February 22, 2024

Donor anonymity becomes a battleground in the US

Donor-conceived Americans who want the federal government to abolish donor anonymity are getting pushback from the LGBTQI+ lobby.

On the one hand, the U.S. Donor Conceived Council, a lobby group, wants to shake up and regulate gamete donation. On the other hand, LGBTQ families want to stop the passage of more disclosure laws. Amongst other drawbacks, greater transparency is based on the suspect notion that biological ties are important for creating families.

The New York Times says that non-traditional families feel threatened.

Lesbian couples and single parents make up 70 percent of the people who now use sperm donors, according to a 2022 study of an assisted-reproduction clinic. Some of these families fear that disclosure laws will open the door to recognizing biological donors in some way as parents — possibly granting them parental rights and more broadly undermining the legitimacy of L.G.B.T.Q. families.

The NYTimes cites an Oklahoma case about the divorce of a married lesbian couple. The court awarded parental rights to the biological mother and the sperm donor father and excluded the other partner.

LGBTQ couples may prefer a lack of transparency, says the NYTimes. In the past, traditional couples used to conceal the fact that they had resorted to a sperm donor.

But now it’s nontraditional families who are most nervous about ending the practice of anonymous donation. It’s one thing for parents to choose transparency, but it’s quite another for the state to mandate it — enshrining into law, some fear, the notion that genetics are an essential part of being a family.

The LGBTQ lobby is pushing for the passage of a Uniform Parentage Act. In its latest form, this law would allow anyone “who uses sperm or egg donation with the intent to be a parent is a parent, regardless of factors including genetic ties and marital status. The proposed act also specifies that sperm and egg donors have no parental rights or responsibilities.” It also permits more than two people to be acknowledged as parents.