Since Sweden abolished anonymity in connection with sperm donation in 1985, a number of other countries have followed suit. A legal provision still exists in Denmark to the effect that the donor must be anonymous. Arguments given in a Danish context against retaining the present scheme involving anonymous sperm donation will be discussed. The biggest problem with sperm donation seems to be non-disclosure. Current and important arguments in favour ofabolishing anonymity are that it sends out a clear signal that non-disclosure is unacceptable and that, in principle, all citizens should have access to the information available about themselves. However, the arguments can be criticised both from theoretical (legal) and several practical (medical) points of view. A substantive alternative to abolishing anonymity might be to inform parents about avoiding non-disclosure--and to design information material for the children, to support the parents.
The attitude of the Danish population towards organ transplantation was examined by means of an interview study, executed by the Gallup Institute. From a sample population of 1391 persons above 18 years of age, 798 persons (70%) were interviewed, in the period April 24th to May 3rd 1992. When asked what they thought the general attitude toward transplantation was amongst the population, 65% answered "positive" or "very positive". The attitudes to three situations, namely to organ donation after the death of a parent, spouse or child was examined subsequently. Amongst those who had an opinion, 75% (72-76%) were positive and 25% (24-27%) were negative. The younger the interviewed person, the more positive the attitude. According to the Danish law the relatives can decide for or against organ donation if the deceased has not expressed her view on organ donation. In view of the general positive attitude of the population it is proposed that we introduce a system where every adult person is asked concerning his/her attitude, e.g. in connection with the yearly income tax form or renewal of the health insurance certificate.
The objective of the study is to examine attitudes towards aspects of donation treatment based on a national Swedish sample of gamete donors and couples undergoing assisted reproductive techniques (ART).
The present study was part of the Swedish study on gamete donation, a prospective longitudinal cohort study including all fertility clinics performing gamete donation in Sweden. The sample comprised 164 oocyte donors, 89 sperm donors, 251 people treated with their own gametes (in vitro fertilisation (IVF)), 213 oocyte recipients and 487 sperm recipients. A study-specific questionnaire was used.
Attitudes vary widely between couples using their own gametes for IVF and those receiving or donating oocyte or sperm. The groups differed in their responses to most questions. Oocyte and sperm donors were more likely to agree with the statements "The donor should be informed if the donation results in a child" and "Offspring should receive some information about the donor during mature adolescence" than recipients of donated gametes and couples treated with their own gametes.
Donor recipients, IVF couples and donors expressed different attitudes towards openness and information when it came to gamete donation, and those differences seemed to depend on their current reproductive situation.
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In recent years, human DNA sampling and collection has accelerated without the development of enforceable rules protecting the human rights of donors. The need for regulation of biobanking is especially acute in Iceland, whose parliament has granted a for-profit corporation, deCODE Genetics, an exclusive license to create a centralized database of health records for studies on human genetic variation. Until recently, how deCODE Genetics would get genetic material for its genotypic-phenotypic database remained unclear. However, in May 2000, the Icelandic Parliament passed the Icelandic Biobanks Act, the world's earliest attempt to construct binding rules for the use of biobanks in scientific research. Unfortunately, Iceland has lost an opportunity for bringing clear and ethically sound standards to the use of human biological samples in deCODE's database and in other projects: the Biobanks Act has extended a notion of "presumed consent" from the use of medical records to the use of patients' biological samples; worse, the act has made it possible--perhaps likely--that a donor's wish to withdraw his/her sample will be ignored. Inadequacies in the Act's legislative process help account for these deficiencies in the protection of donor autonomy.