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Fertility Fraud: Artificial insemination doctors who used their own sperm (nytimes.com)
69 points by turtlegrids 52 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 100 comments

In its long term effect this fraud is similar to serial rape. But that's also true of serial seduction under false pretenses. Should the punishment for these things also be similar? I don't know.

From a Darwinian perspective even the death penalty is insufficient, since reproducing copiously is worth dying for. The only effective punishment would involve also killing or sterilizing the resulting children ... which is entirely unacceptable from our cultural perspective.

So to a Darwinian insemination doctor this may be something like a perfect crime, in that there is no prospective punishment that outweighs the benefits.


Ghengis Khan was the world's greatest Dad, in sheer numbers.

Well, he was, 'til this creep started getting off on actual reproductive success. Sicko.

Got his jollies breaking into sperm banks. They caught him of course, but not before he had fathered over 700 children. That we could identify.

Not all of his sons felt the need. Some were really nice kids. Normal families. But some of them...

Sperm bank security improved, of course, til our present levels which are pretty much impregnable.

But those guys weren't the worst - an engineer working for a clinical DNA printer hacked the machine to randomly sprinkle some of his bases into everything that went through. Weird, huh? But it sort of made the kids equivalent of distant cousins or so. There were 11 months of births before it was discovered.

It wasn't even his own molecules that were involved, I don't know - I think it makes it worse

The Genghis Khan thing doesn't really say much - there's a statistical near-certainty that liteally everyone today is descended from every single human that 7000 years ago (whose line didn't die out obviously).

That’s assuming that the human population is well-mixed; it should be obvious that e.g. aboriginal Australians and native Americans will not have a common ancestor that close by

For example suppose you have two containers filled with elastically colliding particles. Over an arbitrarily long time you can say that each particle has surely collided with every other particle, however if each container is closed then clearly particles from one container will not have collided with those from the other container over any amount of time

>That’s assuming that the human population is well-mixed

Yes that's why I took the conservative estimate of 7000 years, otherwise with the panmixia hypothesis it only goes back 3000 years or so.

If there has been widespread mixing why is there no sickle cell anaemia in South East Asia or Papua New Guinea, even though there is Malaria?

If an allele had made it there, wouldn't it have been selected for?

Genealogical mixing and genetic mixing have little to do with each other - the pool is too diluted at these scales and there can be much local variation.

By the way, the fact that all of us share the exact same set of ancestors from a few thousand years ago isn't new, shocking or controversial, only the exact date is still subject do debate. You may find this link useful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identical_ancestors_point

You're brushing off my point, why no selection on the allele? Why did they all die out? Easiest answer is it never made it.

The simulations are nice, and make a theoretical lower bound but a single remote tribe somewhere on earth would push it back tens of thousands of years.

DNA Sequence an Andaman islander and every bushman and Amazonian, then we'll see.

>You're brushing off my point, why no selection on the allele? Why did they all die out? Easiest answer is it never made it.

Evolution works in more complicated ways than the toy model of sickle-cell disease/malaria you've been taught in high school. Just having an edge in a particular situation is no guarantee for your alleles being selected. But even then, there could very well have been very little mixing while still everyone shares the same set of ancestors. Even a little mixing is enough.

>The simulations are nice, and make a theoretical lower bound but a single remote tribe somewhere on earth would push it back tens of thousands of years.

The subject is well-refined and the results are old news so I'm going to go on a limp and assume that the researchers who did the simulations know how to do their jobs and accounted for that possibility you described.

>DNA Sequence an Andaman islander and every bushman and Amazonian, then we'll see.

Ignoring the fact that the various peoples in the Amazon have not been isolated at all, or that the Adamans have been settled approximately in the time range of the estimated IAP and have known a few exchanges since, that's not how genealogy works. See, if a single outsider gets into the Adamans or Australia and starts having children with locals, and assuming the line doesn't die out, there's a statistical certainty that eventually every current living person in that territory will be descended from that outsider. Just one is enough. It doesn't matter that their genetic contribution is diluted to the point of being barely detectable. I invite you to read the link about IAP in more detail and do some rudimentary math on why it has to be the case (or more accurately, why the opposite is so statistically improbable as to be pretty much impossible).

