29 July 2002
ByAppeared in BioNews 168
Children born of donor assisted conception are one step closer to finding information about their donors, after a High Court ruling gave two donor offspring leave to challenge the government over existing rules. Joanna Rose, 30, and an unnamed six-year old girl were granted the opportunity to mount a judicial review of the current legislation, which provides a small amount of information to offspring about the donors. The claimants want more information to be made available and the establishment of a voluntary register of donors willing to be contacted by offspring.
The ruling comes shortly after the closing date of a Department of Health consultation on what information ought to be provided to children born after donor assisted conception. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which will administer any new law, has said that it favours not just the provision of more information, but of identifying information about the donor. The authority was not persuaded a possible 'double track' system where prospective parents choose between identified or anonymous donors, saying that it would be practically difficult to administer and would create two classes of donor offspring with different rights of access to information. The HFEA also favours the establishment of a voluntary register for existing donors who are willing to be identified.
Lawyers for the claimants in the judicial review stressed that they are not seeking identifying information about the donors without their consent. Lawyer Joanne Sawyer said, 'This is a crucial first step towards allowing donor-conceived adults and children to have information about their genetic makeup and background.'