For years, Lissa Koehler and her wife Kariah planned to give their three-year-old daughter a sibling. Because of that, there have been embryos in storage for five years. The sperm donated for the embryos and the Koehler’s daughter are from the same man, so they would be biological siblings. However, now that dream has been shattered. The sperm donor has withdrawn consent for any of the embryos to be used, and they will be destroyed.
Not all areas of Australia have these kinds of laws, but Victoria does. A sperm donor can withdraw their consent for use anytime they want, even after an embryo has been created. The couple is also not the only ones affected, and a health law expert has suggested that they consider taking legal action. Lissa already experienced a difficult road to have her daughter, through IVF and severe side effects from the procedure.
Going through IVF had a strong effect on Lissa’s mental state, and now that the embryos that were created during that time will be destroyed, that would put her starting over. At 40, it could be more difficult for her to create more embryos. Additionally, she would not have the same sperm donor, so the biological connection between her two children would not be what she was hoping for.
Jess and Leroy Natoli are another couple affected by the laws regarding sperm donors. After spending more than $30,000 creating embryos, they were told that consent had been withdrawn by the sperm donor, and the embryos could not be used. They live in a different state now, but were in Victoria when the embryos were created, so Victoria’s laws apply.
The crushing nature of the laws is something that advocates feel needs to change, as other states have different laws. Once the embryo is created, the sperm donor can no longer withdraw their consent for use of the genetic material they provided. Whether Victoria’s laws will change to come into line with other states remains to be seen.
International clients are integral to The Surrogacy Law Center and we pride ourselves on the level of service we are able to provide them. Our international services include providing translations of standard surrogacy and egg donor contracts, assisting with the process of obtaining apostilles of birth certificates and/or parentage orders, as necessary and working closely with attorneys retained by clients in their home countries to help ensure a seamless transition home. Learn more here!