|Olivia Pratten (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)|
A fantastic video featuring Olivia, discussing the case and the issues. Please watch this video, she discusses so eloquently why she is doing this, what's in it for her, and she takes on some of the most common misconceptions about this case!!
Also, a radio interview featuring me that aired live yesterday on The Bill Good Show on CKNW AM 980 in Vancouver. Listen to or download the podcast, here (lead for Tuesday Feb 14th - go to minute 12:26/6:41 to begin my segment).
8:45 –9:00 DONOR OFFSPRING WANT THEIR RIGHTS RESPECTED Should a child conceived by a donor sperm or egg have the right to know about their biological parentage? That question is being looked at once again in the BC Court of Appeal. It’s hearing an appeal of a ruling last year that declared the province’s Adoption Act unconstitutional because it didn’t give people born of donated sperm or eggs the same rights as people who were adopted. Lindsay Greenawalt is a donor conceived adult and she has identified her donor father, though she hasn’t reached out to him yet. Why is it important for her to know this part of her history? And what does she think about the donor’s right to privacy?
LINDSAY GREENAWALT, DONOR OFFSPRINGOp-Ed:
Sperm donor children have the right to know their identity
February 14, 2012
Olivia Pratten and Shelley Deacon are the issue of anonymous sperm donors. Both have been seeking information about their hidden bio-history for years. Last year the B.C. Supreme Court granted the women access to their bio-files, and in the process, struck down as unconstitutional provisions of the Adoption Act. The government was given six months to amend the act, and now the government is in court seeking to overturn that ruling.
The government’s main argument is that when Ms. Pratten and Ms. Deacon were conceived, all such procedures were done on an anonymous basis for everyone. But should they have been? And if they shouldn’t have been, why should these young women – and all the other donor children they represent – go through life suffering the torment of knowing only half their genetic identity?
Sperm donation has been with us for a long time. The oldest recorded case in the U.S. took place in 1884. Originally it was meant to help married couples whose infertility was linked to the husband’s low sperm count. There was shame attached to it. In those cases the children usually weren’t informed. But now sperm donorship is probably more widely used by single women with ticking biological clocks, and for lesbian couples, than for married couples. There is no longer any moral stigma attached to it at all.
Just last week, on the popular TV musical sitcom series Glee, a show overtly didactic in educating its viewership on such politically correct subjects as total acceptance for gays, the disabled and the obese, Sue Sylvester, the series’ hilariously acerbic cheerleader coach, announced that she intends to become impregnated by a sperm donor. Her assistant approvingly observes that this is something Sue needs, implying that a child is nothing more than a kind of therapeutic accessory to adult lives.
For another example of liberal attitudes, in the recent movie, The Kids are All Right, a lesbian couple has raised two children from the same sperm donor father. As teenagers, the kids set out to discover their bio-father’s identity. They find him. There is some tension between the women and the kids. Hijinks ensue. In the end the father is amiably ejected from their lives. The message is that once the kids’ curiosity has been satisfied, and civility established all around, life will go on without the father in their lives pretty much as before, if not better.
Are the scenarios posited in sitcoms and movies written by liberals realistic, or are they the wishful thinking produced by commitment to progressive social theories?
In stories posted on AnonymousUs.org, an online story collective founded by a donor child, the picture does not sound quite so rosy.
There is great anguish amongst many donor children about the missing part of their identity.
And research backs up the importance for children of knowing their full biological identity. A few years ago The Commission on Parenthood’s Future released a report: My Daddy’s Name is Donor: A New Study of Young Adults Conceived through Sperm Donation. The study belies the politically correct notion that how children are conceived is irrelevant, and that love is all they need.
According to lead researcher Elizabeth Marquardt, two thirds of sperm donor kids agree that “My sperm donor is half of who I am”; half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception; nearly half fear having sexual relations with a possible unknown sibling (some sperm donors have a hundred offspring; unwitting half siblings in England have married); about half have ethical reservations about the propriety of the system.
We hear a great deal about the principle of “the best interests of the child” when parents can’t agree on custody. The “best interests” should always be consulted when courts consider issues involving children’s rights. And it is in the best interests of a child to know his or her biological father’s genetic history.
Sperm donation is not like adoption. Adoption is a well-regulated, non- profit service with service to the needs of a living child as its mandate. Sperm donation is an unregulated marketplace, with service to the wishes of an adult clientele as its raison d’être. Is a sperm donor’s genetic anonymity more important than his biological issue’s knowledge of her own physical identity?
Donor children are not asking for money from their biological fathers; they are not asking for an intimate relationship; they are not seeking to punish their mothers. They simply want to know who they are. And so the court must consider this question asked by a donor child: “If my life is for other people’s purposes, and not my own, then what is the purpose of my life?” They should conclude that it was wrong in the past to deny children the right to their biological history, and children today should not suffer for that mistake.
Sperm donor identity case heads back to court with B.C. government appeal
The Canadian Press
February 14, 2012
VANCOUVER - A woman who scored a major victory last year against laws to protect sperm donors' anonymity is heading to the Appeal Court of British Columbia today to fight the government's stance against the case.
Olivia Pratten will be attending the two-day appeal of the ruling as the Attorney General's Ministry attempts to overturn the judge's order giving the province 15 months to amend current laws.
"I'm disappointed that I'm back in court and that they've appealed it," Pratten said of last May's decision by a B.C. Supreme court judge who deemed the Adoption Act, which covers donor conception, unconstitutional.
Judge Elaine Adair also granted a permanent injunction against the destruction of donor records, saying offspring conceived through donated eggs or sperm have a psychological need to know their genetic background in the same way adopted children do.
Pratten, a Toronto journalist, was born in 1982 through donated sperm because her parents were unable to conceive on their own.
She spent a decade trying to learn her biological father's identity, only to discover that records containing that information had been destroyed by her mother's fertility specialist.
In 2008, Pratten launched a lawsuit against the B.C. government and the provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons, saying she and others like her should have access to information about their biological parents.
B.C. seeks to overturn anonymous sperm donor ruling
February 14, 2012
The B.C. government was in court Tuesday seeking to overturn a ruling that paves the way for people born through anonymous sperm donors to find out information about their parents.
Two such people born in B.C. — Olivia Pratten and Shelley Deacon — filed affidavits arguing that their rights were violated because they couldn’t get access to the information.
In May last year, B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Elaine Adair struck down as unconstitutional provisions of the Adoption Act.
The judge noted that the law allows adopted children to access information about their birth parents but not those conceived through sperm donors.
Adair suspended her ruling for six months to give the government a chance to amend the Adoption Act.
But instead of passing a new law, the government appealed the ruling.