A Right to Know
Giving Donor Conceived people the right to access
information identifying their donor.
The Victorian Government is committed to giving all donor-conceived people the right to access identifying information about their donors.
Whether it's to know more about their heritage, to learn their medical history, or so that they can try to connect with the generous individuals who donated to give them life, all donor-conceived Victorians should have the same rights to access information about where they came from.
Currently, the rights of donor-conceived people to obtain identifying information about their donors is inconsistent and confusing - it arbitrarily depends on when gametes (reproductive cells) were donated.
The Government’s proposed amendments will remove these random time constraints, and give all donor-conceived people the same rights to access identifying information about their donors.
The Government does recognise that some donations made prior to 1988 were done so on the basis of anonymity, and the proposed changes take this into account through the provision of contact preferences.
The Government has released a Discussion Paper, ‘The Right to Know’, which outlines how the proposed changes will work in practice.
It details how donor-conceived people will be able to apply for information, how contact preferences will apply, and how donors and donor-conceived people will be supported through this process.
The Government is calling for submissions on this Discussion Paper.
Submissions need to be made by by Friday, 4 September 2015 and can be done via:
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Assisted Reproductive Treatment Policy Manager
50 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne, VIC - 3000
Alternatively, to request a copy of the discussion paper mailed to you call (03) 9096 8750 .
This legislation will be world leading, no other jurisdiction has ever moved to legislate to cover the rights of ALL donor conceived people. The DCSG thanks the Victorian Government for its understanding of the needs to donor conceived people.
What Registers are available in Australia?
Sperm Donors Anonymous
is a cautionary and inspiring tale about the effects of anonymous sperm donation on donor-conceived children, their families and on the sperm donors themselves.
PREMIERE SCREENING ON AUGUST 18TH AT 9:20AM ON ABC.
Myf, Michael, Jeff and Ross were conceived in the 1970s using anonymous donor sperm. All four grew up thinking their dad was their biological father, only to discover in adulthood they were donor-conceived. Sharing a desire to uncover the truth about their donor father and their genetic heritage, their search for answers is hampered by old promises to donors that they would remain anonymous. Faced with this obstacle, they are inventive in their efforts to find out what they can, and searching yields some very surprising results.
Sperm Donors Anonymous lifts the lid on donor anonymity, looks at the effects on the donor-conceived, their families, and on the sperm donors themselves – and shows what is possible when the truth is told.
For more information click HERE
Social equity journalism winner at the Walkley Awards was Belinda Hawkin’s
“Searching for C11 Part One”
“Searching for C11 Part Two”
“Breaking the Code”
“Searching for C11” – the search by donor-conceived children for their biological fathers –uncorked Australia’s untold story in the age of IVF. Australian Story followed three young women searching to make sense of laws written in the 1980s that prevented them knowing who their donor fathers were.
The culmination of two years’ work, Belinda Hawkins’ story charts the human cost of reproductive treatments and examines complex issues surrounding donor confidentiality. It highlights the rights of the child, while raising serious questions about legislative shortfall and the practices of donor insemination clinics. It follows one of the women, Lauren Burns, as she discovers she is the grandchild of Professor Manning Clark, and captures the moment when she meets the wider Clark family.
Belinda Hawkins’ revelations that original patient records at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital were deliberately damaged prompted an internal investigation, while NSW MP John Barilaro called for an independent inquiry. The Victorian Upper House passed groundbreaking legislation several days after the second part of the program was aired.
Judges’ Comments: “This story had an impressive dramatic tension, and handled with nuance a complex ethical and social issue that will only get bigger as more donor-conceived children come forward for answers. Hawkins framed an issue that wasn’t in the public consciousness and put it into the public domain. It’s the essence of what the social equity category is about – compelling storytelling with powerful impact that leaves the viewer better informed.”
Adelaide-born artist Kim Buck's search for donor father number 12
891 ABC Adelaide
By Eloise Fuss
Posted 21 Nov 2014, 11:39amFri 21 Nov 2014, 11:39am
Seeping through Kim Buck's acclaimed artwork is a quiet sense of struggle, a tension she suspects may stem from her unsolvable donor mystery.
