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The current system for sperm donation in Australia tracks donations in the state where the donation was provided, but doesn’t track donations throughout the country as a whole. Now, there’s a push toward a new, country-wide system of tracking. There are six states and two territories, so multiple half-siblings could be a real possibility across the country.
While that might not seem like a problem, there are fears that accidental incest could occur between half siblings that share a sperm donor but don’t realize that they’re related. Genetic materials that go across state lines into another part of the country wouldn’t be tracked any longer, and there are also informal sperm donations gaining popularity.
Sourcing sperm donors from the internet is something families have started to do because of the cost-prohibitive nature of traditional fertility treatments. It’s not legal to take money for these kinds of donations under Australian law, but the donor can receive compensation for travel expenses.
The more this practice becomes popular, the more experts are trying to get this type of tracking included in new legislation. It would be an expensive undertaking to create a centralized database for sperm donation. However, the value to future generations wouldn’t go unnoticed.
Some sperm donors provide a significant number of donations, and if they travel to other states to donate it’s theoretically possible that the offspring they produce could meet at some point in their lives. Unless they both get a DNA test before ever becoming involved with one another, they could date, marry, and even have children without realizing they’re technically half-siblings.
Not only are there genetic considerations, but there are also legal ramifications for these kinds of issues. The laws aren’t currently set up to address problems like this, mostly because it would be such an infrequent concern. But as more sperm donors provide genetic material, tracking that material and the children produced from it may help lessen health and legal risks.
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