A Better Sense Of Identity For Donor-Conceived Victorians

28 February 2017

All donor-conceived Victorians can now access available identifying information about their donors and heritage regardless of when they were born, under new laws that come into effect from today.

Previously, only people born from sperm or eggs donated after 1998 could automatically find out available identifying information about their donors. Changes to the law in 2015 meant donor-conceived people born before 1998 could access this information, but only with donor consent.

Now, under laws introduced by the Andrews Labor Government that come into effect today, people born before 1998 will be able to access the same identifying information as those born after 1998.

The change recognises that it’s important for all donor-conceived Victorians to access information about their heritage, no matter when their donors donated.

The new laws will give donor-conceived people a better sense of identity and knowledge about their genetic heritage. It’s also critical for medical treatments and family planning.

This information includes the name of the donor, ethnic origins, physical characteristics and any genetic conditions. This basic information is an incredibly important part of who we are.

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

Through VARTA, 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 some 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. Neither a donor nor a donor-conceived person is compelled to have a relationship.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“From today, all donor-conceived Victorians can piece together a complete picture of who they are.”

“For too long, the rights of donor-conceived Victorians to access information about their donor has been based on arbitrary timeframes. This inequity was unfair, and that’s why we created one rule that applies to all.”

“We know the impact of not knowing your genetic make-up is clear. If this information is available, donor-conceived people should have the right to access it.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) CEO Louise Johnson

“VARTA is providing a ‘one door in’ service with responsibility for donor conception registers, managing applications and providing information, support and counselling.”

“This means donors, donor-conceived people and their families will have a streamlined and holistic service.”

“We also have the ability to search for missing information that may assist in completing the puzzle where pre-1998 donor records are incomplete.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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