It is the second unlikely love story to emerge from the revolution in the way we make babies and form families, and it has thrown up some serious new challenges for regulators and law makers.
Melbourne IT specialist and sperm donor George Deka met his biological daughter 10 months after her birth — and ended up falling in love with her mother.
Mr Deka was a middle-aged introvert who had given up on finding a partner and having a family of his own, leading him to become a sperm donor.
Kerrie Hancox was an outgoing psychiatric nurse who sought out IVF treatment using an unknown sperm donor following the death of her partner.
Ms Hancox and Mr Deka were “diametrically opposite”.
“If they’d met in a bar I don’t think they would have connected at all,” Ms Hancox’s friend Mish Inifer said.
But the couple “clicked” and 12 months and 12 days after their first meeting, their daughter Ella, conceived naturally, was born.
But the story of Mr Deka and Ms Hancox has thrown up some unique challenges, Dr Fiona Kelly of La Trobe University’s law school said.
“They are the most likely to seek contact with a donor and to find out additional information about him.
“I think it’s for reasons around there being no third party, a partner who is concerned about their own position in the family.
“It’s not surprising that once donors become known to women that they seek out some kind of relationship with them, not typically a romantic relationship, but a relationship that might benefit their child in the future and that might ultimately be a family or familial relationship.
“I think single women are the most vulnerable under our current laws, which don’t really consider what will happen if a donor does become known to a recipient. So what is his legal status with regard to the child?
“At a state level, legislation states that when a child is conceived by a single woman, the donor is not a legal parent and there is no way to challenge that presumption. An anonymous donor is an anonymous donor and he is not a legal parent. Even when he’s no longer anonymous.
“This is seen as a positive provision because it creates certainty for both donors and recipient.
“But cases like this could be perceived as a potential gap. And I think that, as people search for donors, we are going to have situations where the law simply doesn’t envisage the scenario that they’ve raised.”
“As people search for donors, we are going to have situations where the law simply doesn’t envisage the scenario that they’ve raised,” Dr Kelly said.
“We can regulate and regulate and regulate but in reality people will act on their emotional desires.
“You can’t control for human nature.”
It was when the couple were filling out Ella’s birth certificate that the blank father details on older sister Clare’s birth certificate became an issue.