I don’t like her arguments but the woman who is objecting to her husband donating sperm without her consent has a point (Sunday Times yesterday and Mail on Line today http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2193780/Sperm-donation-Wife-man-secretly-donated-sperm-calls-spouses-consent-mandatory.html
It is ridiculous that sperm should be seen as a ‘marital asset’ and that the condition Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder should be de-valued by being used to describe the wife’s state on finding out her husband had become a donor. However, in an era of open identity of donors to offspring at age 18, it must be right that spouses and partners of donors – both sperm and eggs – should positively agree to the act of donation, demonstrating that they understand the long term implications of the gift and support their partner if/when a young person does make contact. It is also important that children conceived into a donors’ own family grow up knowing, from a fairly young age, the contribution that their father or mother has made to bringing another family into being. This can only happen in a way that is comfortable for the whole family if partners are in agreement from the beginning.
Just ‘offering’ counselling to donors is not good enough. All egg, sperm and embryo donors should have a minimum of two sessions with a counsellor, with the partner being present on at least one of these occasions, thus facilitating proper informed consent. Donors and their partners meeting with others to talk about the implications of their intended gift would be an additional way to ensure that all the issues had been covered and the needs of both families and all the children concerned were understood.
Making counselling for donors and their partners mandatory is one of the changes I would like to see come about as part of the new HFEA Donation Strategy Group, plus giving the children in the family of a donor the right to have their name on the HFEA register so that they could have contact with half-siblings at age 18 if they chose to do so. All part of shifting the emphasis from ‘treatment’ to a much needed family building perspective.