Last updated 27 August 2019

If the procedure is being carried out through a clinic, privacy protections that are in place for donors would make it unlikely that a dispute would arise between a donor and the parent. However, in England in 2002, the wrong embryos were implanted in a woman (which became known at birth because of the racial descent of the children), and both the donor and birth parent claimed parental rights. The English court held that the donor was the legal father, but that the couple could have custody of the children. Cases that have appeared before the courts over the questions of who are the legal parents of a child or who should have parental responsibility for a child demonstrate that the best interests of the child is the paramount consideration.

There has also been a trend towards children of donated ova and semen seeking information about their biological parents. In this regard, legislative presumptions as to parenthood may need to be reconsidered in light of the technology. The National Health and Medical Research Council’s Ethical Guidelines on the Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology in Clinical Practice and Research (most recently updated in 2017) require clinics to keep appropriate records of the use of donated gametes (ova and sperm) and embryos. These guidelines support the rights of persons born from donated gametes to know the details of their genetic origins. Clinics are expected to play a role in supporting and encouraging the early disclosure of information to children born from donated gametes. The guidelines are intended to facilitate the exchange of information between ova and sperm donors, recipients and persons conceived as a result of donated gametes and embryos.

Fertility clinics in Queensland can (but are not required to) refuse to provide assisted reproductive technology services based on the relationship status or sexuality of those seeking such services. The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) does not apply to assisted reproductive technology services. Such discrimination is not permitted in other states.