Queensland orders mass purge of sperm donations amid fertility industry controversy

fertilization, sperm bank, sperm donors, sperm donations

As controversies have mounted surrounding the Australian fertility industry, the ombudsman in Queensland has ordered a mass purge of all frozen sperm donations.

The BBC reported that an inquiry into the state’s fertility clinics found widespread issues, including that 42% of sperm donations, egg samples and embryos in Queensland had “ identification and traceability” issues, with samples frozen before 2020 at higher risk.

“The impact on consumers and the donor-conceived children… cannot be underestimated,” the report said.

Numerous issues were found at multiple clinics; according to The Guardian, 4% of material collected since 2021 was at medium or high risk of misidentification at one clinic alone. At another, an identification and traceability internal audit had not been conducted in the last year at all.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the embattled Queensland Fertility Group is identified in the report, with some adverse events — such as mislabeling sperm donations — not reported to the RTAC, the regulatory agency overseeing fertility clinics. Yet RTAC has come under fire as well, for ignoring issues brought to them by angry patients.

READ: Couples left without answers after fertility clinic destroys embryos

“I complained many times to RTAC and sometimes my complaint wasn’t even acknowledged,” Danielle Patorniti, who was a patient with the Queensland Fertility Group, said. “It’s definitely a mixed bag of emotions but I’m glad the truth is now out, and families can get the support and protection needed.”

The fertility industry has been the subject of widespread controversy in recent months, with sperm donors believed to have fathered hundreds, if not thousands, of children. One couple, Anastasia and Lexie Gunn, are currently suing after finding they had been impregnated with the wrong sperm; despite DNA testing proving their claims, the Queensland Fertility Group has refused to accept any responsibility for the error, or even to admit it took place.

“It’s been lie after lie, excuse after excuse. They knew what they had done and just hoped we would just give up and go away,” Anastasia Gunn told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “They owe our children an apology.”

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