“Families of Strangers? The Socio-legal implications of donor linking” is an Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project that aims to explore the impact of donor linking – the process whereby donor-conceived people, donors and recipient parents access each other’s identity – on individual and familial identities and relationships.

The global demand from the donor conception community for donor linking services is growing and insistent. Australia is a world leader in providing statutory donor linking services, though the legislative framework is uneven from state to state. At the same time, there has been a significant growth in people pursuing donor linking through non-statutory means, such as direct-to-consumer genetic testing, online registers, and searches using social media. In Families of Strangers we will analyse donor linking practices and outcomes in Australia to determine:

  1. How statutory donor linking frameworks are implemented, who is making applications, and their motivations for doing so.
  2. How assisted reproductive technology (ART) professionals are engaged in the
    management and disclosure of identifying and non-identifying information in clinical
  3. How and why individuals engage in statutory and non-statutory donor linking and how they perceive its impact on family relationships and identities.

At the project’s conclusion, we will know how familial identities and relationships are managed, transformed or disrupted by statutory and non-statutory forms of donor linking. This knowledge will provide an evidence-based platform from which donor-linking law, policy and services can develop domestically and overseas.

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