New Law Gives All Donor-Conceived Victorians The Right To Know Their Heritage

23 February 2016

All donor-conceived Victorians will now be able to access available identifying information about their donors and heritage from 1 March 2017 without donor consent.

The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act Amendment Bill 2015 tonight successfully passed through the Victorian Legislative Council without amendment.

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 new law addresses this inequality and recognises that it is important for all donor-conceived Victorians to access information about their heritage, no matter when their donors donated.

From 1 March 2017, the Andrews Labor Government’s amendments will mean that people born before 1998 will be able to access the same identifying information without the need for the donor’s consent.

Knowledge about one’s heritage can contribute to a person’s sense of identity and is critical for medical treatments and family planning.

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.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

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

“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.”

"I wish to acknowledge the work of the Parliament in passing this important piece of legislation."

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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