-in-law to allow her to become a mother.
Any baby born will be its grandfather's genetic child and a halfbrother or half-sister to the man it takes to be its father.
What do you think about the case? Join the debate
The case - believed to be the first of its kind in the UK - raises ethical questions about how well the child will cope with such unusual family circumstances.
The Harley Street doctors treating the couple, however, say that the child's interests were paramount when taking the decision.
The couple, whose identity is being kept secret, opted for donor sperm after IVF treatment with the husband's own failed.
They turned to the husband's father, rather than an anonymous donor, because they wanted a child as genetically similar to both families as possible.
Peter Bowen-Simpkins, codirector of the London Women's Clinic which is carrying out the procedure, said the couple and the grandfather had undergone extensive counselling.
"I've certainly never come across a case like this before," he said.
"But advancements in fertility treatment have overcome a lot of taboos in science which means that people are prepared to consider all sorts of options.
"Obviously, the wife's mother-inlaw also had to be included in all of the conversations but she has no objections.
"Society has also changed its perceptions of what is and what is not acceptable.
"In this case, keeping the genetic identity of the child similar to their own was a huge factor.
"The husband does not have a brother, which is why he chose his own father to assist."
Kamal Ahuja, the clinic's scientific director, said: "We spent many, many months deliberating this case and discussed it with our ethics committee and with counsellors and have come to the conclusion that they shouldn't have been denied treatment."
It is not known if the couple, who are in their thirties, intend to tell the child about its parentage.
The child will be able to track down its biological father on turning 18.
Critics cautioned that the child could face major identity issues.
Philippa Taylor, of Care, a Christian charity, said: "The reproductive whims of parents to do some deliberate and unnecessary social engineering should not be put before the welfare of the child.
"Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should."
A spokesman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said donations from family members were legal and relatively common.
Preliminary tests at the clinic suggest that the 72-year-old's sperm is viable.
Sperm from older men is more likely to have genetic defects.
I don’t see what the hoopla is about. Better than getting sperm off the street corner.
or the first time he Googles himself.
I recall a story many years ago which described how it was possible to harvest unfertilized eggs from an aborted fetus. At the time, ethicists raised the same question.
There are countless children in the world who need a home. This is an example of greed.
Not good. genetic inbreeding
Uhm, not it isn’t. Try reading before posting.
How is it genetic inbreeding? The old man is donating to his dauther-in-law. It is no more genetic inbreeding than if the husband was the sperm donor.
As far as the weirdness factor goes, I think it would be very weird just to know that you had been concieved by this process, and I don't think that knowing that the donor was some stranger would make it much less weird than knowing that the donor was grandpa.
Still, I agree that the couple should adopt instead, there are so many children out there needing adoption, why push the limits. But its their choice not mine.
Yeah. I hate it when those sperm donors mob our car at freeway exits.
This is not genetic inbreeding. The woman’s father-in-law is not the mother’s blood relative. As for what the child will suffer, think of all the “natural-mother/natural-father” dysfunctional families there are right now.
I read it. Okay, it’s just too weird for me.
Yeah I understand. The whole thing is strange. It’s more fun to make babies the old fashion way, but not with grandparents.
embryos are screened prior to implantation when in vitro is used. This issue will not be relevent, because if there is something genetically wrong with the embryo it will be discarded and not implanted. This is why I don’t agree with the in vitro process.
It’s not far off from the Old Testament command for a man to marry his brother’s childless widow and raise up children for him - a sort of regrafting. And it makes sense from a material, evolutionary point of view. A son would carry the Y chromosome - the only guaranteed genetic inheritance through the generations is the Y chromosome in the male line, or the mitochondrial DNA in the maternal line.
Not that they are guaranteed a son. Not that it is right, or un-icky. But it makes a lot of sense.
I don’t think “fun” was in any way the issue — or choice — here. This is obviously a woman who wants her husband’s baby and cannot have it. She’s chosen the closest thing — genetically — without inbreeding and without adultery and surely without “fun.”
I quess I’m too old. I don’t agree with this. It’s ok with cows, but not people.
That was my first thought.
Those little tadpoles don’t move so fast and the genes deteriorate.
Right there is the FIRST problem with this story....
I am reminded of the song “I Am My Own Grandpa”.
You’re not alone.
I have a father-in-law. I try to imagine such a scenario.
Nope. It’s weird.
but I don’t suppose it’s illegal.
Quotes like this keep me reading FR. LOL
That was my first reaction. Then, I thought about it some more, and if they want the ‘donor’ to be a family member, rather than some stranger they don’t know, and have no idea about the medical (or mental/social) history of, why not? It’s frankly much better than picking someone out of a catalogue that you don’t really know anything about.
Can Armageddon be far away?
Even a daughter would carry 50% of the father's genetics.
“There are countless children in the world who need a home. This is an example of greed.”
I have for a long time viewed the entire spectrum of artificial insemination cases as cases of parents for whom the prospect of “having a child” is all about themselves, not the child. When I listen to their (the parents) own statements of the prospective child I hear the discussion of a possession, not a person.
My own belief is that if the couple was approaching their difficulty in conceiving in the right spirit of parenthood, they would adopt natural-born children who needed a good home; of which there is no shortage in the world.
I don’t see the problem. If the daddy-to-be has no brothers, this is as close to his own genetic contribution as he can get.
