New law gives all donor-conceived Victorians the right to know their heritage

New donor conception laws will be implemented in Victoria on 1 March 2017. This world-first legislation will give all people conceived in Victorian from egg and sperm donation the right to know their donor’s identity.

Donor-conceived people born from sperm, eggs or embryos donated in Victoria before 1998 will have the same rights as those born from donations made from 1998. Previously, the identities of pre-1998 donors could only be released with a donor’s consent while sperm, egg or embryo donors who donated from 1998 could only do so if they agreed that their identities could be made available to their donor offspring when their offspring turned 18.

Contact preferences will be made available to pre-1998 donors and donor-conceived people, allowing them to determine whether or how they have contact with someone who applies to the Central Register for information about them. Contact preferences can be extended to those legal children of pre-1998 donors or donor-conceived people who are younger than 18 years.

Under this legislation, responsibility for managing the donor conception registers has moved from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) to VARTA. This move will enable VARTA’s Donor Conception Register Services to provide a 'one door in' support and information service to donors, donor-conceived people, parents of donor-conceive people, and the families of all. Guidelines for VARTA in managing the donor conception registers have been issued under section 100A(1) of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 by the Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines relate to the performance of functions and the exercise of powers of VARTA in managing the donor conception registers and in undertaking inquires to assist linking parties. The guidelines take effect from 1 March 2017.

Guidelines for VARTA in managing the donor conception registers

More information about the amendments can be found in the Minister for Health and Human Service's media release.

People who have questions or concerns about the legislative changes can call VARTA on +61 (03) 8601 5250 for a confidential discussion.