In Defense of Openness — Genetic Knowledge and Gamete Donation

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Source Publication

Hastings Center Report, vol. 53, no. 1, Wiley Subscription Services, Inc, 2023, pp. 48–49,


In Conceiving People: Genetic Knowledge and the Ethics of Sperm and Egg Donation (Oxford University Press, 2021), Daniel Groll argues why people who use donated sperm or eggs to have children ought to use a known donor. His main argument for this position is that a child conceived in this way will have a foreseeable, significant interest in acquiring genetic knowledge. However, Groll addresses issues that are of interest to anyone who thinks about the nature of families and parent-child relationships. For example, what obligations or responsibilities does a parent have to their child? What makes someone a parent? And what is the significance to one's identity of knowing about one's genetic origins? While a claim about access to genetic knowledge lies at the heart of Groll's book, he is all too aware of the social forces that influence people to care about their genetic origins. His prescriptions, ultimately, reflect this reality.

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