Associate Professor Fiona Kelly has been awarded a highly competitive ARC Discovery Project grant of $219,686. The project, to be conducted with Associate Professor Deborah Dempsey from Swinburne University, is titled “Families of Strangers? The socio-legal implications of donor linking”.
Donor linking is the process by which donor-conceived people, donors, and recipient parents access each other’s identifying information. Australia is a world leader in statutory linking, but reform has not been matched by equivalent levels of research on the consequences of the practice. This project aims to generate new knowledge about the impact of donor linking on individual and familial identities and relationships, and the consequences of the growing prevalence of non-statutory linking, such as direct-to-consumer genetic testing and online technologies, for formal regulatory frameworks. The project will produce important information for legislators, assisted reproduction professionals and families about the impact of donor linking on participants and the efficacy of existing statutory frameworks. Analysing the unique Australian experience – the only country where prospective and retrospective, statutory and non-statutory linking are available – will provide an evidence-based platform from which new donor-linking law, policy and services can develop in Australia and overseas.
Dr Kelly has made an enormous contribution to recent debates around family law and equality in Australia, and is again quoted on the rights of de facto couples in family law in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.