Victoria has opened Australia’s first public egg and sperm bank, providing free access to the service for thousands of eligible patients.
The new facility opened at the Royal Women’s Hospital this week as part of the State Government’s $120 million public fertility service program.
It is estimated up to 5000 Victorians will start their family through the scheme each year.
Those who are eligible for the state’s Public Fertility Service, which opened in October last year to offer IVF treatments and fertility consultations for free, are also able to access the donated sperm and eggs.
The sperm and egg bank is currently focused on recruiting donors to increase the service’s stock.
The bank will also accept altruistic donations from Victorians who meet certain criteria and want to give someone the opportunity to start a family.
In Australia, it is illegal to pay people to donate their blood, tissues, sperm or eggs, meaning hopeful parents must rely on altruistic donations of eggs and sperm.
The Royal Women’s Hospital CEO, Professor Sue Matthews (PhD), said donated eggs and sperm could help women experiencing early menopause after cancer, those who have had repeated miscarriages, same-sex couples and people who have serious genetic issues.
“With the help of generous people who will come forward to donate their eggs or sperm, we’ll be making it easier and fairer for people to realise their dream of starting a family,” Professor Matthews said.