Members of NISIG were dismayed to hear the one sided and uninformed segment on Donor Conception which aired on Friday 1st June.

The committee have contacted the producers of Drivetime, and are as of now awaiting a response.

The full details of NISIG’s response as below:

As a member group which includes families with donor conceived children and people who are considering using donors to have their families, NISIG notes that yesterday’s segment on donor conception was quite uninformed.

Emma O’Friel’s comparison (and, in fact likening) of donor conception to adoption was simply incorrect. Where perhaps in the past, the accepted best practice was to keep children of donor origin (along with adopted children) in the dark as to their histories, today’s approach is very different. Parents of donor conceived children are actually seeking support to be open with their children and families about donor conception, now that research points to this being best for the child. Negative media attention, such as on your show, only makes this more difficult for them.

Further, the situation of adoption is far from that of donor conception, where gametes are altruistically donated and the child is borne to and raised by its parents. Donor conception is, in fact, a route often sought because adoption is so far out of reach for the people of Ireland. There is no abandonment issue as there is with adoption, and the bond between parent and child can begin much sooner.

Yesterday’s use of adoption in the news to negativize donor conception was very concerning, especially coming from a helping professional. People considering using a donor to conceive, usually avail of counseling before proceeding, much like with adoption, so that they can prepare themselves for being open with their child. There are families telling their donor conceived children about their origins every day in Ireland. In fact, NISIG’s Family Conversations – Donor Talks workshop highlights the very positive story of one such adult donor conceived child, who shares her experience of growing up with the knowledge, so that other parents can see the benefit.

On a final note, current legislation being brought forward includes that which will address the concerns over anonymous donation, thereby giving adult children of donor conception full rights to the knowledge of their origins, once enacted. We are moving in the right direction, which is something very positive and cannot be dismissed.

We hope that this letter better informs your producers of the reality of donor conception in Ireland and that in future, you will not air opinions on the matter without also giving fair consideration to the other side, from the families created in this way.