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Let's say Tom was a sperm donor in college. Now he is getting married. Can anyone besides Tom (e.g. Tom's wife) has access to Tom's sperm donation history? Can offspring/family of offspring have access to Tom's personal information?

Jurisdiction: California, USA

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Most sperm donation activities are done anonymously in the USA. Although some clinics in the USA, do have an open identification or identity release program they are under no legal obligation to do so. Many clinics do not have such a program. Anonymous donations are still the norm in the USA.

The underlying issue regarding these types of sperm donation is one of bio-ethics. Some against the position of anonymous donations argue that sperm donation to be anonymous prevents the subsequent children from having full knowledge of their medical history. These positions are often referred to as the 'right to know your genetic origin.'

The biggest issue that I can see in the banning of anonymous donors is that it will greatly reduce the amount of men willing to donate. Those willing to donate will also have to receive more money for there... 'efforts'.

There is also the issue of who or what is going to govern this database of sperm donors. What assurances to data safety are the donors going to have and who is going to be held accountable if there is a data breach?

In the countries that do give a child the right to know the sperm donor (Like the UK for instance), the right is not reciprocal, so far as the child has the right to know certain things about the donor, but the donor does not have any rights to instantiate contact with the child.

This would ostensibly also include any spouse or later children of the donor.

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Since 2010, anonymous donation is not permitted

This is a matter of state and territory law but all states and territories have harmonious legislation, if not completely consistent, legislation about Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Each jurisdiction maintains a register with the following information:

  • full name, sex and date of birth of every child born as a result of ART treatment by the ART provider
  • name of the woman who gave birth to the child
  • full name, residential address, date and place of birth of the gamete donor
  • ethnicity and physical characteristics = any medical history or genetic test results of the donor or the donor’s family that are relevant to the future health of:
  • a person undergoing ART treatment involving the use of the donated sperm, eggs or embryo, or
  • any offspring born as a result of that treatment, or any descendent of any such offspring,
  • sex and year of birth of other offspring arising from the donation
  • name of each ART provider who has previously obtained donated sperm, eggs or embryo from the donor and the date on which the sperm, eggs or embryos were obtained.

Jurisdictions limit the total number of children that a given donor can produce to either 5 or 10.

Prospective parents using ART and children born of ART are entitled to the deidentified information on the register. Once the children become adults (slightly different ages apply and some jurisdictions require counselling first), they are entitled to the full information on the donor and are allowed to initiate contact. The donor is legally obliged to keep their contact details up to date. Donors are entitled to know the year of birth and sex of each child.

For donations prior to 2010, donors can provide any or all of the above information but are not required to.

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  • How do they get anyone to accept those terms? I'm surprised they don't require dental records as well so that the heritage of your gums can be deduced.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Jan 29 at 11:40

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