The Donor-Linking Practices of Australian Fertility Clinics Academic Article uri icon


  • While Australia is a world leader in providing statutory donor-linking services - the practice whereby individuals connected through donor conception seek access to information about each other - there has been only limited exploration of how fertility clinics respond when approached with donor-linking requests. This article reports on 19 qualitative interviews conducted with Australian fertility clinic staff that explored how clinics manage requests to share identifying and non-identifying information about parties involved in donor conception. Our findings indicate that fertility clinics have experienced an increase in donor-linking requests in recent years, but that they are typically dealt with on an ad hoc basis. Two approaches to donor linking were identified: (1) an "active" approach where clinics supported donor linking and were willing to engage in outreach to see if the other party was open to information exchange; and (2) a "passive" approach whereby clinics were reluctant to facilitate linking and were unwilling to outreach to other parties. The variety of responses to donor-linking requests highlight the ways in which donor-conceived adults, parents and donors can have dramatically different access to information, depending on the clinic that provided treatment.

publication date

  • 2019