Sperm donors to be identified, whether they like it or not

CHILDREN born from donated sperm would be able to trace the anonymous donors - without their consent - under changes flagged for the next sitting of SA Parliament.

Health Minister Peter Malinauskas concedes there will be 'pockets of unease in the community' about releasing identifying details of anonymous donors without their consent.

However, he said people born from assisted reproductive techniques (A.R.T) should have the same rights to information about their parents as those who are conceived naturally.

The announcement in SA State Parliament was welcomed by people in the public gallery who had lobbied for the change.

Health Minister Peter Malinauskas. Photo Sam Wundke
Health Minister Peter Malinauskas. Photo Sam Wundke

It follows a review of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 undertaken by Dr Sonia Allan, an expert in assisted reproductive treatment who has an international reputation in the field.

Mr Malinauskas tabled the government's response to the review noting Dr Allan consulted extensively with clinics and groups interested in A.R.T. over an extended period.

He said her review and recommendations, provided to the government earlier this year, provided extensive recommendations to help improve outcomes for people accessing A.R.T. treatments and the children born as a result.

"I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Dr Allan in the gallery today, as well as members of the donor conceived community, who have joined us today," Mr Malinauskas told Parliament.

"The key recommendations of the review were for the establishment of a donor conception register and to increase the role of Government in the regulation of the industry.

"The basis of Dr Allan's recommendation about a donor conception register is that donor conceived people should be able to access identifying information about their donors, without the donor's consent, to ensure that those people have the same right to information about their genetic parentage as those who are conceived naturally.

"To do this would require legislative change which, as we reach the end of the Parliamentary term, we have run out of time to appropriately draft and adequately consult on.

"Today I committed to progress legislation in the next Parliament, and while I acknowledge that there may be pockets of unease in the community, I am sure that they will be considered in a respectful manner, with the best interest of children born as a result of donor conception, as one of the new Parliament's main priorities."

Mr Malinauskas said SA Health will continue to work through 'the mammoth task' of sorting through historical A.R.T. records, so all documentation that can be made available will be available when the planned Donor Conception Register is created.

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