A Victorian man who donated sperm for research 30 years ago has discovered that he now has eight children he never knew existed.

A report from the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) analysed sperm donor records that were kept by the Queen Victoria, Prince Henry’s and Royal Women’s Hospitals prior to the introduction of industry regulations in 1988, shares 7 news.

The records were assumed lost but were rediscovered by the report’s researchers – enabling those who thought they would never find their biological parent to get in contact with them.

The report revealed how one participant, who made six months’ worth of sperm donation at Prince Henry’s Hospital in 1987, later learnt that his samples were used for a little more than just research.

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The man said he had not given much thought to the donations until he saw an advertisement in a newspaper asking men who had donated to get in contact with VARTA.

He said neither he or his wife had ever considered that there was going to be a child conceived from the donations, let alone eight.

“It was an absolute stunner when we got that letter,” he said as part of a case study in the report.

“We’d never thought about that … It took a great bit of getting used to that because it came right out of the blue.”

Legislation introduced in 2017 meant all donor conceived adults in Victoria can now acquire identifying information about their donor, even without their consent.

VARTA CEO Louise Johnson encouraged parents to reveal their children’s donor status to them, rather than them discovering it through an ancestry or DNA-testing site.

“We think there is still a large majority of people conceived (by donor sperm) prior to the introduction of the legislation in 1988 that still don’t know they were donor conceived,” she told News Corp.

What a big shock for that man and his wife!

Share your comments below.

  • That would be a definite bolt out of the blue for him and his wife.


  • When the guy donated the sperm did they take details of medical history as apparently they do now. I am thinking if he did have any medical problems whether it would have impacted on the reseach or the children who were born as a result of his sperm being illegally used. With the donor system now my belief is if he has genetic medical problems no donation should be allowed.


  • Thank heavens this cannot happen in this day and age. A shock for him, but so many families are so grateful


  • OMG what a shock and how do they cope with that now. 8 children from varying families.


  • That must have been a shock for him and his wife.


  • Wow! That’d be really weird for him. That being said, it wouldn’t be as if he is really a father, only biologically.


  • What a shock that would have been.


  • Mmmm well the way I see it is eight beautiful humans were created and otherwise would not have been born!Decietful it was but that’s the risk of donating sperm!You never no where it may end up,regardless of what you were informed that it would be used for at the time!Im pretty certain that every sperm donor has had a thought or a what if moment after their donation!A life is a life no matter how you came to be here!One can only imagine the joy and love these children have given childless couples????


  • No doubt. The rules have changed on sperm donation but it is a tricky and complicated situation. We thought we may have to use donor sperm and the process mentally and the psych sessions to see if we could handle it, and all it entails were so intense. Noone knows what the future brings, and since we were in the process, the rules have changed. Thankfully, we didn’t need to go with that option in the end.


  • Just the start of the complications technology has brought and will bring. This weeks topic in year 10 science is the ethics of genetic research and an essay about why Australian law should be changed to allow gene editing on embryos: that is the scary stuff about designer babies and technology that isn’t quite there yet with splitting and re-joining dna, along with promising miracle cures for some diseases… the class seems to have to argue for change to law. I’m not sure they have all got the subtle issues that we can’t predict and the need to proceed with more caution than ever.


  • Probably it was, jennyw. But maybe some men will never find out. :-(


  • This is just terrible for all involved and it makes you wonder if the same has happened to others.


  • Unbelievable that this is done without their consent !


  • That’s terrible! Of course they were not allowed to donate his sperm, weren’t they? And so you find out you have 8 kids. How do you go on? Terrible for the kids who wanted to find out who their father was, but also for this man whose donation was not supposed to be used this way!!


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