The Corner

The Rights of the Donor-Conceived

Elizabeth, it is also worth considering how the rights (such as they may be) of the donor-conceived compare with those of the adopted, a topic that also remains controversial. See, for example, this recent story from New Jersey:

The New Jersey State Assembly approved a law this week that will allow adults who were adopted as infants to obtain a copy of their birth certificate that shows the names of their biological parents.A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, Jim Goodness, told CBS New York that Catholic charities promise anonymity when they arrange adoptions. But the bill’s advocates have been fighting for 31 years to give adoptees the right to learn their biological parents. Now it has to go in front of Governor Chris Christie, who has not indicated his intentions for the bill. Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Christie said, “Like all bills, this one will receive careful review by the governor’s counsel’s office.”

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, said to, “This bill is poorly drafted, and contains multiple flaws the consequence of which could be devastating and ultimately harm the institution of adoption.” The governor has an adopted sister, something the bill’s advocates are hoping will make him more sympathetic to their position. But Christie is a practicing Catholic, and the New Jersey Catholic Conference has been vocally opposed to the bill.Most social conservatives are opposing the bill saying it violates the privacy of women and a very personal decision. According to the Statehouse Bureau, New Jersey Right to Life — with the American Civil Liberties Union and New Jersey Bar Association — proposed an alternative measure that creates a “confidential intermediary” as a way for adoptees to reach their birth parents. 

I am far from convinced that there is a “right to know” in the case of either adoptees or those who were donor-conceived, but as a practical matter there may be something to be said for the confidential intermediary option, so long, of course, as all sides involved genuinely retain the ability to preserve their anonymity should they so choose.


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