Racial Classification Regarding Semen Donor Selection in Brazil
Costa, Rosely Gomes
Developing World Bioethics 2007 August; 7(2): 104-111
Brazil has not yet approved legislation on assisted reproduction. For this reason, clinics, hospitals and semen banks active in the area follow Resolution 1358/92 of the Conselho Federal de Medicina, dated 30 September 1992. In respect to semen donation, the object of this article, the Resolution sets out that gamete donation shall be anonymous, that is, that the donor and recipients (and the children who might subsequently be born) shall not be informed of each other's identity. Thus, since recipients are unaware of the donor's identity, semen banks and the medical teams involved in assisted reproduction become the intermediaries in the process. The objective of this article is to show that, in practice, this represents disrespect for the ethical principles of autonomy, privacy and equality. The article also stresses that the problem is compounded by the racial question. In a country like Brazil, where racial classification is so flexible and goes side by side with racist attitudes, the intermediary role played by semen banks and medical teams is conditioned by their own criteria of racial classification, which are not always the same as those of donors and semen recipients. The data presented in this paper were taken from two semen banks located in the city of São Paulo (Brazil). At the time of my research, they were the only semen banks in the state of São Paulo and supplied semen to the capital (São Paulo city), the state of São Paulo, and to cities in other Brazilian states where semen banks were not available.
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