The American ideal of freedom has long been the boast of many in our nation. It’s what causes some people to champion the slogan “Don’t tread on me.” It’s certainly what our founders fought to establish as the bedrock of our laws and governance. But a twisted conception of the ideal is also why the United States is the world’s biggest exporter of sperm.

Last week an article in Tech Insider noted that “Sperm donation here in the US is a sort of ‘legal Wild West,’…since the government doesn’t regulate them beyond requiring basic illness screenings. Plus anonymity is not only permitted, but commonplace.” The fact that most countries strictly regulate and limit the practice—and remove the anonymity from the process—dramatically reduces the market for would be donors. And that’s a good thing.

But strangely—sadly—here in America, we’ve reduced sperm donation to a mere market transaction, a supposedly free exchange between the consenting sperm donor and the intended parents (or the clinic). But such a mindset does not give consideration or protection to the children conceived through this exchange. Their desires and needs are sacrificed for the sake of “freedom.”

Once upon a time there was a hope that the quest for freedom would yield a better life for future generations. Now, that same notion is giving protection to a group of people who are refusing to give any consideration to what their “free” actions might mean for the next generation they helped create.

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Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director