Debate: The Donor-Conceived Perspective

You are invited to attend the Progress Educational Trust’s FREE public debate ‘BEING: THE DONOR-CONCEIVED PERSPECTIVE‘ at University College London on the evening of Thursday 28 February 2013. This event is taking place from 6.30pm-8.30pm, and forms part of the Wellcome Trust supported project ‘WHEN IT TAKES MORE THAN TWO’.

The debate will see speakers including DR TABITHA FREEMAN (of the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Family Research), CHRISTINE GUNTER (Coordinator of the voluntary contact register UK DonorLink, which is now closing following Government funding cuts) and two donor-conceived people (KEVIN MOORE and JESS PEARCE) – chaired by PROFESSOR ERIC BLYTH (Co-chair of the British Association of Social Workers’ Project Group on Assisted Reproduction) – give contrasting perspectives on questions including:

• Are people entitled to know that they are donor-conceived? (Their parents are under no formal obligation to inform them, even now that entitlement to donor anonymity has been removed.) What impact does how and when someone discovers that they are donor-conceived have upon them?

• What are the ramifications for donor-conceived people of the recent High Court ruling – that permitted two sperm donors in a same-sex relationship to apply for contact with their biological children, conceived through a known donation arrangement with two different lesbian couples?

• Is there a point at which it should be the prerogative of donor-conceived people, rather than the prerogative of their parents, to decide who is and is not informed of the fact that they are donor-conceived? If so, then when does this occur and how?

• What is the impact upon donor-conceived people of discovering that they have (in some instances, an enormous number of) genetic half-siblings, in the form of the children of the donor who conceived them and/or other people who were conceived with that donor’s gametes? Should the tracing of half-siblings be encouraged and facilitated?

• What support will be provided to the first generation of donor-conceived people legally entitled to initiate contact with the relevant donors? Who will provide this support, and how will it be funded? In light of the closure of UK Donor Link, what options are available to those who were donor-conceived prior to the 1991 formation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority?
If you should like to attend, please RSVP by email to Sandy Starr: sstarr [at] progress.org.uk

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