DNA tests, now readily available from the comfort of our own homes, offer a window into our ancestral heritage and, with some providers, a glimpse into whether our DNA makeup predisposes us to certain health conditions. For children conceived by IVF using anonymously donated sperm or eggs, such DNA tests can also lead to connections with half-siblings and other relatives.
Unfortunately, for one woman, a simple DNA test for her daughter also led to heartbreak. In a recent CBS News report, Danielle Teuscher shared the story of the unexpected and devastating response she received after submitting a DNA test for her daughter on 23andMe.
When she found a close family match for her daughter’s DNA, Teuscher reached out to let her daughter’s biological relative know she was open to contact. The close family match was confused and some time later, Teuscher received a “Cease and Desist” letter from the cryobank that provided the anonymous donor’s sperm. Not only did the letter threaten legal action, it also said Teuscher could no longer use the additional four vials of the same anonymous donor’s sperm, vials she had intended to use to give her daughter genetic siblings.
The cryobank claimed Teuscher had signed an agreement promising not to independently find or contact the anonymous donor or his relatives. Teuscher stated that the agreement was online; most of us are not diligent about reading the fine print on online agreements before clicking “I accept.”
This case highlights the fact that, as more and more people sign up to have their DNA analyzed, sperm and egg donor anonymity may truly be a thing of the past. This may ultimately have a chilling effect on the number of donors willing to help people struggling with infertility.
If you are considering using assisted reproductive technology services to help grow your family, let us help protect your rights and interests – and those of your future children. To learn more, contact us today!