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    Anonymity of sperm donors called into question

    © Belga
    Donor anonymity is now at risk in Belgium, with the first case of a man identifying his sperm-donor father.
    © Belga

    For the first time ever, a child of a sperm donor to a commercial DNA sperm bank has succeeded in tracing his biological father. De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws are reporting on Friday that current legislation, which guarantees donor anonymity, appears to have been called into question.

    The young man, now aged around 30, started his research two years ago. At that point he contacted the organisation Donor Detectives and carried out a saliva test with a DNA commercial sperm bank. A genealogical site then found a relationship between him and his father. He was lastly able to obtain the identity of his presumed father but he has not yet contacted him.

    Similar research threatens the current guarantee of anonymity within fertility clinics. The expert, Petra De Sutter, considers “Genetic anonymity is becoming an illusion.”

    The philosopher, Ignaas Devisch (Ghent University), is currently seeing tensions emerge around the anonymity of donors. “The era in which children do not know who their biological parents are is now past. However, new technical possibilities now risk seeing the commitment to anonymity abandoned for donors. We should also show our understanding in respect of such possibilities.”

    Ms De Sutter adds, “This is why it is a pity that the majority are bringing this debate to a standstill.” The parties that are currently in government are all agreed on the need for a new law, but their points of view on its content diverge.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times