Anonymous Donors: legitimate interrogations


On the verge of fatherhood, Rémi Delescluse films his genetic quest, pointing out the changes in society in thirty years.

By Catherine Pacary Posted today at 06:10, updated at 06:30

Time to Reading 2 min.

It is estimated that 70,000 children born to a gamete donation in France.
It is estimated that 70,000 children born to a gamete donation in France. STP PRODUCTIONS

arte – Tuesday 9th July – 22:25 pm documentary

Be careful, hot topic. While the debate on the extension of the right to medically assisted procreation (PMA) to couples of women and single women heats up, The Secret Children recalls, simply and without controversy, the problems posed by the anonymity of the donor.

The author, Rémi Delescluse, 36 years old, born in PMA, entrusts his interrogations and films his quest for answers, made of meetings, first time. It allows, in passing, to become aware of what is summarized too quickly by: society has changed.

Rémi Delescluse is not traumatized by being born from a gamete donation – sperm and oocytes. His parents spoke to him when he was 5 years old: "Dad's not really dad, but he's still Daddy. " What he translated as: "I have three parents", without really thinking about it.

But two years ago, wanting to start a family, he asks to know the name of his donor and learns that it is impossible. A quarter of the genetic inheritance of his unborn child will remain unknown to him. And if he had a hereditary disease? He had not thought of it so far. The legislator either, when, in 1994, he lays the foundation for the donation of gametes on the triptych free-anonymity-volunteering. For the Church, the PMA is a "Adultery without joy". And it is partly to erase the adulterous side of the act that it is rendered anonymous.

A law late

The young man turns first to his parents. His mother opens his medical file and rediscovers an annotation that has become strange over time: "I am delighted to know that Rémi is to your taste. " His father confesses his love at first sight for his mother, the shock when they learned that he was sterile, and the shame not known.

For the first time, Rémi Delescluse finds members of the association PMAnonyme. Among them Arthur and Audrey Kermalvezen, in couple. Both born in an LDC, they are panicked at the thought of being half-brother and sister without knowing it. Lawyer, the young woman asks not the lifting of anonymity but just to know if Arthur is his half-brother. Rejected request

The fear of transmitting a genetic disease, the fear of an incestuous relationship … If the complete sequencing of the human genome, in 2004, took more than ten years and cost $ 2 billion, the same operation today is worth 150 euros and is done in two weeks.

Read also How Arthur Kermalvezen, born from an anonymous gamete donation, found his parent

The temptation is strong. Audrey and Arthur (Kermalvezen) perform, which will allow him to find his biological father, a first he will decide to publicize. Rémi Delescluse will take longer to act. Be that as it may, the law is obviously lagging behind the twinned capabilities of science and the Net.

Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Malta, Portugal, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Austria, the Netherlands and Australia (PMAnonymous, May 2019) recognize the access to the parent Denmark, Belgium, the United States, Canada and Iceland allow partial access. And the Council of Europe assembly recommended, on April 12, to lift the anonymity of gamete donors. An advance, certainly, but that will never reveal all the secrets. Of the 70,000 children officially born in LDCs since 1973, only 7% to 8% would know the origin of their conception.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Gamete banks in favor of partial lifting of donor anonymity

"The children of secrecy", Rémi Delescluse (France, 2019, 60 min). First of ten films in the "Summer of Great Documentaries of Society" series, every Tuesday evening and all available on

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