Islander’s TV journey prompts sperm donors to lift anonymity

Liam Renouf in the ITV documentary 'Born From The Same Stranger' (37535660)

A PRIME-TIME documentary which featured an Islander’s search for his half-siblings conceived from the same sperm donor has prompted a “significant” number of donors to waive their anonymity.

The series Born From the Same Stranger, which aired on ITV1 earlier this month, follows the journeys of a generation of donor-conceived people searching for information about where they came from.

Liam Renouf (28), born and raised in St Clement, who featured in the first episode, has spoken about growing up as a donor-conceived person, his experiences filming the show, his newly-found donor-siblings and what sparked his decision to find out – or not find out – more about his donor.

Mr Renouf has revealed that there has been a “significant increase” in donors lifting their anonymity since the documentary aired.

Taking place last year, the filming was intended to coincide with a new UK law coming into effect that waives donor anonymity and allows anyone conceived by donation after 2005 to find out more details about their identity when they turn 18.

But Mr Renouf’s generation, born before 2005, have had to embark on more difficult and expensive journeys to find out about their donors.

Mr Renouf, who is a special needs teacher and is now based in Clapton, added that he had received messages from donor-conceived people who were now thinking of starting their journey, after watching him embark on his own.

He said: “What the show did really well is capture what it feels like to be donor-conceived. Because donor-conception is still fairly modern, there are lots of stories about donor-conceived babies, but there aren’t many about what happens when you become an adult. This series showed what it looks like 30 years down the line.”

Mr Renouf has also taken the opportunity to explain his decision at the end of the show not to pursue contact with his donor.

He said: “That was a personal decision of mine, and I don’t think it should affect the general moral attitude of people who want to. It’s incredibly important to have access to information and to be able to attempt contact. I have that access and I’ve decided right now that I don’t want to pursue contact.”

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