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Australian donor conception report published

14 March 2011
Appeared in BioNews 599

An Australian Senate Standing Committee has published a report calling for widespread updates to the law governing donor conception, including greater monitoring of compliance among clinics and practitioners and the development of new forms of oversight to support the current regulatory framework.

The Senate's Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee report calls for the standardisation of donor conception law across Australia with the introduction of regulation in Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory where no such legislation currently exists.

It recommends legislation should include a minimum requirement that donor anonymity be prohibited, a cap on the number of families a donor can assist, the right of the donor-conceived to identifying (and non-identifying) information about their donor and siblings, as well as more general welfare protections.

It further calls upon the Australian Government to give consideration to monitor private donor conception arrangements through the creation of a national register or, at the least, state and territorial registers with consistent content and access arrangements. The arrangements would enable donors to discover identifying information about those conceived via their donations as well as the data on donor and siblings for those who are donor-conceived.

The Committee recommends the creation of voluntary registers for those involved in private arrangements and the provision of DNA data banking facilities to enable donors and the donor-conceived to be matched where identifying records are otherwise destroyed or absent. A moratorium on the destruction of records is recommended as an interim measure pending the development of new, consistent, long-term storage plans for records across Australia.

The proposals to reform clinical oversight includes the creation of an 'ombudsman-type mechanism or health complaint commission' for donor-conceived individuals and those taking part in assisted reproductive technology procedures.

Further suggestions include a ban on imported gametes except where it is difficult to obtain gametes from a person of the same ethnic background; a limit of four families for the provision of donations from a single individual; the standardisation of consent forms for donors and the inclusion of donor information on all birth certificates.

The Committee writes it hopes the report 'will assist in raising awareness in all states and territories about the issue of donor conception, particularly in those jurisdictions that do not have legislation regulating donor conception practices'.


Australian donor conception forum
Australian donor conception forum |  11 March 2011
Donor conception practices in Australia report
Parliament of Australia - Senate |  10 February 2011
Inquiry into donor conception practices in Australia
British Fertility Society News |  7 March 2011
Murky business of donor conception is having a brutal effect on the offspring
The Australian |  19 February 2011
2 April 2012 - by Rosemary Paxman 
A law reform committee in the Australian state of Victoria has recommended that all donor-conceived people should be able to access identifying information about their donors...
5 September 2011 - by Dr Sonia Allan 
An Australian commercial television station recently ran a news story about a donor-conceived woman who has heritable bowel cancer (1). She did not inherit it from her mother. She is denied access to information about her sperm donor because he donated before laws in Victoria enabled information to be released to the donor-conceived. She cannot contact her eight half-siblings, who share that donor, to warn them they may be at risk...
27 June 2011 - by Professor Naomi Cahn and Wendy Kramer 
The fertility industry in the US state of Washington will be transformed in late July 2011, when a new law to recognise rights of donor-conceived people comes into effect. Under the changes, anyone who provides gametes to a fertility clinic in the state must also provide identifying information about themselves and their medical history...
7 March 2011 - by Alan Doran 
One of the things that makes working at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) extremely worthwhile is we address topics that matter to many different people and groups. Unsurprisingly, there are many shades of opinion about the issues. Often, these views extend to passing judgement on our general competence and performance. The Government's proposals about the future of arm's-length bodies have added piquancy to this strand of public discussion...
21 February 2011 - by Damian Adams and Dr Marilyn Crawshaw 
By one of those strange coincidences, Australia has just completed its review of donor conception services while the UK is just embarking on one. While many of the areas that they look at are similar, there is much to ponder about their very different ways of approaching it. The Australian Inquiry was conducted at federal level while in the UK the regulatory body, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)is involved...
7 February 2011 - by Ben Jones 
An Australian gay couple who entered into a paid surrogacy arrangement has won a legal battle to acquire full paternity rights for the non-genetic father....
6 December 2010 - by Professor Eric Blyth 
Australia has been a noted pacemaker in the field of assisted reproduction. It was the first nation to report embryo relinquishment for family-building, and a pregnancy and live birth from a previously cryopreserved human embryo. The Australian state of Victoria was among the world's first jurisdictions to remove the rights of gamete and embryo donors to remain anonymous...
12 April 2010 - by London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics Centre 
The regulations governing the reimbursement of donors and the withdrawal of donor anonymity in the UK have combined to ensure that there are insufficient egg donors to meet requirements...
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