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纽约时报双语:一个捐精的男人、他的几百个孩子和一个问题:为什么?

一个捐精的男人、他的几百个孩子和一个问题:为什么?
The Case of the Serial Sperm Donor
JACQUELINE MROZ
2021年2月5日
纽约时报双语:一个捐精的男人、他的几百个孩子和一个问题:为什么?

In 2015, Vanessa van Ewijk, a carpenter in the Netherlands, decided that she wanted to have a child. She was 34 and single, and so, like many women, she sought out a sperm donor.

2015年,荷兰木匠凡妮莎·范埃韦克(Vanessa van Ewijk)决定要个孩子。她当时34岁,而且是单身,所以,像许多女性一样,她挑选了一名捐精者。

She considered conceiving through a fertility clinic, but the cost was prohibitive for her. Instead, she found an ideal candidate through a website called Desire for a Child, one of a growing number of online sperm markets that match candidate donors directly with potential recipients. Van Ewijk was drawn to one profile in particular, that of Jonathan Jacob Meijer, a Dutch musician in his 30s.

她考虑过通过生育诊所怀孕,但诊所的费用对她来说太高了。取而代之,她在一个名为“想要个孩子(Desire for a Child)”的网站找到了理想的候选人。该网站是数量越来越多的线上精子市场之一,它们让候选捐精者与潜在受精者直接进行般配。范·埃韦克尤其被30多岁的荷兰音乐家乔纳森·雅各布·迈伊(Jonathan Jacob Meijer)的简介所吸引。

Meijer was handsome, with blue eyes and a mane of curly blond hair. Van Ewijk liked how genuine he appeared. “I spoke to him on the phone and he seemed gentle and kind and well-behaved,” she said. “He liked music, and he talked about his thoughts on life. He didn’t come on strong in any sense. He seemed like the boy next door.”

迈伊颇为英俊,有一对蓝色的眼睛和一头浓密的金色卷发。范埃韦克喜欢他看起来真诚的样子。“我和他通了电话,他给人的感觉很温柔、善良,也很有礼貌,”范埃韦克说。“他喜欢音乐,还谈到了他对人生的看法。他没有任何露骨的调情。他看上去就像是邻家的男孩。”

About a month later, after some back-and-forth, she and Meijer arranged to meet at Central Station, a busy railway hub in The Hague. He provided her with his sperm, and in return she paid him 165 euros, about $200, and covered his travel costs. Months later she gave birth to a daughter — her first child and, Meijer told her, his eighth. (Meijer declined to be interviewed for this article but did answer some questions by email, and stated that he did not grant permission for his name to be published.)

在进行了几次线上往来的大约一个月后,她与迈伊安排了见面,地点在海牙繁忙的铁路枢纽中央火车站。他向她提供了精子,她付给他165欧元(约200美元),并支付了他的旅行费用。几个月后,她生下一个女儿,这是她的第一个孩子。迈伊告诉她,这是他的第八个孩子。(迈伊拒绝为本文接受采访,但通过电子邮件回答了一些问题,并说他不给予报纸公布他名字的授权。)

In 2017, when she decided to conceive again, she reached out once more to Meijer. Once again he met with her and, for a similarly modest fee, provided a container of his semen; once again she became pregnant, and gave birth to a boy.

2017年,当她决定要再次怀孕时,她又与迈伊取得了联系。他再次与她见面,并以同样适中的费用提供了一个装有他精液的容器;她再次怀了孕,生下一个男孩。

Even before then, however, van Ewijk had learned some unsettling news. She had connected on Facebook with another single mother who also had used Meijer as a donor, and who told her that, according to an investigation in 2017 by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, he had fathered at least 102 children in the Netherlands through numerous fertility clinics, a tally that did not include his private donations through websites.

然而,就在那之前,范埃韦克听到了一些令人不安的消息。她在Facebook上与另一名也使用了迈伊捐的精子的单身母亲建立了联系,对方告诉她,据荷兰卫生、福利和体育部2017年的一项调查,迈伊通过数不清的生育诊所在荷兰至少生出102个孩子,这个数字不包括他通过网站的私下捐精所生。

Van Ewijk wanted her children to be full siblings, so she still wanted Meijer to be the donor. Nonetheless, she was alarmed. The Netherlands is a small country, home to 17 million people; the more half-siblings there are in the population who are unknown to one another, the greater the odds that two of them might meet unwittingly and produce children of their own — children with a heightened risk of carrying hereditary defects.

