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

Progress Educational Trust
Venue: Amnesty International, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA
16 September 2020 6.30pm-8pm


Note: This event was originally due to take place on an earlier date, but was rescheduled in light of the situation concerning coronavirus (COVID-19). If you registered for the event when it was originally due to take place, please register again in order to reserve a place on the new date of Wednesday 16 September. The event will take place on the new date only if official advice and precautions concerning coronavirus have changed substantially by that time.


A free-to-attend public event in London on the evening of Wednesday 16 September. To reserve places, register here.

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.

The discussion 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 in 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.

Nina Barnsley, Director of the Donor Conception Network and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'Known Unknowns: The Pros, Cons and Consequences of Known Donation', taking place at Amnesty International in London on the evening of Wednesday 16 September 2020Hamish Reid, donor-conceived person and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'Known Unknowns: The Pros, Cons and Consequences of Known Donation', taking place at Amnesty International in London on the evening of Wednesday 16 September 2020 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 public event, speakers with contrasting perspectives will explore questions including:

  • Natalie Gamble, Solicitor at NGA Law and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'Known Unknowns: The Pros, Cons and Consequences of Known Donation', taking place at Amnesty International in London on the evening of Wednesday 16 September 2020Erika Tranfield, Founder and Director of Pride Angel and speaker at the Progress Educational Trust's FREE-to-attend public event 'Known Unknowns: The Pros, Cons and Consequences of Known Donation', taking place at Amnesty International in London on the evening of Wednesday 16 September 2020 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?

In the PET tradition, much of the event's running time will be devoted to letting the audience put questions and comments to the speakers.