1st Edition

Donor Conception and the Search for Information From Secrecy and Anonymity to Openness

By Sonia Allan Copyright 2017
    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    274 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book examines donor conception and the search for information by donor-conceived people. It details differing regulatory approaches across the globe, including those that provide for ‘open-identity’ or anonymous donation, or that take a ‘dual-track’ approach. In doing so, it identifies models regarding the recording and release of information about donors that may assist in the further development of the law, policy and associated practices. Arguments for and against donor anonymity are considered, and specifically critiqued. The study highlights contrasting reasoning and emphasis upon various interests and factors that may underpin secrecy, anonymity or openness. The book will be of value to academics, students and legal practitioners involved with this area. It is also relevant to policy makers, health practitioners and anyone with an interest in the subject.



    Chapter 1: A brief history of donor conception, secrecy and anonymity.

    Chapter 2: The call for information: donor conceived people, recipients and donors.

    Chapter 3: The search.


    Chapter 4: Jurisdictions that have laws granting access to identifying information.

    Chapter 5: Jurisdictions that enable both ‘open-identity’ and anonymous donation.

    Chapter 6: Jurisdictions that have laws enshrining anonymity.


    Chapter 7: Examining arguments underpinning donor anonymity.

    Chapter 8: Placing the issues in a Human Rights Framework.

    Chapter 9: Information for All? Opening records from the past. 


    Chapter 10: CONCLUSION



    Sonia Allan is Associate Professor of health law at Macquarie University, and Head of Department of Health Systems and Populations. She has been a legal academic for over a decade, and has worked in both legal and health contexts. Sonia has published nationally and internationally. She was a Melbourne University Research Scholarship recipient for the duration of her PhD; a 2011 Churchill Fellow for her contribution to Australian society through her international and comparative research into donor conception; a 2011 ‘Global Health Law Fellow’ at Georgetown University Law Center, Washington DC; and received an AMP Tomorrow Fund Grant in 2014. Sonia has, throughout her career, also been active in community outreach and influential in law reform. She has participated in numerous Australian state and federal inquiries on assisted reproduction, as well as inquiries abroad. She has been cited extensively in resulting reports; instrumental in changing laws related to access to information by donor conceived people; and continues to be called upon to consult or comment on issues related to the development of the law.

    Drawing on detailed legal evidence, highly readable personal case studies and a range of research, Sonia Allan has produced a compelling account of the need for donor conception to shed its stigma and secrecy by opening up its records to the thousands of donor offspring already born and yet to be born. Dr Marilyn Crawshaw, Honorary Fellow (formerly Senior Lecturer), University of York, UK

    Sonia Allan has written an important book that sensitively – and globally - approaches the secrecy surrounding donor conception.  Based on a thorough discussion of the social, legal, ethical, and moral issues around donor anonymity, Donor Conception persuasively argues for the need to to give donor-conceived children the right to access information about their biological origins. Professor Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Greene Chair, GWU Law School