ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

FDA Challenges Our Constitutional Right To Start A Family

Updated on July 21, 2012

The right to procreate is not only something taken for granted, but one that many believe is a direct order from a higher power. Nowhere on earth has the right to bear children been put under assault other than China with its One Child Policy. In recent years, groups in Uganda have lobbied for better access to contraceptives due to a population explosion inhibiting reduction of poverty rates. Both the Chinese policy and the concerns in Uganda have been prompted by a fear of over population that threatens economic stability.

Over population doesn't seem to be of much concern in the United States. In fact, with the tug of war between a woman's right to choose and those factions labeling abortion as murder, it would seem that most childbearing issues are based on differing political or ethical views. And while the battle has been waged fervently ever since the landmark decision of Roe vs Wade in 1973, the right to choose a partner for procreation has never been questioned. Until now.

It would seem the Federal Food and Drug Administration is now in the business of determining a woman's right to choose her sperm donor in the event of artificial insemination. Recently, a California woman has taken steps to challenge the FDA's authority to place restrictions on her choice. The FDA has a responsibility to uphold several areas of health care regulation, one of which has to do with regulations regarding standards for sperm banks.

Standards have been set to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and to ensure good tissue practices. Such practices as set forth apply to not only the donors but the facilities themselves, to the environment, supplies, labeling and storage. The need for the rigid standards aren't what is under fire by the plaintiff. No one would disagree that supervision and compliance is a necessity.

However, the plaintiff doesn't want to go through the standard sperm bank or clinic. According to the suit filed on Monday, July 2, 2012, she wants to use the sperm of a personal acquaintance, with none of the usual costs involved – absolutely free. She doesn't feel she should be subjected to the usual federal regulatory compliance games either. Her team of lawyers are calling the FDA rules an unconstitutional violation of her rights to start a family with whomever she chooses.


Amber Abbasi, an attorney for the group Cause of Action, filed on behalf of the California woman, whose identity has been withheld. “When you are regulating private decisions between two individuals in a non-commercial context that have to do with something so intimate and personal as to whether they want to have a child together, then the FDA regulations should not apply,” she has stated.

The unidentified plaintiff is in a relationship with another woman and wants to conceive a child, but doesn't wish to go to a regulated sperm bank because she is intent on knowing the father of her child. She has intentions of the child also having a relationship with the father. Her other concern is the prohibitive cost of going through a sperm bank.

In light of recent events concerning the upheld health care overhaul, the Constitution's Commerce Clause is at the center of this debate. “The Commerce Clause is not a blank check,” Abbasi says. The suit claims that federal regulations on sperm donation are overstepping that clause.

The FDA regulations originate from laws passed in 1944 which allowed for regulations for prevention of communicable diseases. Later, the agency extended the rules to cover sperm banks and their donors in an effort to prevent infection from a multitude of diseases, importantly HIV. These are certainly commendable reasons for putting regulations in place, but the plaintiff is concerned over how far the FDA is attempting to exert its authority.

For heterosexuals who are willing and able to conceive through sexual intercourse, there is no required screening and testing or any other FDA mandates regarding the sperm donor. By requiring a woman who prefers not to engage in a physical act for conception, the FDA regulations can be viewed as a form of coercion to have sex or pay for the privilege of conceiving a child. The plaintiff and her attorneys are asking the court to declare as unconstitutional, any rule which would regulate “private uncompensated” sperm donations.

There's another individual who is likely to take great interest in the case. Trent Arsenault of the San Francisco Bay Area was sent a cease and desist order from the FDA in 2010 because he doesn't follow the agency's requirements for getting tested. From 2005 through 2011, he fathered 14 children and was expecting another four within months, all because of free sperm donations to women who visit his website.

He is the 36 year old son of a minister who believes he is doing a service for those who have fertility issues. He attributes his wish to help as having originated through the many people who have prayed for a child at his father's church. Though he gets tested regularly, he says the FDA's rule to be tested seven days before donating would make it impossible to keep his donations free. Arsenault believes the FDA found him through his website, and claims they have described his service as a business, though there is no money exchanged for his services. Violators of the FDA's regulations can be jailed for a year and assessed a $100,000 fine.

This is not a business or a clinic. It's just people partnering up to have a baby out of compassion,” he has said.

Physicians and bioethicists are calling the practice of informal donation unsafe for both the mother and the baby. Though many women prefer to use sperm from a donor they know, doctors claim there is no substitute for screening for diseases.

Personally, I'm anxious to see the difference between delivering the required material for conception in a cup or making a personal delivery. Using the issue of safety in a matter so personal and private is simply another instance of government removing choices in the quest to control and manipulate the people. There is a long list of requirements for those who donate sperm, as well as eggs. Clinics are required to keep detailed records of all those involved. The FDA is privy to those records as a matter of inspecting whether regulations are being followed. How long before they begin ruling out people based on race and that race's propensity for certain diseases? Screening to eliminate high-risk genetic diseases is already being performed. I can't help but wonder if applying “safety” regulations to personal choices such as a chosen father, isn't the first step in a veiled attempt at creating a perfect race.

While I understand the need for infectious disease screening, and I totally get that everyone wants to ensure conception of a healthy child through eliminating possibilities of debilitating genetic diseases, I seriously disagree with mandating all who wish to conceive through artificial insemination be subjected to the unnecessary expense associated with profit driven clinics. Nor do I agree with telling wannabe parents that their choice of partner in creating a child must meet the approval of the FDA.

Heil, Hitler!!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Terri Meredith profile imageAUTHOR

      Terri Meredith 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      @mecheshier: I think we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg and I predict the unconstitutionality of many items of interest are going to crop up everywhere. The craziness is escalating and it doesn't seem that there is enough outcry to bring it to a halt. We Americans have been kept divided by right vs left and our attentions focused on the struggle between factions that we fail to see the big picture until it's too late.

      @Debby Bruck: Hi Debby! I don't think many people are following this topic and as I told fpherj48, I'm puzzled by it because it addresses a very important basic human right. I'm sure you're correct that people will look for a way around it, but is that really the right thing to do? If we don't stand our ground to maintain our rights, and take them by what is essentially theft, then we will be acknowledging gov't's right to take what is ours. I refuse to allow them to tell me what's right for me or mine, or our descendants when our choices affect no one but ourselves. Thanks for taking time to come on by. It's been a long time. ;)

    • Terri Meredith profile imageAUTHOR

      Terri Meredith 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      @fpherj48: That's pretty funny about "The Big Chill". Yeah, isn't it wonderful how our government expends so much of our financial resources to protect us from ourselves? I've come to look for all the little hidden agendas in just about everything because my trust has been diminished to -100%. This topic doesn't seem to be much of an emotion stirrer and I have to wonder why when it's one of the most basic rights a person could ever expect to enjoy.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      6 years ago

      Hi Teri ~ A really hot topic. I was not following this one. I imagine people will use ingenuity to find a way through the system. Stepping into the court systems takes a lot of energy and resources away from the parties involved to carry on with a quiet and routine lifestyle. Blessings, Debby

    • mecheshier profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, this does not surprise me. In the last three years I have witnessed many unconstitutional things. This one I hadn't heard of. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for useful.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Teri....this is as close to reading sci-fi as I've ever come......our government (FDA) and their bizarre ....irrational, insistence to "protect" us at all costs..(to include the cost of basic human rights) beyond the level of ludicrous...........Were I a personal friend of these ladies from California.....between you and me, Teri.....I would have a little chat with them......"Look, haven't you girls seen "The Big Chill?"......."It's not at all, as bad as you might think!!"..........Somebody help this crazy country!! Excellent hub, Teri.....UP+++


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)