After finding out at 16 that she was conceived through donated sperm, the only information South Australian born Ms Buck has been able to uncover is his donor number - 12.
"I think I just imagined it would be an easy process," Ms Buck told 891 ABC Adelaide.
"I know this information, I know the clinic, I know the treating doctor.
"Now, can I find out that other very significant information about my heritage?"
But the process has not proved simple.
In terms of a sense of self identity, self concept, a medical history, where half on my appearance comes from, they're very fundamental things that the vast majority of people have access to.
Born in 1984 at the Flinders Medical Clinic, Ms Buck has been told all donor records from the time of her birth were deliberately destroyed by the facility.
"I was able to get in touch with my mum's treating doctor who was very well-known and well-respected in this assisted reproductive technology area," she said.
"His words were 'they thought they were doing the best thing at the time, because there was no legislation protecting the rights of the donor'."
Ms Buck said it is "bamboozling" that this crucial information was destroyed, leaving her unable to access simple answers about her origins.
"To be honest, I would be happy with a photograph and a little bit of a medical history," she said.
"I have a dad and it's not about replacing a dad figure in any way.
"But in terms of a sense of self-identity, self-concept, a medical history, where half on my appearance comes from ... they're very fundamental things that the vast majority of people have access to."
Is it nature or nurture?
Ms Buck said she shares her mum's physical attributes and passion for art, but is intrigued by a number of her qualities that are not as easily explained, and could stem from her donor.
"Despite the fact I'm an artist now I've had a very strong interest in science throughout my life," she said.
"I did quite well at school in the science and maths arena and mum definitely doesn't have any interest in that respect.
"Probably an interest in fitness and the outdoors as well, I don't know where that's come from."
Ms Buck said one the biggest challenges was when her younger brother was able to retrieve his donor records.
"He was born in 1989, by which time they were keeping much more thorough records, and he had no trouble whatsoever in the process to meet his donor.
"To see my brother have a sense of resolution and conclusion about that part of him and his life - whilst it was amazing to see him have that opportunity - it hurt as well."
Art imitating life
Ms Buck said it did not originally occur to her that this struggle could be playing out in her artwork, which often features restless figures.
"It's something somebody mentioned maybe seven or eight years ago once they found out about this donor conception part of who I am.
"They inferred that perhaps subconsciously that's what's being processed through the art, and it's in all likelihood true."
In her detailed charcoal drawings she rarely depicts faces and a feeling of isolation and struggle pervades her art.
"There's a sense through pretty much all the work that these anonymous figures are kind of struggling against something, whether it's forces or fear or the unknown or gravity.
"Looking at it through this particular lens of not knowing that big chunk of my personal history, it makes perfect sense."
Continuing to face this mystery, Ms Buck is comforted by a recent increase in conversation and around the issue of donor conception and the rights of those involved.
"People are talking and being open about it, sharing resources in a way. We've all got completely different stories but can help each other."
Hope for legislation change
Ms Buck currently lives in Melbourne and next year will be part of the first Australian national conference for donor-conceived people.
This will coincide with a Victorian legislative amendment to be introduced which will increase the rights of donor children to access information about their conception.
"All these late 70s early 80s babies are reaching an age where we're really more able to advocate, to speak for ourselves, and try find something that is better," Ms Buck said.
"And a lot of people in this age group are having their families and it's bringing up all of these issues for them."
She hopes this momentum will also reach her home state.
"I believe the family law act is still from the 1970s and there's not even a voluntary register or anything of this nature in South Australia, so we're very far behind the eight ball," she said.
Whilst Ms Buck has hope for the increased rights of modern donor-conceived babies, this will not change the continuing anonymity of her own origins.
"It is a strong need in me to have that resolution. It feels like a part of me is completely unresolved, and no matter what I do I can't fix it, there's a big gap there," she said.
"But I would like to make it very clear that I'm very grateful to be alive, and I wouldn't be if it wasn't for the generous donation of that anonymous donor number 12."