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The Donor-conceived Child's `Right to Personal Identity': The Public Debate on Donor Anonymity in the United Kingdom

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ilke TurkmendagORCiD


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On 1 April 2005, with the implementation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (Disclosure of Donor Information) Regulations 2004, UK law was changed to allow children born through gamete donation to access identifying details of the donor. Drawing on trends in adoption law, the decision to abolish donor anonymity was strongly influenced by a discourse that asserted the ‘child's right-to-personal identity’. Through examination of the donor anonymity debate in the public realm, and adopting a social constructionist approach, this paper focuses on how donor anonymity has been defined as a social problem that requires a regulative response. The paper focuses on the child’s ‘right-to-personal identity’ claims, and discusses the genetic essentialism behind these claims. By basing its assumptions on an adoption analogy, the UK law ascribes a social meaning to the genetic relatedness between gamete donors and the offspring.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Turkmendag I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Law and Society

Year: 2012

Volume: 39

Issue: 1

Pages: 58-75

Print publication date: 01/03/2012

ISSN (print): 0263-323X

ISSN (electronic): 1467-6478

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2012.00570.x


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