Truth and the Child – 10 Years On: Information Exchange in Donor-Assisted Conception

Edited by Eric Blyth, Marilyn Crawshaw and Jennifer Spiers.

Venture Press

£5.95 (paperback)

ISBN 1 86178 028 1

The Children Act 1989 stresses the importance of children’s
welfare and highlights how crucial it is for children to have
access to their background information to develop a strong sense of
identity. Yet, for the majority of children born as a result of
donor-assisted conception – approximately 2,000 per year – the
facts surrounding their conception remain secret.

The 13 chapters in this book combine academic, professional and
personal accounts, and highlight some pertinent ethical and legal
dilemmas about the rights and needs of the child and those of the
adults involved.

One personal account, written by Christine Whipp about the
legacy of deceit, has a powerful message reinforcing how the lack
of access to information is discriminatory. Contributions from the
medical profession also argue against keeping the facts around the
child’s conception secret, particularly as knowledge about medical
history can help make informed decisions about diagnosis and

The government is about to produce a consultation document about
the rights of donor offspring children. Truth and the
, then, is both timely and thought provoking. Its
emphasis on children’s rights, rather than the needs of the social
and genetic parent(s) to maintain secrets is challenging and

Julia Feast is project manager of The Children’s
Society’s post-adoption and care counselling research

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.