Necessary Subjects: The Need for a Mandatory National Donor Gamete Registry

26 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2008

See all articles by Naomi Cahn

Naomi Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law


This brief article calls for a mandatory national donor gamete registry. It first discusses the history of secrecy in the adoption context before turning to issues involving confidentiality in the donor context. After analyzing the issues involved in maintaining the secrecy of donor gametes, the article ultimately recommends the establishment of a national information registry, similar to that in place in numerous other countries, to keep track of children both through donor egg, embryo, and sperm, as well as the identities of the gamete providers. Participation in the registry would be mandatory for anyone involved in supplying donor gametes. Once donor-conceived offspring reach the age of 18, they should be able to receive identifying information about their donor, although the donor could file a statement indicating his/her lack of interest in being contacted. While mandatory limits on donor anonymity constitute a radical change in existing practices, there are multiple reasons supporting this change.

Keywords: health care, family law, adoption, genetics, Mandatory National Donor Gamete Registry, privacy, secrecy

Suggested Citation

Cahn, Naomi R., Necessary Subjects: The Need for a Mandatory National Donor Gamete Registry. DePaul Journal of Health Care Law, 2008, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 402, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 402, Available at SSRN:

Naomi R. Cahn (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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