New Laws On Assisted Reproductive Technology (Art) – fiveby5
Anyone who has repeatedly tried and failed to conceive a child naturally will know the experience can be distressing and emotionally draining.
The development of technology has meant that many infertile couples have been able to have children, through the process of IVF, and often with the aid of donated sperm or eggs, known as gametes.
The Assisted Reproductive Technology Act was passed in NSW in 2007, but the laws only took effect in January this year. They will have a significant impact on donors, and individuals who are conceived through the use of donated gametes.
Gone are the days when young men could disappear into a clinic room with a plastic cup and simply walk away with a few extra dollars in their pocket. It is now mandatory that gamete donors be registered with the Central ART Donor Register.
Why change the law?
Prior to January, children who were the product of donated gametes had no access to information about their background and genetic heritage, unless it was supplied voluntarily. Genetic medical conditions could not be identified, and individuals conceived this way had no way of tracking their biological parent/s, or half siblings.
Consider the implications of numerous individuals wandering around with a biological parent in common. These individuals meet, get along (well they have something in common), and then what? While the chances of half siblings conceiving children may seem remote, the need to regulate this industry would seem clear.
The creation of the central ART donor register means that individuals can access information about their biological parent/s when they turn 18. This includes the donors name, address, date of birth, ethnicity and physical attributes, medical history, and details about any other offspring.
Parents can also access information about the donor, excluding their name and contact details, and donors can find out about any births resulting from their gametes.
A further change restricts the number of children that may result from one donors gametes. Prior to January, ten families could be created using the gametes of one donor. Now, no more than 5 women can have children by the one donor.
This will make it significantly more difficult for women to have access to donated gametes. There are already hefty waiting lists for donors in NSW.
According to Lesley Young, Director of Stacks Law Firms family law office, The consequences of this legislation are very positive for children born as a result of donated gametes. However, the potential loss of anonymity for donors may reduce donor participation rates, resulting in disappointment for many would – be parents. Hopefully, a balance will be struck between the interests of all parties to protect and preserve an essential service.