What’s the right age to know (about) your donor? Exploring age, agency, best interests and children’s decision-making capacity in relation to DNA testing and donor conception

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationResearch


The ConnecteDNA research project explores the impact of direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTCGT) on donor conception. One of the implications of the increased popularity of DTCGT is that parents through donor conception can register their child(ren) on DTCGT databases and thus search for the donor, donor siblings or other donor relatives during their child’s childhood. This raises questions about the viability of current regulatory systems of information sharing in third party reproduction, which are often premised on ensuring that donors of reproductive material remain anonymous to the people and families they help to create, either permanently or until the child(ren) conceived of their donation reach adulthood.
Developing the concept of ‘sharenting,’ conventionally used to describe parental sharing of images and videos of their children in online media, we draw on semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with donors, parents and donor-conceived people to explore parents’ ‘privacy stewardship’ of their children’s online presence in the context of donor-conception. Our findings suggest that parents’ use of DTCGT to build genetic kinship relations for their donor-conceived children requires a re-evaluation of children’s rights and best interests in this specific digital environment, and raises legal questions concerning their age-related agency and decision-making capacity (not) to search for information relating to their donor and/or donor-conceived relatives by sharing DNA data online.
Period4 Apr 2023
Event titleSocio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference 2023
Event typeConference
LocationDerry/Londonderry, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational