NO DADDY REQUIRED; at 40, Her Biological Clock Was Ticking. Rather Than Risk Waiting for a Perfect Man, June Went to the Sperm Bank to Have a Child. Every Woman's Right? or a Sad Commentary on an Age of Selfishness and Confused Morality?

Daily Mail (London), February 25, 2005 | Go to article overview

NO DADDY REQUIRED; at 40, Her Biological Clock Was Ticking. Rather Than Risk Waiting for a Perfect Man, June Went to the Sperm Bank to Have a Child. Every Woman's Right? or a Sad Commentary on an Age of Selfishness and Confused Morality?


Byline: NATASHA COURTENAY-SMITH

LIKE all new mothers, June Lake's voice fills with pride when she talks about her six month old daughter, Crystelle.

Motherhood has brought her all the joy she'd dreamed it would, and there is nothing that brings her more delight than spending time with her baby.

But as June sits at home cradling her daughter, it becomes clear there is one striking omission from this happy family scene. In short, there is no father - a fact that is the result of a crisis which gathered pace in June's life as she approached her 40th birthday.

With no man on the scene, June feared she had left it too late to have a baby, and was faced with a quandary that is becoming all too familiar for thousands of women who concentrate on career success at the expense of motherhood, only to realise that time is running out.

While most remain optimistic that Mr Right will arrive before it is too late, bringing with him the possibility of a longed-for family, June, a former beauty queen and fashion model, took matters into her own hands and, in the face of criticism from some quarters, turned to the soulless world of the sperm bank. 'I'd love to have met someone, to have fallen in love and had the whole family package - just like I had with my parents when I was growing up,' says June, now 41.

'But that didn't happen for me, and I wasn't prepared to forsake having a child simply because there wasn't a man in my life. I certainly didn't want to become a victim of my circumstances and to sit around waiting for a man I may never meet.' 'When I look at Crystelle, I don't even think about how she got here. I just think that she's my daughter, and my life is about protecting her, loving her and giving her as much as possible. When she looks at me and laughs, all I can think is: "What matters more in life than raising a child and being a mother?" I certainly have no regrets.' But while June's hopes for her daughter's future and her dedication to her are undeniably admirable, there is no doubt her story raises serious ethical questions about an increasingly common, but deeply unconventional, method of conception.

It is one which, in effect, signals that the mother's desire for a child overrides her concerns about the welfare of the child.

And in the most dramatic way, it illustrates many women's conviction that fathers are simply unnecessary.

While sperm donation no longer has the social stigma it once did, it is still impossible to ignore the fact that June has chosen to create a child who will never know who her father is, let alone have a choice about whether to see him or not. It is an act many may believe to be motivated by a selfish desire to fulfil a need in her own life.

Critics, who have long debated whether a child can be psychologically damaged by discovering it was conceived through donated sperm, also point out that advances in genetics mean a knowledge of a family medical history is vital for health reasons.

Even Baroness Warnock, the architect of Britain's fertility laws, recently admitted that, such are the profound and far-reaching implications for the child, she was wrong to recommend that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 1990 preserve donor anonymity.

The furore over the subject has been fuelled by increasing numbers of now adult children, born through sperm donation, expressing their heartache over their unknown paternity. Now the law has been changed.

Any child conceived through sperm donation after April 2005 will be able to trace their father when they reach 18 (although donors will not be able to trace their children).

Crystelle, however, who was born in August 2004, and the estimated 40,000 people in this country who, like her, are the children of sperm donors, will not be able to benefit from this legal adjustment.

They will never have the chance to know their fathers - or even vital medical information about the men who helped to create them. …

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NO DADDY REQUIRED; at 40, Her Biological Clock Was Ticking. Rather Than Risk Waiting for a Perfect Man, June Went to the Sperm Bank to Have a Child. Every Woman's Right? or a Sad Commentary on an Age of Selfishness and Confused Morality?
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