As the formatting is unclear, it is worth noting that the parent comment is a short science fiction story, quoted in its entirety from the linked page.

> From a Darwinian perspective even the death penalty is insufficient,

Darwinism has no bearing on legal matters. In fact the entirety of laws are opposed to darwinism

Plus we re probably the last generations that care for darwinism? It won't take long before it becomes normal to engineer your children.

That’s like saying we’re the last generation that cares about gravity. Darwinism is part of how the world works. It’s not something to be accepted or denied or supported or opposed. It’s just reality, and at most it’s a constraint to work around. If you try to fix society by pretending that Darwinism doesn’t exist, that’s like trying to build a house by pretending that mold and water damage don’t exist.

There is no invention on the horizon that will counterweight gravity, as opposed to genetic engineering.I think it's fair to say that procreation will not determine our genetic future, but the choices of genes that the people of the next few generations will make. And people's vanity may compel them to perpetuate their own genes, but given the opportunity people always choose the best possible genes for their kids (i.e. choose healthy sperm donors with generally considered "higher genes" - i.e. Danes).

The OP describes a system where darwinism is used to determine how to punish people. i.e. darwinism is the source of law. That's not happening.

I don’t know or believe that genetic engineering is anywhere close to ready for those kinds of purposes any more than waterproof materials are ready for house builders to stop worrying about drainage and other basic principles of water damage. And we’re a hell of a lot farther along in terms of waterproof materials!

In fact I think it’s slightly more likely that you’ve been suckered into a scam perpetrated by Danish men for reasons that are plainly obvious from a Darwinist perspective ;) Seems like more of a crackpot Nordic eugenic superman theory to me.

embryo selection is already a thing today, and there are already crispr'd humans. Considering the pace of genetic research it's not unreasonable to expect that genetic selection of traits will be available within 20-50 years.

Whatever scam the danism men are running , it's working


There are roughly two Crispr’d humans and the scientist responsible has been under house arrest in China ever since. I’m not interested in your Nordic eugenic superman nonsense.

> Darwinism has no bearing on legal matters.

To a Darwinian rapist / insemination fraudster / seduction fraudster, this is a kind of loophole that he can slip through. Modern law doesn't sufficiently incentivise him to desist.

It would be fun to see seduction outlawed. What would be the punishment for seductors and seductees?

It appears the seducer would pay with monetary damages and the seducted would pay with a life in disgrace

So, a marriage? /s

Love it. That short page is absolutely filled with "gems" (for lack of a better word).

>Darwinism has no bearing on legal matters.

While some laws are created to protect the weakest; a lot of inheritance, marriage and family laws follow their rationale directly from Darwinism.

Marriage and family laws predate Darwin and have nothing to do with "Darwinism". They are products of, in anything, human social psychology.

Marriage and family laws are based upon centuries-old cultural traditions that evolved and survived to the present day by virtue of promoting their own survival. That’s Darwinism. The fact that they predate Darwin is as meaningless as the fact that Earth’s orbit around the sun predates Copernicus.

With Darwinism he obviously doesn't mean the field of study, but rather the subject of the field of study, which was already happening way before Darwin's discovery of it, shaping among other things human social psychology...

If there was one in the past, it certainly doesnt exist today. Marriage laws seem to have evolved to laws protecting the mother and ensuring the child can grow sufficiently comfortable.

>In fact the entirety of laws are opposed to darwinism

I don't see how this is true. Can you explain this position?

starting with killing competitors, all egotistical traits are darwinian. If anything, laws exist to stop us from that

Do you mean to suggest that cooperation is not a Darwinian trait? Or that social animals are not a product of natural selection? Because I'm pretty sure that is false.

Capital punishment is/was considered a deterrent because we are programmed to attempt to avoid premature death by natural selection.

That's not to say people always understood this or even that today it is the way most people think about it, but at least according to a mechanistic/biological view of behavior, that is the basis.

