The Case for Reframing Known Donation

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Contemporary UK egg and sperm donation exists in two predominant forms: clinic-based, identity-release donation, and known donation, which can take place either inside or outside of the clinic context. Regulatory and clinical discussions of the latter currently focus, almost exclusively, on risk whereas identity-release is widely presented as the default route for both donors and recipients. Consequently, there is little support available for those potential donors and recipient parents who might prefer a known donor arrangement.
In this commentary, we reflect on our sociological research with donors and parents through donor conception and argue that there are a number of reasons why known donation may, in some contexts, offer advantages over identity-release donation. Whilst this research also demonstrates that there can be challenges involved in known donation, these are not inevitable nor are challenges absent from identity-release routes.
It is timely and important to question whether the current de-valuing of known donation compared with identity-release donation holds up to academic scrutiny. We argue for a more balanced approach in which the benefits and challenges of both known and identity-release routes are discussed with donors and recipients and for increased support for known donation in clinics and by regulatory bodies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Fertility
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2023


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