Thoughts from a donor conceived adult following a landmark ruling in Canada

On 19th May this year the British Columbia Supreme Court struck down provincial legislation that ensured the anonymity of sperm donors. The court also prohibited the future destruction of any records and ordered the province to draw up new legislation in line with the Charter of Rights. Lawyers for Olivia Pratten, a donor conceived adult, had argued that the existing rules discriminated against the children of sperm donors, and the court ruled in her favour on Thursday by striking down a section of the B.C. Adoption Act.

Barry Stevens was conceived in the UK nearly 60 years ago but has lived in Canada since his parents emigrated there when he was 12.  In the article linked here he reflects on the importance of offspring having access to significant, and preferably identifying,  information about their donor.

We have known Barry and his sister Janice for several years now.  They did not know if they had been conceived using the same donor; initial DNA tests seemed to show they had but more sophisticated ones later showed that they were in fact half-siblings genetically, although socially full brother and sister as they were raised together.  Experience at UK Donor Link ( has shown that DNA testing is not as straightforward as the media would have us think.   Both Zannah and I have given DNA samples to UKDL so that my DNA can be eliminated when looking for a match with half-siblings or much more unlikely, her donor.  She would love to know someone who shares her looks and interests but is not concerned about this on a daily basis…moving into a flat with a friend, doing an intensive course in Macbook Pro, beginning field work for her dissertation next year and speed-dating seem to be current preoccupations….


About oliviasview

Co-founder and now Practice Consultant at Donor Conception Network. Mother to two donor conceived adults and a son conceived without help in my first marriage.
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