Quote from the "Son of a Surrogate" Blog

Quote from the "Son of a Surrogate" Blog

It looks to me like I was bought and sold. You can dress it up with as many pretty words as you want. You can wrap it up in a silk freaking scarf. You can pretend these are not your children. You can say it is a gift or you donated your egg to the IM. But the fact is that someone has contracted you to make a child, give up your parental rights and hand over your flesh and blood child. I dont care if you think I am not your child, what about what I think! Maybe I know I am your child.When you exchange something for money it is called a commodity.

Friday, August 9, 2013

What are the rights of donor conceived persons? Newman, Buchalter, and Blankenhorn

Alana Newman and Ralph Buchalter join David Blankenhorn to explore the intricate ethical and moral issues surrounding third party reproduction and the anonymous practices of an industry often hidden from public view. Along the way they explore the conflict between different narratives of personal and family identity, and importance of knowing and coming to terms with how our families come into being.

Is it a Right to have be able to have children

By having sperm donation, egg donation and surrogacy available to those who can afford the services there is an argument forming by the Donor Conception industry that yes, it is a person's right to have children. When that view is taken the child's wants and needs are automatically placed as secondary to those of the parents.
Recently as I've been voicing my opinion about Donor Conception I've been getting asked well what do you think about adoption, it's another scenario where there are large sums of money being exchanged for a family to acquire a child. To me there is a HUGE difference between the two. That lays with the intention. When it comes to adoption there is a NEED for the child who is already in the world to be in a home. Whereas when utilizing donor conception technologies we are meeting the perspective parents WANT. In both cases the child will be split up from the biological family, but in the world of donor conception the split from the entire biological family is INTENTIONAL.
It should be a right to know  where we come from and who our biological parents are. I more especially believe this when it comes to the donor conception world due to the fact that every adult involved is a willing participant. When you look at the states that do have any legislation towards surrogacy, no state has given the product being the created the right to know their origin. I believe that the intended parents a lot of time have fear that by allowing their child to have a relationship with a surrogate in particular what if the surrogate feels that the child is theirs and sues back for custody. (I do personally know of instances where women I know who have done traditionally surrogacies have regretted their decision and sued back for joint custody of their child.) Again to protect the intended parents I believe that's why there is nothing out their legislatively to abolish the anonymity of the donor conception.
I recently read on a surrogacy board, a surrogate said that she at times wondered how her surrogate child would feel about the financial transaction, but then she stops herself by acknowledging that the child wouldn't be here without the financial transaction that took place. To me that proves the point the the child conceived through donor conception is a commodity up for sale. How do we as a society determine at what point it is wrong for money to exchange hands for a child? If a surrogacy arrangement is made during the gestation of the child and papers are signed then it is considered human trafficking (at least by California's laws). However, if those same papers in California are signed before the sperm and egg meet then it's ok. As a product of donor conception to me it's irrelevant as to when the paperwork got signed, that part of the process no effect on me compared to other aspects of how the surrogacy arrangement was handled. If a child is already in this world and a parent doesn't want them it's illegal for them to sell their child but I'm sure that someone who wants a child would be willing to pay. I believe that it is still selling a human being as a product when there is money that exchanges hands. In Canada they have abolished all forms of payment when it comes to sperm and egg donation, and only allow altruistic donations.  By answering yes, that it should be a right for anyone to be a parent, we further turn the child into a commodity.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Study done in the UK highlighting the psychological dificulties for children of donor conception

