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Known Unknowns: The Pros, Cons and Consequences of Known Donation

Progress Educational Trust
Event to be held online, via Zoom Video Webinars
16 September 2020 6.30pm-8pm (BST)

An online event about donor conception, taking place today from 6.30pm-8pm (BST).

The event is produced by the Progress Educational Trust (PET) in partnership with the University of Manchester's Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives, with funding from UK Research and Innovation and from the European Sperm Bank.

Sarah Norcross, Dr Petra Nordqvist, Natasha Fox, Nina Barnsley, Erika Tranfield and Natalie Gamble, speakers at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'Known Unknowns: The Pros, Cons and Consequences of Known Donation', being held online on the evening of Wednesday 16 September 2020 The event will be chaired by Sarah Norcross, with speakers including:

Donor conception was once routinely kept secret in families, while donors were kept a good distance away through anonymity laws, regulation and standard clinical practices.

In 2004, a change to the law brought an end to complete donor anonymity within the UK. Even so, the separation of donors from recipients remains standard practice in licensed UK clinics.

Most clinic donors are now 'identity release'. This means that donor-conceived people are entitled to access identifying information about the relevant donor, but only upon reaching the age of 18.

However, recent social and technological developments appear to undermine policies separating donors from recipients. One much-debated example is the growing availability and use of genetic tests, which means that donors can potentially be identified without their involvement, consent or knowledge.

Another development, which will be the focus of this discussion, is the rapid growth of 'known donor' arrangements. These offer an alternative route to being or finding a donor, and are often facilitated online - sometimes using social media (such as Facebook Groups) and sometimes using more specialised platforms (such as Pride Angel).

At this free-to-attend online event, speakers with contrasting perspectives will explore questions including:

  • What can we learn from recipients and donors who know each other? And from donor-conceived children who know the donor?

  • Why do some recipients and donors choose to use online platforms instead of - or in addition to - approaching clinics?

  • What support - if any - should society offer to recipients and donors who form such arrangements? And to children who are born as a result?

Attendees will not be audible or visible during this online event, but will still be able to put questions and comments to the speakers and chair, via a Q&A tool within Zoom Video Webinars.

If tweeting about this event, please use the hashtag #PETknowndonor