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Changes to law to allow donor conceived people to find their donors

Changes to law to allow donor conceived people to find their donors

LAST UPDATED // Wednesday, 24 February 2016 14:42 Written by // Rachel Cook

The Victorian Government has announced changes in laws that will allow for all donor-conceived Victorians to be able to access information about their donors.

From March 1, 2017 the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act Amendment Bill 2015 will allow for all donor-conceived Victorians to be able to access available identifying information about their donors and heritage without donor consent.

The amendment to the Bill successfully passed through the Victorian Legislative Council last night.

Previously, only people born from sperm or eggs donated after 1998 could automatically find out available identifying information about their donors when they reach adulthood.

Changes to the law in 2015 meant donor-conceived people born before 1998 could access this information, but only with donor consent.

The Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said the government recognises that it is important for all donor-conceived Victorians to access information about their heritage, no matter when their donors donated:

“We believe all donor-conceived people should have the right to know about their genetic heritage, no matter when their donors donated,” Hennessy said.

“This information can make a huge difference to the lives of donor-conceived Victorians. If this information is available, it shouldn’t be kept from them.”

The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority will manage access to information about donors and provide counselling and support for donors, donor-conceived people and their families.

The new laws establish contact preferences for donors who donated pre-1998 to manage contact or choose no contact, with their donor-conceived offspring. This recognises that these donors donated on the expectation that they could remain anonymous.

Donor-conceived people will also be able to lodge contact preferences where their donors seek identifying information about them.


Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook has worked in both the queer and mainstream media for over a decade. Before becoming editor of Melbourne Community Voice, she was a producer for ABC radio. Her book, Closets are for Clothes: A History of Queer Australia, is currently in use in high schools across Australia.

Comments (2)

  • marilynn

    10 March 2016 at 06:41 |
    A donor is just a person who donates gametes, but once they become people with offspring they fall under the broad definition of parents in the dictionary and in every medical text book ever written. In terms of their particular relationship with their own offspring they are either their mother or father and their relatives are the maternal or paternal relatives of their offspring. The fact that they happened to be gamete donors does not change who they are to their offspring once they are born and the normal laws that apply to anyone with offspring need to apply to them as well otherwise their offspring will have different rights than other people which is unfair and unconstitutional. What other person with offspring has the option of not being known to them? It's a legal requirement to be named on their birth certificates as a matter of public health. There is no reason not to be writing these people's names on their children's birth certificates because people with offspring don't have that right to privacy and anyone who promised them special exceptions for being willing to donate was forgetting that they and their kids are human and part of the general population whose health and heritable conditions are supposed to be recorded as vital statistics. Nobody else gets a right to veto contact with their children, this is absurd that we would give them special exceptions. If they don't want to talk to their children when they are contacted they can tell them so themselves. It won't stop their kids from trying to contact other members of their parents family who might want to know their sibling or grandchild and think that the kid's parent is being a complete jerk. These people are looking for their absent parents. Stop calling people's parents their donors its demeaning and degrading to them as human beings. The people who paid their parents to be absent got the kid to play the roll of their child for 18 years, now let them go back to being who they really are. People think that doing the work of a parent entitles them to be thought of and referred to as a parent, so then the kid is basically playing along with that as desired in exchange for their food and clothing and shelter but once they are on their own they should not have to keep pretending anymore.


  • ivy stone

    02 March 2016 at 18:31 |
    Please see ivystone.com.au for a first hand opinion.


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