Prohibiting sperm donor anonymity in the US and possible effects on recruitment and compensation image

BioNews, April 3, 2017
Andrew Hellman and I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

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Many children conceived using donor sperm or eggs want to know their biological parents. In the US, some clinics make the identity of the sperm donor available to a donor-conceived child at age 18. Most intending parents, though, choose sperm donation programs that do not reveal the identities of the sperm donors – so-called 'anonymous sperm donation' (though some have questioned whether true anonymity is possible in a world of social media and direct-to-consumer genetic testing) (1).

In many parts of the world, laws now require sperm donor identities be made available to donor conceived children when they reach a certain age, typically 18. Since Sweden became the first country to pass such a law in 1985, other jurisdictions have followed suit, including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, and the UK. The Australian state of Victoria has prohibited anonymous donation since 1998 and now allows all donor-conceived people to apply for information about their donors – even those who donated before 1998 and did not consent to being identified (2). As many jurisdictions that allow anonymous donation, including the US, push for similar legislation, studying the matter empirically has become increasingly important.

 

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bioethics biotechnology health law policy i. glenn cohen reproductive rights