Note that natural selection did NOT necessarily put a desire to pass on our genes into us, since that wasn't necessary. It simply put such things as a desire to continue living, a drive to care for children (which can easily be transferred to non-biological children, and we can easily ignore that drive for biological children that we don't bond to), and a drive to have sex.

There should be a moratorium on invoking evolution unless you're an evolutionary biologist. It's quite telling that whenever I read the word 'Darwin' on this site I immediately go 'aw shit, I'm not going to like this' and it never fails.

Would you like to share with us where the parent poster made an error?

Did you know France banned paternity tests?

French can't be trusted with fidelity in marriage?

>> serial seduction "under false pretenses"

So should we punish 90% of men?

If the adult child finds out what happened, and the insemination doctor is still alive, is the child then entitled to a part of the doctor's (future) heritage?

Or if the child finds out when it is still small, or a teenager, will the child be entitled for child support payments from the doctor?

Yes, the child or guardian could sue to establish paternity. If established, there would be child support, and inheritance rights.[0]

The man currently considered the father could also sue to challenge paternity.[1]

0) https://family.findlaw.com/paternity/chronology-establishing...

1) https://family.findlaw.com/paternity/challenging-paternity.h...

For the inheritance, not if there’s a will.

But not all countries let you disinherit your children.

Here in The Netherlands it is possible, but only for 50%. So if you have 3 children, and you disinherit one (which is morally defend-able under certain circumstances) then that one gets (1/3) / 2 = 1/6 and the other two get 2/6 + 1/12 = 5/12 (or 4.5/6). In percentages that is 16,66666667% and 41,66666667%.

I find it a fair middle ground.

The only way to cut out little Johnny is to have a few dozen more kids, then!

Or die broke because you gave everything away before you bit the dust.

> But not all countries let you disinherit your children.

For me it is very weird that some countries do allow it. I did not ask to be born.

On the flip side, once you reach maturity, why should you have any right to the estate of your deceased relatives?

I believe that rights should exist when we believe they make a nation more prosperous, so this is ultimately an empirical question. Rights are a matter of national design, and not spiritually inalienable qualities. Should a person have the right to keep and bear arms? Data keeps the delineations of design honest.

Because they decided to put you here while you had no choice? What does maturity have to do with anything? Many people of whatever age have issues taking care of themselves. Not after being deceased but where would Trump be without getting bailouts from his fathers estate?

I guess it depends what you are used to anyway. For me it seems weird as I am born in a country where it is illegal to cut your spouse and kids, for you it does not.

Maturity matters only in as much as at some point most societies assume you’ll be able to care for yourself (and your parents have no more legal responsibility to fund your life). 18 in the US.

I suppose if your standpoint is “I’m due their assets because they made me” that’s fine. I’m not sure I agree, but it’s a valid view. My own perspective, I’m a functional adult. Inheriting my parents estate would be nice, but if society decided tomorrow that estates all went to solving childhood hunger, I wouldn’t lose any sleep.

Edit: I’m only talking about inheritance. Child support exists for a reason and should continue to do so. In the case of illegal, anonymous sperm donors, they should pay it like everybody else.

Ever thought you werent around to ask about your choice in the matter ?

Sure, which is the point.

So you would rather not exist ?

Have you seriously sought counseling ?

I take it you are not familiar with antinatalism.


So an entire group needs counseling ? The desire to end ones gene pool is not mentally sound but is a self correcting issue I suppose.

Yes an entire group definitely needs counseling.

If you loath life so much, there is a simple solution.

Or you could just quit your belly-aching and find a way to appreciate being given the opportunity to live at all instead of demanding fiscal compensation!

Why is DNA testing not a mandatory part of the process? I thought embryonic genetic testing for show-stopping diseases was one of the major selling points of IVF. Would that not immediately set off alarm bells for paternity/maternity mismatch?

Not necessarily - you don't need parents DNA to do those tests.

Also DNA sequencing is one of those areas which experienced incredible cost reduction, much faster than for example general computing power under Moore's law. I.e. it used to be very very expensive. Heck, the first complete human genome sequencing was completed just 16 years ago, and the project took 13 years.

There was a story a few weeks ago of screwup in IVF involving not-father's sperm combined with mother's egg by accident. The resulting child is now unwanted by the couple.

