Opinion: Children and Family Relationship Bill

New legislation governing egg and sperm donation will be introduced in Ireland. No consultation took place with clinicians who actually carry out these treatments and, unsurprisingly, the result is extremely disappointing.

Under the new Children and Family Relationship Bill, anonymous sperm and egg donation will be banned and a sperm donation register will be established to help children trace their genetic identity.

Waterstone Clinic opposes this legislation which will dramatically decrease the availability and increase the cost of donor sperm for our patients. In addition, the introduction of a national register is unnecessary, expensive and intrusive into couples privacy and autonomy.

We are neither for nor against donor anonymity but are totally opposed to state intervention in decisions about donor anonymity. We feel donors and patients should be allowed to opt for either anonymous or identifiable donation as they see fit, as in the case in the USA.

In short, we are for choice.

We expect long waiting lists for non-anonymous donors and an increase in patients travelling to other countries to access services or entering into private arrangements outside the supervision of a medically regulated clinic.

The long term impact of this legislation on egg and sperm donation treatment remains uncertain.