On 30 March 2016, Dr Fiona Kelly gave a presentation at Monash IVF to the IVF Counsellors of Victoria group on her research on donor linking amongst single mothers by choice. The presentation was based on an article Dr Fiona Kelly co-wrote with Swinburne researcher Dr Deborah Dempsey.
An increasing number of parents of donor conceived children are making contact with their child’s donor relatives. This process, often referred to as “donor linking”, can be achieved in Australia through either formal or informal mechanisms. Formal mechanisms exist in three states, each of which has legislation enabling donor linking in certain circumstances. Donor linking may also be achieved through informal mechanisms, such as online donor registries, social media searches, direct-to-consumer genetic testing, and fertility clinics which act as intermediaries between donors and recipients. Drawing on qualitative interview data, this article explores the donor linking practices of 25 single women who conceived using donated gametes. The findings suggest that donor linking is extremely popular amongst single women and that, even when formal legislative mechanisms are available, informal linking remains extremely common.
Dr Kelly joined La Trobe University Law School in 2013. Previously she was an Associate Professor in the Law School at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She holds a BA and LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and an LLM and PhD from the University of British Columbia. Prior to joining UBC, Dr Kelly was a judicial associate at the Family Court of Australia and a Research Officer with the Australian Institute of Family Studies. Dr Kelly’s research interests are primarily in the area of Family Law and, in particular, the regulation of legal parentage. She has published extensively in Australian and international journals in a variety of areas of family law, including the judicial and legislative treatment of lesbian and single mother by choice families, the legal regulation of parentage in the context of assisted reproduction, the ethics of sperm donor anonymity, and the legal treatment of transgender children and youth seeking medical treatment. She published her first monograph, Transforming Law’s Family: The Legal Recognition of Planned Lesbian Families, in 2011. The book drew on qualitative research conducted with lesbian families across Canada. The recommendations for reform contained within the book had a significant impact on the parentage reforms contained in British Columbia’s Family Law Act (2013), which provides legal recognition to same-sex couples as well as multiple parent families. Her second co-authored book Autonomous Motherhood? A Socio-Legal Study of Choice and Constraint (University of Toronto Press, 2015) was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada) grant. Dr Kelly is also a co-author of one of Australia’s leading Family Law textbooks, Australian Family Law: The Contemporary Context (OUP, 2015). In 2015, Dr Kelly was awarded a Victorian Law Foundation grant to prepare a plain language legal toolkit for parents of transgender children and youth navigating the Family Court treatment approval process.