Human Exceptionalism

FDA Wrong To Regulate Private Sperm Donation

A lesbian woman wants to become pregnant through artificial insemination using sperm from a friend. The FDA says no. From the San Francisco Chronicle story:

She is dating a woman. She is trying to conceive a child. She wants to use free sperm from a man she trusts. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration won’t let the Oakland woman enter motherhood quite so easily. Under federal regulations, the donor must undergo procedures and verify his health in tests that the woman sees as expensive and time-consuming. So “Jane Doe,” as she calls herself, is suing. Cause of Action, a government accountability group, has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on her behalf against the FDA…

What Jane Doe wants to do – get pregnant on her own, without paying for a fertility clinic or a sperm bank, and without government interference – is not uncommon in the Bay Area, where many same-sex couples live, local medical experts say. But the FDA does not permit those informal transactions. A donor is required to have his blood and urine tested in a medical setting within a week of every body-tissue transfer. Those rules, argues Cause of Action in the lawsuit filed last week, are “costly and burdensome” and “unconstitutional to the extent that they operate to regulate noncommercial, sexually intimate choices and activity.”

I think she’s right.  If she had intercourse with her friend and got pregnant, she would be pregnant.  The government doesn’t regulate that activity.  I don’t see how it can regulate private insemination.

But I also think that in private artificial inseminations, the donor should be the legal father–just as in sexual intercourse.  Equality, after all, is equality.

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