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The paternal state - politician sperm donors? No thanks!

By Melinda Tankard Reist - posted Monday, 24 January 2005

Some Australians think most politicians are wankers. Others are urging more to become just that.

Pull the other one, you say. Well no, I’m not joking.

Influential IVF doctor Gab Kovacs has written to Victorian male MP’s under 45 urging them to hand over their sperm. Seems those troublesome requirements, about kids born from sperm donation having access to identifying information about their biological parents when they turn 18, has halved the number of sperm donors. (Victoria is the only state which no longer conceals the identity of sperm donors. WA and SA allow identification only with donor consent.)


But many men prefer to scatter their seed far and wide without a trace. They don’t want to worry about a knock at the door from some pimply teenager who actually wants to know them. So Kovacs, Medical Director at Monash IVF, has hatched a cunning plan - appeal to pollies to give something back to the community. Not their plans to end poverty, rebuild Tsunami ravaged lands, improve our ailing hospital system. No - their sperm. Dr Kovacs wants our male members to be role models, to get others to put their wrigglers into the collection tin on the IVF clinic counter.

Let’s work this through for a minute.

For the politician in question to be able to act as a “role model”, the rest of us would have to know what took place in the cubicle with the aid of porn mags and x-rated flesh flicks. Do we really want to be subjected to “doorstops” featuring an MP emerging looking relaxed and happy and making a “V” for victory salute for the cameras?

Kovacs has compared his “recruit-power-sperm” campaign to the one for organ donation. But it’s not the same. A flesh and blood, never-to-be repeated human being with feelings and emotions, doesn’t come from a kidney or liver.

Sperm isn’t just some commodity to be traded at random: passed on are entire personal, genetic and medical histories, lineages which aren’t just nothing.

Think what could happen if this campaign went national. A kid is in trouble at school for calling his principal an “arse licker” and abusing the American exchange student. His parents - well known for handing out how-to-vote cards for John Howard in so many successful elections everyone’s stopped counting - encourage him to track down his biological father. It proves disastrous for all concerned.


Another kid, tall, smooth of scalp and gangly with jerky movements (when he’s not tied to trees in old growth forests) tells his dad he cannot take over the family woodchipping business.

And if they get paid for their donations, what are they going to do with the extra cash? The Register of Senator’s interests could contain disclosures like:

  • 2 hand-painted bowls from Chinese Government
  • 1 carved statue from Nigerian officials
  • $200 from IVF clinic for 12 bottles Grade A spermatozoa
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About the Author

Melinda Tankard Reist is a Canberra author, speaker, commentator and advocate with a special interest in issues affecting women and girls. Melinda is author of Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief after Abortion (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2000), Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics (Spinifex Press, 2006) and editor of Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009). Melinda is a founder of Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation ( Melinda blogs at

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