Inside the Movement Pushing For More Rights For Donor-Conceived Children

Things have changed over the last few decades

What rights do donor conceived kids have as far as their biological parents are concerned?
Ömürden Cengiz/Unsplash

It’s understandable for someone to want to know about their family, both chosen and biological. In some cases, this might involve taking a deep dive into genealogy — there’s a reason people are spitting in test tubes and sending them off to be processed, after all. There’s also a growing movement to allow adoptees the ability to learn more about their biological parents — something that can be informative for some and offer crucial medical knowledge for others.

Now, there’s a similar movement taking off when it comes to donor-conceived children learning the identity of those people who donated, shall we say, reproductive material for their conception. The recent documentary Nuclear Family, by Ry Russo-Young, found the filmmaker revisiting her own childhood — and the complex relationship between her two mothers and one of the men who’d donated sperm to them.

In a new article at The Atlantic, Sarah Zhang offers an overview of the number of people seeking to learn more about their biological parents — and the many reasons that have prompted them to do so. The article takes an international perspective, comparing the differing laws on the subject in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Zhang notes that several factors have given donor-conceived children a better sense of their histories — including parents being more open about the process, DNA tests helping reveal connections between biological siblings and a substantial number of online groups where people can discuss their own experiences with others who might share similar histories.

As with many things pertaining to parenthood and families, there’s no one consistent answer here. And, as Zhang points out, the debates surrounding this issue are far from over — though it it certainly seems to be trending in one direction.

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