Gamete donor medical records: whose information is it?

Damian H Adams
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10851
Published online: 19 November 2012

Is it ethical, moral and feasible to release gamete donors’ medical records to conceived offspring?

This year, the Law Reform Committee of the Parliament of Victoria released recommendations from an inquiry into various aspects of donor conception, including the ability of donor-conceived people to access identifying and medical information about their donors.1 The Committee recommended that donor-conceived people gain retrospective access to such information, similar to the model already used in adoption. National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines2 and Victorian legislation (Infertility Treatment Act 1995 [Vic], s. 79) stipulate that donor-conceived people have this right, but only prospectively from when the law was implemented. Substantive concerns have been raised about how these proposed changes may negatively affect medical practice and donors. Here, I focus on the issue of retrospective release of donors’ medical information.

  • School of Nursing and Midwifery, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA.


Competing interests:

I provided evidence to the Victorian Law Reform Committee and Australian Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee inquiries into donor conception. As a donor-conceived person, I am an advocate of and lobby for equitable treatment of donor-conceived people.

  • 1. Law Reform Committee. Inquiry into access by donor-conceived people to information about donors: final report. Victoria: Parliament of Victoria, 2012. (accessed Nov 2012).
  • 2. National Health and Medical Research Council. Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research. Canberra: NHMRC, 2004 (revised 2007).
  • 3. Allan S. Psycho-social, ethical and legal arguments for and against the retrospective release of Information about donors to donor-conceived individuals in Australia. J Law Med 2011; 19: 354-376.
  • 4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Awareness of family health history as a risk factor for disease — United States, 2004. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2004; 53: 1044-1047.
  • 5. Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee. Donor conception practices in Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2011. http://www. (accessed Nov 2012).


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