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The process of donating sperm and eggs at the Royal Women’s Hospital involves hurdles such as passing medical and psychological assessments, quarantining and screening for infections like HIV. There is a high demand for donations, with 120 public patients waiting for egg donations, over 200 waiting for sperm, and 16 waiting for both. The first batch of donations from the public bank will become available to patients in the coming months. Among those waiting for donations is Daniela, a 35-year-old undergoing cancer treatment who will require a surrogate to carry her baby due to ongoing medication that affects her body’s ability to produce estrogen.

Daniela, diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, is hopeful that the public bank will provide her with the opportunity to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother. She faces a 24-month wait on the waiting list but finds solace in the possibility of a cost-effective option to start a family. Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas praises those who choose to donate sperm and eggs, calling it a selfless act that gives more Victorians the chance to have a child and grow their families. Dr. Karin Hammarberg, a senior research fellow at Monash University, suggests that offering modest compensation to donors could increase the number of people willing to donate.

The shortage of donors in Australia has led to many people seeking sperm and eggs overseas, where donors can remain anonymous. Hammarberg emphasizes the importance of children knowing their biological origins and suggests making it easier for people to access donor gametes within Australia. Luk Rombauts, the medical director of Monash IVF, acknowledges the imbalance between supply and demand for sperm donors in the state. While patients at private clinics can access donor sperm quickly, those with specific preferences may face longer waits for the perfect match based on factors like ethnicity, eye color, religion, and height. Rombauts emphasizes the importance of properly screening donated sperm.

The state government’s efforts to increase access to donor sperm and eggs are aimed at helping more Victorians start their families. The need for donors continues to grow, with an increasing number of same-sex families and solo women seeking to have children. Those interested in becoming donors can visit the Royal Women’s Hospital website for more information on the donation process. The availability of donations from the public bank offers hope to individuals like Daniela, who dream of fulfilling their desires to become parents despite facing challenges due to medical conditions.

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