Sunday, December 3, 2023

Banning Anonymous Sperm Donation

From the New York Times Magazine:

Recent findings in behavioral science show the role of genetics in shaping certain individual characteristics. Questionnaires from doctors routinely ask for generations of family medical history. And learning about your genetic ancestry can be emotionally powerful — one reason millions of people buy inexpensive at-home DNA tests and sign up for genealogy websites.

Levy Sniff has helped found the U.S. Donor Conceived Council, a group that advocates for more transparency when it comes to donor anonymity. In a sense, it’s a battle that has already been won: For earlier generations of donor-conceived children, secrecy was commonplace, but today the widespread use of DNA technology has ended any guarantee of anonymity for donors. As a result, major sperm banks in the United States are requiring donors to agree to disclose their medical histories up front and reveal their identities when a child turns 18.

Activists like Levy Sniff are pushing for a further step, however, beyond the practices of sperm banks in the private market. They want the government to ban anonymous donation. A year ago, they succeeded in making Colorado the first state to mandate that sperm and egg banks disclose donors’ identities to children who ask for the information once they turn 18. A bill introduced in the New York Senate last month would impose a similar requirement and also give parents of donor-conceived children access to a donor’s identifying information at birth.

Read more here.

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