Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sperm from Members of Parliament

In the state of Victoria, in Australia, a child who is the biological offspring of a sperm donor has the right, upon reaching age 18, to learn the identity of the sperm donor. Understandably, potential donors have responded to this incentive by reducing the supply of sperm. They are concerned not only about possible patrimony support payments, which can be banned legally fairly easily, but also about the moral obligations they might feel 19 or more years down the line, or the possible disruptions to their lives, as someone they have never met knocks on the door and says, "Hi, Daddy".

To deal with this shortage, Members of Parliament are being asked to step up, do their duty, and donate some sperm to the sperm bank [thanks to BrianF for the tip and amusing side comments]. As quoted by the BBC:

"We hope that if some of the leading role models within our community
become donors, others may follow suit,"
MPs? Nothing like really lowering one's expectations and standards (with apologies to Rodney).

Attention, Canadian Male Students!
Free two-week holiday in Australia?

I don't know if the programme is still in place, but from the same source:
In December, 2004, an Australian fertility clinic in Albury, south-west of Sydney, offered students in Canada a free two-week holiday in Australia in return for sperm.
So why just students???

One possible solution to the shortage might be to recruit sperm from 80 - 90 year-old males. With proper legal protections so that the offspring would have no legal claim to the males' estates (unless explicitly provided for by the males), many of them would not be too concerned about having some young adult progeny show up 20 years later.

Or, as I suggested before, why not just let supply and demand work to get rid of the shortage -- raise the price offered "donors" and let market forces work?

Does it mean anything that this is the second story I've mentioned on this topic by the BBC?

update: I couldn't resist linking to
this headline in today's NYTimes.
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