April 18, 2024

Donor offspring report from Australian Senate committee

Hi there,

As the business of
assisted reproductive technology becomes more and more widespread, more and
more people are asking whether it needs to be closely regulated by governments.
After all, as many as one baby in 20 or 25 are born from IVF in some countries.
Society has an interest in ensuring that health and human rights are protected.

However, the IVF
industry generally opposes government regulation, arguing that it is perfectly
capable of policing its own affairs. This viewpoint, however, was dowsed with a
bucket of cold water in this week’s report from a committee of the Australian
Senate on donor-conceived children. It found that

  • “some clinics are
    being accredited, even when they are not following the [National Health and
    Medical Research Council] Guidelines”
  • “the accreditation
    process appears to lack transparency”
  • “anonymous
    donations are still being used or accepted in clinics, in breach of the NHMRC
  • “this system of
    industry regulation has failed donor conceived people”

While government regulation brings its own
problems, it seems clear that private clinics are more interested in profit
than in the rights of the children they usher into the world. Stiffer
regulations and a government ombudsman seem absolutely necessary. What do you think?

Michael Cook