Beneath the rhetoric: The role of rights in the practice of non-anonymous gamete donation

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Abstract

The use of rights based arguments to justify claims that donor offspring should have access to information identifying their gamete donor has become increasingly widespread. In this paper, I do not intend to revisit the debate about the validity of such rights. Rather, the purpose is to examine the way that such alleged rights have been implemented by those legislatures that have allowed access to identifying information. I will argue that serious inconsistencies exist between the claim that donor offspring have a right to know the identity of their gamete donor and the way such a right is currently met in practice. I hope to show that in systems where non-anonymous donation is practised, an understanding of the proclaimed right of donor offspring to know their genetic identity is one composed of two different rights - the right to know the circumstances of their conception and the right to information identifying the gamete donor - can provide important insights into this important area of public policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-484
Number of pages12
JournalBioethics
Volume15
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2001

Keywords

  • artificial insemination
  • clinical practice
  • conception
  • donor
  • health care policy
  • human rights
  • patient information
  • progeny

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