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Children should be told if donor gametes used

24 March 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 251

The ethics committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) says that parents who use fertility treatment with donor sperm or eggs should be 'encouraged' to tell their children how they were created. The ethics committee does not say that telling children should be compulsory, stating instead that parents should have the last word on whether they tell or not.

In a statement issued by the ASRM, the committee said that 'knowing the facts of their donor conception and, if available, characteristics of the donor, may serve children's best interests'. While it recognises that parents may wish to keep their infertility private, the ASRM points out a number of reasons that support the notion that information should be disclosed - including the right or need to know of one's biological roots, the benefits of open and honest communication in families and the value of having as complete a medical history as possible. It also suggests that telling children at a younger age is preferable, to minimise the risk of both accidental disclosure and trauma.

Dr Marian Damewood, president of the ASRM, observed that telling children about the means of their conception was often a 'delicate undertaking', but said it is something patients seeking to use donated gametes should think about. 'Ultimately, however, it is the parents' decision if and when to inform a child of the circumstances regarding his or her conception', she added.

Discuss fertility treatments with kids, experts say
Reuters |  19 March 2004
Ethics committee report: Informing offspring of their conception by gamete donation
Fertility and Sterility |  1 March 2004
27 June 2011 - by Professor Naomi Cahn and Wendy Kramer 
The fertility industry in the US state of Washington will be transformed in late July 2011, when a new law to recognise rights of donor-conceived people comes into effect. Under the changes, anyone who provides gametes to a fertility clinic in the state must also provide identifying information about themselves and their medical history...
7 July 2008 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
BioNews reporting from ESHRE conference, Barcelona:By Dr Kirsty Horsey: Researchers from the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University in the UK say that families created by the use of sperm donation, egg donation and surrogacy are doing well, particularly in terms of their psychological well-being. The data, presented...
28 June 2004 - by BioNews 
BioNews reporting from ESHRE conference, Berlin:Research has revealed that a majority of parents who use embryo donation in order to have children decide not to tell their child about its origins. Fiona MacCallum, from the Family and Child Psychology Centre at City University, London, said that the number of...
23 January 2004 - by Professor Emily Jackson 
The announcement that the government intends to remove anonymity from sperm, egg and embryo donors was framed in terms of rights: the child's right to information about her genetic origins should, it was argued, take priority over the donor's right to privacy. This appeal to rights is unsurprising. The UN...
21 January 2004 - by BioNews 
The UK government has announced that people who donate eggs, sperm or embryos in the UK are to lose their right to anonymity. The change to the existing law - which currently does not allow children conceived using donor sperm to discover the identity of donors, but only to find out...
28 April 2003 - by Dr Ainsley Newson 
Should children conceived through the use of donated gametes have access to information identifying their donors when they reach maturity? The UK Government is expected soon to decide that, from now on, the answer to this question is to be 'yes'. But is this a good idea? Even though there...
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