Sunday, June 15, 2014
Through conversations with others there seems to be misunderstanding and misuse of various terms in donor conception. For this post I am going to discuss differing types of donation.
Anonymous – this is where the offspring will never be able to gain access to identifying information on the donor (and vice-versa). Historically this is the most common form however the use of the following forms is increasing.
Identifiable – this is where the offspring will be able to access identifying information on the donor usually after reaching a specific age (ie 18 years).
Known – this is where the identity of the donor is known to the recipient parents at the time of donation. This is sometimes done through friends, acquaintances or even private arrangements.
Some people have been using anonymous to describe the second situation because they feel that during those 18 years the offspring will not be able to access this information. However, this is incorrect, particularly in places like Australia where regulation specifies that current donors must be identifiable. So while they child may not initially not be allowed access to identifying information they will certainly be allowed to do so at some stage, making the use of the term anonymous problematic. Its use in this way also provides confusion to the wider community. In academic literature in reference to the practice in Australia, we typically refer to the anonymous periods and identifiable or willing to be known periods. So for those Aussie donors who are currently donating, STOP using the term anonymous. No anonymous donations have been allowed in Australian fertility clinics since the introduction of National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines from 2004 that came into effect in 2005.