March 5, 2024

Canadian journalist fights for abolition of sperm donor anonymity

Case held up in the courts

Oliva PrattenA Canadian journalist is fighting a legal
battle to find out who her sperm donor father is. Olivia Pratten, 28, and her
mother want to examine the records of IVF doctor Gerald Korn, although the
retired doctor says that they were destroyed in the 1990s. Ultimately Ms
Pratten’s goal is to end a regime of donor anonymity and to make it possible for
IVF children to contact their biological fathers. The British Columbia
government opposes her demands, saying that if she cannot subpoena records
which do not exist, neither can she sue on behalf of other anonymous sperm
donor children. The Prattens contend that the records may not have been

Ms Pratten argues that IVF should be
treated like adoption. Adopted children in BC are allowed to access information
about their birth parents. “This case really is about recognition — it’s
about recognizing that donor conception does matter, that people who want to
know their biological information do matter,” Pratten says. “If you
don’t want to be identified, don’t be a donor, it’s that simple.”

A BC court is studying whether to allow her
request to be heard.

Ms Pratten has been campaigning for years
for the abolition of donor anonymity. She says on her website,
“As the debate rages about donor anonymity, research has shown that the majority
of people conceived this way don’t even know about it. My own parents were
counseled to not tell me. So before forming an opinion about this, I always ask
people to put themselves in my shoes: if you found out tomorrow that your dad
wasn’t your biological father, could you honestly say that you would be
satisfied never knowing who he was? And furthermore, would you tolerate being
told you had no right to find out?” ~ CBC
News, Sept 30

Michael Cook
sperm donation