More than 160 people attended the 2018 Louis Waller Lecture, ‘Looking back: the early days of donor conception in Victoria’, making it VARTA’s largest Louis Waller Lecture to date.
The evening, launched by the Victorian Minister for Health the Hon Jill Hennessy MP by video, and compèred by VARTA Chairperson Kirsten Mander, was particularly special because the keynote speech was delivered by Emeritus Professor Waller himself.
I have always known that my husband was a sperm donor while at university in the 70s.
It was undertaken on a strictly confidential basis and over the years we really did not give it much of a thought.
All this changed when my husband saw an advertisement in a National newspaper announcing that sperm donor children now had the right to find out who their biological fathers were and asked for people to come forward if they felt they wanted to assist in this process.
For people seeking to create a family using donor eggs or sperm, it is important to understand the laws governing the process; and in particular, to know that, in Australia, donations can only be made on an altruistic basis – in other words, donors cannot be paid for use of their eggs or sperm.
Following Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes investigation Baby Business, broadcast on Sunday 18 September, it appears that confusion exists about this issue and the way in which the law defines payment.
Elizabeth, a parent of three donor-conceived adults born as a result of donor treatment in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne, recounts her experience of early donor treatment and having donor-conceived children.
The Victorian Labour Government is committed to giving all donor-conceived people the right to access identifying information about their donors regardless of when they were born.
Proposed measures are outlined in a discussion paper released 29 June, 2015.
The Victorian donor registers consist of the Central Register and the Voluntary Register. Both registers were managed by the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. The Registrar provided VARTA with data for the period of 30 June 2016 from the donor registers for monitorin and public education purposes. A statistical snapshot of the numbers of people who have accessed the Central Register and Voluntary Register, as well as some information about their applications is provided for download.
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’.
Victorian Parliament passes donor information amendments
New legislation giving Victorians conceived through donor sperm donated before 1988 the right to access identifying information about their donors with their donor's consent was passed on August 21, 2014, and took effect 29 June 2015.
The Q&A briefing provides more information on the amendments and their implications.