A Sperm Donor's Son Explains Why Biology Matters


Barry Stevens writing in the Center for Genetics and Society:

... The millions of people conceived from donated (or sold) gametes argue, like adoptees, that knowledge of who you come from is important. We believe that genetic heritage has meaning and value, and that nobody has the right to withhold significant, personal information about someone from that very person.

This is not the same as wanting a parent, and certainly should have nothing to do with financial support. Neither adoptees nor offspring expect or want that. Nor can we claim any right to a relationship, and indeed the BC adoption law, while insisting on the birth parent’s identity’s being available to the grown child, it also allows for a contact veto. But like adoptees, we do want the right to know.

Why? Of all the arguments, the most obvious is the medical one. With thousands of diseases now known to have genetic origin or influence, family history is an important diagnostic tool. Those who don’t have this information are being treated differently. With us and with adoptees, we have created a sub-class of people who have fewer rights to health than others. And this is more than a theoretical issue for many offspring. Just last week, I heard the story of a young woman offspring of sperm donation in another country who was diagnosed with an aggressive, and heritable form of cancer that might have been curable had she known she was at risk and thus treated earlier. Anonymity and secrecy can kill.

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