Between that story and TFA, maybe it's time for regulators to step in and force DNA testing as early as possible in the process to positively confirm the match. It already costs an arm and a leg, what's another few hundred dollars to avoid creating black mirror situations.

There are a multitude of different processes and procedures to deal with different kinds of fertility issues. It isn't uncommon to do a "fresh" transfer after a handful of days. Genetic testing is generally only going to be offered if you do a frozen transfer. Not all embryos are of high enough quality to survive being frozen, and a live transfer might be the only option.

PGS is offered as part of IVF protocols, but not required. There is some risk to damaging the embryo as there is a biopsy.

People at 23AndMe could run an anonymized query on their dataset to extract networks of lineages and see highly connected individuals. It would be fascinating to see some people with hundreds of offsprings because they are sperm donors.

What if their own children become sperm donors, etc. If two persons are born from sperm donors I imagine they have to check in case they are siblings or closely related.

> run an anonymized query ... see highly connected individuals

Doesn't sound very anonymized to me.

As the genetic sequencing graph grows, the odds of maintaining anonymity rapidly drops to zero. Poor choice of words on parent’s part, but I think one can understand what they were trying to convey (datamining the genotype matrix).

Disclaimer: Interviewed at 23andme a decade ago. Good folks.

I think that commenter was thinking that 23andme would be able to identify many people as children of the same unknown person, but unless that person also submitted their DNA to the service, they would effectively be anonymous. An unknown parent of dozens or hundreds.

They’d only be anonymous if none of their family had used 23andme. CODIS already supports similar familial searches.

Anonymous until a cursory investigation.

> highly connected individuals

I believe this is how they caught Joseph Deangelo

Since patients are likely to have geographical proximity, such an effect could be observed even if a Doctor commit that fraud just in just few occasions.

This is how these fertility doctors are caught. Their illicit offspring find matches for half siblings on genealogy sites.

Simple solution is to just work with a fertility doc who is female or a person of a different race than picked sperm. Will be obvious if child is mixed.

I am worried about future ethics of DNA sequencing. Esp if lab techs are corrupted. That will prob be the future - bastard children at scale.

> Will be obvious if child is mixed.

You have misidentified the problem.

Can't imagine what it's like to find this out as the offspring. On one hand it's a crazy violation of their very identity, on the other, they would not exist if not for that deception.

I've posted several times about law lagging behind technology, and this is what I mean. If a new tech is in the horizon, you should already be able to realize what can be done with it, what damage it can cause.

I can't believe they call it sexual assault. It's as if it was beyond the realm of possibility to create new lexicon and they had to use only existing terms.

I mean, that's a pretty damn effective way to ensure you reproduce on a grand scale, but I seriously question the impact it will have on the world. I'm already against sperm donation in general partly because of how much it can reduce genetic diversity, but I never factored this sort of rape-fraud (raud? fraupe?) thing into it

Women who received Doctor's sperm instead of

1. Husband's sperm(low count)

2. Healthy stranger's sperm (Stranger was chosen)

3. Random donor's sperm

4. ?

For 1 & 2 Doctor ought to be stripped from IVR practice, children should get 20y alimony.

Additionally, in case of 1 children should also get inheritance.

The white lies we tell each other to make society work are coming out one at a time. That's why france disallows paternity tests. Then again is society ready to move beyond the nuclear family? i dont think so

Can you clarify your rationale about why France banned paternity tests?

France banned paternity tests for the sake of filation, i.e. to protect the rights of children and to promote stable families.

I differ with the previous poster in that I don't think that many men are unknowingly raising children that are not theirs. I've seen estimates that vary between .6% and 5%.

I do think that a man ought to have the right to know if he's the biological father and I think it's understandable if he wants to leave if he isn't. Yes, familial bonds are important but what kind of family do you have if the lies run that deep?

> I do think that a man ought to have the right to know if he's the biological father and I think it's understandable if he wants to leave if he isn't.

Yes, but I've always assume reasonable people want to know this because it would prove infidelity by their spouse, not because they specifically care that their child shares their genes.

