The Donor Who Dared To Say Don't

You wouldn't sell or give away your kids, would you? So don't donate your sperm!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Genetic rights? Whose rights?

The other night I watched a news report dealing with the legal parentage issues arising out of the current laws governing the use of IVF and surrogacy in Victoria.

One heterosexual couple - shortly after using a surrogate mother to give birth to twin boys - were dismayed to discover that they were not recognised as the legal parents of their children.

In fact, even though the children were conceived using the couple's own gametes, only the surrogate mother and her partner were entitled to be named on the birth certificates as parents.

This made me think that, essentially, the commissioning couple find themselves in the same position as a gamete donor who, under the dictates of the same legislation, has no claim to be recognised on the birth certificate as a donor-conceived child's biological father or mother.

In other words, it is implied that the male and female named on the certificate are the actual biological parents of the child.

In the first instance, it seems absurd that the commissioning couple are not recognized as the legal parents of their children; hence recommendations are shortly to be considered by our state parliament which will modify the relevant legislations in order to rectify such anomalies.

So, soon, our unfortunate couple will be able to have new birth certificates issued proclaiming that they are indeed the legal and (implied) biological parents of their children.

But here's the sting: it is highly unlikely that there will be changes to that same legislation which will guarantee equal acknowledgement of true biological parentage on the birth certificates of donor conceived people.

Nor would donors like myself be able to claim, as this couple has done, that at least one of the persons named as parent on the birth certificate is effectively an imposter and that the donor's name should be substituted instead.

Once again the legislation will protect the interests of the recipients to the perpetual detriment of the donor-conceived people themselves.

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