Pre 1988 donor-conceived people can now apply for information about their donors following the implementation the 2014 amendments to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 on 29th June.
The changes to the laws mean that all donor-conceived people, regardless of when they were conceived, can apply to the donor registers for information about their donor. Information will be provided if records can be located and the donor consents to the release of their identifying information.
The child’s right to know and family law orders was the title of the 2016 Louis Waller Lecture presented by His Honour Chief Judge John Pascoe held on 9 November at the State Library of Victoria, with almost 120 people in the audience.
Helen* was conceived using donor sperm. Her sperm donor died before she was able to contact him, but she has since connected with her donor’s son and with other donor-siblings through the Voluntary Register.
When did you find out that you were donor-conceived? How was that experience?
The increasing popularity of DNA ancestral testing such as 23andme and ancestry.com means that some people are finding out that they are not genetically connected with family members in the way that they may have thought. At the same time, there are those who have done DNA tests and found themselves matching with strangers whose relationship to them may be described as parent or half sibling.
The Donor Legacy Project aims to provide resources that can assist donors to create and submit information to the Voluntary Register. We use the word ‘legacy’ in our title as we are aware that many donors are aging, may be unwell or unfortunate circumstances may occur. By documenting information or creating a legacy, offspring will be able to grasp an understanding of the donor.
Not every donor-linking story is the same, some are confined to polite exchanges of cards or emails, while others develop into lasting relationships. Each outcome is unique and determine by the people involved.
There are many opportunities in Victoria for people to find local egg or embryo donors. There are also people in the state who have eggs or embryos in storage who would like to find a person or couple to whom they would feel comfortable donating.
- The number of IVF treatment cycles using a patient's own (thawed) frozen eggs - frozen for social or medical reasons - more than doubles in two years in Victoria
- Victorian ICSI use declines, but still well above the national average
- Sperm donor numbers increase but clinics remain unable to meet demand