Public event in London on 19 June 2019: Anonymous No More? Donor Conception and Direct-to-Consumer DNA Testing

It is a current saying amongst donor conceived persons that Donor Anonymity is actually dead – thanks to modern direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests like Ancestry, 23andme, Family Finder or MyHeritage DNA. A person might discover from a DTC genetic test that they are donor-conceived, or discover the identity of the donor from whose sperm or eggs they were conceived. They might also discover the identity of genetic half-siblings, conceived from the sperm or eggs of the same donor. The persons who are identified do not even need to be registered at the test because they can be tracked with the help of relatives who are registered. This is of course a threat to the reproductive industry, which has been relying on donor anonymity for a very long time. One academic from Belgium even demanded to ban access to DTC tests to protect the anonymity of donors.

The Progress Educational Trust in partnership with the University of Liverpool is holding an event to discuss the impact of Direct to Consumer DNA testing on anonymity in London on Wednesday 19th 2019 from 6.30pm-8.15pm. The European Sperm Bank and the London Women’s Clinic is providing additional funding. The event will be co-chaired by Sarah Norcross and Dr Lucy Frith, with speakers including Debbie Kennett, Andy Waters, Becky Gardiner and Louise Johnson. Attendance at this event is free, but advance registration is required.

We are glad that one of the speakers, Becky Gardiner, is donor conceived and can report about the importance of DNA tests from first hand. DOE-member Shirley, who is Becky’s half sister, will also be attending.