Many of us have no interest whatsoever in raising other people’s children. Infidelity is a separate, though sometimes related, issue.

A child that you know doesn't possess your genes but you still accept, is your child. Adoption doesn't count less. If you knew the child wasn't "yours" before the test, why would the test make a difference? If you didn't know the child wasn't yours before the test, surely the most significant part of the result for you is that there is some reason that you didn't know before. That is, that you had been lied to, and were in the relationship and parenting the child under false pretenses.

I don't think that most people distinguish between a child from their own genes with an adopted child, unless there's some falsehood in play. At least I hope not.

You’re putting the cart before the horse. The reason people care about the falsehood is because it results in a child which isn’t the father’s. The reason I decided to settle down with my wife was to have children. My children. I didn’t get married to her so I could raise someone else’s children. I am a biological being, whose existence is the result of 3 billion years of reproduction. I exist to perpetuate the genes which built me.

They believe what makes you a father is that you accepted that social role on the day of birth, not the bloodline. You have an opportunity to ask for a blood test before you make that legal compact but not after.

Since a ban was necessary, clearly many men don't share that belief.


> Natural way is the only way. Fuck technology.

Why are you not running in your primal forest instead of posting here? Genuine question.

What an inane comment, we don't live in a world where you can really do that anymore, that doesn't make him wrong. Go read 'Industrial Society And Its Consequences'.

I am aware of my hypocrisy, but I would honestly rather live with primal tribes and not stress about all the shit happening with the world. I mean, what kind of a society will my eventual children grow into? 1984-Big brother world. Jesus.

I would rather hunt a bear, then eat it for a week with my tribe, and then dance around the fire while drinking some psychedelic drink in the warm night, seeing all the stars and milky way without all the light pollution. Oh wouldn't that be just stress-free life?

You should try that for a week or two. Take an alaskan sabbatical or something.

You will likely gain a new appreciation for modern society. That or be bear food.

At the very least they would gain a new appreciation for modern sanitation and medicine when eating that bear meat or drinking some water gives them a parasite or cholera - wait, sorry, we can't have the insight of modern education and technology - when the land has cursed them with an evil spirit.

Yeah, should you experience the stress of trying to live off the land even with some modern tools its not easy.

Typically you dont hunt bears either, you want to hunt things that cant hunt you back. The real thought of being eaten alive is a tad bit stressful.

Even boar hunting is a bit dangerous.

Right up until you die of a infection resulting from a minor scratch.

Acceptance of germ theory (and the subsequent use of antiseptics) really only came about near the end of the 19th century. The hardships of pre modern life are frequently overblown in my otherwise baseless opinion.

I know what you mean, but if I followed that anxious mindset.... then anyone who would die from a minor scratch probably deserves to die. Darwin in action, yes please.

Perhaps another coffee this morning ?

If it was about a couple going to a doctor and the doctor replacing the man's sperm with his own, I'd understand this, but if a woman goes to a doctor and asks for a sample from an anonymous donor with no further stipulations then I don't see why the donor shouldn't be the doctor. Of course, they should have been open about it, but still.

Anonymous yes, random no, at least not that I have ever heard of. You get a catalogue of various physical and socioeconomic traits from anonymous donors and pick the one that you want. Replacing that with any other is certainly fraud.

If that's the case then yeah, that's absolutely not alright. :S

> You get a catalogue of various physical and socioeconomic traits from anonymous donors and pick the one that you want. Replacing that with any other is certainly fraud.

It's fraud, certainly, but the system you're describing (I'm not familiar with it) seems to be open to abuses that are almost as unethical. Surely genetic health is the only thing it really makes sense to take into account when choosing a donor. Some choices (race?) seem particularly icky.

You choose all of those things when choosing a partner for making a baby the old-fashioned way. Why is it Ok in that case but not this one?

Choosing your partner with the intent of having particular genes for your child (other than, as I said, general physical health) seems unethical to me too. People do choose their partners on the basis of particular characteristics, but I would hope not for any reason so crass as manipulating the genes of their future children.

I assume married couples generally choose a donor who physically resembles the father.

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