Treatments and tests

Donor assisted conception

  • Donor conception is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that uses donated sperm, eggs or embryos to try and achieve pregnancy.
  • Donor assisted conception is regulated to ensure the health and safety of participants and the wellbeing of donor conceived children.
  • Information is collected about donors and, since 2004, donor conceived children have a right to access this information. Anonymous donation is not permitted in Australia.

Donor conception is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that uses donated sperm, eggs or embryos to try and achieve pregnancy.

Participants in donor assisted conception are:

1. the donor who provides the sperm, eggs or embryo

and

2. recipient/s who will receive the donation.

Donors may be known or unknown to the recipients.

Donor assisted conception may involve:

Donor screening

Clinics must ensure that donors are screened for medical and genetic conditions prior to the sperm, eggs or embryos being released.

Sperm, eggs or embryos will be quarantined by the clinic to manage the risk of infection transmission.

Family limits

In WA, donated sperm eggs or embryos may only be used to create a maximum of five families (not including the donor’s own). There are no limits on the number of children conceived through the same donor within these five families.

Family limits are in place to reduce the risk that a donor conceived person will unknowingly form a relationship with a sibling (known as consanguinity) and limit the impact on the emotional wellbeing of children born as a result of donation.

In some circumstances, the Reproductive Technology Council (external site) may approve the use of sperm, eggs or embryos that would breach the five-family limit.

Donor identifying information

Donors must consent to their identifying information being sent to the WA Health Reproductive Technology Registers (externals site). Anonymous donation is not permitted in Western Australia.

Parentage

Donors are not recognised as the legal parents of any child born through donor assisted conception.

When a woman becomes pregnant after an artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure that involves donated sperm, eggs or embryos, the woman is the parent of any child born from that pregnancy. The woman’s spouse or de facto partner is also considered to be the parent of the child.

In a surrogacy arrangement, legal parentage is transferred from the birth mother and her spouse/de facto partner (if applicable) to the arranged parents.

Importing and exporting donated sperm, eggs or embryos

Approval from the Reproductive Technology Council (external site) is required to export donated sperm, eggs or embryos out of Western Australia (WA).

Donated sperm, eggs or embryos can be imported into WA. Clinics receiving donated sperm, eggs or embryos must ensure that the donation complied with WA laws.

Importing

Sperm eggs or embryos may be imported for use in assisted reproductive technology (artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection) procedures.

You don’t need approval to import your own sperm, eggs or embryos into WA .

If you want to import donated sperm, eggs or embryos you or your clinic must be able to confirm that the following criteria have been met:

  • screening, quarantine and infection control standards equivalent to what is required in WA
  • counselling has been provided to the same standard as what would be required in WA and the donor has provided effective consent
  • the donation was altruistic/not for commercial gain
  • the use of the sperm, eggs or embryos would not breach the five-family limit OR the Reproductive Technology Council has approved an application for use
  • information, including identifying information on the donor, is available for the WA Reproductive Technology Registers OR the Reproductive Technology Council has approved an application for use.

Clinics can face severe penalties if they receive sperm, eggs or embryos that don’t meet the criteria above.

Exporting

You don’t need approval to export your own sperm, eggs or embryos out of WA if the use for which they are being exported is not prohibited. Prohibited uses include commercial donation or surrogacy or breaching the five-family limit.

Approval from the Reproductive Technology Council (external site) is required to export donated sperm eggs or embryos.

Applicants must agree to provide information to the WA Health Reproductive Technology Registers (externals site) about the recipient and outcome of donation.

Commercial donation

Commercial donation (where the donor is paid or offered some form of valuable consideration) is illegal in Western Australia. Donors may be reimbursed for reasonable expenses only.

Clinics have a responsibility to ensure that they do not receive commercially donated sperm, eggs or embryos.

The ban on commercial donation is in place to reduce the risk of exploitation of donors and to reduce the incentive for the creation of large families that would breach the family limits.

There is no approval pathway to use sperm, eggs or embryos that have been donated for commercial gain.

Where to get help


Last reviewed: 31-05-2022
Acknowledgements

Reproductive Technology Unit

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