Teen Sparks Debate For Not Donating His Bone Marrow To Biological Father

Sep 17, 2021 by apost team

Adopted children often have to confront difficult decisions. Do they want to have a relationship with their biological family, do they want to contact them at all, or would they rather forget their past? This is especially true for children who go through the foster care system and come from harmful backgrounds.

When one adoptee, a 17-year-old boy, recently had to navigate these complicated and emotional decisions, he took to Reddit to ask for advice — except this wasn’t any ordinary situation.

According to the 17-year-old’s post, his biological parents asked him to donate bone marrow to his father who has cancer. The teen’s question is: am I wrong for choosing not to donate?

Before you draw any hasty conclusions, the young man’s story is more complicated than it may seem. He explains that up until recently he had never heard from his biological parents and that he has absolutely no personal relationship with them. That’s in part because he was put into the foster care system at age 2 after they deemed that his biological mother and father weren’t fit to be parents.

The original poster explains that other than bringing him into this world, he has no connection with his biological parents, and therefore, he doesn’t feel the need to donate. His biological parents didn’t respond well to their son’s decision, however.

The original poster writes that know they are threatening to sue him in order to force their son to donate his marrow.

The post, which went live on Reddit’s AITA subreddit in September 2021, has since sparked a debate. However, most Redditors have taken the original poster’s side.

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“I am the only child they ever had and odds are I am a match. Pretty much they wanted my parents to get me tested and then donated my marrow to him. My parents told me that its up to me and after some thought, I said no,” the original poster explained.

“I don't know them other than they gave birth to me. They have had no part in my life whatsoever and now they suddenly need me. Well they send my parents a nasty message saying they can sue to force me to donate my marrow. I do feel a little bad but I feel like this isn't my problem,” he continued.

Although not everyone was on this teen’s side, many emphasized the fact that donating bone marrow isn’t always easy as the procedure comes along with risks.

“I donated bone marrow to my sister 5 years ago. It was no small thing, I had complications with the surgery, couldn't walk for 2 weeks, etc. It was really, really painful,” one of the top comments reads.

“I was going to give you sort of a pep-talk about doing it anyway, since you would be potentially saving a life...even if its the life of a complete stranger. That was until I read the line about how they threatened to sue you to force you to donate,” they added, calling the lawsuit “the most tragically hillarious thing I’ve ever read.” In fact, many Redditors said that they might have encouraged the original poster to donate were it not for the threat.


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“Have some empathy, because they are facing death, but... no. No one should ever be able to compel you to give up part of your body. Ever,” one Redditor wrote.

“Someone acting like this is desperate, but it is also way out of line. This pretty much disqualifies them,” speaking of the parents’ decision to sue.

According to Be The Match, a nonprofit organization that runs a large donor registry in the U.S., children under 18 cannot even donate their marrow, as the voluntary procedure requires “legal informed consent.” That means that even if the original poster wanted to donate his marrow, he wouldn’t be allowed to do until turning 18.

But since the Redditor’s post has gone live, it seems that he is even more adamant about his decision. Responding to critics, he edited his post and added information to fire back.

“I don't owe them anything. I don't care if she spent 8 hours in labor with me. They aren't my family. I have a wonderful family who are supporting me right now,” the Redditor explained. “Also my parents are working on finding how the hell they even knew where I was cause my adoption was a closed one. They had their rights terminated when I was taken … I dunno if they are contacting a lawyer or anything. I know they are pretty upset about all of this. I have to get to school. Later.”

In a similar case from 1978, a 39-year-old asbestos worker with aplastic anemia sued his cousin to try to force him to donate his marrow in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In the landmark case, the court ruled that a person “could not be legally compelled to participate in medical treatment to save another person's life.”

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What do you think of this young man’s decision? Should he have donated his bone marrow? Or was his decision justified? Let us know — and be sure to pass this story on to get other opinions.

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