Court strikes down anonymous sperm-donor law

A B.C.-born woman has won a long-running battle to strike down a law that prevents her -and thousands of others -from learning about their biological parents.

Olivia Pratten fought for more than 10 years to find out the identity and other information about her biological dad, an anonymous sperm donor.

T h e B . C . g ov e r n m e n t blocked her efforts, so Pratten, a 29-year-old journalist who now lives in Toronto, took her case to court.

On Thursday, a judge found that the Adoption Act, a law that applies to anonymous sperm and egg donors, is discriminatory.

“I’m thrilled, I’m really happy,” said Pratten. “It’s definitely the right thing. It just feels really good to know that what we’ve been saying about the law for years is validated.”

Pratten added that she had always known that the files about her biological dad were “probably destroyed” and doesn’t know if she’ll ever find out. “I just know that my experience, which was not good for me, will help people for the future,” she said. “The government has been, at the provincial and federal level, absolutely appalling, that’s why I had to go to court.”

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elaine Adair found that the Adoption Act was unfair because it allowed adopted kids to find out information about their biological parents, but prevented donor offspring such as Olivia from finding out anything about their parents.

“In my view, the evidence in this case provides strong support for the conclusion that the circumstances of adoptees and those of donor offspring with regard to the need to know and have connection with one’s roots, are closely comparable,” said the judge.

The judge suspended her decision to strike down the law for 15 months to give the B.C. legislature a chance to pass a new law in compliance with the Charter of Rights.