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“I’m a sperm donor!” he said. “I’m a parent!” he said. WRONG.

“I’m a sperm donor!” he said. “I’m a parent!” he said. WRONG.

“I’m a sperm donor!” he said. “I’m a parent!” he said. WRONG.

Well, at least for legal purposes, in Western Australia.

When it comes to matters of artificial conception, the Artificial Conception Act 1985 (WA) states the following:

  1. if a man provides genetic material to a woman, and that woman uses his genetic material to become pregnant via an artificial fertilisation procedure, then the man “shall be conclusively presumed not to have caused the pregnancy” and “is not the father of any child born as a result of the pregnancy”.
  2. if a “woman undergoes, with the consent of her de facto partner, an artificial fertilisation procedure in consequence of which she becomes pregnant… then the de facto partner of the pregnant woman, shall be conclusively presumed to be a parent of the unborn child” and “is a parent of any child born as a result of the pregnancy”.

I don’t know about you, but my first reaction is that that first part does not sit in accordance with what I learnt from Maury Povich.

Most of us would think that “parent” for all purposes, just means “parent” in the ordinary sense of the word. According to the Oxford English Dictionary that is:

noun. A person who is one of the progenitors of a child; a father or mother;


trans. To be the parent of; to be or act as a father or mother to; (fig.) to beget, produce.

However, family law legislation has redefined our understanding of “parent” as a result of amendments designed to give recognition to children (conceived via artificial conception, such as IVF) of de-facto couples including same-sex couples. The effect is that biological parentage is now not telling of legal parentage.

In the vast majority of cases, it won’t be an issue because the donor intends to be an anonymous donor.

In rare cases, it will be an issue because not all legislation is as unequivocal as the WA Act in relation to the definition of “parent”. Further, in some cases, the donor may not intend to be anonymous; rather, the donor may intend to have an active role in the child’s life. But what are a sperm donor’s rights if they are not a “parent”?

The legislation contains a section that “any other person concerned with the care, welfare or development of the child” can make an application for Family Court Orders. So, even though a sperm donor might not be able to get a declaration of parentage from the Family Court, there’s still a chance, in certain circumstances, they can get some contact with the child.

If the Family Court is not an option, maybe donors and mothers could give love a chance, like these guys: Australian falls in love with sperm donor

And, although it may not be the same, donors can always get a declaration from Maury, too. MAURY, MAURY, MAURY!!!!

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Monday, 16 May 2022