With particular reference to children born following donor insemination and adopted children, critically explore the extent to which it can be said that the law currently recognises that all children have a right to know who their genetic parents are.
In 2008 there were around 708,111 live births in England and Wales alone, of these births many will not be brought up by their biological parents. Whether the child is adopted from birth and brought up by none biological parents or conceived via donor insemination, more and more children are growing up having no contact with their biological parents. It’s a rising issue to consider whether or not children should be able to know who their real parents are and what the law around this area
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The human fertilisation and embryology act 2008 requests that the human fertilisation and embryo authority keep a record of all donors. It isn’t however until a child is 16 that he/she can gain access to such information if they wish to do so. The donor can gain limited information such as how many and the sexes of the children his donations have enabled. This information is accessible if a child learns of their assisted reproduction as the law at no point states that it is necessary for a parent to share with the child that there was donated sperm or eggs and there is no evidence shown on the child’s birth certificate so although a child has rights to know information regarding their genetic parents once they learn of the conception there is no law stating that they have a right to know in the first place. Whereas children who are adopted experience a slight advantage in that they have the opportunity to discover their true origins by looking at their birth certificate which will also carry information about their genetic parents. Evidence has shown in 70% of children born via donor insemination cases parents never share information with the child about their true conception. One in three adopted children attempt to find out their genetic parents, it is often the case that a child is more likely to wish to find