Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Desperately seeking dad:

Victorian Government further delays response to Inquiry on identifying sperm donors.
By AAP
Date: October 12 2012
Editor Rating:
woman_in_park

She has been searching for him for half her life, but Narelle Grech is unsure how much time she has left to find her real dad.

The 30-year-old, who is battling stage four bowel cancer, was conceived with the sperm of an anonymous donor and has no right under Victorian law to know who he is.
 
A Victorian parliamentary inquiry recommended earlier this year all donor-conceived people be given information identifying their donors, but the government said on Thursday it needed another six months before responding.
 
The news is cold comfort for Ms Grech.
 
"I'm really upset that they've taken six months to say we need another six months," she told AAP.
 
"On Monday, I got some really devastating news that my tumours are now growing again and that's been upsetting enough without this response from the government which now only compounds my urgency to A, get well, or B, get some answers that I've been searching for 15 years."
 
The parliament's law reform committee recommended the government legislate to allow all donor-conceived people free access to identifying information about donors.
 
State legislation currently prohibits people conceived from sperm donations before 1988 from having access to any identifying information about their donors.
 
The committee recognised that while donors who donated before that time did so on the basis of anonymity, the right of donor-conceived people to know the donor's identity should have precedence.
 
However, the government says changing the law to reflect this is a significant step and more consultation with the community and donors is needed before it makes a final response.
 
Only nine donors have made submissions to the inquiry.
 
Ms Grech says while current laws remain, she has no way of informing the eight half-siblings she is aware of that they should be screened for cancer.
 
"Worst-case scenario, I could even have a year or two left," she said.
 
"I have no way of warning them, no way of telling them.
 
"I don't know how much time I have and by the government, with their continued delay of their formal responses, is just not ideal for me."
 
Myfanwy Cummerford, 31, who has been campaigning for the law changes, is disappointed by the delay.
 
"I'm so upset that the government's chosen to take this position," she said.
 
"I'd be interested to know how the government is going to canvass the views of more donors.
 
"Are they going to access the records, ring these men up and do what do what donor-conceived people cannot do, just to add insult to injury?"
 
If the laws change, Ms Cummerford hopes to find her three donor-conceived siblings.
 
"I like to hope that if this reform did happen, that it might encourage their parents to disclose to them that they are donor conceived, then maybe that would increase my chances of one day being able to meet them," she said.
 
"But that's a slim hope."I have no way of knowing who they are, where they live, or if they are even alive."
 
Law reform committee deputy chair Jane Garrett said the government's response left donor-conceived people angry and distressed.
 
"Not only is the government further delaying action, it appears to be adopting a closed-door process of further research with no details as to the nature, manner and parameters of this work," she said.
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