The Donor-Conceived People's Bill of Rights

By admin on January 27, 2021

Adoptees have a Bill of Rights, so we thought donor-conceived people should too.

We borrowed and updated/edited the framework from the adoption community, as adoptees and donor-conceived people (DCP) share many of the same issues and struggles.

Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake and to be treated ethically. It is of significance in morality, ethics, law, and politics as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.

Rights are often considered fundamental to any civilization, for they are regarded as established pillars of society and culture, and the history of social conflicts can be found in the history of each right and its development. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, "rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived".

These particular "rights" are about being heard, acknowledged, and respected when it comes to an infertility industry that still hasn't included DCP in its policy discussions. Since the beginnings of donor conception, policies have been set to include the rights of the facilities to sell the gametes, the rights of parents to buy those gametes to build their family, and the rights of donors to sell their gametes and to remain anonymous.  But this isn't an equitable situation as the rights of the donor-conceived people are never considered. We believe they should not only have a seat at the policy table but should also be listened to first and foremost.

Mandating 18 years of anonymity only serves the best interests of the sperm banks and fertility clinics. They've continually tried to scare parents and donors into believing that this mandate is in their best interests by telling them nonsense about custody battles and non-existent donor rights and responsibilities. 18 years of forced anonymity is definitely not in the best interests of donor-conceived people. When we connect parents and donors right from pregnancy/birth and early childhood, it's a win-win-win-win for the clinic, the parents, the donors, and the children.

This is a working document that has had encouragement and contributions by DCP, donors, and parents. Suggestions/input from DCP is welcomed and encouraged.

"People actually created via reproductive technology almost never have any say in the legislation that overwhelmingly affects us most of all. Our entire lives are lived in this shadow. This is why our motto is "Never about us without us." WE need to be the ones declaring our rights, and all parents, be they recipients or donors, should support our efforts. I'd add that we have the right to our true and full identity. This might be considered progressive, but I'd also add that we have a right to a relationship with all biological and legal parents from day one.  I understand many people might resist such a proposal, including some DCP, but this feeling may well be conditioned by experience or fear. If people grew up knowing their immediate biological family from the very beginning, it would be totally natural and no one would question, just like no one questions knowing their sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents." Albert, a DCP

"I am a donor who, through the DSR, started meeting my bio offspring when they were as young as 3 years old and, in every case, it has been a mutually rewarding and wonderful experience for all involved." — Mike, a Former Donor

"We will relish the hard work ahead. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. If not for us, for the donor-conceived people of the future and their kin and families. With hard work and collective action, we will make progress".
Tyler, a DCP

Allison, a parent asks," Is there concern that the number of persons interested in making sperm or egg donation could drastically decrease if they must be known?" The answer is probably yes. If all donors were properly educated and counseled about the end of anonymity and the lack of record-keeping that could create 100 kids or more, the number of donors just might decrease. That might be the cost of running a more ethical and responsible donor conception industry.

 The Donor-Conceived People's Bill of Rights

  1. We have the right to dignity [the right to be treated ethically] and respect.

  2. We have the right to know that we are donor-conceived and we have a fundamental right to our full identities, which includes knowing our immediate biological families from day one.

  3. We have the right to an accurate birth certificate reflecting this information. Our birth certificate should list all legal and biological parents.

  4. We have the right to possess all of our donor-conception records.

  5. We have the right to full knowledge of our ancestry, origins, ethnic and religious background, our biological parent’s names, and any pertinent medical, legal, and social details.

  6. We have the right to updated medical and legal histories of our biological parents.

  7. We have the right to not have an indecent number of half-siblings (more than 20, 50, 100, or 200), to know how many half-siblings we have, and to know who they are.

  8. We have the right to be curious about, to search for, and to grow up knowing our biological parents and half-siblings, like all other citizens. These relationships with our biological kin should be treated with dignity and respect.

  9. We have the right to live without guilt toward any set of parents.

  10. We have the right to treat and love all of our parents as one family.

  11. We have the right and obligation to show our feelings about being donor-conceived.

  12. We have the right to become whole and complete people. For many of us, we can't fully understand who we are until we know who and where we come from.

  13. We have a right and obligation to ensure the dignity of all donor-conceived people and to carry our message to all of them and their families and to address this need in the public eye and specifically with the reproductive medicine industry.