Should the rights of the donor-conceived-offspring be the ruling bioethical principle of the disclosure of information regarding gamete donation in the UK?

Hewitt, Alice (2015) Should the rights of the donor-conceived-offspring be the ruling bioethical principle of the disclosure of information regarding gamete donation in the UK? Masters thesis, St Mary's University.

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Abstract

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Disclosure of Donor Information) Regulations 2004 removed the right of gamete donors to anonymity and gave donor-conceived-offspring a legal right to identify, and possibly contact, their donors on reaching the age of 18. The legislation was introduced because it was believed that donor-conceived-offspring have a right to information about themselves, including their genetic identity, and that denying them this information is harmful. During the consultation period prior to this legislation being introduced considerable emphasis was placed on the interests, needs and rights of the donor-conceived-offspring to access their genetic identity, and potentially contact their donors and donor-siblings. Whilst this is understandable, far less attention has been paid to the interests, needs and rights of the donors, recipient parents and their respective families. The potential impact of open-identity legislation on these other parties is huge, extending from the impact on donation numbers through to the psychological effect of discovering previously unknown family members. Despite this, they have been largely overlooked and their interests and rights subordinated to those of the donor-conceived-offspring with seemingly little discussion. The donor-conceived-offspring, donors, recipient parents and their wider families exist as ‘spider-web’ families, held together by complex genetic, legal and social links. Exercising the interests and rights of each member of the spider-web family has an effect on the other members of the family; the interests and rights of each must be balanced against each other to determine whose interests and rights take precedence. By exploring the bioethical and legal rights of the donor, donor-conceived-offspring and their respective families following the introduction of the Disclosure of Donor Information Regulations 2004, this dissertation examines whether the rights of the donor-conceived-offspring should be the ruling bioethical principle regarding the disclosure of donor information in the UK.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: gamete donation; IVF: human rights; HEFA
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 170 Ethics
School/Department: School of Education, Theology and Leadership
Depositing User: Trevor Stammers
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2015 09:50
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2016 11:39
URI: http://research.stmarys.ac.uk/id/eprint/925

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