The mandatory release of sperm, egg and embryo donor DNA profiles would push the industry underground, a Tasmanian IVF expert says.
A House of Assembly Standing Committee, chaired by Braddon Liberal MHA Joan Rylah, has looked into potential legislative change relating to the release of personal information from past and future donors.
TasTVF medical director Dr Bill Watkins said the legislation would push people who wished to remain anonymous toward donating via a private and unregulated market.
He suggested the creation of a voluntary registry of information that would offer donors a choice to remain anonymous, while also providing a database that can be accessed by medical professionals and offspring.
“If I was Facebook, I’d say put the information on there and see what comes of it,” Dr Watkins said.
“That would be better than legislation to make all information released.”
Dr Watkins said releasing information retrospectively could anger donors who initially chose to be anonymous.
Fertility Society of Australia spokeswoman Rita Alesi said it would be essential to ensure there were well-trained staff available to manage concerns.
“The kind of person making contact [with a donor] would be a counsellor who could manage an angry donor,” Ms Alesi said.
“While a change may illicit concerns, that can be managed with public education about why the changes are needed.”
Since 2004 all TasIVF donors must consent to the release of identifying information when a child reaches the age of 18, but they have control over the level of information supplied.
In February this year the Victorian Parliament passed legislation to grant all donor conceived people the right to know their heritage.
Family Voices national research officer Ros Phillips said a moratorium should be placed on donor conception practices as they were not in a child’s best interest.
She said evidence showed donor conceived young people were more likely to suffer mental health problems.
“If a man fathers a child he should not be allowed to evade his responsibility,” Ms Phillips said.
“Children should be told they are the products of a donor as early as possible and in a loving way.”
The next round of public hearings will be held in Hobart on October 24.
A report is due in 2017.