The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

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The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register


What is the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register?

The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act was passed in November 2004.

The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register holds information about donors, donor offspring and guardians who have been involved in fertility treatment that involves the use of donated embryos, sperm or eggs through fertility clinics. Births, Deaths and Marriages within the Department of Internal Affairs has the responsibility for establishing and maintaining the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register under the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology HART Act 2004. The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register has been operational since 22 August 2005.


Information Held on the Register


Who will be named on the register?

Donors, donor offspring and their guardians involved in embryo, egg or sperm donation at a fertility clinic will be named on the register. Only those donations made on or after 22 August 2005 that result in a birth will automatically be included on the register. People who donated sperm, eggs or embryos prior to 22 August 2005, and people who were born as a result of those donations (and their guardians) can choose to provide information about themselves for inclusion on the register.


How do people's details get into the register?

The way the data is collected depends on when the embryos or cells were donated. For donations made prior to 22 August 2005, people can choose whether to provide their details for inclusion on the register or not. (Donor offspring must be over 18 years of age to provide their details, or 16 or 17 with the approval of the Family Court. Guardians can provide the details of donor offspring under 18 years old.)

For donations made on or after 22 August 2005 that result in a birth, fertility clinics will provide to Births, Deaths and Marriages details of the donors, offspring and guardians.

The diagram shows how data gets into the register.

The table outlines who can access what type of information held in the register.

Can I provide information, or access information on the register, if I am under 18 years old?

A donor offspring who is 16 or 17 years of age can apply to the Family Court to be treated as though he or she is 18 years of age for the purposes of providing information for inclusion on the register, or for applying to access identifying information about a donor, or related donor offspring who share the same donor. A Family Court Judge will only give approval if he or she is satisfied that it is in the best interests of the donor offspring to have access to the information, or to provide information for inclusion on the register.

What's the difference between voluntary registration and mandatory registration?

The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act differentiates between donations of embryos, sperm or eggs made prior to 22 August 2005 and those made on or after that date.

Voluntary registration is applicable for people involved in donations made prior to 22 August 2005.

Mandatory registration is relevant to people involved in donations made on or after 22 August 2005 that result in a birth.

Refer to the diagram for more information.

What data will be collected by Births, Deaths and Marriages?

For donations made prior to 22 August 2005, donors and offspring (or the guardians of offspring under 18) can provide their personal details as well as information relating to their physical attributes, medical history, ethnicity and cultural affiliation.

For donations made on or after 22 August 2005 that result in a birth, fertility clinics will provide to Births, Deaths and Marriages: the donor's name, address and date and place of birth; the offspring's name, gender and date and place of birth; and the guardian's name and address. After 50 years (or if the clinic goes out of business), fertility clinics will give Births, Deaths and Marriages more detailed information about the donor and offspring including family history and cultural affiliations.

The registration forms Application to Record (or Update) Donor Details on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Register (BDM 401) and Application to Record (or Update) Donor Offspring Details on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Register (BDM 402) show what data Births, Deaths and Marriages will be collecting.

Keeping personal details up to date.

It is important that the information held by Births, Deaths and Marriages and the fertility clinics is as up-to-date as possible, so that people who access your information receive accurate information about you. If you are a donor, donor offspring or the guardian of a donor offspring please update your details (e.g. change of address) at any time using the appropriate registration form. The form asks you to advise whether you are providing new information or updating existing information. There is no charge for advising Births, Deaths and Marriages of changes to your details. In some instances, Births, Deaths and Marriages will use other registered information about you (e.g. If you change your name) to update the HART Register.
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Accessing the Information


Who can see the information on the register?

Access to information held on the register is restricted. Generally only the people named on the register can access the information, or the guardians of offspring under the age of 18.

The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act restricts the release of some information, depending on when the donation was made and who wants to access the information.

The table below outlines who can access what type of information from the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register. An X indicates the information that is available, subject to any restrictions imposed on disclosure.

Confirmation Only

Whether information is held about the donorWhether donor has asked for offspring informationWhether any other offspring share the same donorWhether donation resulted in birth and offspring's gender
DONOR
X
Donor OFFSPRING (over 18)*
X
X
X
Donor OFFSPRING (under 18)
X
X
GUARDIAN of donor offspring (when offspring is under 18)
X
X
X

Copies of Printed Records

Donor Offspring record(s)Donor record (identifying)Donor record (non-identifying)Record(s) of siblings**
DONOR
X
X
Donor OFFSPRING (over 18)*
X
X
X
Donor OFFSPRING (under 18)
X
X
GUARDIAN of donor offspring (when offspring is under 18)
X
X
X
* or 16 / 17 years of age with Family Court order
** siblings refers to offspring who share the same donor
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Note:
  1. If a donor, offspring or guardian chooses to use an agent (e.g. a lawyer), the same amount of information will be available to that agent as would be available to the donor / offspring / guardian.
  2. Under the HART Act, the Registrar-General can withhold any information if the Registrar-General is satisfied that the disclosure will endanger any person.
  3. Medical practitioners who can show that the information is relevant for the purposes of providing medical treatment have full access to the registered records. Consent by the parties is not required in this circumstance.
  4. Refer to Filling out the Forms to find out which form to use.

