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Hum Reprod. 2001 May;16(5):807-17.

Gamete donation and anonymity: should offspring from donated gametes continue to be denied knowledge of their origins and antecedents?

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Senior Research Fellow, Department of Social Work, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, Scotland, UK.


This paper presents the case for a change from the current practice of anonymity and secrecy in the use of donated gametes in medically assisted conception. It does so by describing history of the practice, various committees of enquiry over the years, their recommendations for consideration of the children created and the need for follow-up of the outcome; presenting the evidence from outcome studies both about child development and family relationships where secrecy is maintained about the child's origin and those where the practice is openly to acknowledge their origins. This is followed by an analysis of the experience and views of these children once they are adults. In discussion of the composite findings recurring themes emerge. From this it is concluded that offspring from donated gametes should not continue to be denied knowledge of their origins and antecedents. In the public debate, four schools of thought are identified. Possible practical scenarios to implement change are discussed. This paper argues that the fundamental issue regarding any of these remains-that priority in decision-making should be the lifelong well-being of the children being created.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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