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 Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper