Sperm & Egg Donor Laws in Australia
October 23, 2019

Sperm Donation: All You Need To Know

New South Wales, Australia

There are a number of reasons why an intended parent might require a sperm donor, in order to achieve their goal of having a child. A sperm donor is used when an intended parent either does not have a male partner, their male partner cannot father a child due to him not producing sperm, there is a disease or a genetic defect which results in his infertility.

Each year a number of babies are born in New South Wales (NSW) as a result of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatment using donor sperm. Prior to the commencement of the ART Act on 1 January 2010, sperm was donated anonymously.

The law in NSW, The Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 (ART Act) and Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation 2014 (ART Regulation), established an ART Central Donor Register to contain information about donors and children born as a result of ART treatment using donated gametes (sperm or eggs).

The result of this is that we are required to provide detailed personal information about the donor to The Central Donor Register.

The ART Act entitles all donor-conceived children, born in NSW, the right to apply to the Central Donor Register, once they turn 18, to obtain information about their biological parents.

What is the difference between “anonymous” and “known” sperm donation?

Before the implementation of the ART Act, sperm donation was widely anonymous. An anonymous sperm donor’s personal details are completely confidential, so there is no way for the intended parents or the donor-conceived child to contact the donor or vice versa.

Although pre-2010, anonymous sperm donation was completely acceptable, today, anonymous donation is no longer available in NSW. This is because the donor-conceived child should have the right to know their genetic history as well as a desire to know more about their biological family. The issue too surrounding anonymity is that a donor-conceived child is often acutely aware that they do not look like their mom or dad and may feel isolated or that they do not belong; causing personal psychosocial concerns.

This practice created the situation where individuals born as a result of ART treatment using donated gametes were unable to identify with a biological parent which can be extremely distressing and can inevitably create medical and social conundrums for all parties involved.

Mandatory information:

At Donor-Gamete South Africa (DGSA) we must provide the following mandatory identifying information about the sperm donor:

  • Full name, residential address, date and place of birth
  • The ethnicity and physical characteristics
  • Any medical history or genetic test results of the donor or the donor’s family that are relevant to the future health of:
    • A person undergoing ART treatment involving the use of the donated sperm or
    • Any offspring born as a result of that treatment, or
    • Any descendant of any such offspring
  • Sex and year of birth of other offspring arising from the donation
  • Name of each ART provider who has previously obtained donated sperm from the donor and the date on which the sperm was obtained

The recipient/parents are required by the ART Act, to supply the following information to the NSW Ministry of Health for the Central Register regarding any live birth resulting from ART treatment using donated sperm where conception occurred. The information must be provided within two months of the birth:

  • Full name, sex and date of birth
  • Full name of the woman who gave birth to the child
  • Full name, date and place of birth of the sperm donor

Donor-conceived children will not be able to access the mandatory information that has been collected by us, the ART Providers until they turn 18 years of age. However, parents of those who were donor-conceived can apply for non-identifying information (ethnicity & physical characteristics of the donor; medical history of the donor) contained on the Central Register about the donor.

Identifying information (location, surname, contact details) about a donor can only be provided to parents under special circumstances in the event of a medical emergency or life-threatening scenario.

Voluntary Information:

Since the implementation of the ART Act, the NSW Ministry of Health has worked diligently to develop internal procedures for the exchange of voluntary information designed to assist donors and donor-conceived children who want to have information about each other. However because the NSW Ministry of Health does not hold health records, ART providers, such as ourselves, are required to assist in the facilitation of the exchange of voluntary information.

Both donors and donor-conceived children can register information about themselves on the Central Register. Donors who donated sperm before the commencement of the ART Act can also register their details on the Central Register. Where both the donor and the donor-conceived child have given their consent to do so, information about each other can be exchanged.

Conclusion:

DGSA is a dedicated facility, located in Cape Town, established to assist patients requiring donor gametes in NSW to achieve their goal of having a child.

We recruit young healthy males who have normal sperm and fulfil all the testing criteria, including medical and genetic testing as well as having counselling and pass the specific requirements that local Australian donors are required to pass. In addition, they are compliant with the laws governing donation of gametes in South Africa and in Australian specifically the state of New South Wales.

For more information, please do get in touch with us here

Reference: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au

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