Number of sperm donor babies on the rise
SINGER Natalie Imbruglia's announcement she is pregnant for the first time thanks to a sperm donor puts her among a rising tide of Aussie women choosing the same path.
Imbruglia, 44, revealed her baby news on Thursday, as new data showed the number of Australian women seeking donor sperm had increased 55 per cent in the past three years.
And public perceptions of sperm donation had shifted markedly in the past decade, fertility specialist Andrew Zuschmann said.
"It's something that is starting to get spoken about thanks to education and awareness," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"Same-sex women couples and single women are increasingly using it. We're seeing more women doing it with the support of their families, friends and partners.
"Celebrities who have used sperm donors help normalise people's attitudes."
Imbruglia is just the latest celebrity to reveal she used a sperm donor to fall pregnant.
"For those of you who know me, this has been something I have wanted for a very long time," she wrote on social media. "I'm blessed that this is possible with the help of IVF and a sperm donor."
But the Torn singer quickly shut down speculation about the identity of her donor, adding: "I won't be saying anything more on that publicly."
Radio presenter and TV personality Fifi Box has said she used an anonymous sperm donor to fall pregnant with daughter Daisy, born last month, after elder daughter Trixie, 6, was fathered by sportsman Grant Kenny.
Fertility expert David Knight said single women in their late 30s were the largest group accessing sperm donations. "When I started 25 years ago, it was mostly women whose partners were infertile, it was very rare for single women, but now single women are the vast majority," he said.
"There's been quite a change in society and over the years; I also see a lot of women in their 40s as well."
In NSW since 2010, sperm donors have been required to register their details - and all donor-conceived children can request that information when they turn 18. Dr Knight said even though the majority of sperm in Australian clinics comes from international donors, they must still agree to be on the register.
Rebecca Felsch is pregnant, expecting a son with partner Tracey Pinto, thanks to a sperm donor. The couple said stars such as Imbruglia and Box help educate the public about a once-taboo topic.
"Up until recently, (sperm donation) hadn't been spoken about - celebrities definitely help," Ms Pinto said. "It really educates people."
Ms Felsch said the couple have no concerns about their child eventually accessing details about the donor, saying it was important for their child "to know where they come from", adding: "We think it's a great idea … I want to know them myself so I can thank them."
Ella Mannix will launch Australia's first fertility expo in Sydney next month to raise awareness. Her daughter was conceived via donor sperm after her husband's cancer treatment made him infertile.
"By speaking about it people won't be ashamed any more," she said. "I am not ashamed (of using a donor) and I don't want my daughter to be ashamed. Celebrities normalise it and they help remove the stigma."