We spoke at the Progress Educational Trust’s event on known donation on 16th September 2020
Natalie Gamble was part of the panel of speakers discussing known donation at the Progress Educational Trust’s event: ‘Known unknowns: the pros, cons and consequences of known donation’. Natalie Gamble was part of the panel of speakers discussing known donation at the Progress Educational Trust’s event: ‘Known unknowns: the pros, cons and consequences of known donation’.
The event, attended by more than 200 people and covered in a feature on Woman’s Hour, discussed the rise of known egg and sperm donation, asking what the advantages, disadvantages and long-term implications for donor-conceived people are where parents conceive with an egg or sperm donor they know.
Natalie Gamble spoke about known donation and co-parenting and the law
One of Brilliant Beginnings and NGA Law’s founders, Natalie Gamble spoke about the law and our experience of working with families conceived through co-parenting and known donation.
As with surrogacy, she explained the importance of known donors and parents need to have clarity around their expectations about what the donor’s role will be, as well as the role of written agreements before conception in setting strong foundations.
Natalie explained what can go wrong, and explained a bit more about the cases we have been involved in that ended up in the family court due to parents and donors disagreeing further down the line. The disagreements varied, from what the donor’s role should be, to whether he or she should be financially responsible for the child. These examples gave a sense of just how distressing and emotive these cases can be for all involved. She did note that when things go well, known donation can be a real positive for donor-conceived children, giving them a wider, even bigger, loving family.
Additionally, Natalie spoke about the need for the law to be more flexible, in order to accommodate different kinds of families. Presently, the law only allows two parents to be recorded on birth certificates and dictates quite prescriptively who the legal parents are (for example not allowing a biological father to be a legal father where he is co-parenting with a married same-sex couple).
As there are numerous cases for which the rules don’t work with the varied family dynamics, Natalie made the case for birth certificates being able to record three or four parents in co-parenting cases or for parents being able to choose who the legal parents are.
The other speakers at this event were:
● Dr Petra Nordqvist, researcher and senior lecturer at the Morgan Centre Manchester University
● Natasha Fox, donor-conceived person
● Nina Barnsley, director of the Donor Conception Network
● Erika Tranfield, founder of Pride Angel and mum to a daughter conceived through known donation
Watch the recorded event
You can watch the video on the BioNews site or view it below.