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PACE recommends the waiving of anonymity for all future human gamete donations

“Anonymity should be waived for all future gamete donations in Council of Europe member States,” PACE said today, after a debate in plenary session in Strasbourg. In adopting a recommendation based on the report by Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC), the Assembly stated that the right to know one's origins must be balanced against the interests of the other parties involved in sperm and oocyte donation: those of the donors, the legal parents, clinics and service-providers, as well as the interests of society and the obligations of the State.

The donor’s identity would not be revealed at the time of the donation to the family, but to the donor-conceived child upon his or her 16th or 18th birthday, who would be informed (ideally by the State) that there was supplementary information available on the circumstances of his/her birth. The donor-conceived person could then decide whether to access this information and whether to initiate contact.

The waiving of anonymity should have no legal consequences for filiation: the donor should be protected from any request to determine parentage or an inheritance or parenting claim, the parliamentarians said. They added that the anonymity of gamete donors should not be lifted retrospectively, except for medical reasons or where the donor has consented to it.

PACE also recommended that member States run a national Donor and Donor Conceived Person Register in order to facilitate the sharing of information and enforce an upper limit on the number of possible donations by the same donor.

The Parliamentary Assembly invited the Committee of Ministers to deliberate on whether these recommendations should ultimately become legally binding.