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'Giving sperm doesn't make me a dad'
Sperm donors currently have a right to anonymity
Sperm donors currently have a right to anonymity
As a woman and child who were conceived with donated sperm ask the High Court to allow them to find out more about their fathers, former sperm donor Peter Bolton tells the BBC why he has concerns about the concept.


Mr Bolton, who donated sperm over 100 times said any children he had fathered would be in their late teens or early adulthood now.

He said he originally became a donor because of "mischievous curiosity".

"It was a little bit of an adventure.

"The motivation after the initial adventure was that people at the clinic managed to convince me that it was very worthwhile.


I don't think I've really provided any more than I provide when I'm a blood donor

Peter Bolton
"They were very grateful and they said their clients were extremely grateful."

But he said he would not have gone ahead if the children would have had access to medical and personal information about him.

"I don't think so. I think it's a whole different ball-park.

"I donated the genetic material but I didn't go with the mum to antenatal appointments. It wasn't my hand she squeezed during labour.

"If it's a female child, I didn't vet the first boyfriends to see if they were suitable, argue with mum when the lad got to 17 over whether he could have a dangerous motorbike.

"All those things are not anything to do with me, they're the parents' responsibility and I don't think I've really provided any more than I provide when I'm a blood donor.

"I've given something that I've got that I can manage without and somebody else can use. All that emotional baggage is somebody else's.- it's not mine."

'Blissful ignorance'

He said he had more sympathy with someone who needed medical information than someone who simply wanted to satisfy their curiosity.

"To an extent, I think they're probably right.

"I certainly wouldn't object to the release of medical information about myself, to the family of anybody who was conceived by donor insemination."


I certainly wouldn't object to the release of medical information about myself

Peter Bolton
But he added: "I can see lots of problems with it.

"I know that a lot of women who had donor insemination were treated for three days running in the most fertile part of their cycles, possibly with three different donors, so it might be quite difficult for some clinics to identify them."

Mr Bolton told BBC Radio 5 Live that making genetic information available to children also had implications for donors.

"If I were a carrier for a genetic disorder, I might not know it unless the woman who received the sperm was also a carrier and had an infected child.

"So I might be in blissful ignorance of the fact that I was a carrier of a serious genetic disorder.

"It might come as a horrible surprise to me if I said yes, I'll release all my medical information."

See also:

22 May 02 | Health
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