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Donor conceived children have a right to know their biological and genetic origins, Queensland Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Safety Committee has found.

The Committee has recommended that identifying information about donors, including their medical history, be made available on request to all donor conceived persons when they reach the age of 18.

The proposed changes will be retrospective – that is to say, still apply to those who have donated in the past on the basis of anonymity.

The Committee also recommended that information about the gender and year of birth of donor conceived siblings be made available on request to donor conceived persons.

FamilyVoice Australia made a submission to the inquiry.  FamilyVoice’s submission stated that:

Donor conceived children have a right to know their biological and genetic origin, including full identifying information about their genetic parents. Access to such information should be available on request at age 18, or earlier with the agreement of the legal parents.

This right should not be dependent on the date of the procedure which led to their conception or on any guarantees of anonymity given to sperm donors in the past. No one – neither clinic nor the state – has the right to offer anonymous fatherhood to a man in order to obtain his sperm to conceive a child.

While FamilyVoice’s recommendation that children have access to the records with parental consent was not taken up, permitting donor-conceived adults to access the information is a step in the right direction.

The Committee has recommended that a donor conception register be established with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages to house the information.

But while the register will be mandatory in relation to donor conception achieved within a fertility clinic, it will be voluntary to those who have pursued donor conception in “private” arrangements meaning there will still be a gap in the law.