It hasn’t hit the mainstream yet but I can tell you that the donor conception world is changing very fast…and it is the potential for finding genetic relatives through DNA testing that is driving the change. DC Network is being approached for advice by families who have taken tests like 23andMe and then been contacted by a second cousin who could almost certainly name the donor: what now, they ask? Parents of DC adults are realising that their ‘children’ could easily do a test and discover factors that would reveal that one of their parents could not possibly be genetically related to them. Some parents are in very complicated personal situations where revelation of donor conception is likely to have far reaching consequences but they nevertheless believe that planned honesty is better than an accidental bomb exploding. The DC adults who are most vociferously against donor conception have all had DNA tests done. Some have found close genetic relatives and relationships are being established and/or struggled with. The next group – those who are curious but not against the practice – are beginning to take tests. There are already services – some free, some not, to help DC adults do the detective work that is often necessary in addition to DNA testing. Our daughter is taking advantage of one of these.
Those DC people conceived after 2005 in the UK will have the right to have information about their donor from 2023 when the first of this cohort become 18, but in the intervening years there are many DC adults without this right and it cannot be long before it is almost standard practice to do a DNA test. And then there are those who have been conceived abroad. In the vast majority of cases their donor will have been anonymous but for how long, with data bases of DNA growing at such a fast rate.
The cat is out of the bag. Donors are no longer anonymous. Parents MUST tell and be ready to support their children. There is no going back.
A good read for those wanting to understand about the etiquette of approaching donors or half-siblings is Finding Our Families by Wendy Kramer (of DSR fame) and Naomi Cahn.
Update at 29.8.16 Here’s an interesting read in G2 in The Guardian today, although the on-line article is much more in-depth and worthwhile. It’s by someone who is both a neurologist and a journalist, with an interest in identity issues. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/aug/29/sperm-donor-deceivers-dream-turns-nightmare