Gamete and embryo donation: ethical implications for families

Erica Haimes
Human Fertility: Journal of the British Fertility Society 1998, 1 (1): 30-34
This paper considers the ethical implications of gamete and embryo donation for both donating and receiving families. It suggests that the key ethical issue for receiving families is whether to tell the child about the means of conception. The ethical debate on this topic gains much from reviewing the research evidence of what parents actually do and the reasons they give for their actions. The research indicates that very few parents intend to tell the child; however, it is noted that this decision needs to be interpreted in the light of the legislation in many countries that ensures donor anonymity. It is suggested that the debate needs to be extended to include the views of the members of the families of the donors (for example, what they consider to be their rights, interests and responsibilities in relation to the donor, the donation, the child and the receiving families) to achieve an adequate consideration of the ethical implications for those families.


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