Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Postmortem Sperm Collection

[by William Phillips] Today we discussed the ethics of the postmortem collection of sperm, and the psychological implications of having a child through a deceased sperm donor.

One of the major questions that arose was would it be possible to use Hitler's sperm, and if so, would the child grow up to have the same personality traits, and thus attempt to achieve the same goals. However, we unanimously agreed that in that specific circumstance, without the context of the time, and amid the stigma of the child's father's legacy, the child would not grow up to fulfill any of his father's goals.

Basically, it's the text-book nature-vs-nurture argument. While we all agreed that genetics plays a major role in shaping in the blue-prints of the human vehicle, one's environment builds the car.


  1. We ended up discussing postmortem sperm collection after we eventually veered away from the subject of IVF. We didn't have much to say on IVF because the ethical issue that Glenn McGee discussed in case 24 was the issue of regulations and women paying for cheaper "treatment" from foreign countries because of the greatly reduced price difference. Most of us are unsure on how IVF is regulated, as McGee did not go into too much detail, but none of us seemed to have a problem with women paying for treatment from other countries because of the price difference. We also found it humorous that McGee went off on a random tangent about dual citizenship?

    As far as collecting sperm of the deceased, I at first thought maybe it was a bit unfair to the child that would eventually come from it. After some thinking, I realized it was similar to a single parent adopting a child to raise it on his or her own, with the exception of that child not having the possibility of meeting the deceased.

  2. Can't say I want to add anything to this discussion. Great discussion. Odd topic!

  3. Amber pretty much summed it up.
    As for my opinion on taking sperm from the deceased, I don't have any ethical issues with it, but it would sure be less creepy if the person in question would just donate sperm before he died.

  4. I personally am not a big fan of IVF however if it is going to happen I don't suppose it makes much of a difference where it happens. If it is considerably cheaper overseas (which it supposedly is) and if it is just as unregulated in both places (which McGee leads us to believe) and the patient is willing to take the risk why not go the cheaper route?
    As far as post-mortem sperm retrieval is concerned that's pretty weird. I also think that it is a disservice to the child to not be able to meet their father. But more importantly I very much agree that adoption is a much better option that should be pursued rather than spending so much money on trying to have have a child in these extreme ways.

  5. We came to the conclusion that 'till death do you apart' makes collecting sperm from a dead person illegal. Some people don't see anything wrong with taking things from dead people (cough cough) haha. But it would just be totally bizarre to me to take someone's sperm while they were deceased. To me it is a bit disrespectful, but hey what they don't know won't hurt them eh?
    Just because you take the sperm from let's say Hitler, it doesn't mean he or she will grow up to be a Nazi. The environment and personality all play a role.

  6. Before, our wills must specify the destination of our goods. Now, we must add also the fate of our cells, our gametes and our facebook account. How complicated is evolving!