Courtney Joslin writes:
An increasing number of children are being born as the result of assisted reproductive technology (ART). The CDC has reported that in 2008,ART cycles resulted in 46,326 live births. These numbers do not include births as the result of alternative or artificial insemination, which likely results in a much larger number of births each year. In a significant percent of these cases, one or both of the gametes – that is the sperm and/or eggs — were provided by someone other than an intended parent. Today, in the U.S. there are no laws addressing whether the providers of gametes must disclose their identity.
Yesterday, the British Columbia Supreme Court Judge held that British Columbia will no longer allow anonymous donation of gametes. Pratten v. British Columbia (Attorney-General), 2011 BCSC 656. In 1996, the law in British Columbia was amended to provide adopted children the right to gain information about their genetic parents. This law did not, however, extend this right to children born through ART. In its ruling, the court held that the exclusion of children born through ART constituted impermissible discrimination based on the children’s method of conception. The court explained that the evidence demonstrated that both sets of children – adopted children and, in the words of the court, donor offspring – “are closely comparable” “with regard to the need to know and have connection with one’s roots.” Pratten v. British Columbia, at 77. The court further concluded that the government had failed to offer a sufficient explanation for this differential treatment.
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