Should Sperm and Egg Donors Remain Anonymous?

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With donor situations becoming more prevalent in the media: through the internet, television (MTV’s Generation Cryo series) and on the big screen (Vince Vaughn’s Delivery Man), it makes one contemplate which person’s rights are more important to protect in dealing with such an intimate set of circumstances. Should the donor’s rights to remain anonymous prevail over his or her potential offspring’s rights to know their biological identity? For example, you have a sperm or egg donor that is explicit that they want their identity to remain anonymous. Their reasons for donating might be financially motivated or morally motivated. Either way, they are contributing their healthy sperm or ovum to individuals or couples that otherwise would not have been able to conceive. These donors remain anonymous for possibly a number of reasons: they don’t want to be financially responsible, don’t want to have a relationship, etc.

Fast forward to years later perhaps the donor’s offspring has an interest in finding that ‘anonymous’ donor. Maybe their reasons are for fulfillment of health history or genetic illnesses, curiosity about looks, or maybe even to form a relationship. Situations have arisen that could tip in favor of the donor offspring obtaining identifying information about the donor. For example, this story: A man and woman meet in college, marry and have 3 children. Both spouses are children of lesbian mothers who each conceived with donor sperm (in different states and through different sperm banks). One spouse has found the identity of their donor, but the other has had no desire. After some hesitation, the one partner is convinced to also find the identity of their donor. Surprise! Both of them are from the same donor and are half siblings! Reasons such as genetic illnesses and incest relationships are extremely important and could warrant an offspring finding their donor. This is becoming more of an issue that needs to be contemplated. However, making such donors known could possibly deter a person from wanting to donate again or ever.

Remember, these suggestions are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult an experienced assisted reproductive technology law attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation

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