Thursday, May 03, 2007

Jewish Bioethics & a Call for Access to Donor Medical Records

no. 364

In the Thursday, May 3, 2007 edition of Washington Jewish Week Online Edition staff writer Eric Fingerhut interviews Rabbi Elliott Dorff, a frequent writer on Jewish Law and Bioethics. Within the article the Rabbi called for greater access to donor medical records for donor conceived individuals. The pertinent excerpts of the article are printed below:

Among the most important bioethical matters in the Jewish community today is infertility and the issues that arise from it, said Dorff.

With Jews getting married later in life, women have a tougher time conceiving children and couples are increasingly turning to donor sperm or eggs.

But when those children become teenagers, and want to find out "who [they] are," they can't look to their father and mother to see the exact sources, for instance, of their various personality traits.

Thus, he would like to see donor banks collect and make information available for children. He pointed out that there are some facilities already doing this, such as a California sperm bank that tapes interviews of donors talking about themselves and allows children to get information on their biological heritage. “

My comment:

Many, not all, cryobanks here in the US already provide some data regarding the health of the donors. What I think needs reformation is some sort of standardization of that information across all banks with some sort of minimum level of info that must be provided. I am not even talking about testing of the donor sperm but merely standardization of the info that must be available to the parents and the donor conceived individuals. Furthermore that info must be made available for a minimum of some period of years, at least say 25 years past the last date sperm samples were sold so that DCPs who were not provided that info by their parents have at least som shot of finding the info. We not even getting into medical conditions that arise after the donations have stopped. That's another issue which I am not sure we can ever mandate.

According to the article:

“[Rabbi] Dorff will be speaking on "Bioethics: A Progressive Jewish Perspective" at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda on Sunday, May 6, 2007, at 6:30 p.m. The program is co-sponsored by the Institute for Science and Judaism

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