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.
VARTA's 2019 twilight seminar explored the rise of direct-to-consumer DNA testing and how more people are finding out they are not genetically related to family members in the way they always thought.
The sold out event held on 17 June, examined how DNA testing is also being used together with genealogy and internet searches to trace donors and donor siblings. As this becomes more affordable, more people are accessing it, increasing the chance of connections and these trends have major implications for donor-conceived people, their parents and donors
VARTA's 2018 twilight seminar explored what happens when people who are connected as a result of donor conception treatment learn each other’s identities, exchange information or meet. The sold out event, held on 9 July, examined the latest research into donor linking and its outcomes and listened to the experiences of people who have been through the process.
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.
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’.
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.
New donor conception laws were implemented in Victoria on 1 March 2017. This world-first legislation gives all people conceived in Victorian from egg and sperm donation the right to know their donor’s identity.
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