Surrogate-born children are more likely to suffer depression than those carried by their real mother
By Emma Innes
  • Children struggle to cope with the idea that they were carried by a woman other than their mother
  • But have less difficulty with the thought that they are not biologically related to the people bringing them up
  • Children carried by a surrogate are more likely to display behavioural and emotional problems
Children born to a surrogate mother have more emotional difficulties than those carried by their biological mother, according to new research.
But children have less problems coping with the idea that they were conceived using a donor egg and sperm and are not related to their parents.
The study suggests that children find it more difficult to handle the idea that they were carried by another woman than that they are not biologically related to their parents.
For the study, which was carried out by the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge, the researchers followed 30 families who had used a surrogate, 31 that had used egg donation, 35 that had used donor sperm, and 53 that had conceived naturally.
They surveyed the mothers when their children were three, seven and ten in an attempt to establish how well adjusted the children were.
Today reports that the children conceived using donor eggs and sperm were as well adjusted as those conceived naturally, but that children carried by a woman other than their mother struggled more.
Professor Susan Golombok who led the research explained to Today that ‘signs of adjustment problems could be behaviour problems, such as aggressive or antisocial behaviour, or emotional problems, such as anxiety or depression’.
She added: ‘Adolescence is a potentially difficult for those born through egg or sperm donation or surrogacy.
‘We hope to revisit the children next year when they are 14 years-old, as issues to do with identity become important in adolescence. This is also a time when relationships with parents can become more difficult.’
The findings come a time when surrogacy is increasing rapidly.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the number of babies conceived in the U.S. using a donated egg increase by more than 30 per cent between 2004 and 2011.
In the same time period, the number of births involving a surrogate rose by 200 per cent from 530 to 1,179.
It is not known how many births result from sperm donations but it is thought there could be between 30,000 and 60,000 a year in the U.S.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2344362/Surrogate-born-children-likely-suffer-depression-carried-real-mother.html#ixzz2YZCyUJmS
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As someone who is searching for studies done about surrogacy, this is the first one that I've seen. I'll be interested to see what information they find as the children of the surrogacies get older. It seems as though it would be prudent for the District of Columbia, as well as any state trying to pass legislation legalizing surrogacy that they should first be doing studies on the products of surrogacy already in the world. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The common thread between all donor conceived

This year I've slowly been getting in touch with more and more people who like me are donor conceived. Where I see some of the most emotion rolling through is in the desire to know their biological parent.

I remember when I found my birth/biological mother, being asked several times by a person close to her what my motive was. What did I want from her. It strikes me that if I had been a product of a traditional adoption that it wouldn't even be a consideration, it would be understood why someone would want to know where they come from. I still feel so lucky that I did find my biological mom, and the whole family because in finding them I understand myself so much more clearly now. My heart goes out to my fellow donor conceived who have been looking and are still looking for their biological parents.

For any couples who are looking at sperm donation, or surrogacy and you feel that if you have a child through these modern technologies, I urge you to watch the Anonymous Father's Day DVD. It will show you that even in cases where a child is told early and often, it does not bring complete peace. The child will still desire to know their roots. The only thing that may mitigate is the trust issue that will develop when a product of donor conception finds out that they were lied to their whole life, by the people they should have been able to trust the most.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Excerpt from DC Hearing on the proposed 2013 Surrogacy Agreement

This is just an excerpt from the hearing, for the full hearing please go to http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/granicus/

You're here now

I've been encountering more, as I try to explain how products of 3rd party donor conception might feel about the way they were brought into the world, I really am amazed by how blithely the response is you're here, you wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that.
When I hear that one statement, for me it demeans everything that I've gone through. Because for the people who say this, the conversation also ends here. They aren't interested in there being studies to see the effects on the products of surrogacy, the children of the surrogates. They aren't even interested in meeting in the middle and saying, yes perhaps we need to provide egg donors and surrogates, with their own legal counsel not paid for by the intended parents so they can have less biased legal advise. They aren't interested in setting up mandatory psychological testing for for intended parents, although if a child who is already in the world and needs a home, they would be required to go through this.  They certainly don't come across as interested in looking at what happens when the mother child bond gets broken after delivery. I don't see them being interested that the children being created this way should have a right to know who their genetic and birth parents are. I don't see the research getting done in any of these areas. To me it seems that it wouldn't benefit them to do the research because then they would have to admit if they went through with these processes that they would be not considering the child's best interest.

Another thought that I have, is there is a difference between having a life and a quality of life. If you look in the psychiatric world they have levels for survival... basic food and shelter, and then emotional needs would be at the next tier. If one must spend most of their life trying to fix the emotional needs that weren't met, is that really a quality of life? Is that a good reason to create life instead of taking care of the children who are Already here?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Today's D.C. Councilman Hearing

Today I testified at D.C.'s hearing about the Bill 20-32 the Surrogacy Parenting Agreement Act of 2013. This was my first experience speaking out against surrogacy on this type of platform.

