Victoria's sperm donor laws yield some surprises, but mostly happy ones
At least half of the donors who had donated anonymously were in favour of their offspring being able to know their identity. Shutterstock
Read Carolyn's story about her experiences as a donor's wife.
Over the last few decades many thousands of people have been born as a result of donor sperm or eggs in Victoria. As they reach adulthood, some yearn to know more about their genetic origins and some donors want to know more about the people they helped conceive. Donor linking is the process by which donor-conceived people (DCP), parents of donor-conceived children and donors can access information about each other.
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 donation program. Now, more than 35 years later, Aaron has connected with two of his donor offspring and is seeking contact with others.
Twenty years after donating sperm at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Melbourne, Carl* learnt that he had two donor daughters.
The news came as a surprise. Years earlier Carl had been informed that no children had been born from his donation. But the revised information, delivered in 2006, revealed that two girls were born in the late 1980s at another clinic, which had used sperm donated at the Queen Victoria.
Dr Deborah Dempsey, Associate Professor in Sociology, Swinburne University of Technology speaks on the topic, 'Why do people apply to the donor conception registers?' at the Twilight Seminar, 'Experiences of donor linking: Research and personal perspectives' hosted by the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) on 9 July 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.
The ‘Donor conception: towards openness’ exhibition, which is currently showing at the City Library Gallery, Flinders Lane, Melbourne, is more than worth a visit.
The exhibition offers a moving collection of art, photography and archival material that inspires a range of emotional responses. Striking photographs are accompanied by summaries of the person or people pictured; many of the summaries are poignant, some are joyful, all are touching.
Your introductory letter or email is often the first form of contact you have with someone to whom you are connected by donation. This information sheet provides advice on what to say, tips and tricks for a positive outcome, and where to go from here.