Experts recommend lifting mandatory anonymity of sperm donors

Let donors and parents decide for themselves whether a sperm donor's identity should be kept secret. That is the advice of the Belgian Advisory Committee on Bioethics, writes De Morgen on Thursday.

Sperm donation in Belgium is usually done anonymously. The fertility centre and the sperm bank do have the identity details of donors but are not allowed to disclose them to prospective parents and children. The Advisory Committee on Bioethics has now recommended lifting this compulsory anonymity and replacing it with a 'multiple track policy'.

Donors could opt to remain anonymous, or allow their identity to be disclosed to the donor child at some point. Desiring parents could opt for sperm from an anonymous or identifiable donor. The Committee calls for the creation of central databases in which identity details and choices are preserved, and guidance to parents and donors on their choice. 

The experts note that with the increasing number of companies offering DNA and parentage analysis, anonymity is no longer guaranteed anyway. However, the Committee does not believe that children have the right to know their genetic origins.

Cryos, the biggest sperm bank worldwide, in Aarhus. © Henning Bagger / AFP

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