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Donor Anonymity: An Abuse of Human Rights

By B. Cordray, H. Kato, J. Miyajima, M. Saimura, H. Watanabe and Eric Blyth


Donor conception has been practiced as a medical procedure to bypass first, male, and subsequently female, fertility difficulties since the nineteenth century. From the very beginning, physicians both practiced and advocated discretion. In effect, this meant first that the donor and the recipient should remain anonymous to each other (and that the donor and any child conceived as a result of the donor procedure should remain anonymous to each other) and second that recipients of donor conception should keep this fact secret, including from their children. Globally, both secrecy and anonymity continue to characterize donor conception, although in a small number of jurisdictions, the principle of anonymity has been outlawed and mechanisms have been established to enable donor-conceived people to learn the identify of their donor (assuming that they are aware of their status as a donorconceived person). Underpinning such changes and demands for similar changes in other jurisdictions - have been claims on international and domestic human rights codes and legislation - most consistently to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (in particular to Article 3 - the best interests of the child - and to Article 7 - the right to know one's parents). This paper will explore these issues arguing that denying donor-conceived people the right to have full information about their genetic history is an abuse of their human rights and outlining the human rights case for the abolition of donor anonymit

Topics: H1, HQ
Year: 2008
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