Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Lowering the age limit of access to the identity of the gamete donor by donor offspring: the argument against
  1. Guido Pennings
  1. Philosophy and Moral Science, Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Guido Pennings, Philosophy and Moral Science, Universiteit Gent, Gent, Belgium; guido.pennings{at}


Countries that abolished donor anonymity have imposed age limits for access to certain types of information by donor offspring. In the UK and the Netherlands, a debate has started on whether these age limits should be lowered or abolished all together. This article presents some arguments against lowering the age limits as a general rule for all donor children. The focus is on whether one should give a child the right to obtain the identity of the donor at an earlier age than is presently stipulated. The first argument is that there is no evidence that a change in age will increase the total well-being of the donor offspring as a group. The second argument stresses that the rights language used for the donor-conceived child isolates the child from his or her family and this is unlikely to be in the best interest of the child. Finally, lowering the age limit reintroduces the genetic father in the family and expresses the bionormative ideology that contradicts gamete donation as a practice.

  • ethics- medical
  • insemination- artificial
  • legislation

Data availability statement

There are no data in this work.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Data availability statement

There are no data in this work.

View Full Text


  • Contributors GP is the guarantor of this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Other content recommended for you