People conceived by artificial insemination are driven by a desire to know whether or not they have half siblings, a parliamentary committee has heard.
The Standing Committee on Community Development’s Inquiry into Donor Conception Practices in Tasmania held its third hearing on Monday.
Donor-conceived witnesses fronted the committee, chaired by Braddon Liberal MHA Joan Rylah, telling of their search for answers relating to their biological heritage.
The committee will consider legislative reforms that would allow Tasmanian donor-conceived individuals the right to know their donor’s identity.
On March 1, new laws were enacted in Victoria that gave donor-conceived people this very right.
Conceived in Hobart in the early 1980s, Andrea Peace is a scientist - just like her mother and legal father were.
Ms Peace’s late legal father had cystic fibrosis and so could not conceive children.
When she was sixteen, Ms Peace’s mother told her that she was donor-conceived.
Ever since that day, she said she had felt there was a “black hole” in her life.
Ms Peace said the thought her biological father may have had other children motivated her search for answers.
“What pulls at my heartstrings is the sibling factor,” she said.
Similarly, Priscilla Walters, who was also conceived in Hobart, said it would be “amazing” if she found out she had half siblings.
“I don’t look like any of my family,” Ms Walters said.
But she was more interested in knowing her donor’s medical history, so as to better determine the health risks that may face her children.
Having grown up as an only child, Michael Williams said he had always wondered whether or not he had half siblings somewhere in the world.
Conceived in a Launceston fertility clinic in the early 1980s, Mr Williams said not knowing who his biological father was made him feel like half his story was missing.
The committee’s fourth public hearing will be held on Tuesday.