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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Last Month's News?

    A friend of mine appears in the May issue of  Playboy magazine (no, not in the way you might think!).  I am not a regular consumer of Playboy; in fact, my comments from 30 years ago, when Playboy planned a special article (if that’s the right word) on “Girls/Women of the Ivy League” were quite strong.  Nonetheless, in my weekly feed of articles from Lexis, there was my friend, Wendy Kramer, mentioned in an article for the Playboy Forum written by Lori Andrews  (a Distinguished Professor f Law at Chicago-Kent)  about sperm donation. 

    Wendy and her son Ryan started the web-based Donor Sibling Registry  in 2000.  The Registry facilitates mutual contact between members of the donor-conceived world, allowing donors, offspring created as a result of egg or sperm donation, and parents who have created donor-conceived families to find each other.  Since its founding, the Registry has helped more than 6000 people who are connected by gamete donation find each other, and annual visitors to the website number over 100,000.

     In Test Tube Families:  Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation (NYU Press, 2009), I argue for improved regulation of the artificial reproductive technology market,

exhorting legal and policy-making communities to cease applying piecemeal laws and instead create legislation that sustains the fertility industry while simultaneously protecting the interests of donors, recipients, and the children that result from successful transfers.  This means that we need a mandatory national donor gamete databank, similar to that in place in numerous other countries, to keep track of children both through donor egg, embryo, and sperm, as well as the identities of the gamete providers. Participation in the registry would be mandatory for anyone involved in supplying donor gametes. Once donor-conceived offspring reach the age of 18, they should be able to receive identifying information about their donor, although the donor could file a statement indicating his/her lack of interest in being contacted. While mandatory limits on donor  anonymity constitute a radical change in existing practices, there are multiple reasons supporting this change.  I elaborate on the need for such a databank here.

    I should note that I’ve recently joined the board of the Donor Sibling Registry, so I’m delighted when our existence is publicized.   Wendy has appeared on Oprah, on the Today Show, on NPR – but Playboy?

Posted by Naomi Cahn on June 14, 2009 at 05:09 PM | Permalink

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