Being eradicated: anonymous semen donors and their imagined children
Jennifer Speirs (University of Edinburgh)
Genealogy is said to be second only to sex as a topic on the internet, and searching for relatives in the UK has been described as 'the new gardening', but in the infertility treatment field the claim about needing roots is often disputed. Profound disagreements have emerged between medical and legal professionals who support anonymity, and those who are personally involved, particularly donor-conceived people and their parents who campaign for access to identifying information about donors. I shall describe the concept of roots as experienced by semen donors themselves and analyse what can be learned from men who were supposed to become 'non-persons'. Not knowing the outcome of their donations, donors imagine 'possible people' who might search for them, and this would be welcome. However donors themselves are reluctant to initiate the search for donor offspring whose genetic roots they are, because of perceived risks to existing social relationships.