Victorian government refuses to create register for ‘informal’ sperm donation

The Victorian government has rejected calls to establish a register of men who donate through informal channels like Facebook.

More lesbians and single women are seeking to have children but fewer men are donating their sperm to formal clinics, probably because recent legislation mandates “open” donations permitting potential children to access their birth records when they turn 18.

Accordingly, donations sourced through Facebook groups and other apps have become an increasingly popular and cheaper alternative.

Informal channels are not regulated, making harder for children to establish their paternity. It also makes it difficult for authorities to enforce laws such as a limit of 10 on the number of families to which each donor can provide sperm.

Some supporters of an informal system have suggested creating a shared register for private sperm donations which would record identifying details of donors for their offspring. According to The Age,

“Adam Hooper, who runs Sperm Donation Australia, a Facebook group that boasts more than 11,000 members and matches donors with people hoping to start or expand their families, said he made such a proposal to the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority a few years ago but never heard back.”

The state government says that it has big plans for the IVF sector -- a A$70 million commitment in this year’s state budget to establish public IVF services and Victoria’s first public sperm and egg bank.

“Public IVF services and a public sperm and egg bank will help address the risks posed by informal sperm donation practices and provide Victorians with an accessible alternative,” said a government spokesman.

The government also pointed out that a register for informal donors was not recommended as part of its major inquiry into assisted reproductive treatment in Victoria in 2018.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge  

MORE ON THESE TOPICS | sperm donation, victoria

This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed

comments powered by Disqus