范埃韦克希望她的孩子同父同母,所以她仍想让迈伊做捐精者。尽管如此,她仍很担心。荷兰是一个小国,只有1700万人口;人群中互不相知的同父异母兄弟姐妹越多,他们中的两人无意相遇并生下孩子的可能性就越大,这种孩子有更高的遗传缺陷风险。

Furious, van Ewijk confronted Meijer. He admitted that he had produced at least 175 children and conceded that there might be more.

范埃韦克很愤怒,质问迈伊。他承认自己繁育了至少175个孩子,并承认可能还有更多的。

“He said, ‘I’m just helping women make their biggest wish come true,’” van Ewijk recalled. “I said: ‘You’re not helping anymore! How do I tell my kids that they could possibly have 300 siblings?’”

“他说,‘我只是在帮助女性实现她们最大的愿望,’”范埃韦克回忆道。“我说:‘你已经不是在帮助人!我怎么告诉我的孩子,他们可能有300个兄弟姐妹呀?’”

She may have only known the half of it.

她可能只知道问题的一半。

The first child of in vitro fertilization was born in 1978, and in the decades since, sperm donation has become a thriving global business, as fertility clinics, sperm banks and private donors have sought to meet the demand of parents eager to conceive.

第一个以体外受精方式出生的孩子生于1978年,在那之后的几十年中,随着生育诊所、精子库和私人捐助者设法满足渴望怀孕的父母的需求,精子捐赠已成为一个蓬勃发展的全球性业务。

As an industry, however, it is poorly regulated. A patchwork of laws ostensibly addresses who can donate, where and how often, in part to avoid introducing or amplifying genetic disabilities in a population. In Germany, a sperm-clinic donor may not produce more than 15 children; in the United Kingdom the cap is 10 families of unlimited children. In the Netherlands, Dutch law prohibits donating anonymously, and nonbinding guidelines limit clinic donors to 25 children and from donating at more than one clinic in the country. In the United States there are no legal limits, only guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine: 25 children per donor in a population of 800,000.

但是,该行业监管不力。一系列法律表面上看来针对谁以什么样的频率在何地捐赠的问题做出了规定,这在一定程度上是为了避免在人群中引入或扩大遗传残疾。在德国,一名诊所捐赠者的孩子不能超过15个。在英国则是最多10个家庭,孩子数量不限。在荷兰,法律禁止匿名捐赠,不具约束力的指导方针将诊所捐赠者限制为25名儿童,并且只能在该国一家诊所捐赠。在美国,没有法律限制,只有美国生殖医学学会(American Society for Reproductive Medicine)的指导方针:在80万人口中,每个捐赠者可以有25个孩子。

Regulation is even more scarce internationally. There is little to stop a sperm donor from donating at clinics in countries other than his own, or at global agencies like Cryos International, the world’s biggest sperm clinic, in Denmark, which ships semen to more than 100 countries.

国际上的监管更加稀缺。没有什么能阻止捐精者在本国以外的诊所或在位于丹麦的全球最大的精子诊所Cryos International这样的全球机构进行捐赠,该诊所向100多个国家运送精液。

“There’s nothing in the U.S. or anywhere that would keep a donor from donating at more than one sperm bank,” said Wendy Kramer, a co-founder and the executive director of the Donor Sibling Registry, an organization in the United States that supports donor families. “The sperm banks claim that they ask the donor if they’ve donated anywhere else, but nobody knows if they really do.”

“在美国或任何地方,没有什么可以阻止捐精者在一个以上的精子库捐助,”美国支持受捐出生者家庭的组织“受捐出生者手足登记中心(Donor Sibling Registry)”的联合创始人兼执行董事温迪·克雷默(Wendy Kramer)说。“精子库说,他们会询问捐精者是否在其他地方有过捐精,但这是没有办法核实的事情。”

And few if any laws govern private donations, of the kind that van Ewijk and Meijer arranged through the internet. Through these gaps, several cases have emerged of donors who have fathered scores of children or more, and of grown children discovering, often through social media, that they have not just a handful of half-siblings but dozens of them.

