The Herald Sun is reporting that a new bill in Australia may give sperm donor conceived children greater access to their biological history — and most importantly, the ability to know their fathers. The measure, however, is controversial, as it would give access to information that was previously deemed confidential.

Many sperm “donors” often agree to the practice because they are assured that their donations will be anonymous. An entire industry was born on the premise that these donors were simply providing a service and not helping create new life. As the Herald Sun bluntly observes:

Before 1988, men in Victoria could donate sperm anonymously, secure in the knowledge that five minutes in a room with a cup and some well-thumbed magazines would have little or no impact on the rest of their lives.

In fact, it was quite common for donors — as well as the donor recipients — to be counselled not to think about the donation again.

Not  thinking about the donation or its consequences has created a generation of children that suffer from serious psychological and emotional harms. These children long to know their fathers and better understand the circumstances that brought them into existence. In some cases, they need access to their medical histories to be warned of various health risks that can only be found from knowing their genetic backgrounds.

The reality of anonymous sperm donation is that it aids in the creation of children without any laws to protect their interests. This new law would serve as a starting point for righting a fundamentally wrongheaded practice. Let’s hope it passes.

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Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director