Refused your birth
certificate by the Adoption Authority? Click
here to learn how to locate it for yourself.
Plan to ban anonymous
donors 'will limit supply'
Irish Times, Mon, Jan 30, 2012
PLANS TO ban the use of anonymous sperm or egg donations in Ireland will
lead to fewer donors and an increase in the cost of assisted human
reproduction, a conference heard at the weekend.
At present, the area of assisted human reproduction is not regulated in
Ireland. An estimated 500 children are born here each year as a result of
donor gametes which are mostly sourced from abroad.
However, the Government is planning to publish legislation which is likely
to end the use of anonymous donor material, as is the case in the UK.
This follows the recommendations of the Commission on Assisted Human
Reproductions, which has urged the Government to ensure that only sperm or
egg donors who are willing to be identified should be used in Ireland.
At a conference to debate the issue at the Royal College of Surgeons at the
weekend, Graham Coull, a laboratory director with the Sims clinic in Dublin,
said banning anonymous donors would lead to higher costs.
“It will limit the supply of donors. Identifiable donors are up to 60 per
cent more expensive than anonymous ones because there are fewer
available,” he said.
“That will push the price of treatment up. Because there is no financial
provision from the State, this could exclude many who can barely afford it
However, Helen Browne, the chair of the National Infertility Support and
Information Group, said it was in the best interests of children to be able
to identify a donor in later life. She said many parents were receiving
donor material from Spain – where anonymity of donors is enshrined in law
– because there was a short waiting time rather than because of its laws
“From speaking to people in our group, we feel there should be a process
like adoption so people know what’s involved and can consider ethical
issues like telling their children and how to deal with challenges in the
While there is no law on the use of donor sperm or eggs in Ireland, few
people outside of families or close friends donate their genetic material,
according to experts.
This may be down to legal uncertainty over the links between donors,
recipient parents and children. Tony O’Connor, a senior counsel who has
advised on several cases in this area, said that while legal contracts may
be drawn up between a donor and a recipient, these provisions did not apply
to a child.
In the absence of any legislation, he warned of potential complications when
it comes to succession rights for donor-conceived children, given that our
existing laws never envisaged these issues. “In adoption law, we have
regulated this area. But there is no provision in legislation outside of
that . . . the State is not owning up to its responsibilities,” he said.
© 2012 The Irish Times
here to return to the news page
|“In all of us there
is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are
and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
Alex Haley, Author of Roots