Estranged Fatherhood

I saw a very interesting piece on the BBC News this morning which I felt had huge ramifications for society as a whole and which we maybe sliding into without any real thought or consideration for the long term effects on our societal culture.

Since 2003 the trend for women to choose parenthood through access to sperm held in a sperm bank is up and increasing. A new sperm bank has opened to encourage more UK men to donate altruistically as the sperm bank is so short of donors that they are having to use donors from as far afield as USA and Denmark.

One piece to camera was by a woman with two children, one by human reproduction and then one by IVF via a sperm bank when she decided to increase her family. She stated that she did not wish to be viewed as abnormal in choosing that route to parenthood and that as long as her children had good male role models their childhood and upbringing would not be impaired. She certainly appeared to have considerable material wealth and her children appeared to be well looked after, fed and clothed and happy. Both were under four years old and the youngest was about eighteen months old.

Any children produced in this way have access to a small amount of scant detail about their father when they are eighteen years old. This includes their name and likes and dislikes. It did not say whether this information included nationality, family background or any other relations the father may have.


What I find interesting is, what is society saying about fatherhood?

What is it saying about relationships and the creation of family?

Does this mean fatherhood is reduced to merely sperm donation?


As a father with four children, I played a role in how my children integrated into society and saw themselves as human beings. I helped when they were ill and comforted them in times of crisis. I helped them to form political and philosophical opinion of their own and how to manage difficult relationships and their emotions. As they grew older I coached them through their education both pastoral and academic and when they formed significant relationships of their own we spoke about the importance of trust and love as well as the compatibility in faith and no faith, bringing up children, education, career and money management. All the things, which give any relationship the best possible chance of success. I wonder if that is the real description of role modeling a relationship, which children as they grow within it recognise as a dynamic evolving thing, constantly changing and growing through, compromise, love, trust and ageing?


What does this say to a child about the gap they may feel eventually about their cultural identity, nationality and all the other important aspects that make us who we are and create our identity. We will always be the product of the human reproductive system. Maybe that is all we want for our children? I hope not.


Children leave home eventually, that is inevitable and what is left is the relationship, which nurtured them and helped them to become adults who care about other people and go on to live happy and fulfilling lives. It is the reference point in their lives around which they formulate everything that happens and which they can constantly refer back to. If those mothers or parents who choose this form of family creation believe that the answer to the inevitable questions from those children who then go on to become enquiring adults is; “I love you” and that should be enough, then I guess they maybe mistaken, because they have no way of letting this young adult know that their father also feels the same way about them and there is no way of filling the inevitable sense of loss.

Those parents who decided to create their family in this way will then be on their own. We cannot and should not hang on to our children forever, they have their own lives to lead.


I don’t see single parenthood by choice as abnormal or wrong because we all make choices in this life and that’s what we live with day-to-day. The children however do not have a choice but do have to live with the choices made by their parent.

However I do find it very sad for the children that they will not feel that holistic family environment and may even go on to adulthood to choose the same family role model that they experienced.

What in the long term will that mean to society?

Men are sperm donors whose only role is to donate sperm. What a sad world that will be.

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