The right to know versus the right to privacy: donor anonymity and the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Act 2016 (Vic)

Xavier Symons
Med J Aust 2017; 207 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00259
Published online: 6 November 2017

Recent Victorian legislation is ethically defensible but will need to be closely monitored

On 1 March 2017, the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Act 2016 (Vic) came into effect, allowing for the retrospective release of anonymous donor information to donor-conceived children.1 The legislation, an Australian first, allows donor children to know the name, date of birth, ethnicity, physical characteristics, genetic conditions and donor code of their donor parents, even where anonymity has been requested. Donor children can access information about their biological parents through a new “one-door-in” service to be provided by the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), which is now managing the state’s central donor registry and providing information and support to donor-conceived people, parents, donors and their relatives. The donors affected by the legislation are those who donated before 1 January 1998; anonymous donation ceased in Victoria after that date.

  • Xavier Symons

  • Institute for Ethics and Society, University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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