babies

Should egg and sperm donors reveal their identities? The debate pivots on genetics and medical history.

Cassandra Adams performs on stage at the Jersey City Theater Center in March 2019 to raise awareness about traumatic experiences that she and others have had with anonymous donor conception.

Cassandra Adams

Until age 35, Cassandra Adams assumed her mother and father were her biological parents. Then she took saliva tests through two genealogy databases—23andMe and AncestryDNA—and discovered a discrepancy in her heritage. In bringing up the matter with her parents, she learned that fertility issues had led the couple to use a sperm donor.

“Most people my age were not told,” said Adams, now 40 and a stay-at-home mom in Jersey City, New Jersey, who is involved with donor-conception advocacy. “Even now, there’s still a lot of secrecy in the industry. There are still many parents who aren’t truthful or planning not to be truthful with their children.”

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Susan Kreimer
Susan Kreimer is a New York-based freelance journalist who has followed the landscape of health care since the late 1990s, initially as a staff reporter for major daily newspapers. She writes about breakthrough studies, personal health, and the business of clinical practice. Raised in the Chicago area, she holds a B.A. in Journalism/Mass Communication and French from the University of Iowa and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is a diversity content specialist whose work can be seen in The Washington Post, Instyle, and many other places. An online portfolio of her work can be found at https://amfcontent.com.
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Robert C. Green, MD, MPH is Professor of Medicine (Genetics) at Harvard Medical School and a physician-scientist who directs the G2P Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Broad Institute. Dr. Green is internationally recognized for research and policy efforts accelerating the implementation of genomic/precision medicine. His program's website is www.genomes2people.org and its Twitter handle is @Genomes2People.
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Josephine Johnston is Director of Research and a Research Scholar at The Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institute in Garrison, New York. She works on the ethics of emerging biotechnologies, particularly as used in human reproduction, psychiatry, genetics, and neuroscience. Her scholarly work has appeared in medical, scientific, policy, law, and bioethics journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature, Hastings Center Report, and Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. She has also written for Stat News, New Republic, Time, Washington Post, and The Scientist, and is frequently interviewed by journalists. Ms. Johnston holds degrees in law and bioethics from the University of Otago in New Zealand. Her current research addresses developments in genetics, including prenatal testing, gene editing, and newborn sequencing.