Consultation with donors who donated gametes in Victoria, Australia before 1998: Access by donor-conceived people to information about donors

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned ReportResearch

Abstract

The report of the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee (LRC) of the Inquiry into Access by Donor-Conceived People to Information about Donors was published in March 2012. Among the LRC?s recommendations was that information identifying donors should be released on request by donor-conceived people, irrespective of whether donors had been assured of anonymity when they donated or had donated at a time when their consent was required for the release of identifying information. The Victorian Government sought further knowledge of the views of donors directly affected by potential legislative change: those who donated before 1998. It commissioned the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) to consult those donors about their opinions of some of the key recommendations, particularly about suggested changes to the release of identifying information. VARTA contracted Monash University researchers to interview donors and analyse the results in order to ensure confidentiality, rigour, and neutrality. In an extensive publicity campaign in January and February 2013 sperm and egg donors who donated in Victoria before 1998 were invited to take part in the consultation. The 42 donors (36 sperm donors, six egg donors) who participated were diverse in age (40-73), place and year of donation (1970-1997), disclosure patterns, outcome of their donations, and whether or not they had been approached by donor offspring or joined the Voluntary Register (see page 8). Only seven reported having made a submission to the LRC inquiry. Because records of donations are incomplete, the total number of donors is unknown and it is impossible to assess whether these 42 donors constitute a representative sample. However, the diversity of characteristics, the range of opinions, and the inclusion of donors who have not previously made their views known suggest that the results represent more than a narrow segment of donors. The number of participants exceeded expectations. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore donors? opinions of the LRC?s recommendations and their thoughts about the effect on their lives of introducing these recommendations into legislation. Factual information was also collected. Researchers were careful not to initiate discussion of any specific organisation including VARTA and the Victorian Registry of of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCollins Street West, Melbourne
PublisherVictorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority
Number of pages106
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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