几乎没有法律管束范埃韦克和迈伊通过互联网安排的私人捐赠。由于这些漏洞,已经出现了捐精者生育数十个或更多孩子的例子,以及有的孩子长大后发现——通常是通过社交媒体——他们同父异母的兄弟姐妹不只是几个,而是有数十个。

In 2019, the Dutch Donor Child Foundation, an advocacy group that facilitates legal and emotional support for donor-conceived people and their families and helps search for biological relatives, determined through DNA testing that Dr. Jan Karbaat, a fertility specialist who died in 2017, had secretly fathered at least 68 children, born to women who visited his clinic near Rotterdam.

在2019年,荷兰受捐出生儿童基金会(Dutch Donor Child Foundation)通过DNA测试确定,于2017年去世的生育专家扬·卡尔巴特(Jan Karbaat)博士秘密生育了至少68个孩子,这些孩子的母亲都去过他在鹿特丹附近的诊所。荷兰受捐出生儿童基金会是一个倡导组织,为受捐出生者及其家人提供法律和情感支持,并帮助寻找血缘亲属。

At least one sperm donor in the Netherlands, known as Louis, is thought to have more than 200 offspring, many of whom are unaware of one another. Six years ago Ivo van Halen, a 36-year-old Dutch information technology consultant, learned that he was among them. Since then, he has managed to connect directly with 42 of his half-siblings.

在荷兰,至少有一个被称为路易(Louis)的捐精者,其后代有200多个,其中许多人彼此都不知道。现年36岁的荷兰信息技术顾问伊沃·范海伦(Ivo van Halen)六年前得知自己就是其中之一。从那时起,他设法与他的42个同父异母手足直接取得联系。

“It’s been a shock to learn how to integrate 42 brothers and sisters into your life,” van Halen said in an interview. “There are no books on how to do that. Our group is at 70 known children already, and getting new matches every month.”

“学习如何将42个兄弟姐妹融入你的生活是令人震惊的,”范海伦在接受采访时说。“没有这样的教科书。我们组已经找到了70个人,并且每个月都会有新的发现。”

Some of his half-siblings have encountered each other multiple times on Tinder, the dating app. One half-brother, Jordy Willekens, who lives in The Hague, matched online with four half-sisters. “Once, I swiped on a sister and she swiped right on me at the same time,” Willekens said.

他的一些同父异母的兄弟姐妹在约会应用Tinder上偶遇了许多次。居住在海牙的同父异母兄弟乔迪·威利肯斯(Jordy Willekens)与四名同父异母的姐妹在网上配上对。威利肯斯说:“有一次,我向右划了她的照片,她同时也向右划了我的照片。”

The group keeps a list of potential siblings to refer to before going on a date. Willekens, who is now in a relationship, said he had been very careful when dating: “I have a very trained eye by now.”

该小组在约会之前会保留一份潜在兄弟姐妹列表。现在处于恋爱关系中的威利肯斯说,他之前在约会时非常小心:“我现在的眼力已经训练有素。”

Some sperm donors, like Karbaat, donate surreptitiously and illegally, leaving their identities and the scale of their activity to be discovered many years later by their offspring, often as a shock.

一些捐精者,例如卡尔巴特,是秘密和非法捐精的,他们的身份和捐精规模在很多年后才被他们的后代发现,通常是令人震惊的消息。

Other donors are openly profligate. Ari Nagel, a math professor in New York, donates exclusively online and directly with recipients; he has been nicknamed the “Target Donor” because he sometimes meets women in public spots, such as Target stores, to hand off his sperm. He told The New York Times that he had 76 biological children. Simon Watson, a donor in the United Kingdom who regularly updates his Facebook site with photos of his offspring, told the BBC in 2016 that he had at least 800 children around the world.

