From Ancestry.com to 23andMe, genetic testing has completely changed how we think of adoption, sperm donation, and biological parenthood in general. Today, donations and adoptions cannot be regarded as completely confidential, as the possibility for a surprising genetic revelation always exists. A simple saliva sample can return dozens of blood relations. What does this mean for sperm donors and biological parents who hope to preserve their privacy? Read on to find out:

Is It Even Possible to Maintain Anonymity?

Presently, state and federal legislation largely neglects to address the influx of genetic tests — including how they impact children produced through sperm donation or given up for adoption. That may eventually change, but for now, sperm donors and biological parents cannot automatically expect their anonymity to be protected, even when pursuing a closed adoption.

Sperm donors can make it explicitly clear that they do not want their identity to be disclosed, but agencies aren’t always capable of fulfilling that request under current conditions. Still, it is more important than ever for donors to outline their wishes explicitly in legal contracts, as this may be all that protects them if their privacy is infringed upon.

An aggressive approach may be warranted in the ongoing effort to maintain the right to privacy. Sperm donors can look to a recent case highlighted by CBS News for precedent. The story involves a mother who sought genetic data on 23andMe. She received contact information for the immediate relatives of her daughter’s anonymous sperm donor. Soon after, she was sent a cease and desist letter from Northwest Cryobank, with the sperm bank threatening to pursue legal damages. Future lawsuits may emerge as the recipients of donated sperm continue to establish lines of contact with immediate family members or the donors themselves.

As you consider the modern implications of adoption or sperm donation, look to a trusted family lawyer for guidance. Seek support from the Brown Law Offices; we offer personalized counsel and legal representation.

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Photo of Jason C. Brown Jason C. Brown

Jason Brown is a founding shareholder with the Brown Law Offices, P.A., a northwest Twin Cities divorce and family law firm. He is an honors graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the William Mitchell College of Law. Jason has been recognized as

Jason Brown is a founding shareholder with the Brown Law Offices, P.A., a northwest Twin Cities divorce and family law firm. He is an honors graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the William Mitchell College of Law. Jason has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters. Media appearances include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, the Star Tribune, USA Today, Time Magazine, Minnesota Monthly and NBC News.