By Richard Baines
Tasmania is one step closer to allowing donor-conceived children to contact their biological parents, after cross-party support for a parliamentary inquiry.
National guidelines were introduced in 2006 where all potential donors must agree to being identified, but those conceived before then do not have the same rights.
During an at-times heated debate in State Parliament last night, the Government supported Labor’s push for an inquiry into the matter.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson told Parliament it was an important issue.
“I can fortunately trace my own family back generations to the time that they arrived in Australia and even before that,” he said.
“Knowing where you came from and knowing your family history and your genetic history gives you a sense of belonging, of identity, of knowing where your home is and with whom you belong.
“Our identity is greatly shaped by our relationships with others, especially our family.”
Not knowing parents ‘can be really disturbing’
During the debate there was bickering around the inquiry’s reporting date and terms of reference.
It will report by the end of March next year.
Labor’s Lara Gidding, who put forward the inquiry proposal, was hoping the committee would report earlier.
“I was hoping we could have a report, even a preliminary report from the committee by October of this year, with the view that if the committee required more time that timeframe could have been extended,” she said.
Regardless, Ms Giddings said it was a promising step towards legislative change.
“For a donor-conceived child they may not know or ever have the ability to know who their parent was,” she said.
“That can be really disturbing for people.”
Ms Giddings hopes Tasmania follows Victoria’s lead with legislation allowing donor-conceived children to contact their biological parents.
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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