End of Anonymity for Fertility Donors

 Campaign group PET’s free-to-attend #EndOfAnonymity debate will hear from an international panel of experts on how the availability and popularity of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is removing any certainty that sperm, egg or embryo donors can remain anonymous. What does this mean for donors, donor-conceived children and family members, and what responsibilities, if any, do DTC genetic testing companies have to their consumers? Is more support needed for all parties?

What should fertility clinics, sperm/egg banks and regulators be doing to inform fertility patients, donor-conceived individuals and donors about the rapidly-changing donor landscape? Recently released guidelines on the use of donor sperm, eggs and embryos now recommend donors, recipients and their families should be advised on the availability and implications of genetic ancestry testing and how donor anonymity is no longer guaranteed. Can there be any donor secrets in this new genomic age?

These and other questions will be answered on 19 June 2019 at 18.30 at University of Liverpool (London campus), 33 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1AG. If tweeting about the event, please use the hashtag #EndOfAnonymity

Attendees will hear from:

Debbie Kennett, genetic genealogist and honorary research associate at University College London on the rapid growth of the genetic ancestry testing industry and how easy it is to find genetic relatives online in the big data era.

Andy Waters, who was a sperm donor in the UK before the law was changed to end anonymity, and who has been contacted in the last year by a number of his donor-conceived offspring, who found him after using DNA home-testing kits.

Becky, a donor-conceived individual, who is a member of a donor-conceived group and is increasingly being approached by half-siblings who have found her after using genetic ancestry tests.

Louise Johnson, chief executive of the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), on the effects of the world-first decision, two years ago, to allow donor-conceived people to learn their donor’s identity, regardless of whether or not the donor consented to this at the time of donation.

The event will be chaired by Sarah Norcross, director of Progress Educational Trust and Dr Lucy Frith, reader in bioethics and social science at the University of Liverpool. Register for the event here.

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