Knowing your sperm donor?

[deleted account] ( 10 moms have responded )

Douglas Quan, Postmedia News · Monday, Oct. 25, 2010

VANCOUVER — Olivia Pratten knows this much about her biological father: he’s Caucasian, has brown hair and blue eyes, and has type A blood. But she’s missing a major clue to his identity — his name.

Lawyer Joseph Arvay argued before a B.C. Supreme Court judge Monday that Pratten, 28, and thousands of others who are offspring of anonymous sperm or egg donors have a “fundamental” right to know the identity of their biological parents.

“She just wants to know who this person is that gave her life,” Arvay said.

Ms. Pratten’s lawsuit against the provincial government — believed to be the first of its kind in Canada — seeks to amend the B.C. Adoption Act to require physicians to keep permanent records of all egg, sperm or embryo donors and to allow offspring to access those records when they turn 19.

If adopted children have the right to know about their birth parents when they turn 19, then offspring of “gamete” donors should have the same right to know about theirs, Mr. Arvay said.

Not having that right relegates Ms. Pratten to “second-class citizen” status and represents the province’s “wholesale abandonment” of equality rights, Arvay said.

Outside court on Monday morning Ms. Pratten, who was born in British Columbia but now works in Ontario as a journalist, said knowing her father is “part of my identity.”

“It’s part of my health history,” she said. “Half my biological origins are unknown and a mystery to me and are being withheld.”

The trial got off to a rocky start Monday when Pratten’s lawyer complained that he received written arguments from the opposing side 10 minutes before the trial began.

Arvay called the actions “reprehensible.”

A B.C Supreme Court judge stopped the proceedings until Monday afternoon to let him review the document.

The trial is expected to last a week.

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What do you guys think? Should the donors have the right to remain anonymous? Do you think children of donors should be allowed to know who their biological parents are?

I think that the children should be able to know once they reach majority. To me, it is very important to know your family history and health background. Over the course of 20 years the donors might have found out more information about their health, they might have developed a condition that puts their offspring at risk, etc. I think knowledge is the key here.

Thoughts? Comments?

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JuLeah - posted on 10/27/2010




Actually, I think all that 'knowing where you come from' is over rated. We all 'think' we know where we come from but many of us would be shocked to learn where we actually come from.

JuLeah - posted on 10/27/2010




If you want your kid to know, use a donor that you know. If the guy wanted the kid to know, he would not have gone through a bank to protect his information.
I can see how a kid might wish to know, but that doesn't mean they have a 'right' to know.
I myself would never use a sperm bank. I wanted to know the donor. There are, humm, I think 4 kids in an area where I used to live that look so very much alike. All their folks used the same donor, and, good thing here, they figured it out before their kids grew up and started dating. Nah, known donor, I think, is the way to go.

Becky - posted on 10/27/2010




My husband and I saw this on the news last night and were arguing about it. I think a child has a right to know where they come from, at minimum, to have the complete medical history. In Alberta, they've opened up adoption records, so that when the child is 18, they can legally access their adoption records and find their birth parents, and 6 months after that, the birth parents can do the same. For adoptions that were granted before this law came into effect, there is the option to block your file so it cannot be accessed. Even before this law was passed though, non-identifying and medical information was made available. In fact, it's given to the adoptive parents at the time the child is placed. I think the same should be true of sperm donation. Maybe make it so that the donor can sign a consent to be contacted (one that can be signed or revoked at any time) but has to at minimum provide a complete non-identifying medical and social history.

[deleted account]

I most defiantly think health history is vital to the children born from sperm donation..they should get that information..i think its vital for anyone to know there health history.So important.

[deleted account]

I think its hard because yes the donor didnt sign up to have there name out there and to allow these children to know them..fine.

The parent know this and are fine with it, but i feel for the children created in this way..what about there rights?.

[deleted account]

I think the only thing that children of donated sperm should have access to is health history of said sperm donor. Sperm donors didn't donate sperm for the purpose of starting a family or wanting a relationship, that's why they donated anonymously.

Louise - posted on 10/27/2010




I seem to feel differently here. Sperm in the UK is normally donated by students to raise some cash. I really don't think that if they thought that in 20 years time they would have many children knocking on the door they would do it. I think people who do this should have the right to stay anonymous if they wish. There should be an opt out option on the forms. We all do things in our early twenties that seem like a good idea at the time. Can you imagine the wife's face when information comes out that your husband has fathered many children. This is not good, the father was not involved with the mother romantically or emotionally so why would a child try and find them. There should be a full history in the information pack for the mother to read when selecting sperm. I think if this comes law fertility clinics are going to have a shortage of sperm.

[deleted account]

I think the kids of sperm donors have a right to know. It should be where at a certain age, the kids have access to a name and maybe other info about the donor. If donors don't want to be tracked down 20 years later then they shouldn't donate. It always creeps me out to think how many people may be growing up to marry brothers and sisters, cousins, etc. because no one knows they came from the same donor or are related. Ewwww...

Johnny - posted on 10/26/2010




It's a difficult issue. But I think it comes down to the rights of the child. The adults were active participants and made choices. The child should not be relegated to a 2nd class status of rights simply because of their parent's decisions. I'm not sure about grandfathering it, but I do think the law should be changed so that sperm donors records can be accessed and sperm donors will be aware of this going forward. I suspect the rates of donation will plummet, but I believe the rights of the child supersede anything else.

Dana - posted on 10/26/2010




Ooh, what a tricky issue. I tend to think they do have a right to know their health history and where they come from. It's not their fault their mother agreed to such terms. I don't know about giving everyone names right now but, they could change the laws so it's not anonymous for future children. If sperm donors don't like that option, they don't have to donate.

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