LegalWorks Apostolate - Counsel for a Culture of Life

It might make people think

By Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge

Being one of those people who typically has the TV on as "background," it was not unusual that while answering e-mail last evening, there was "noise" coming from the small set in my office. I glanced and became aware that an episode of CSI: Miami was on. I basically ignored it until I heard something (the words,“sperm donor”) that piqued my interest.

What I was able to piece together was a man who had "‘fathered" 103 children via artificial insemination was murdered and the CSI team believed one of those offspring was responsible for his murder. A number of the now-older-teen offspring had gone to a website called “donor kids” to locate their biological father and had identified their bio dad—the one who was eventually murdered.

There were a number of twists and turns in the story all reflecting —unintentionally, I presume—that there are a number of serious problems with modern day reproductive technologies.

There was the obvious “problem” with one man “fathering” 103 children after telling his wife of 20 years that he was infertile. What he failed to tell her was that he had had a vasectomy. She desperately wanted children and had intentionally married him—a “younger man” —so that she could be insured of progeny.

As the various “suspects” were identified and interviewed, it was learned that the murder victim had transmitted a genetic liver disease to a number of his children. This resulted in the team shutting down the “clinic” where the victim’s sperm were stored.

The DNA of one of the suspects was found on the victim’s shirt, but when it was determined that he had a credible alibi, the CSI team knew that he must have an identical twin. Sure enough, the single mother of the first suspect admitted that she had used a surrogate “mother” and the team eventually found the surrogate—a poor woman who had carried 14 children for various women. She denied ever having twins, but the truth came out.

The twin she “kept” had inherited the liver disease from the sperm donor and was going to die if he did not have a liver transplant. He had found the murder victim (his biological father) and asked if he would “give” him a portion of his liver. The biological father had no interest in even talking to his “son.”

There were a few other twists and turns, but it turns out it was the sperm donor’s wife who had killed him.

While the story was over the top in many ways, there were kernels of truth sprinkled throughout. Even though no condemnation of artificial insemination and surrogacy was offered, I think (hope) viewers had to at least recognize there are serious consequences with modern reproductive technologies.

At the very least, perhaps it will prompt people to think.

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