Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill 2021

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Help us develop legislation to ensure the effective and optimal functioning of the donor-conception register.

What's being decided?

An amendment to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 (the ART Act) passed by the parliament in 2019 will commence operation on 7 November 2021 to mandate the establishment of the donor-conception register (DCR).

Further amendments to the ART Act are now proposed to ensure the effective and optimal functioning of the DCR. These changes are contained in the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill 2021.

The 4 key areas of change are:

  1. provide all donor-conceived people with the right to access identifying information about their donor (with retrospective effect) including the establishment of a contact preference scheme through a Statement of Wishes
  2. ensure the DCR can operate retrospectively to include historical donor conception information
  3. ensure all donor-conceived people have the option to have donor information included in their birth certificate
  4. ensure the effective operation of the DCR.

The FAQ and the Discussion Paper will help you understand what is being proposed.

We are looking for your input to further inform the development of the draft Bill.

Background

Under the current system, if a person wants to access information about their donors, donor siblings, or donor-conceived children they must seek this information from the fertility clinic responsible for the treatment.

Many donor-conceived people born in South Australia currently face barriers to accessing historical details from fertility clinics about their genetic heritage including details of their donor and any genetic siblings conceived through the same donor.

The proposed changes were recommended through a 2017 review of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 which was the result of extensive community consultation.

Donor conception provided before 2004 was provided under conditions of anonymity. Donors and recipient parents who were treated at that time were advised that donor identities could never be revealed.

It is now appreciated that knowledge of family heritage is essential to concepts of identity and belonging, to allow people to access important medical and genetic information, and to reduce risks of forming consanguineous relationships.

Get involved

For more information on what is being proposed, read our:

Have your say by:

How can your input influence the decision?

Your input will help to identify issues within the Bill and in relation to the proposal for providing donor-conceived people with the right to access information about their donors.

What are the next steps?

Once finalised, the Bill will be introduced to Parliament later this year. We will publish a summary report with the feedback received during the consultation and how this has contributed to changes to the Bill.


Thank you for your contribution to this feedback opportunity.

If you feel like you need to talk through any of the topics raised, we encourage you to seek out trained counselors at services such as:

  • Beyondblue.org.au 1300 224 636
  • Headspace.org.au 1800 650 890
  • Mensline.org.au 1300 789 978

Help us develop legislation to ensure the effective and optimal functioning of the donor-conception register.

What's being decided?

An amendment to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 (the ART Act) passed by the parliament in 2019 will commence operation on 7 November 2021 to mandate the establishment of the donor-conception register (DCR).

Further amendments to the ART Act are now proposed to ensure the effective and optimal functioning of the DCR. These changes are contained in the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill 2021.

The 4 key areas of change are:

  1. provide all donor-conceived people with the right to access identifying information about their donor (with retrospective effect) including the establishment of a contact preference scheme through a Statement of Wishes
  2. ensure the DCR can operate retrospectively to include historical donor conception information
  3. ensure all donor-conceived people have the option to have donor information included in their birth certificate
  4. ensure the effective operation of the DCR.

The FAQ and the Discussion Paper will help you understand what is being proposed.

We are looking for your input to further inform the development of the draft Bill.

Background

Under the current system, if a person wants to access information about their donors, donor siblings, or donor-conceived children they must seek this information from the fertility clinic responsible for the treatment.

Many donor-conceived people born in South Australia currently face barriers to accessing historical details from fertility clinics about their genetic heritage including details of their donor and any genetic siblings conceived through the same donor.

The proposed changes were recommended through a 2017 review of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 1988 which was the result of extensive community consultation.

Donor conception provided before 2004 was provided under conditions of anonymity. Donors and recipient parents who were treated at that time were advised that donor identities could never be revealed.

It is now appreciated that knowledge of family heritage is essential to concepts of identity and belonging, to allow people to access important medical and genetic information, and to reduce risks of forming consanguineous relationships.

Get involved

For more information on what is being proposed, read our:

Have your say by:

How can your input influence the decision?

Your input will help to identify issues within the Bill and in relation to the proposal for providing donor-conceived people with the right to access information about their donors.

What are the next steps?

Once finalised, the Bill will be introduced to Parliament later this year. We will publish a summary report with the feedback received during the consultation and how this has contributed to changes to the Bill.


Thank you for your contribution to this feedback opportunity.

If you feel like you need to talk through any of the topics raised, we encourage you to seek out trained counselors at services such as:

  • Beyondblue.org.au 1300 224 636
  • Headspace.org.au 1800 650 890
  • Mensline.org.au 1300 789 978
Consultation has concluded
  • Donor Conception Register established in South Australia

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    In an exciting step forward, an electronic Donor Conception Register (DCR) was established in South Australia on 27 October 2021 to hold information about donors and their offspring.

    As part of the DCR, an online Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) Clinic portal was launched and donor records are now input directly into the DCR by ART Clinics via the portal.

    The DCR has linkages to the Births, Deaths and Marriages (BDM) Register for data verification purposes and ensures that so far as is possible, all available donor information is captured. This includes private donor arrangements made outside of the ART Clinic environment.

    SA Health is also working together with ART Clinics to verify available historical records and enable the progressive input of these records into the DCR.

    This is just the first phase of the DCR’s statewide implementation signalling the State Government’s commitment to establishing an accessible DCR within South Australia.

  • Bill Consultation Summary Report

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    How your feedback is helping shape the future of the donor conception register

    Consultation on the Assisted Reproductive Treatment (Donor Conception Register) Amendment Bill 2021 (Amendment Bill) closed on 21 June 2021.

    Feedback received through consultation on the Amendment Bill was overwhelmingly supportive of the establishment of the Donor Conception Register (DCR). It also identified many differing and complex legal, social, operational and ethical issues with respect to matters such as ensuring respectful and ethical access to the DCR; the disclosure of information; validation of records; the level of support to be provided to individuals and whether an alternative contact mechanism needs to be in place rather than a statement of wishes. A Bill Consultation Summary Report is available and provides an overview of the written submissions and survey results.

    We know that access to genetic heritage information through the DCR may be life-changing for donors, donor-conceived persons and other relevant parties; and making connections with biological children, parents and relatives has the potential to be an extremely positive experience. However, consultation feedback indicated that if information is not provided in a safe, respectful and ethical way, this could have significant consequences for the mental health of those involved.

    That’s why, it is imperative that the DCR model adopted within South Australia is evidence based, with appropriate expert clinical, ethical, legal and technical input.

    We’re working through these matters, with the aim of developing a revised Bill for further consultation and introduction into Parliament as early as possible in 2022. Further details on a revised Bill will be posted on YourSAy in the coming months so you can have your say and/or see how your feedback influenced the Bill.

    Once operational, South Australia will be one of only a handful of jurisdictions world-wide to establish an accessible DCR with retrospective effect. This is a great achievement, and one we want to get right to ensure a positive impact on people’s lives.

    The establishment of a DCR in South Australia is underpinned by the key principle that the welfare of the child is paramount; we remain committed to ensuring that donor conceived persons have a right to access information about their genetic heritage, where available.

    If you have questions about the DCR, please email HealthPolicyLegislation@sa.gov.au.