15 March 2012
Melbourne IVF response to the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee recommendation on sperm donation
Last week, the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Commitee presented its report on Inquiry into access by donor conceived persons to information about donors. This enquiry specifically addressed the issue of sperm donation prior to 1988 and the anonymity of donors. One of the recommendations was that all past donors be required to release their identity to the individuals conceived from that donation if requested.
At Melbourne IVF, we believe that the future welfare of the conceived child is central to the facilitation of any donor program.
Dr Lyndon Hale, Medical Director at Melbourne IVF said that nowadays, all men are thoroughly counselled about the long term implications of being a sperm donor, to ensure they understand there may be future contact with the individuals conceived rom their donation once the donor conceived offspring turns 18 years of age.
“Under current legislation, all sperm donors must willingly give their consent to that future contact,” Dr Hale said.
“It is clear that the problems reviewed by the Law Reform Commission deal with the aftermath of the past infertility practices from many years ago, and there is no doubt that these practices, of truly anonymous sperm donation, have for some resulted in a great deal of unhappiness and distress.
“Melbourne IVF enthusiastically supports the facilitation of contact between donor-conceived individuals from our program and their donors if and when requested. Where an individual conceived through sperm donated anonymously prior to 1988 contacts Melbourne IVF, we will do everything within our power to put them in contact with their donor,” he said.
“However, this can only happen with the consent of the donor and we strongly disagree with the Victorian law Reform Commission 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. This position is also that taken by the Fertility Society of Australia and also reflects the NH&MRC guidelines.
“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,” Dr Hale said.