I was sadly, not surprised by, but none the less disappointed by the fact that the councilmen on the Judiciary and Public Safety committee were not interested in hearing whether or not it was a good idea to pass a policy to allow gestational surrogacy in the district, rather they had their minds made up that this was going to be done. It seemed to me that they wanted to hear what tweeks would need to be made to this piece of legislation before it was passed.
The reason that this isn't surprising is this type of legislation can benefit the people like Mr. Cantina who could benefit from this type of legislation. Mr. Cantina is a gay man, who I would imagine like the rest of us has a biological clock. Currently for gay couples it is a challenge to adopt through traditional adoptions. However, with the newer wave of assisted third party reproductive services. People like Mr. Cantina do not need to be invested in trying to reform the current adoption system which would enable gay couples to do traditional adoptions. Instead they can surge through and obtain their child through surrogacy. (Let me say, that I in no way think that being gay means you should not be a parent. I don't believe that one's sexual orientation has anything to do with they type of parent that one would be.) So if the people who are creating the legislation are writing the bills, what hope do we have that this issue can be looked at from an unbiased stance? It's natural when something resonates with a struggle that we ourselves have gone through or people in our community have gone through that we will have blinders on, and no longer be able to be objective.

I was really surprised to hear a Doctor from a fertility clinic testify that there was no proven risk to the drugs used in the process of harvesting eggs. (Hello, the documentary Eggsploitation showcases women who lost their ability to have their own children, women who have developed cancer as well as women who have died from the process!!!) But I guess if people were really aware of the risks that surrogates and egg donors go through, it would hurt the financial bottom for this reproductive industry. I will agree that it's hard to track exactly how extensive any complications will be, because there have been ZERO studies to follow up on the effects of the processes for the women involved. In fact a lady who spoke on the Eggsploitation documentary said that after she developed cancer she contacted the egg bank that she had donated her eggs to in order to see if any potential children who may have been born from her eggs, would be able to  be informed that they might need to undergo screening for cancers. She was informed that after the eggs were transfered all records were destroyed. (Great looking out for the children of donor conception!)

Another huge thing that I was struck by, today we heard from attorneys, doctors, surrogates, parents who have had their children for surrogacies. They all spoke to needing this legislation to protect the intended parents to protect them from a surrogate who may change her mind. Secondly they did agree that the surrogates should have representation. (which typically is representation paid for by the intended parents.... because that wouldn't be biased representation at all.........) But not one of those people spoke towards the children being created through surrogacy. The folks who were testifying that this bill should not be passed, spoke towards the medical risks, the exploitation of the women involved and also towards the welfare of the children.

As a product of surrogacy, I feel like the intended parents and the surrogates are willingly creating a life, there is no accident here so the children conceived through these technologies have zero reason to not know who their biological parents are. They should always have access to their real medical history. If the surrogate or the intended parents aren't comfortable with this they shouldn't be doing a surrogacy. Surrogacy by nature sets up products of surrogacy to go through adoption traumas so if all adults are being responsible and putting the child's needs first wouldn't they want to minimize this to the full extent possible?

I was really surprised when the councilmen made a point of noting that the people who were speaking against the bill were not D.C. residents however, the people who were speaking positively about the bill, it was not highlighted when one of them was not a D.C. resident. 

Due to the fact that the councilmen's minds seemed to be made up already I'm not sure how effective the testimony was today, but I hope at the very least there will be more consideration towards the children conceived via gestation surrogacy. One can hope.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Donated Generation: A Story to Help People Understand

Donated Generation: A Story to Help People Understand: The following is a story that DC person Barry Stevens tells in the documentary Anonymous Father’s Day. It is actually one of his DC sibl...

Judiciary and Public Safety: Bill 20-32, the Surrogacy Parenting Agreement Act of 2013

