Life Office director says children are gift, not project

Sydney Archdiocese Life Office director Dr Brigid McKenna, has rejected claims that new sperm and egg donor legislation in NSW will pose a “huge incursion” on privacy.

The claims were made by health and family law expert Prof Jenni Millbank of the University of Technology, Sydney.

Dr McKenna said the provisions of the bill which ensure donor conceived children have access to identifying or non-identifying information about their biological parent, is a positive step.

However, Prof Millbank said this could have the potential to allow donor offspring to track down their biological parents through that person’s ex-partner long after they had separated.

“While I am not opposed to a register of donor names, I feel the net has been cast too wide.

“It’s absolutely unclear who’s going to keep that information and how much information will be included,” she said.

Prof Millbank also believes, if the legislation is adopted, sperm donations will decrease.

But, Dr McKenna says donor conception, whether it is open or anonymous, is never in a child’s best interests.

“It is not equivalent to the donation of cultural artifacts or heirlooms, but involves the coming to be of new human beings,” she said.

“Even when they grow up in loving families, many donor conceived children still experience a yearning to know and to be cared for within their genetic family.

“Children are a gift not a project,” she said.

A spokesman for the NSW Health Minister, Reba Meagher, said the health department will begin drafting regulations under the new legislation next year.

‘Children are a gift not a project’ (Catholic Weekly 9/12/07)

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Life Office, Archdiocese of Sydney

10 Dec 2007

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