Journal Article

The Removal Of Donor Anonymity in The UK: The Silencing Of Claims By Would-Be Parents

Ilke Turkmendag, Robert Dingwall and Thérèse Murphy

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 22, issue 3, pages 283-310
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI:
The Removal Of Donor Anonymity in The UK: The Silencing Of Claims By Would-Be Parents

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  • Marriage and the Family


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From 1 April 2005, UK law was changed to allow children born through gamete donation to access identifying details of the donor. The decision to abolish donor anonymity was strongly influenced by a discourse that asserted the ‘child's right-to-know’ their genetic origins. The main consequence of this reform has been an acute shortage of donors. However, little has been heard from those most directly affected, would-be parents. It is not clear to what extent they have chosen to remain silent or have been silenced by exclusion from the public realm of debate. This article reports the findings of a qualitative study of an online support group for people undergoing donor conception. These suggest that would-be parents feel intimidated from publicly voicing their concerns about the impact of the donor shortage. However, their understandings of welfare and kinship are very different from those of the policy elites responsible for this legal reform. Their reluctance to mobilize around these partly reflects the variety of ways in which they can avoid the impact of this legislation. The new disclosure policy has increased subterfuge rather than openness.

Journal Article.  12178 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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