Today’s Washington Post prints an interesting article on regulation and the fertility industry. One issue that it addresses is the rights of donor-conceived offspring to learn the identity of their egg and sperm donors. As I’ve written in numerous articles and books, it is a fundamentally important right for all donor-conceived offspring to learn the identity of their donors (the strength of my advocacy on this issue may not be clear from the Post article).
Other academics disagree with this position, believing it important to protect the identity of gamete donors for a variety of reasons. I disagree, and I think the law has a critical role to play in ensuring respect for the rights of donor-conceived people. Parents can make the legal choice never to find out the identity of their donor. By contrast, donor-conceived offspring have no such legal right in the United States: unless their parents opted into a known donor program, they are unable to learn the identity of their donors. While their parents’ choices affect them as children, donor-conceived children grow up, and many become curious about their origins. Yet the law’s tight focus on the parent-child relationship excludes legal questions relating to donor-conceived adults.