Contact with donor siblings a good experience for most families

Contact with donor siblings a good experience for most families

Globe and Mail
HAYLEY MICK

February 26, 2009

“How do you describe a group of people who share little except the DNA of a British chemist who donated his semen 50 years ago? Are they a family?

Barry Stevens hesitates before answering.

“We’re sort of a new kind of family,” the Toronto filmmaker says. “We have a common experience. We’ve been through something together. And we share part of this man. …

Clan is the word I’d like to use.”

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“The findings do not surprise Wendy Kramer, who founded the Sibling Donor Registry in 2000 to facilitate her son’s search for his donor and donor siblings.

“We have been waving our arms and shouting this stuff for years,” said Ms. Kramer, a co-author on the study. “The industry doesn’t put any weight on it because it’s all anecdotal.”

She hopes that the research will inform policy changes in countries such as Canada and parts of the United States, where donors have the right to remain anonymous and fertility clinics are not required to keep or share a donor’s medical records.

Those laws are under review in Canada, and last year Olivia Pratten, the offspring of an anonymous sperm donor, filed a lawsuit against British Columbia’s attorney general and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia claiming that the anonymity law discriminates against donor offspring.”

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