Since the UK law change in 2005, allowing the children of sperm donors to have access to their biological parent’s identity at the age of 18, there have been ripples from surrounding European countries – some wishing to follow the UK’s example and some not so convinced.
Those of us who grew up knowing our biological parents can take for granted what it’s like to have a clear understanding of where you come from and, in essence, who you are. From an ethical standpoint, it seems unimaginable to forever be in the dark about the identity of the biological link that brought you into the world and, furthermore, to legally be unable to search for him.
France is one of the many European countries in which this ethical debate is currently waging and renowned TV station, France 2, with an estimated audience of 5 million, paid a visit to one of the London Sperm Bank laboratories location currently situated at Harley Street, to have a chat with London Women’s Clinic Medical Director Professor Nick Macklon regarding the issue of donor anonymity.
Among the tanks of liquid nitrogen, Professor Macklon answered such questions as ‘what happened when the law in the UK changed?’ and ‘what has been the positive or negative impact of that law change?’ Another topic of interest was: ‘what will happen in 2023 when the first children, conceived via donor sperm after the 2005 law change, will legally be able to search for their biological father and how will that affect the way we see donation?’
At the London Women’s Clinic and the London Sperm Bank, we are advocates of non-anonymous donors for the sake of the child. Our donor’s identity is entirely concealed to the public, on the London Sperm Bank catalogue and to the recipient of the donor sperm- but we believe it’s important that this anonymity does not extend to any adult donor-conceived children.
Whether the donor child chooses to use the information provided to seek out their donor is another matter altogether, but the very option empowers the donor child to have the same right as we all do – the right to learn who they are through the identity of a biological link.
We were very pleased and excited to receive France 2 at the London Women’s Clinic and the London Sperm Bank. It has been a huge pleasure to have these very important conversations throughout our different communities.