ABC ‘Sperm Donors Anonymous’ gets to the heart of issues in donor conception

Marjorie Solomon, Communication Officer

The issue of anonymous sperm donation has been under the spotlight of late in Victoria, partly due to changes in legislation,  partly as a result of VARTA’s exhibition, ‘Donor conception: towards openness’, and now because of the ABC documentary ‘Sperm Donors Anonymous’.

‘Sperm Donors Anonymous’ is a moving exploration of the impact that the anonymous donation of sperm can have on donor-conceived people, donors, and families. Airing tonight on ABC television (Australia), the program follows the experience of people whose lives have been touched by donor conception or, in the case of the donor-conceived people profiled, the direct result of such assisted reproductive treatment.

A range of weighty issues are raised throughout the program, including the importance of parents telling their children they are donor conceived and the positive outcomes for children who are told early in their lives.

‘Sperm Donors Anonymous’ examines the experience of donor-conceived people who have no information about their donor and, subsequently, have a picture of only half of their genetic makeup. Their reflections about the effect on their identity and perceptions of self from not knowing more about their donor and their biological heritage are moving and thought-provoking.

A number of donors also discuss their experiences of donating. Some have connected with donor offspring, some have not. All of the donors interviewed talked about their belief in the right of donor-conceived people to know about their biological heritage. More complex issues are also discussed, including the way in which the passing of time can change how donors feel about their sperm donation and the subsequent creation of donor offspring.

VARTA’s Donor Services Manager Kate Bourne and her work providing donor linking services and support for people affected by donor conception are featured in the documentary.

Infertility and its impact on a person and on family relationships is also examined.

‘Sperm Donors Anonymous’ is broadcast on August 18 at 9.20pm on ABC television. For anyone who is in a position to watch the program – live or on ABC iView – it will be well worth your time.

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