Not that one should look to Boston Legal for logic…

Just caught this week’s Boston Legal. A mom (played by the lovely Annie Potts) needs the law firm’s house because her sperm-donor-spawned son is dating a similar-looking girl sired from the same sperm bank. So they bring legal muscle down on the sperm bank to try to get them to identify the boy’s father.


  1. Getting this information will not answer the question. They’re not representing the girl or her mother, so finding out who his dad is doesn’t tell them whether they have the same dad.
  2. They don’t need to know who the dad is. That doesn’t matter. The real question is whether they have the same dad, which is information that the sperm bank could give without violating the father’s anonymity.
  3. They might need the girl’s mother’s help to get the sperm bank to answer that… but with the girl’s mother’s help, they probably don’t need the bank at all. I’ve got a friend who went through this process recently. It’s not like she was vended a random vial. She picked based on a bunch of infomration about the donor – looks, medical history, and such. Just comparing notes with the girl’s mother could easily rule out or make it clearly likely that they were the same parent (even if they didn’t have some sort of donor file number which would absolutely confirm it.)

Of course, they needed to bring this suit so that the lawyers could make a speech against anonymity in such donations. That’s what Boston Legal is for, after all. So they went through the dance, and the judge was wise enough to figure out #2, and to demand that the bank answer that question… one which, if asked, could have avoided the episode.

For some reason, I’m seeing Boston Legal through to its impending end. But I can’t say that the education of the nation will be poorer for its absence.

Published in: on October 25, 2008 at 9:12 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Heck, they don’t need to involve the sperm bank at all; just perform a DNA paternity test on the two kids.

  2. As they pointed out on the show, such a test would not be conclusive. (On the other hand, it would point out if their DNA was sufficiently similar that breeding would be problematic.)

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