TangledWebs UK

A group challenging donor-conception practices in the UK and internationally

Stranger Conception

Donor-conception should be called Stranger Conception

There is a service that is offered by medical practices throughout the world, public and private. This service claims to be a "fertility treatment". It is neither a treatment, nor does it improve anyone's fertility. It is not, for that matter, a medical procedure.

The practice consists of taking a plastic tube of a man's semen &endash; the identity of this man being unknown to the woman &endash; and squirting that semen into the woman's uterus in an attempt to get her pregnant. This procedure is performed on a woman whose male partner is infertile, or who has no male partner.

The name for this practice used to be artificial insemination and, to distinguish it from artificial insemination where the semen of the woman's husband was used, this was often clarified to artificial insemination by donor or AID.

The first two letters in the abbreviation were accurate: it was insemination and it was artificial. However, "artificial" came to be seen as a pejorative, so the practice was rebranded donor conception. This new term also encompasses in vitro fertilisation with what are called "donated" eggs.

The use of "donor" in these descriptions is highly misleading, as we noted elsewhere. It incorrectly suggests that the man "donating" has done something positive, selfless and beneficial to others. What he is actually doing is abandoning his child.

We suggest that any conception in which the biological parents are strangers to each other or in which one or both intend to remain strangers to the child should be called stranger conception. This description much more accurately reflects the reality of the situation. A "sperm" "donor" should be called a stranger father, and an egg "donor" should be called a stranger mother.