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Adoption Rights Alliance concerned about identity rights in Children and Family Relationships Bill 

Click here to read the press release

Click here to download the briefing note


Assisted Human Reproduction
People conceived by anonymous egg and sperm donation and those adopted as embryos face the same identity issues as adopted people.
Adoption Rights Alliance asserts that by not sufficiently legislating for the rights of those conceived by Assisted Human Reproduction, the Irish State is allowing history to repeat itself.  This is another area where the risk of unwitting incest is unacceptable, particularly as Ireland is such a small country. 

The Report of the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction discusses some of the issues affecting adopted people denied information on their origins, including references to "identity bewilderment".  The Department of Health and Children, who ignored all Information and Tracing issues in the Adoption Bill 2010, are also the sponsoring body behind this Commission, which seemed well aware of the issues on adoption.  Inexplicably, various church groups who argued against AHR to the Commission, actually argued that the loss of identity made AHR repugnant to their members, whilst simultaneously arguing that such loss was acceptable even preferable in the case of adoptions.  

An Irish Examiner article about egg donations demonstrates the urgent need for greater regulation in the area of assisted human reproduction.  This article makes it clear that there appears to be no obligation for parents to tell their children about their origins.  – “For couples who intend to tell their child how they were conceived, O’Mahony advises to give information ‘in bite-sized pieces over time.’”  

Disturbingly there is no requirement for the egg donation service to ensure that they maintain adequate records for the children (and future adults) who have been conceived through this system.  It also appears that there is no provision for the preservation of records, particularly in the context of the egg donation company closing down in the future.  As if to seal the fate of those conceived via donor conception, “Sims”, the company in question includes a section “For Recipients”, another “For Donors”, yet no section “For those conceived”.  

According to the Sims website “..[t]he process of egg donation at Sims Clinic is anonymous (unless otherwise arranged by mutual consent of both the donor and recipient) and should you choose to find out more about it or proceed with helping a childless couple achieve their dream to become parents your details will not be revealed to the recipient couple.”   

Ireland is trailing behind the UK in this regard, where anonymous donations were banned in 2005.  Rather than decreasing the level of donors, the amount of donations actually increased after the anonymity ban.

Whether or not egg, sperm or embryo donation is anonymous should not be a matter for company policy, rather this issue should be decided and enforced by the State.  History is currently repeating itself and ignorance will be no excuse when donor conceived adults come looking for answers in the coming decades.

“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 loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 



 

 

 

 

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