In fact, I’m not sure I’ve seen a story in the last decade that more definitively proves what we often say around the Colson Center: Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have victims.
A recent Washington Post article tells of an Illinois woman who has struggled to raise two children, her now six- and seven-year-old sons. Both have autism. But this story isn’t about her day to day life dealing with these challenges. It’s about why the boys are autistic in the first place.
Both of her sons were conceived by sperm donation, from the same nameless donor, “Donor H898.” This woman chose artificial insemination because her female partner, well, could not impregnate her. In other words, after having chosen a sterile union, she wished to have children. And this story goes on…
While researching ways to help her sons, the woman discovered they had at least a dozen siblings, also diagnosed with autism, also conceived via the same sperm donor. Some of these children, in fact, also suffer from additional neurological and cognitive disorders including ADHD, epilepsy, and various mood disorders.
A genetic counselor explained the obvious. Such results with so many children were unlikely to be coincidental, and very likely to be the responsibility of that single sperm donor. Upon further investigation, the Illinois mom discovered that almost everything she was told about Donor H898 was a lie. He didn’t have a master’s degree as advertised by the sperm bank. He never even graduated from college. His supposed “clean bill of health” neglected to mention that he “had been diagnosed with ADHD and was schooled in an institution for those with learning and emotional difficulties.”