After donor conception

I am a donor

Whether you donated sperm, eggs, or embryos, your generous gift may have given somebody the chance to start a family.

It is normal to be curious. You may be wondering if children have been born following your donation, and if so, how many, their age, and their gender. You may also be wondering if they resemble you or share personality traits with you.

If you donated through a Victorian clinic or a Victorian doctor, you can apply to find out information about your donor offspring. They in turn (as well as their parents or descendants) may apply to find out information about you. All parties can apply for identifying information (name, date of birth, donor code, contact details) and/or non-identifying information (medical history, physical features, interests, hobbies, personality).

In addition, if any party involved would like to be connected with another person/s, a separate application and consent process is involved. It is important to think about your preferences, including your views on:

  • access to your information
  • access to their information; and
  • whether you would like to connect or not.

Rights and responsibilities

If you donated through a registered Victorian fertility clinic or a doctor, you are not the legal parent of any child born, and do not appear on your donor offspring’s birth certificate. You are not responsible for maintenance or any financial responsibility towards your donor offspring. Your donor offspring do not have a legal claim on your estate.

What information can I find out about my donor-offspring?

If you donated in Victoria, you can make an application to the Central Register for identifying information (name and date of birth) of your donor offspring.
You can also apply for non-identifying information about your donor offspring.  You will receive the total number offspring born to each person treated, and each offspring’s gender at birth and year of birth.

If you would like to obtain identifying information about other people you are connected to through donor treatment (ie. parents, descendants), VARTA recommends that you apply to the Voluntary Register. If you match with another person(s) on the Voluntary Register who shares your donor code, any details you have agreed to share will be exchanged with them.

What information can others find out about me?

Your donor offspring, their parents and descendants are also entitled to apply to the Central Register for identifying information (name and date of birth) about you.  If the application is made by a donor-conceived person or their descendant, your identifying information must be released to them.

If the application is from a parent, you must consent before the information will be provided.

Your donor offspring, their parents and descendants can also apply for non-identifying information. The information that you provided at the time of consenting to treatment (ie. background information, interests, medical information) will be provided to the applicant. This can be released without your consent.

I donated before 1998

If the application relates to a donation that you consented to prior to 1998, you have four months to respond from the date you are notified. You are also entitled to lodge a contact preference on behalf of yourself and/or your own children under 18 years of age, specifying how you would like to be contacted by the applicant or if you don’t want any contact. The applicant must sign a legally binding Undertaking that they will comply with your contact preference.

Lodging a contact preference

Pre-1998 donors can lodge a contact preference if an application is made for the disclosure of identifying information. If this applies to you, your contact preference may state that you:

  • Do not wish to be contacted; or
  • Wish contact to occur in a specified way (such as by email, phone or through VARTA’s donor linking services).

If you are a pre-1998 donor who has children younger than 18 years, you can also express wishes in relation to any contact with your children.

A copy of any contact preference will be provided to the applicant and will last for a period of five years. It is an offence for an applicant to contact you in breach of your contact preferenceThis contact preference may be withdrawn at any time or amended if there has been no contact between the parties. If you have lodged a contact preference, VARTA will notify you before your contact preference is due to expire. Please ensure you keep your contact details up to date with VARTA.

Personal stories

Experience the stories of real people. View all stories
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Welcome to Varta

Prof Daniel Roos - DNA testing and the end of donor anonymity

Professor Daniel Roos, shares his experience as sperm donor who was contacted by his donor offspring as a result of DNA detective work at VARTA's 2019 seminar, The Genie ...
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When a sperm donor tells his family about his donation

Headline: When a sperm donor tells his family about his donation Twenty years after donating sperm at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Melbourne, Carl* learnt that he...
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When a sperm donor applies to find his offspring

In 1979, when Aaron* answered a call for volunteer research participants at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital, he was surprised to find himself signing up to a sperm...
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We were sperm donors

Read Carolyn's story about her experiences as a donor's wife.
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Graham and Kelly’s story of donor linking and advice to others

Donor Graham, and donor-conceived Kelly, met eight years ago once they both expressed interest in finding out information about their donor/offspring. They were matched w...
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A donor's wife's perspective

I have always known that my husband was a sperm donor while at university in the 70s. It was undertaken on a strictly confidential basis and over the years we really d...
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Sperm Donors Anonymous

Following are extracts from 'Sperm Donor Anonymous' an ABC documentary about the effects of anonymous sperm donation on donor-conceived children, their families and on th...
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Talking to children about being a donor

Listen to this interview with Stewart and his children talking about being a sperm donor. “My advice would be to tell. Certainly it’s never as bad as it seems to giv...
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Sperm donor meets the family created from his donation

Listen to this interview with Adrian, a sperm donor for single mother, Dianne. “When we were approached by the registry to make potential contact by the donor family...
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Meeting your donor / donor-conceived person

Riley and his donor, Roger, talk about what it was like to meet each other.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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What type of information do donor- conceived people typically want to know?

We asked Australian donor-conceived people what they would like to know about their donors. Here is what they said. The top 10 results were:

  1. medical history
  2. physical features (photograph)
  3. personality traits
  4. family tree/history/heritage
  5. interests/hobbies/passions
  6. if the donor has a partner and/ or child
  7. reasons for donating
  8. career and job history
  9. philosophy for life
  10. one message to provide to your offspring.

My partner and I haven’t had children. What will the donor linking process mean for us?

For donors and partners who have not had children, applications from donor offspring may prompt uncomfortable emotions. For those unable to have children, painful feelings of loss and grief about not being able to be a parent may resurface. However, some people may view a connection with donor offspring as an opportunity to develop a positive new relationship.

For donors and partners who plan to have children but have not yet done so, it may be challenging for the partner to know that any future child they have will not be the first or only child genetically related to their partner.

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