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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Newspaper Article on Senate Inquiry

This is from an interview that I did for the Adelaide Advertiser:

Destroyed sperm donation records prevent family reunions
From: The Advertiser
June 30, 2010 8:09PM

DAMIAN Adams has welcomed the establishment of a Senate inquiry into sperm donations, although it's unlikely to assist with his lifelong ambition - to find his father.
The medical researcher, who was conceived at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1973, will lobby for a national register, keeping proper records and greater rights for children born of donors.
But he is vehemently opposed to one of the issues being examined because of a nationwide shortage of donors - paying them money.
It still hurts him deeply to know that most donors at the time of his birth were Adelaide University medical students making some quick cash.
"It's affected me badly knowing that my father probably threw me away for what was effectively beer money," he said. "We don't pay people to donate blood or any other organs - it ends up being a commodification of human life."
All records of Mr Adams' father's identity were destroyed, yet clinics today can currently dispose of records after a specific time period, which can make it impossible to discover vital information such as health history.
The failure to keep records indefinitely riles Mr Adams, considering millions of dollars of taxpayer funding is spent on fertility treatments every year.
"Everybody else is entitled to know who their parents are but we don't," he said.
"But people from my era have sort of become second-class citizens ... you're not allowed to have access to medical history and you lose your identity, your heritage and family members."
In SA, donor offspring are able to access non-identifiable information about their genetic parent, but Mr Adams believes more information needs to be made available.
High on that list is being able to find out about siblings.
"I know of some people who have 40 or 50 siblings - but they do not know who they are - this is not pie in the sky," he said.
Mr Adams, who has two children of his own, is a member of the Donor Conception Support Group of Australia.
He is speaking at a national bioethics and health law conference in Adelaide this weekend.

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