Professor Susan Golombok, Director of the Centre for Family Research, was a member of a Working Party appointed in February 2012 by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics to investigate the ethical considerations surrounding the information sharing issues arising as a consequence of donor conception. The Council published its report, , this week.
Around 1,500 children are born annually in the UK as a result of donor-assisted conception treatment. The issues of information sharing affect not only these children, but also their families and donors, so they have a broad impact.
The report makes a number of recommendations on policies affecting prospective parents, parents of donor-conceived people, donor-conceived children and adults, and donors.
Anonymity rules have changed over time, and whilst children born after April 2005 following donor conception have a right to find out the identity of their biological parents, those born before this time do not have that automatic right. Whilst the report does not recommend changing anonymity rules retrospectively, it does call for a public information campaign to inform donors who donated anonymously to consider making themselves identifiable. It also recommends increasing the support available to people who have to make decisions about information sharing in the context of donor conception.