Tomorrow I will be on a panel with Jennifer Lahl, President of The Center for Bioethics and Culture, Kathleen Sloan National Organization for Women (NOW) Board of Directors. Our aim will be to show the committee why it is not a good idea to pass the BILL 20-32, THE “SURROGACY PARE
This blog includes the testimony that I will be making at the hearing. 
Thank you to the members of the DC council for letting me address you today on the Surrogacy
Parenting Act of 2013. 
My name is Jessica Kern. I am a product of a traditional surrogacy. (This is where a surrogate is hired to both donate her egg and carry the child to term.) I am here today to urge you to not change DC’s current stance on surrogacy. 
As a product of surrogacy I can tell you firsthand what we children of donor conception go through.
Children of surrogacy, just like children of a traditional adoption, deal with all the traumas that go along with adoption. We want to know where we come from. We want to know who our biological mothers are. We want to know who gave birth to us and what they are like.  We are curious about their family and other siblings we may have.  I spent the first 17 years of my life being lied to by my biological father and adopted mother.  Only when I read in my medical records, did I discover I was a product of a traditional surrogacy. Imagine the trust issues that this creates when your family lies to you your whole life, about information that is your right to know. I am one of the fortunate children of donor conception because it only took me nine years to find my birth mom, however those of us who are conceived through surrogacy do not have the right to have this information.  Often we are lied to, and never are even told our stories of origin.  When we are conceived it comes across to me that only the adults involved have their interests looked after. The intended parents might be threatened that their child won’t view them as parents if they know who their biological parents are, or the surrogate possibly did the surrogacy for financial reasons and does not want to be tracked down. From where I sit this is a painful thing. When I was blessed to find my birth mom I subsequently developed relationships with my extended family. At 26, for the first time in my life, I saw where I got my sense of humor from, my physical traits etc. Even though I hadn’t grown up around these people, the genes from this side of my family are what is dominate in me. I finally made sense to myself in ways that I didn’t understand was possible. When we have children in this world who already need homes, why are we intentionally creating children to go through adoption traumas? I am one of the lucky ones who were able to heal some of my pain when I found my birth mother. However, I still deal with the other adoption issues of what makes me different in my biological mom’s eyes. How can she consider the children that she intended to have her children, and the children she had through surrogacy not equals. When you know that a huge part of the reason that you came into the world is due solely to a paycheck, and that after being paid you are disposable, given away and never thought of again, it impacts how you view yourself.
As a product of surrogacy, when I express this viewpoint to others, I am told, look how much your
parents wanted you, they planned and saved to have you. You should be grateful and thankful for them.  But at the end of the day, the adults were looking out for themselves, and what they needed and wanted
The next point I would like to speak to is a psychological effect, called the “Cinderella Effect”. This is a real concern for me that I experienced personally.  The “Cinderella Effect” describes the risk of abuse to children being raised by who aren’t biologically related to the child they are raising. The odds of being abused increase for the child. I experienced this first hand. Growing up in a household where I was biologically related to my father, but not to my adopted mother, I was physically abused until I was 13.  I reported my adoptive mother to social services. The physical abuse for the most part stopped at that point, but the verbal abuse increased until my therapist removed me out of their home four years later. I would like to think, that yes my story is the exception to the rule and that the majority of third party conception births go smoothly. From where I’m sitting, sadly that’s not the case. I feel that there is a good reason for this though. Parents who go through surrogacy to start their family are not by law required to go through psychological testing like parents who are starting their families through adoption. I really wish that at the very least that when the doctors, lawyers made their contracts with intended families and surrogate moms, while they were nailing down the financial details, this psychological testing is required. That somewhere in the mix of the profit, I really wish that there would have been a thought to make sure the child being created was going to be going into a safe home.  For myself, being born via surrogacy has left me feeling like I don’t have any immediate family. I choose not to have a relationship with my biological father and adopted mother because of the abuse. Whenever I’m around them it impacts my mental health negatively, so in order to protect myself I can’t be around them. Unfortunately my biological mother and I aren’t speaking now, and I’m afraid that since I’ve decided to speak out against surrogacy we may never have a relationship again. (But this is too important to not speak out about. We now have information that 30 years ago wasn’t available.) Out of the people who I consider to be immediate family I have one brother who will speak to me. From where I’m sitting, surrogacy is not the magic answer to creating families; more often it’s a source of cause for lifelong pain for everyone involved. I know I’ve really been hurt through this process, but I can see where my intended parents, birth mother, and I have all been hurt in our own ways. I strongly urge the Council to please consider the needs of the children born via surrogacy and uphold the previous law that penalized surrogacy. This is what’s in the best interest of children, and families. 
Thank you 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My letter to David Catania's office today

I reached out today to David Catania's office, the D.C. official who is working on passing surrogacy legislation in the district, I thought I'd share the letter

So I called David Catania's office today and found out that Keri Nash the legislative counsel is the person who's been doing the work on the bill. I sent this e-mail to both she and David Catania. 
Hello Keri,
We just spoke on the phone, I'm a product of a traditional surrogacy. I am opposed to this bill for different reasons.
First when I read the bill, I don't see where there will be any requirements for psychological testing on the intended parents. If something like that is left up to the agencies, they are not motivated to do a thorough job because, if they don't sell the product (child) they don't make their money.
Secondly, I have real issue that we're creating children to intentionally separate them from a biological parent. When this is done the child will go through some of the same identity/ emotional issues as children of regular adoption.
Third, there is a psychological concept called "The Cinderella Effect" Where it's proven that children raised not by biological parents are at an increased risk for abuse. The child will not be related to at least one of the intended parents.
Fourth, This bill is not saying it's o.k. just to do compassionate surrogacies (surrogacies where the surrogate has expenses covered but does not gain financially). As a product of surrogacy I am firmly against turning babies into a product.
If you would like some resources where children of surrogacy have blogged how they feel here are some sources:
my blog is:
Also there is a non-profit organization called
The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. The founder (Jennifer Lahl) of this non-profit has done a lot of research into surrogacy issues as she's currently filming a documentary about it. She would be a great resource to turn to. The non-profit's website is:
Please feel free to call/ e-mail me with any questions.
Jessica Kern

