A debate organised by the Progress Educational Trust In partnership with the Donor Conception Network and the National Gamete Donation Trust
6.30pm-8pm, Thursday 11 June 2009
Palace of Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
The entitlement to anonymity of UK sperm and egg donors ended in 2005, a development that has been welcomed by those who spent long years campaigning for it, and criticised by those who blame it for a current shortage of donor sperm and eggs. Because this change in law applies only prospectively, it remains difficult if not impossible for previous generations of donor-conceived individuals to locate their genetic parents and other genetic relatives. Initiatives such as UK DonorLink and its overseas equivalents have done much to redress this, but the only thoroughgoing solution at present is for anonymity-era donors to elect to join the non-anonymous donor register. Whether and how to encourage donors to reregister in this way is a difficult question. Some donor-conceived individuals insist that they are entitled to know their genetic provenance, not just for practical reasons of medical history but also to address profound difficulties of psychology and identity. Others counter that revealing the identities of anonymous donors is an unconscionable breach of the terms on which they donated in good faith, and that at the very least, the donor’s consent must be a prerequisite for identifying them. But how does one solicit consent from a group of people whose identity is, by definition, unknown?
DAVID GOLLANCZ Lawyer and donor-conceived individual
DANIELLE HAMM Policy Manager at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
DR JENNIFER SPEIRS Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh Followed by questions from the floor Chair
ALLAN PACEY Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield