NSW govt 'stalling on sperm donor laws
November 4, 2007 - 9:24AM
The NSW government has been accused of sitting on its hands over law reforms surrounding sperm donorship.
Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner said the changes outlined on Sunday in the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) bill were first proposed by the Iemma government in 2003.
"Proposed new laws to assist donor children to know who their fathers are have been a long time coming," Ms Skinner said.
"The state government introduced draft legislation to Parliament in 2003 but has ignored the pleas to move on it ever since."
The ART bill required sperm donors to add their names to a register enabling their children to make contact once they turn 18.
NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher says the changes will bring NSW into line with other states.
"I have had representations from people in the past who have argued that they should have been able to find out who their donor fathers were and I have always been sympathetic to that view," Ms Meagher said.
"The rights of children will now be enshrined in the legislation so that any child born through ART will, after they turn 18, be able to know the details of their biological parents."
Ms Meagher said the changes would also cover women who donate ova, while the bill would require ART service providers to offer counselling to ensure all donors "understand the implications of the procedure".
Donors would not be obliged to have contact with their offspring, she said.
"In fact, the bill will offer additional protection for donors by providing that donated sperm and ova may only be used in a manner that complies with the donor's wishes.
"For example, a donor from a distinct ethnic community may stipulate that their donation is only to be offered to members of that community."
Ms Meagher said it was not expected to lead to a drop in sperm or ova donations.