Donor conception has been celebrated because it enables people to have children that might not otherwise have been able to. It has also been critised due to the ethical, legal and social issues it raises. In the past, secrecy surrounded the practice due to religious, moral and social views concerning infertility and the use of third party sperm. Legal uncertainties (for example about inheritance and legal parentage) also concerned people. Anonymity of the donor was also emphasized.
However, over time laws have been passed to clarify rights and responsibilities of parents and donors, and the legal status of children. ART has become more widespread, and accepted.
There has also been growing recognition around the world, that children are entitled to know about the method of their conception, and to have access to information about their sperm, egg or embryo donor(s). Interest in information about genetically related siblings is also recognised.
Many parents also wish to have information so that they can fully inform the child about their conception and genetic heritage, and to be aware of health and other family traits of the donor(s) to enable informed decisions as their child grows.
Donors also may wonder about the children that have been born, or wish to pass on relevant information to the families (eg. about health conditions).
A number of countries, states and territories, including Australia have therefore passed laws that prohibit anonymous donations, and provide access to information for those involved in donor-conception.
Below you will find an overview of those places that provide for access to information and who may gain information. More detail is then found on the Health Law Central pages regarding access to information in Australia, and around the globe.