Hello, my name is Ian. I am the biological father of nine children. Two of my offspring live with me and seven I have never met.
Prior to 1988, sperm and egg donations were practised anonymously. Donors and parents who used the donations rarely told others about their experience. As society has changed and become more open, the law and this practice in Victoria has changed. Parents are encouraged to tell their child about how they became a family with the help of a donor. Donors are counselled in treatment clinics to be open about their donation to their partner, children, and extended family - especially as donor-conceived people or their parents are able to apply for information about them.
After three years of trying to conceive without success Jessica Busuttil and her husband Phillip were told that Phillip had a condition called azoospermia, which, in layman terms, means that Phillip had no sperm.
“This diagnosis was totally unexpected,” Jessica explained. “It was an extremely difficult and emotional time in our lives – we just felt lost.”
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.
Barbara and Lauren (mother and daughter) tell their story of donor conception.
Barbara, after nearly quarter of a century of keeping the secret of her daughters' conceptions, tells them they are donor conceived.
Lauren, who was 21 when she was told of her conception, tells us her experience of being on the receiving end of this news.
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.
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.