Regulating Gamete Donation in the U.S.: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications

Sabatello, Maya

This article explores the practice of gamete donation in the U.S. having in mind the larger question of what do we as a society owe children born as a result (donor-conceived children). Do recipient-parents have a duty to tell their donor-conceived child about his/her genetic origins? Should the identity of the donor be disclosed or remain anonymous? Does the child have a right to know her conception story and to receive information, including identifying information, about the donor? Furthermore, if a donor-conceived child has a right to know, who has the duty to tell her/him about it? The Article underscores the ethical, legal and social dilemmas that arise, comparing and contrasting with international developments in this arena. It highlights the market-based and more specific medical justifications for regulating this field, explores the emerging so-called right of the child to know his/her genetic origins (“the right to know”), and considers the challenges such a right evokes to existing legal culture and principles of medical ethics in the U.S. as well as other broader societal implications of such a right.

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April 4, 2017