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EDITIONS
Sperm donor child to meet father
UK sperm donors could lose their anonymity
UK sperm donors could lose their anonymity
A US teenager is to make medical history by becoming the first to contact her sperm donor father.

As the debate rages in the UK over whether sperm donors' right to anonymity should be removed, Claire will benefit from the policy of the sperm bank her mother used, which allowed children to find out the donor's identity when they reached 18.

On her birthday, she received a package from the bank, containing the donor's name, driver's license, date and place of birth, his e-mail address, telephone number and street address and even a photograph.

Claire from California, who does not want to reveal her surname and hometown, wants to meet her father because he is "half her heritage".

Claire is waiting for the publicity to die down before she contacts her father
Claire is waiting for the publicity to die down before she contacts her father
She said: "I was excited on getting the package. The bank had asked me if I wanted to meet the donor, and I said yes."

The Sperm Bank of California, which Claire's mother used, introduced the first donor identity release program in the US in 1983.

Men could still say no and opt to donate anonymously, and those who said yes could change their mind later.

The donors have no rights over the child, and therefore no legal responsibilities.

Claire is the first child to take advantage of the scheme.

Curiosity

She told AFP news agency: "I don't know if I look like him, I think I look like my mom."

But her mother Irene believes Claire gets her height from her donor father.

Irene said: "The men in my family are short, so if I had a son I wanted him to be tall."

The issue of anonymity for donors has come to the fore in the UK with fertility expert Baroness Warnock reversing her earlier stance that children should not have the right to know who their biological fathers were.


They were not looking for a long-lost father,

Maura Riorden, Sperm Bank of California
When sperm donation was first introduced, there were fears that men would be deterred from donating if there was no anonymity, with the possibility that children would come to find them in the future.

But Baroness Warnock and others say evidence from Scandinavian countries, which did not have anonymity, show men are not put off.

Maura Riorden, executive director of the Sperm Bank of California, said: "We did surveys of our oldest kids and found that they were not looking for a long-lost father, they were only curious about their genes, about his looks.

"The most they wanted was friendship."

'Half my heritage'

Claire is waiting for the publicity to die down before she contacts her donor father, but she is trying not to expect too much.

"I'm trying to be realistic. I've looked at friends' dads, and nobody's perfect.

"The guy may disappoint me or I may disappoint him. I feel that it's better to lower my expectations now than later."

She added: "I want to meet him because he is half my heritage; it's a part of my life I don't know about."

She added: "It would be interesting if he has a family. I hope that the family supports him; otherwise, that would be uncomfortable and influence our meeting.

"If they don't want a more detailed contact, then that's the way it goes."


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See also:

14 May 02 | Health
03 Jul 01 | Fertility conference 2001
27 Dec 00 | Health
11 Sep 00 | Health
31 Aug 00 | Health
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