其他捐精者则公开地大肆捐赠。纽约的数学教授阿里·纳吉尔(Ari Nagel)仅在网上与受捐者直接联系;他被称为“塔吉特(Target)捐精者”,因为有时他会在例如塔吉特商店这样的公共场所与女性见面,交出他的精子。他告诉《纽约时报》,他有76个亲生孩子。英国的捐助者西蒙·沃森(Simon Watson)定期在Facebook页面上发布其后代的照片,他在2016年告诉英国广播公司(BBC),他在世界各地至少有800个孩子。

Meijer appears to have adopted both approaches, registering at more clinics than is recommended while also donating privately.

迈伊似乎采用了这两种方法,即在超出建议数量的诊所注册,同时还进行私人捐精。

In 2017, after confronting Meijer, van Ewijk notified the Dutch Donor Child Foundation that he had many more children than he had initially revealed, and that he had been donating sperm at several clinics. The group already knew of him, from other mothers with the same complaint.

2017年,在与迈伊面质后,范埃韦克通知荷兰受捐出生儿童基金会,他的孩子比他最初透露的要多得多,而且他一直在几家诊所捐献精子。这个组织已经从其他母亲那里知道了他,她们也有同样的抗议。

The foundation soon determined that Meijer had privately fathered at least 80 children in the Netherlands, in addition to the 102 that the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport had identified through 11 clinics in the country. The government ordered all Dutch sperm clinics to stop using Meijer’s semen.

该基金会很快确定,除卫生、福利和体育部确定的102名通过该国的11家诊所出生的孩子外,迈伊在荷兰至少私下出生了80名孩子。政府命令所有荷兰精子诊所停止使用迈伊的精液。

The issue of serial sperm donation has been recognized in other countries as well. Christina Motejl, a lawyer in Berlin, is a member of Donor Offspring Europe, a network of organizations of donor-conceived adults in Europe. She said that the group was concerned about donors who travel around Europe trying to father as many children as possible.

其他国家也认识到连续捐精的问题。柏林律师克里斯蒂娜·莫特伊(Christina Motejl)是欧洲捐精者后代(Donor Offspring Europe)的成员,该组织是欧洲受捐出生的成年人组织的关系网。她说,该组织对在欧洲旅行的捐精者试图生出尽可能多的孩子感到担忧。

“It’s kind of disgusting in a narcissistic way,” she said. “No sane person would want 100 children or more. The big question is why? These men want confirmation that they’re a great guy and everybody wants them.”

“这种自恋的方式令人恶心,”她说。“任何理智的人都不会想要100个或更多的孩子。最大的问题是为什么?这些人希望确认自己是个伟大的人,每个人都想要他们。”

A mother in Australia who purchased Meijer’s sperm through Cryos and had a child said she was disturbed by how many children he turned out to have. (She asked that her name not be used, for privacy reasons.) She and 50 or so other mothers who used his sperm have formed a group, Moms on a Mission, to try to get him to stop donating.

澳大利亚的一位母亲通过Cryos购买了迈伊的精子,并育有一个孩子,她说她为他有那么多孩子感到不安。(出于隐私原因,她要求不要使用她的名字。)她和其他50多个使用其精子的母亲组成了一个小组,“肩负使命的妈妈”(Moms on a Mission),试图让他停止捐献。

Their goal is to connect with as many other parents as they can, to find out the true number of offspring he has produced, so that their children can contact each other as they get older. Many of the mothers wonder how their children will ever be able to have a relationship with their biological father when he has so many other children. The group also advocates for the creation of an international database of sperm donors.

他们的目标是与尽可能多的其他父母建立联系,找出他后代的真实数目,以便他们的孩子随着年龄的增长可以彼此接触。许多母亲不知道,如果孩子的亲生父亲还有很多其他孩子,她们的孩子将如何与亲生父亲建立关系。该小组还倡导建立国际精子捐献者数据库。

“That way these men can’t just donate whenever they want and create all these children in the world without parents even consenting to the fact,” the Australian mother said. “I can’t imagine what our son is going to think when he finds out.”

“这样一来,这些人就不能随便捐精,并在母亲们甚至不知情的情况下在全世界生育所有这些孩子,”这位澳大利亚母亲说。“我无法想象我们的儿子发现后会怎么想。”

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