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.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia are investigating the reasons why people choose to tell or not tell members of their family and wider social network about their involvement in donor conception and are seeking participants in their study.
Who can participate?
Anyone who has participated in any type of donor conception programme (current or past):
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.
Wendy Kramer is Director of the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR). The DSR is a US charity organisation, founded in 2000 by Wendy and her donor-conceived son Ryan, to assist individuals conceived as a result of sperm egg or embryo donation that are seeking to make mutually desired contact with others with whom they share genetic ties. Wendy speaks about the research undertaken by her organisation and the experiences of those people who have linked via DSR.