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The conceptual foundation of the right to know one’s genetic origins

05 June 2017

By Professor Vardit Ravitsky, Dr Juliet Guichon, Marie-Eve Lemoine, and Professor Michelle Giroux

Appeared in BioNews 903

In his commentary titled Donor children do not benefit from being told about their conception, Professor Guido Pennings argues there is no empirical evidence to support the assumption that it is in the best interests of children to know that they are donor conceived. In their excellent recent reply, Blyth et al refute this claim by demonstrating that such evidence does exist [2,3,4], and by pointing to the various oversights and methodological weaknesses of Professor Pennings‘ arguments (as also expressed in their letter to Human Reproduction, co-signed by 39 experts) [2]. We support all their arguments and would like to add another layer to the critique, by focusing not on the empirical evidence in hand, but rather on the conceptual foundation underlying the right of donor-conceived people to know their genetic origins (hereafter ‚right to know …

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