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Author Topic: From the Advertiser (Wednesday 3rd Oct)  (Read 3270 times)
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« on: October 03, 2007, 10:48:17 PM »

Fears for children of donors
October 03, 2007.,22606,22521312-2682,00.html
People born from sperm donations could commit incest with brothers or
sisters they have no way of knowing, an advocate for donor registries says.

Leonie  Hewitt, a Sydney mother of three donor children, was in Adelaide
yesterday to call on the State Government to implement a sperm donor
registry.  She has discovered one of her children has 28 half-siblings from
the same father and 20 of them probably are in South Australia.  "Adelaide
is a big country town. My concern is that one of them could enter a
relationship with one of their half-siblings. There is a risk for people who
are out there dating or in the nightclub scene."

Victoria has a voluntary registry where sperm, egg or embryo donors - or the
offspring of donors - can share information. "All the states need to have
their own register," Ms Hewitt said.

Health Minister John Hill said if donors have signed consent forms, children
can obtain their details from the donor clinic.  He also said the current
laws were being re-examined. "Each state has a different set of arrangements
in the area. For example, in Victoria there is a central register while in
some other states clinics keep a register. The Standing Committee of
Attorneys General is considering how the law governing donor conception can
be harmonised, so that one set of rules governs all Australian

Ms Hewitt, recognised with an OAM [Medal of the Order of Australia] for her
work with the Donor Conception Support Group,
outlined other issues facing donor offspring.  They can be missing crucial
information about their medical histories, genetic tendencies towards cancer
and other family characteristics.  Ms Hewitt said the risks were even higher
for people who were born from donor embryos, or "genetic orphans", who do
not have any information about their genes at all.  She said access to this
type of knowledge was a "human rights issue" and that donors were receptive
to the idea. "I've probably spoken to a thousand donors in all the years
I've been doing this and I could literally count on one hand how many didn't
want their information known."
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