Organising openness: How UK policy defines the significance of information and information sharing about gamete donation

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‘Openness’ is increasingly held up as a self-evident virtue, presented as inherently positive and progressive in both the public and personal sphere. This article examines how this ideal is realised in the regulation of gamete donation in the UK; what exactly is it that people are expected to be open about and with whom? Through an analysis of the policies and texts via which information about gamete donation is managed, we demonstrate that sharing information about the donor with donor offspring is prioritized, whilst other trajectories of information often remain forbidden or unconsidered. We argue that these policy discourses and decisions both reflect and reproduce a dominant framing of gamete donation as significant in terms of its reproductive consequences and specifically the interest donor offspring may have in their origins. However, as we demonstrate, this is not the only way in which donation information can be significant to those implicated. It can also, for example, be viewed as a gift or form of bodily donation connecting donors and recipients. We argue for closer analysis of the ways in which social policies organise openness along particular trajectories and how this in turn shapes the social and relational significance of the events being disclosed.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-333
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Policy and The Family
Issue number3
Early online date28 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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