aOf the 68 million people in the UK, only 29,725 people do not have a legal right to know their ancestry. My child is one of them, obviously wrong, and that’s my fault. 27 years ago I decided to have a baby on my own. I had no partner but two different men who offered to be the donor. I went to a leading fertility doctor, the late Professor Ian Craft, who gave birth to the first twins in a test tube. He noted that research showed that having an anonymous donor was less emotionally complex for a child – research I haven’t been able to find since.
That’s what I did. At the age of around 45, she gave birth to a gorgeous, healthy daughter. At the time, anonymous donors were guaranteed lifelong anonymity. Therefore, with this decision, I gave up my child’s right to know her father. Now I see the moral flaw in the arrangement. How can I give up from someone else Right to know who they are?
Current law recognizes this, but my daughter is a legal anomaly. The 29,725 subjects were born between August 1, 1991 and April 1, 2005 through egg or sperm donation. During this short time, donor parents were forever assured of anonymity. Prior to 1991, no official central records of donors were kept; After 2005, children were given the right to know the identity of the donor once they turned 18 years old.
The Human Fertilization and Embryology Agency (HFEA) is considering recommending that children borne by donation should have a future right to know their parents’ identity from birth. I think this discussion is a good opportunity for the agency to consider whether it should also reconsider the anonymity of previous donors.
My daughter has yet to find out who her father is, and given the current situation, she may never know. This affects their sense of identity and has some potential medical consequences. I always told her the truth about how I gave birth to her, and despite her missing out on having a father, her childhood was a happy one. But all I could tell her was the information the law made available to me: height, build, skin color, and said job.
However, she is allowed to know the number of her half-brothers, in her case at least eight. HFEA offers parents and children 18 years of age or older the opportunity to choose not to be contacted. Very few of them do that. To date, only 223 donors have agreed to be contacted by their children between 1991 and 2005, and only 27 people have received donor identification information from HFEA. Of course, many people may not know that they were born through donation or may not be interested in knowing their birth parents. My child wants to know, but the DNA test didn’t reveal any relatives.
Whenever we had to provide a family history, it was half blank. With the growing understanding of the importance of genetics in disease, this has significant implications. In Victoria, Australia, the anonymity of a donor has been retroactively ended after a campaign by a woman born from a donor who developed cancer at an early age. She wanted to make sure any of her half-siblings were informed of the potential risks to their health. Unfortunately, she died after she succeeded in her battle.
There is precedent for the United States not keeping its promise of life-long anonymity to parents. In the mid-1970s, adults who had been adopted gained the right to receive the original of their birth certificates.
HFEA CEO Peter Thompson says the widespread use of cheap DNA tests means the community needs to “start a conversation” about anonymizing donors. Er sagt, dass die Wahrung der Vertraulichkeit möglicherweise unmöglich ist: “Die ehrliche Wahrheit ist, dass die Leute es einfach herausfinden werden.” ability. The same applies to children who do not know their origin. The Donor Concept Network, the organization that represents families of child donors, believes it is best to disclose this information “when all parties have been informed and informed and parental support and counseling/support services are available when needed.”
My daughter understands that the anonymity of the donor should be de-anonymized retroactively: “The benefits outweigh the disadvantages. I don’t think it is right to prevent someone from knowing who they are.”
Dorothy Byrne is the former Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 and President of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.
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