The Family Law Implications of Early Contact between Sperm Donors and Their Donor Offspring

16 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2016 Last revised: 7 Dec 2017

See all articles by Fiona Kelly

Fiona Kelly

La Trobe Law School

Deborah Dempsey

School of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

While donor conception has historically been shrouded in secrecy, in recent years an increasing number of women who conceive using donated sperm are making contact with their child’s donor while the child is still a minor. This process is known as “donor linking”. In some Australian states, donor linking is facilitated by legislation, while in others it is achieved through informal mechanisms, such as online searches using information contained within a donor’s profile. The increasing prevalence of donor linking when a child is still a minor has proceeded in the absence of any discussion of the family law implications of the practice. This omission is concerning, as it is possible that the donor may be able to exercise some rights in relation to the child, particularly where the woman is un-partnered. This article draws on the donor linking experiences of 25 un-partnered Australian women who conceived using donated sperm or embryos to explore the implications of the practice for family law.

Suggested Citation

Kelly, Fiona and Dempsey, Deborah, The Family Law Implications of Early Contact between Sperm Donors and Their Donor Offspring (2016). 98 Family Matters (Forthcoming); La Trobe Law School - Law & Justice Research Paper Series Paper No. 16-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2839135

Fiona Kelly (Contact Author)

La Trobe Law School ( email )

La Trobe University
Bundoora, VIC 3083 3142
Australia

Deborah Dempsey

School of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities ( email )

PO Box 218
Hawthorn, Victoria 3122
Australia

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