BC Appellate Court Rejects Claim for Donor ID

It’s a very busy week for me, isn’t it?   For a long time now I’ve been following a case pursued by Oliva Pratten.  There’s an important new development in the case.

Pratten was born in 1982. Her mother conceived using sperm from an anonymous donor. As an adult and with the support of her parents, she sued to obtain identifying information about that donor. Though it wasn’t clear she could actually get any information herself given the passage of time, her case had broad implications for donor-conceived people more generally.    There’s a new ruling in her case–one that reverses an earlier judgment in Pratten’s favor.   (You can read earlier blog posts for background.  I should probably do that, too.)   

Among other things, Pratten made an interesting argument comparing donor conceived people to adopted people.   Canada guarantees access to adoption records for adoptees when they come of age.   Pratten asserted that treating donor conceived people differently was problematic.    The Court of Appeals for British Columbia did not accept this (or any of her other) arguments.

In particular, the court rejected Pratten’s contention that the Canadian Charter recognized any right to know one’s past.   The court also affirms the right of the legislature to treat adoptees differently from those who are donor conceived.

The opinion is much longer than this, of course, and warrants further thought.  For the moment I thought I’d just let folks know it was out there.



3 responses to “BC Appellate Court Rejects Claim for Donor ID

  1. The news mentioned something about Olivia taking her case the Supreme Court of Canada – it might happen based on the Charter of Rights – which might be the solution – will have to read it again.

    • Yes, I think further appeal is planned. But I also think that, like the US Supreme Court, the Canadian Court can decide not to review a case on appeal. If review is not granted then this opinion would be the final opinion.

  2. You can check out Olivia’s website on the case here:
    And yes, the Canadian Supreme Court can decide not to hear the appeal. Thanks for posting about this. I’d missed it in the Globe.

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