All staff have an e-mail on this page http://www.davidcatania.com/component/option,com_contact/catid,19/Itemid,47/

Bill getting introducded to D.C. to legalize surrogacy

For anyone interested in making some noise against this bill getting passed, please write a ltter to:
Office of Councilmember David A. Catania
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 404, Washington, D.C. 20004

Or at this link you can e-mail David A. Catania and his staff. I called the office and was told that Keri Nash is the one working on the bill. 


Here are the talking points for the bill getting introduced to D.C.

Office of Councilmember David A. Catania
Council of the District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Suite 404, Washington, D.C. 20004

Introduction Talking Points – Surrogacy Parenting Agreement Act of 2013
            Today, I am pleased to introduce the Surrogacy Parenting Agreement Act of 2013.  Over the last 50 years, medical technology has dramatically altered who is able to have children and when and how these children are conceived.  As a result, surrogacy has become an important alternative for some individuals choosing to start a family.  The law in the District, however, has not kept pace with these advances in medical technology.  In fact, surrogacy agreements are statutorily prohibited under DC law and punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or up to one year in jail. 
            Surrogacy is seldom a decision lightly considered by those on the journey to build a family.  Often people come to surrogacy after trying and exhausting many other options.  In some cases, medical issues make it impossible or unsafe for the parent to carry a child.  For infertile couples, gay couples, and single individuals, surrogacy presents a life-changing option that helps make the dream of parenthood a reality for those who otherwise unable to conceive. 
            This legislation retires the notion that surrogacy is a punishable offense.  Instead, under this bill District law would support the creation of families by legalizing properly executed surrogacy agreements rather than penalizing their use by eliminating significant obstacles for those trying to expand their family through surrogacy.  In doing so, this legislation will codify and outline the process to execute surrogacy agreements and establish legal parentage in District courts.
             Through this legislation we will District residents with greater flexibility in terms of how and when they bring a child into their lives while ensuring their privacy.  I look forward to this legislation’s prompt consideration and welcome co-sponsors.  

And here is the Bill which is being presented: 


   Councilmember David A. Catania        



Councilmember David A. Catania introduced the following bill, which was referred to the Committee on ________________.

To amend Chapter 4 of Title 16 of the District of Columbia Official Code to permit surrogate parenting contracts within the Districtto establish a legal relationship between a child and his or her intended parent and govern proceedings to establish that relationship. 

