Wed, Jan 02, 2013 - Page 12 News List

A right to know?

The offspring of sperm donors are calling on authorities to change privacy laws to make it easier for them to find their biological fathers

By Kyoko Hasegawa  /  AFP, Tokyo

The graduates were potential sperm donors, but Kato’s decision to pay them a visit in his quest to learn more drew a bewildered reaction from the men.

Yahiro Netsu, whose maternity clinic pioneered fertility treatment with donor eggs in Japan, said he cannot ignore patients’ desire to have children.

“If a child born from a donor egg faces an identity crisis, it will eventually ease if there is trust between the child and the parents,” Netsu said.

But he agreed children should have the right to know their genetic history.

Mari Saimura, a professor at Tezukayama University, is among those who are calling for Japan to establish laws on the issue.

“Japan should give up the technology unless it sets up guidelines to guarantee people’s right to know their identity,” Saimura said.

There has been little progress on the issue in Japan since a decade-old government report recommended rules guaranteeing information about donor parents and notifying children of their parentage early on, she said.

For Kato, his paternal roots remain a mystery.

“I’ve never forgotten about my biological father. I always carry a list of potential donors, which is a sort of talisman to me,” he said.

“But I don’t want my biological father to become my ‘father.’ I just want to know my genetic origin.”

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