The role of rights and utility in instituting a child's right to know her genetic history

  • Wallbank J
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This article examines recent developments in family law which are concerned with the child's right to know her genetic history. It specifically investigates three areas. First, the Child Support (Pensions and Social Security) Act 2000 (CPSSA). Second, an unusual case concerning IVF at a licensed clinic where a decision failed to be made about parental responsibility (Re D [2001]; Re R [2001]). Finally, the recent Department of Health (2002) consultation exercise on donor anonymity. Drawing upon Parker's (1992) theoretical discussion about the significance of rights and utility to family law, the article will show that although there is evidence of a child's right to know in private familial disputes, this right is not approached consistently across family law. In respect of the government's recent consultation paper on donor anonymity, it will be argued that the child's right to know is subordinated to a utility approach. The article will recommend that the government should take the radical step of reforming law on donor anonymity to allow donor children the right to know their genetic progenitor.

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  • Julie Wallbank

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