By: ABC News
But demand for donor sperm continues to outstrip supply, prompting clinics to launch recruitment drives or import frozen vials from overseas sperm banks.
Experts estimate about 60,000 people have been born as a result of sperm donations in Australia, where assisted reproduction is regulated but laws vary from state to state.
Here are five things you need to know about sperm donation.
Who can donate sperm?
Donors must produce good quality semen and have no evidence of any hereditary illness or sexually transmissible disease.
Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) chief executive Louise Johnson said men who donated sperm were not paid and did so “thoughtfully”.
“The donors have formed their families and appreciate the significance that children bring to people’s lives, or they know somebody who is experiencing difficulties in conceiving and they want to help,” she told the ABC.
Ms Johnson said most Victorian clinics used sperm donors aged between 25 and 45 years old.
“Forty-five tends to be the age the clinics use as a policy cut-off. If you use an older sperm donor there is an increased risk of more DNA mutations in the sperm,” she said.
“Children born from older fathers are also at a slightly greater risk of inheriting a range or disorders including autism and some mental health problems.”
Regulations and protections
Donor insemination has in the past been based on the principle of anonymity.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies said legislation and donor conception practices in Australia have “evolved significantly to encourage greater knowledge and openness”.
There are central sperm donor registries in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia.
In other areas, the details of sperm donors are kept by clinics as an accreditation requirement.
The identity of a donor is protected until the child becomes an adult and can apply for this information.
Under Australian law, a sperm donor who donates through a fertility or IVF clinic will not be named on the birth certificate.
However, in Victoria, when a donor-conceived person applies as an adult for their birth certificate, they will receive an addendum stating that further information about this birth is available from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Ms Johnson said.