New DNA centre to find natural parents and children

A new tool is being provided for children searching for their biological parents and parents looking for their natural children: the Flemish DNA databank.

Anybody who has been the beneficiary of a sperm or egg cell donation or who was the victim of a forced adoption can file their DNA with the databank.  The new Flemish descent centre becomes operational in January 2020.  All DNA samples are entered into the databank and if a match is found the centre will arrange a meeting and provide psychological support if you so wish.

The idea emerged five years ago following hearings in the Flemish parliament about forced adoptions between 1960 and 1999.  Flemish lawmakers backed a proposal to set up a Flemish DNA databank and the government released cash.  In recent months a debate has raged about how DNA samples may be used.  DNA samples are provided on a voluntary basis.  Matches will only be sought between parents and children, not between brothers and sisters or grandparents and grandchildren.  This ensures that sperm or egg cell donors cannot be identified through a sibling or other relative.

Meetings are only arranged if both parties agree.  Support is provided.

Katrien Schryvers: "An awful lot precedes such a search.  Medical issues often trigger the search.  The parents of children forcefully adopted may wonder where their offspring have ended up.  It can affect people.  This is why the centre will provide the necessary support."

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