31 March 2012

Inquiry into Donor-Conceived People Privacy

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IVF Australia

IVFAustralia's Medical Director A/Prof Peter Illingworth comments on the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee's Final Report on the Inquiry into Access by Donor-Conceived People to Information about Donors. 

This week, the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee presented its report.  One of the recommendations was that all past donors should be required to release their identity to the individuals conceived from that donation.

At IVFAustralia, we too believe that the future welfare of the conceived child is central to the organisation of any donor programme.  Nowadays, all of our sperm donors understand that there may be future contact with the individuals conceived from their donation and willingly give their consent to that future contact. 

“We ensure that all of our donors are carefully and thoroughly counselled about the long-term implications of being a sperm donor and strictly limit each donor to only creating a maximum of four families,” said A/Prof Peter Illingworth, Medical Director IVFAustralia.

“It is clear that the problems reviewed by the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee deal with the aftermath of the past infertility practices from many years ago.  It is now generally accepted that these practices, of truly anonymous sperm donation have had the unforseen consequence of a great deal of unhappiness and distress in the individuals conceived at that time,” he explained.

“In doing what we can to mitigate this distress, we enthusiastically support the facilitation of contact between donor-conceived individuals from our programme and their donors.  We are strongly supportive of the New South Wales voluntary donor sperm register,” said Prof Illingworth.

“Where a donor-conceived individual contacts IVFAustralia we will do everything within our power to put them in contact with their donor. However, this can only happen with the consent of the donor and we strongly disagree with the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee recommendation this week suggesting Victoria’s laws should be changed to allow donor-conceived people to obtain identifying information about their biological parent without the donor’s consent.

“In the past, anonymous sperm donors generously agreed to make an altruistic gift to enable other people to have a family.  As part of that arrangement, the donors were promised complete anonymity and privacy.  It is unconscionable,  that we should now go back on that promise with all the consequences for the donors and their own families,” concluded Prof Illingworth.

MEDIA: For more information please contact Nicole Phillips - 0408 280 499

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