The B.C. Supreme Court has struck down provincial legislation that protected the identity of sperm donors. The court also prohibited the future destruction of any records and ordered the province to draw up new legislation in line with the Charter of Rights.
Lawyers for Olivia Pratten had argued that the existing rules discriminated against the children of sperm donors, and the court ruled in Olivia Pratten's favour on Thursday by striking down a section of the B.C. Adoption Act.
In the decision, Justice Elaine Adair wrote that the rights of the child must be protected in sperm donation, much like they are protected in cases of adoption in B.C.
"I conclude, based on the whole of the evidence, that assisted reproduction using an anonymous gamete donor is harmful to the child, and it is not in the best interests of donor offspring," wrote Adair.
"I grant a permanent injunction, in accordance with these reasons, prohibiting the destruction, disposal, redaction or transfer out of B.C. of gamete donor records in British Columbia," she wrote.
The ruling gives the province 15 months to enact conforming changes to the B.C. Adoption Act that are in line with the Charter of Rights.
Adair found the Act was unconstitutional because it treats adopted children differently from children of sperm donors. Adopted children are provided information about their biological parents, whereas the children of donors are not.
Pratten was conceived through sperm donation. The 28-year-old Ontario journalist fought for years to learn her biological father's identity, but was eventually told the doctor legally destroyed the records in the 1990s.
"It is a total win for us. No more anonymity. Donor offspring have been recognized as having the same rights as adoptees in B.C.," said Pratten after the ruling was released.
She then decided to sue the B.C. government on behalf of other children who still have hopes of learning their parentage and to ensure donor records are preserved indefinitely and that children can have access to the records when they turn 19.
Limited effect on fertility clinics
Dr. Albert Yuzpe of Genesis Fertility Clinic said he has no issue with what Pratten has pioneered and the decision is not likely to affect work at his clinic in Surrey, B.C., because 80 per cent of his patients already chose sperm from "known identity" donors.
He also notes Canada has only one sperm bank, based in Toronto, and the majority of sperm comes from American sperm banks. At his clinic he does 600 donor sperm cycles per year, and only one or two involve Canadian donors, he said.
Yuzpe also said it is unclear if the decision would force anonymous American sperm donors to be identified.
I know that in both Australia & Canada, there is a high demand for sperm donors..... I doubt this will improve the situation and I'm guessing it'll make the options even fewer.
And I predict that those anonymous US donors will have to eventually be identified or they won't be allowed across the border, because they would need to meet Canadian Law..... so I'd expect that source to die off soon too.
I never agreed with the idea of revealing the names of sperm donors, simply because it's not the same as adoption..... why I feel it's not the same is because one man's sperm could be used in numerous donations to numerous women...... which means numerous children eventually wanting to know who that man is and could lead to making that guys life a living hell when he has dozens of children knocking at his door or seeking some sort of compensation..... where an adoption is generally related to one child.
Also, where is the responsibility for the mother who opted for sperm donation? Yes she decided to raise the child and take care of it and good for her..... but she chose the donation, she accepted that it was an anonymous donation and like many things in the world, children don't get a say.
They don't get a say when they're given up for adoption, they don't get a say when it comes to abortion decisions, they don't get a say when it comes to most medical procedures, they don't get a say as to what school they go to, they don't get a say when they can drive, or drink or smoke or buy porn or where their family lives, among many other things.
The only logical argument they had for releasing the names of the donors was towards medical complications or things passed on through genetics which could affect the child later on in life and thus, they should know about those things..... I completely understand that.
This decision doesn't affect me personally, as I'd never donate my sperm in the first place...... but all that needed to do was to make the medical records of the donor available for the child and their doctor, which would make everybody happy.
If I remember correctly, they already do that, or at least they heavily screen donors before hand for such things.
If they're bothered that much for not knowing who their father is..... they can blame their mother for that. The donors simply did what they did out of the kindness of their own *****.
Now it seems the onus falls on the donor and I doubt many who thought about being a donor would go through with it now.
Tis the end of the sperm donor me thinks and if not..... I wouldn't expect the variety to be very great.
Oh and now you can expect many anonymous sperm donors sueing the living snot out of the clinics for breaking their agreed contract in relation to keeping them anonymous.