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Donor Anonymity in question?

Dr Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

08 January 2002

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[BioNews, London] The Public Health Minister, Yvette Cooper, has published a consultation paper on the issue of what information should be able to be provided to people born as a result of gamete or embryo donation. Figures from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority show that since 1991 nearly 18,000 babies have been born as a result of donated gametes and embryos.

The consultation paper considers whether people born following assisted conception treatments ought to have a right to receive information about the donor, who would be their genetic 'parent', and if so, what information should be provided. The possibility that donors could be identifiable is also considered.

Currently, people born following the use of donated eggs, sperm or embryos have limited access to information about the donor. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 allows them to ask, at the age of 18, whether they were born from donation, or, from the age of 16, if they are genetically related to someone they propose to marry. The first requests for information of this sort could come in 2006, 16 years after the act came into force. Other information may be given to the woman or couple by the clinic performing the treatment. This might include personal and physical characteristics of the donor and medical histories, but cannot currently be identifying.

The questions considered by the consultation paper ask whether regulations should specify what further information should be made available. The paper also asks whether non-identifying information on existing donors should be provided on request and, for future donors, whether more comprehensive non-identifying information should be collected and made available, or whether identifying information should be provided.

The consultation is open until 1 July 2002.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 08 January 2002   Date Updated: 11 September 2004
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