Act may be cited as the “Surrogacy Parenting Agreement Act of 2013”.
Sec. 2. Chapter 4 of Title 16 of the District of Columbia Official Code is amended as follows:
(a) Section 16-401 is amended to read as follows:
                        “(1) “Gestational carrier” means a woman who is not an intended parent and who agrees to gestate an embryo that is genetically unrelated to her pursuant to a surrogate parenting agreement.
                        “(2) “Intended parent” means an individual, married or unmarried, who manifests the intent to be legally bound as the parent of a child resulting from assisted reproduction.
                        “(3) “Surrogate” means:
                                    (A) A gestational carrier;
                                    (B)  A “traditional surrogate” meaning a woman who agrees to gestate an embryo, in which the woman is the gamete donor and the embryo was created using the sperm of the intended father or donor arranged by the intended parent or parents.
                                    (C) A woman, over the age of 18 who bears and carries a child for another through medically assisted reproduction and pursuant to a written agreement, as set forth in section 16-402.
                        “(4) “Surrogate parenting contact” means the agreement between the intended parents and the intended surrogate relating to the fee or other valuable consideration services rendered and medical costs.
            (b) Section 16-402 is amended to read as follows:
                        “(a) A surrogate parenting contract shall include, at a minimum:
                                    “(1) The date the surrogate parenting contract was executed;
                                    “(2) The person from whom the gametes originated, unless anonymously donated; and,
                                    “(3) The identity of the intended parent or parents.
                        “(b) Prior to executing the written surrogate parenting contract, a surrogate and the intended parent shall be represented by separate independent licensed attorneys of their choosing.
                        “(c) The surrogate parenting contract shall be executed by the parties and the signatures on the surrogate parenting contract shall be notarized, or witnessed by an equivalent method as required by District law. 
                        “(d) The parties to a surrogate parenting contract shall not undergo an embryo transfer procedure, or commence injectable medication in preparation for an embryo transfer for assisted reproduction purposes until the surrogate parenting contract has been fully executed as required by subsections (b) and (c) of this section. 
                        “(e) An action to establish the parent-child relationship between the intended parent and the child as to a child conceived pursuant to a surrogate parenting contract may be filed in the District before the child’s birth and shall include:
                                    “(1) A copy of the surrogate parenting contract shall be filed by the court for the purpose of establishing the parent-child relationship; and,
                                    “(2) A written statement signed by the parties to the surrogate parenting contract that shall attest, under penalty of perjury, and to the best of their knowledge and belief, that each party has complied with this section in entering into the surrogate parenting contract.
                        “(f) A surrogate parenting contract executed in accordance with this section shall be presumptively valid and shall not be rescinded or revoked without a court order except as provided under subsection (g) of this section. 
                        “(g) Any failure to comply with the requirements of this section shall rebut the presumption of the validity of the surrogate parenting contract.”.
Sec. 3.  Fiscal impact statement. 
            The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 602(c)(3) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(3)).
            Sec. 4. Effective date.
            This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), a 30-day period of Congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813: D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(1)) and publication in the District of Columbia Register.

Petition to give donor conceived children more rights


"The welfare and interests of persons born or to be born as a result of treatment procedures are paramount".
This is the first guiding principle of the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 the legislation governing ART practices (including Donor Conception) in Victoria.
Donor conception is conception using donated gametes (sperms and eggs) or embryos.
• People who were conceived from gametes donated in Victoria after 1998 are entitled under legislation to obtain identifying information about their donors when they reach adulthood.
• People conceived from gametes donated between 1988 and 1997 can only access identifying information about their donors with the donor’s consent.
• However, people conceived from gametes donated prior to 1988 have no legislated right to obtain identifying information.
This means that if you are donor conceived, your ability to access vital information about your genetic parentage and identity entirely depends on the date the gametes used to conceive you were donated. This has created a complex and confusing situation of differing rights and abilities with many serious implications.
• On the 23rd of June 2010 the Legislative Council of the Parliament of Victoria gave the Parliamentary Law Reform Committee terms of reference to conduct an inquiry into access by donor-conceived people to information about donors.
• On the 28th of March 2012 the Law Reform Committee tabled its comprehensive final report recommending that all donor conceived people be given access to identifying information about donors.
• On the 11th of October 2012 the government issued an interim response stating that despite the comprehensive inquiry by the Law Reform Committee and detailed report, the final government response was to be delayed pending a six month consultation to undertake research into the views of the broader donor community.
In May 1982, the Victorian Government established the Committee to Consider the Social, Ethical and Legal Issues Arising From In Vitro Fertilization, chaired by Professor Louis Waller (the “Waller Committee”).
The Waller Committee argued in its 1983 report that counselling for donors was critical, recommending that in counselling a donor should be advised "that there can be no guarantee of permanent, complete anonymity"*.
While the subsequent Victorian Infertility (Medical Procedures) Act of 1984 included a requirement for the counselling of donors (and their spouses, if they were married), the legislation did not specify that the matters mentioned by the Waller Committee should be addressed in the counselling and, in particular, did not mandate that donors be advised that “there can be no guarantee of permanent, complete anonymity.” To the contrary, most clinics appear to have emphasised to donors that only non-identifying information would be released to donor-conceived children, and that they would remain
*Committee to Consider the Social, Ethical and Legal Issues Arising from In Vitro Fertilization, Report on donor gametes in IVF, Melbourne, 1983, pp. 19-20.
Excerpt from the "Inquiry into Access by Donor-Conceived People to Information about Donors" Final Report March 2012
This year it will be 30 years since the seminal Waller report. Please support us in urging the Victorian government to implement the recommendations of the Law Reform Committee which will operate to sensitively balance the interests of both donor conceived people and donors whilst ensuring equality and certainty with the release of information.
If you would like to know more about this issue please read the PLRC Final report available for download here: