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Petitioning The Victorian government

Legislate to ensure equality and certainty for donor conceived people

"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.

There are likely several thousands of donor-conceived people who were conceived in Victoria prior to 1988, and more than 5500 have been born since then. Many of these people will be unaware that they are donor-conceived. 

• 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:

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