Monday, November 07, 2005

FW: [IP] more on Anonymous sperm donor traced using DNA, Internet

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber <>
Date: Friday, Nov 4, 2005 8:37 pm
Subject: [IP] more on Anonymous sperm donor traced using DNA, Internet

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Alberti <>
Date: November 4, 2005 7:22:31 PM EST
Subject: RE: [IP] Anonymous sperm donor traced using DNA, Internet

What a fantastic story, and what a resourceful young man.

As a reunited adoptee and one of the founders of Bastard Nation
( ) I have to say that I am encouraged by this lad's
ability to unearth his heritage. But I am disturbed that a child undertook
all the cost and risk involved in meeting this stranger, and that the donor
agency stresses the confidentiality of the adult donor over the emotional
and physical well-being of the searching child.

The forgotten member of the anonymous donor contract is the offspring. These persons did not agree to the contract of anonymity. The fact of their
conception does not obligate them to adhere to a contract to which they did
not agree. Likewise, adoptees all over the world are held to adoption contracts and promises to which they were not a party.

Adopted persons and donor offspring are more vulnerable than other citizens
to genetically-inherited vulnerabilities to disease. They do not have contact with blood relatives, increasing the difficulty of locating organ or
marrow donations. And these liabilities are handed down to their own offspring, who certainly have no responsibility for the conditions under which their parents were conceived.

Adoption and sperm donorship are excellent and necessary institutions. But
for too long agencies have made promises that they have no right making in
order to facilitate their business. And they maintain policies of secrecy
and privileged information without appropriate oversight: policies that deny
the rights of the adult citizens who emerge from their practices.

It is long past time that these organizations revisit the core beliefs that
underly their placement policies: that children are a commodity, that secrecy is beneficial to the donor or adoption process, and that they have
any right at all to keep from adult citizens the personal and medical information that can profoundly affect the lives of those citizens and their
own chilren.

And as this story indicates, if these agencies cannot grow and change they
will be bypassed. Mightn't it have been better in this case for the 15 year
old to be encouraged to wait until he was an adult, with the understanding
that at that time he would have the right to contact his biological father?
Wouldn't it have been better if, refusing to accept that delay, he and his
parents could have received counselling in concert with the meeting with his
biological father? Instead, a child took matters into his own hands and faced all the risks without any professional guidance.

Secrets and lies are not an appropriate foundation for such well- intentioned
businesses as donor banks and adoption agencies. It's long since past time
that these ill-considered secrecy policies be discarded, and open practices
be put into place to protect all parties and guarantee the full rights of
everyone involved - including the adults who trace their origins to these

Bob Alberti, "Founding Foundling," Bastard Nation, http://
Phone: (612) 486-5000 ext 211 PO Box 583453 Mpls, MN 55458-3453

"They SAY that your network is secure, but how can you be certain?"

-----Original Message-----
From: David Farber []
Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 5:47 PM
Subject: [IP] Anonymous sperm donor traced using DNA, Internet

Date: November 3, 2005 2:35:14 PM EST
To: Multiple recipients of list talk <>
Subject: PRIVACY:: Anonymous sperm donor traced using DNA, Internet

Here's a clever 15 year old. First he uses DNA to find two men with very similar genes to himself and the same last name. His mother knew the date and place of birth of the unidentified donor. Only one
person with that name was born at that time in that place. It seems
to be time to figure out the risk of re-identifiability using {DNA,
DoB, place of birth} along with genealogical databases.

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