Why is this a story? This kind of thing has been going on in Arkansas for ages!
I should have seen that coming.
Don't children usually do just fine in such circumstances? Also, this isn't an ethical question unless we are still following Hegel's suggestion and custom doesn't allow this kind of AI.
I’m my own grandpa
Many, many years ago when I was just twenty-three,
I was married to a widow, she was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red
And my father fell in Love with her. Soon they too were wed.
This made my dad my son-in-law—changed my very life!
My daughter was my mother because she was my father’s wife!
To complicate the matter even though it brought me joy,
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.
My little baby he then became a brother-in-law to Dad.
Well, that made him my uncle—made me very sad!
Because if he was my uncle then he also was a brother
To the widow’s grown-up daughter, who, of course, was my stepmother.
My father’s wife then had a son who kept them on the run.
And, of course, he became my grandchild because he was my daughter’s son.
My wife is now my mother’s mother and this makes me blue
Because although she is my wife, she’s my grandmother too!
Now if my wife is my grandmother, well, then I am her grandchild,
And every time that I think about this, it nearly drives me wild!
Because now I have become the strangest case that you ever saw
As husband of my grandmother, Im my own grandpa!
I’m my own grandpa! I’m my own grandpa!
It sounds funny, I know, but it really is so!
Oh, I’m my own grandpa!
LOL ! Bingo!
This falls under the category of just plain weird. This would cast a shadow over the relationship of this family that would negatively effect the child and his family, whether the child is ever told this or not. He’s going to be his father’s own brother. His wife is going to give birth to his brother.
I must admit that song did come to mind...
But he will have a brother that his own wife will give birth to.
“Yeah. I hate it when those sperm donors mob our car at freeway exits.”
I know what you mean. I get really tired of those guys with those “ Will donate sperm for food” signs
Right, because his own wife will be giving birth to either a younger brother or sister to him.
I don't know about that being better - at least that way your wife won't be giving birth to your own brother or sister. That, I think, is even more strange.
Adopting would avoid all of these scenarios, however.
Actually, I don't think the child should know at all in either circumstance.
However, I would have to disagree with you. As for the child, you don't think it would be more strange to find out your dad is really your brother? As for the mother, you don't think it would be more strange to give birth to your husband's own brother or sister? As the father, you don't think it would be more strange to have your own wife give birth to your own brother or sister?
Yes, I guess giving birth to your own husband's brother or sister is the next closest thing "genetically"...but really...it's a sad situation, no doubt, but does this really make the situation better, or add more problems down the road? There are ways they could still raise children without giving birth to a spouse's own siblings.
If this had been done from “on tap” vs “from a bottle” it would be illegal.
Stop it my head is exploding..:)
I have given some thought to how I would react if I got a phone call now and was informed that my grandpa was really my father and my father was my brother......actually I think it would be quite funny. But I am 53....at age 18 it would have "blown my mind man" and freaked me out.
Like I said before, better the parents adopt than do this freaky brave new world stuff. But its their choice.
“My own belief is that if the couple was approaching their difficulty in conceiving in the right spirit of parenthood, they would adopt natural-born children who needed a good home; of which there is no shortage in the world.”
I don’t agree that this “Grandpa Donor” is a good idea...
However, I always wonder about statements like this...
I don’t know if you all know very much about adoption..so PLEASE forgive me if I am irritating here...
It’s just that I know SEVERAL couples who couldn’t have children of their own and have gone the route of adoption..
It is NOT easy..and we always HEAR of how many children in the world need a home.
Well..I am telling you...getting those children from their orphanage..or foster home..or off the streets is HUGELY expensive (like THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of dollars)...and can TAKE YEARS to accomplish.
There are certainly still domestic adoptions here in the US.
But, they are largely OPEN adoptions meaning that the bio parent or parents can have various kinds of contact with the adopted child.
Many adoptive parents participate in this against their opinion of what is right for the child because it is the only way for them to GET a baby...
International adoptions would then, seem like the best route to go...the waiting list for China is now several years....many Countries have CLOSED their boarders to adoptions...or made is so difficult and expensive that it is prohibitive.
I have a relative who went to Khazakstan 7 years ago and brought home a 10 month old girl and a 2.5 year old boy...
They spent over 32 THOUSAND DOLLARS to adopt these 2 ORPHANS..
And one of the children was “not as expensive” because he had some medical issues.
Now, these same parents are fostering 2 children.
They think that they will be able to adopt the young girl who has been with them since birth (she is now 2.5)..
They are ABOUT TO LOSE THEIR BOY though..who is the FULL SIBLING of the young girl.
They have had him since he was 3 DAYS old..and he is now almost 1.5....
They have a lawyer of course...but it is just insane...
Anyway...I just wanted to bring that up...it really isn’t that I agree with the above scenario...
I just think that saying “there are a zillion children in the world who need adopting..why don’t they go get one of them”....is a statement based more on how things “used to be”...
Also, in case anyone would think that these are isolated incidents which don’t represent the difficulties in today’s world of domestic and international adoption..I have many, MANY more stories I could share..
They are so sad...
It is not inbreeding, they are not related by blood. My worry would be his age and how that might effect the health of the sperm, I would not even consider it for my self or my family, but it is really their personal business, too bad it has been made public.
How about just not tell the child?