70 young adults born through gamete donation try to trace their origins

Publié le 6 Mar, 2018

Following in the footsteps of Arthur Kermalvezen, a young man born through artificial insemination who found his biological father through a DNA test[1], 70 members of the PMAnonyme Association [2] have set things in motion. They have sent saliva samples to the United States in the hope of discovering their true identity. These genetic tests, which are banned in France but are available on the Internet, bring fresh hope” to these individuals who have lost the legal battle. Monitored through a genealogical investigation, the tests provide an opportunity “which is still unlikely to be successful”: “These databases contain very little information on French people at the present time. But, I’m convinced that details will gradually come to light as more and more people do the tests”, reckons Astrid, who has not found her donor but did discover her ethnic origins. The President of the Association welcomes the fact that “donors have contacted us and agree to do these tests”. Moreover “search engines and social networks boost resources in this area.” “A Donor Child Association specialising in this type of research was created in Belgium in May 2017”. Of the 250 requests received from children, parents, donors and even the “official” children of donors, the association has discovered 129 half-brothers and sisters, and 16 biological fathers.


Such practices “undermine” gamete donor anonymity, according to Jean-François Delfraissy, President of the French National Consultative Ethics’ Committee. Jean-René Binet, Professor of Private Law, firmly believes that, “given the vast amount of genetic information available, the law can no longer turn a blind eye to such a quest for one’s origins as highlighted by the story of Arthur Kermalvezen”. Furthermore, “the debate is overshadowed by the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling against France. Audrey Kermalvezen and Clément Roussial have both appealed to the ECHR “to recognise their rights to discover their origins”[3].


Nevertheless, advocates of gamete donor anonymity can utilise several decrees from the Council of State [4], which has always turned down requests from children conceived through gamete donation. The Cecos[5] attribute the “potential decline in gamete donation” to the lifting of anonymity. Doctor Nathalie Rives, President of the French Federation of these centres, plays down the number of young people involved in these activities: “It doesn’t seem to constitute a major trend,” she announced, dismissing the questions surrounding current gamete donation operations. The association of donor children points out that “gametes are cells that are irrelevant compared to the education and love a child receives”, and is therefore not fighting to lift anonymity. When asked whether donor children should be granted access to the anonymous and medical data of their biological fathers, Nathalie acquiesced without enlarging the issue.

Le Figaro, Agnès Leclair (16/02/2018)

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