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Assisted Reproduction

Australia To Mandate Donor Registries?

An Australian Senate Committee is considering, among other things, legislation that will create national egg and sperm registries:

Australians conceived through sperm or egg donations could be allowed to track their donors through a national registry if the government adopts new recommendations on the issue. Under the proposed changes, they would be given greater rights, while donors would be made to adhere to stricter limits on the number of donations they make.

Estimates suggest there are at least 60,000 people in Australia who have been conceived through donor practices, yet the area is one that has been largely ignored. Labor senator Trish Crossin said governments had glossed over the issue for decades, resulting in the “quite appalling” lack of legislation in half of Australia’s eight jurisdictions. Tasmania, Queensland and the two territories have no laws at all regarding donor conception practices.

A Senate committee on Thursday handed down 32 recommendations, chief among them a proposal to introduce a national registry – a go-to spot for all donor information. Donor-conceived people would then be able to identify their donor once they reached 18 years of age. Donors would not be able to identify their offspring – unless the children gave their consent. Siblings would also need to give their approval to be identified to their half-brothers or sisters.

Senator Crossin said the feelings and the legal rights of this special group of Australians had long been neglected. “What we found was just this huge gigantic jigsaw puzzle that really, when you put the pieces together, they did not match,” Senator Crossin told the upper house. “There was no legal basis, there is no protection, there is limited access to information and there is very limited rights for these people.”


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