'True nature' of sperm donation industry 'illegal': inquiry

A SPERM donor could have fathered up to 200 children by advertising his services on "in demand" websites accessed by prospective mums who can't afford IVF, a parliamentary inquiry has been told.

In his submission to the New South Wales inquiry into donor conception details on birth certificates, "John" predicts there will be a "major explosion" in women choosing to access donors via unregistered "free sperm web groups".

He said members were "delusional" if they imagined the majority of donor conceptions took place in fertility clinics.

He explained clinical fees were too expensive for most women and that lesbian couples who wanted the option of using the same donor to conceive their children were forced by necessity to look for willing fathers online.

While happy to help, John expressed concerns that the "unrestrained undocumented and informal nature of free sperm" needed to be monitored.

He said the "true nature" of the industry could be typified by the "illegal and amoral actions" of some donors who illegally charged for their services or insisted on "natural insemination" - regular sex.

As far as he is aware, John has 14 children aged between five weeks and eight-years and two more are on the way.

He is currently preparing to "retire from advertising" but says there are requests and commitments for additional children from the mothers of his "gift children".

He also receives regular referrals from friends and contacts to make donations to new mothers/couples.

If all of his donations, including those he made to a Sydney hospital in the 70s, were used, John believes he could have fathered between 40 and 200 children.

He also warned the limited number of donors and the growing demand for sperm created a "high probability of consanguinity" in the next 20 years unless the government introduced a "donor tracking method" to the NSW birth register.

The submission is just one of many set to be reviewed by the parliamentary committee in coming months.

The panel is reviewing whether people conceived by donor conception before January 2010, should have access to information about their donor, which agency should manage donor information and what counselling services and public education measures are necessary to support donors and recipients.

The next hearing will take place on May 5.

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