Anonymity What do other coun­tries do?

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - NEWS REVIEW - PAUL CULLEN

There is no sin­gle uni­ver­sally ac­cepted best prac­tice in­ter­na­tion­ally for of­fer­ing donor-con­ceived chil­dren ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion about their ge­netic ori­gins, ac­cord­ing to Dr Donna Lyons of Trin­ity Col­lege Dublin’s school of law.

Some coun­tries al­low the re­lease of in­for­ma­tion once a child reaches a spe­cific age; oth­ers per­mit re­lease based on the “suf­fi­cient ma­tu­rity” or “best in­ter­ests” of the child.

In Ire­land the Chil­dren and Fam­ily Re­la­tion­ships Act 2015 re­quires clin­ics to col­lect in­for­ma­tion when ac­quir­ing donor sperm or eggs, such as the donor’s name and ad­dress. They have to pro­vide this in­for­ma­tion for use on the pro­posed “na­tional donor-con­ceived per­son reg­is­ter”, which will also con­tain in­for­ma­tion about the child and the in­tend­ing par­ents.

Once the child has reached 18 he or she will be able to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion from the reg­is­ter about the donor and any sib­lings.

Th­ese pro­vi­sions in the Act have not yet come into force; the Depart­ment of Health says this will hap­pen by the end of the year.

Dr Lyons says 10 Euro­pean coun­tries and two Aus­tralian states have banned anony­mous do­na­tions. In Nor­way and Fin­land, donor-con­ceived chil­dren are en­ti­tled to donor in­for­ma­tion at the age of 18. But Aus­tria pro­vides ac­cess at 14, the Nether­lands at 16 and Ger­many, in prin­ci­ple, at “any age”.

In con­trast, Spain, France, South Africa and the Czech Repub­lic en­force anonymity when donors pro­vide eggs and sperm. In South Africa, for ex­am­ple, a child born through ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion may ac­cess med­i­cal and ge­netic in­for­ma­tion, but not iden­ti­fy­ing in­for­ma­tion, about their donor.

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