Leading article: Children deserve to be told the truth

Only a generation ago people were often very reluctant to tell children that they had been adopted, such was the stigma attached to parents and children alike in an era when infertility was still seen as some kind of divine curse.

That "don't ask, don't tell" mindset has also informed attitudes towards children conceived from donated sperm, about 2,000 of whom are born each year with some of them growing up without ever knowing that their actual parents and their biological parents were not identical.

Nowadays people favour greater openness, as a survey conducted by this newspaper which we publish today, suggests. Sixty per cent of our respondents said that children born from donated sperm should be told "once they reach an appropriate age". Not least because some people have grown up in fear of inheriting medical conditions that pose no danger to them at all, honesty does seem to be the best policy.