The application by Olivia Pratten for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada has recently been refused, without reasons. As such, Ms. Pratten’s quest to find the identity of her biological father has come to an end.
Ms. Pratten’s proceedings have been followed closely by our firm, with prior blogs, found here and here, chronicling her argument that children conceived through sperm donation, should have the same access to information as children who are adopted, and as such, a right to know their biological parent.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia held that anonymous sperm donation is “harmful to the child”, thereby striking down the BC legislation. However, on appeal, the Supreme Court’s decision was overturned.
Given the SCC’s refusal, the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision now stands: there is no constitutional right to know the identity of one’s parents.
In a case out of the United States, described in an article found here, a motion was brought by the Kansas Department for Children and Families, seeking to have a sperm donor be declared a father so that he can be forced to pay child support. In his defence, the sperm donor claims that he signed a contract with the recipients, waiving any parental rights and responsibilities that may have been attached to him as the biological father.
Interestingly, the donation made in this case was via Craigslist, not done anonymously through a sperm bank as was the case with Ms. Pratten. Therefore, the two cases seem to be distinguishable on the basis of the anonymity of the sperm donor.
While I do not intend to blog about whether the SCC was right in refusing to hear Ms. Pratten’s appeal, it will be interesting to follow if future claims may be made, and how they may be able to differentiate themselves from those by Ms. Pratten.