How can Births, Deaths and Marriages be sure that the person requesting information is eligible to receive it?

Births, Deaths and Marriages requires you to complete a General Identity Declaration (BDM 130) application form, to be signed by yourself and also a trusted referee (from the list stated on the written statement) to verify an applicant's eligibility to access information from the register. If a donor number or offspring identifier or symbol (used by fertility clinics) is provided, Births, Deaths and Marriages will validate those identifiers with the fertility clinics.

People registering their details will have to complete a statutory declaration in the presence of a person who is authorised to take statutory declarations (e.g. a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages; a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand; a Justice of the Peace, or a Notary Public).

What are the circumstances that would allow medical professionals to request information from the register?

Medical practitioners who can show that the information is relevant for the purposes of providing medical treatment or advice will have full access to the registered records. The
Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act requires that two medical practitioners must put their reasons in writing to be considered by the Registrar-General before any information is released.

Can the Registrar-General withhold information?

Under the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act the Registrar-General can withhold any information if the Registrar-General is satisfied that the disclosure of that information will endanger any person.

As a donor offspring, what sort of information might I be able to find out about my donor?

Provided Births, Deaths and Marriages holds the information and that as a donor offspring you have the right to access it, you will be able to receive the donor's personal details as well as information about the donor's physical attributes, family history, ethnicity and cultural affiliation. If the donor is Māori, you may be able to find out the donor's whānau, hapū and iwi affiliations.

If I am a donor offspring, can I find out if I have any siblings* who share the same donor?

Yes, however for births that occurred from donations made prior to 22 August 2005, Births, Deaths and Marriages will only be able to make a match if the relevant people have chosen to be listed on the register. If a link is established between one donor and several offspring records, that information will be available as long as each party has consented or not imposed any restrictions on the release of their information.

* Under the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act the term "sibling" refers to donor offspring who share the same donor.

If I want to access information, can I get an agent (e.g. lawyer) to act on my behalf?

Yes. If a donor / offspring / guardian chooses to use an agent, the same amount of information will be available to the agent as would be available to the donor / offspring / guardian who is being represented. People wishing to use an agent should fill out Authorisation for Disclosure of Information to Agent (BDM 405) to delegate that responsibility.

If my details are included on the register, will that change the details that appear on my birth certificate?

No. However if at any time a person who has been a donor or donor offspring (or their guardian) completes a Change of Name by Statutory Declaration form (either a BDM 120, BDM 122 or BDM 36), the information from that form may be used by Births, Deaths and Marriages to update the name in the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register.
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Restriction on Information Availability


Can people listed on the register restrict information given out about them?

People who were born as a result of donations made before 22 August 2005, and their donors and guardians, who choose to provide information for inclusion on the register can request that certain restrictions be placed on the release of their information. Restrictions can be added or withdrawn at any time by the individuals concerned.

People who were born as a result of donations made on or after 22 August 2005 must give written consent before identifying information about them is given to a donor, or to other donor offspring who are related to the same donor. Consent can be withdrawn or given again at any time. Donors who made donations on or after 22 August 2005 cannot restrict the release of identifying information about them to donor offspring over the age of 18 (or their guardians, if the offspring is under 18), but will be advised whenever access to that information is given.

How does "identifying information" differ from "non-identifying information"?[

Donors who made donations on or after 22 August 2005 can obtain non-identifying information about donor offspring who were born as a result of their donations, if the donor offspring has not consented to the release of identifying information. Donor offspring under the age of 18 can access non-identifying information about their donors.

Identifying information includes specific details which identify a person (name, address or contact details), or details that are likely to enable someone to identify the person (such as, if the person has a unique occupation). Non-identifying information is information that would not lead to someone being able to identify the person being described.

What sort of restrictions might people place on the release of their information?

For donations of a donated cell or donated embryo made before 22 August 2005, donors, donor offspring or their guardians who choose to provide information for inclusion on the register can request that certain restrictions be placed on the release of their information. Examples of possible restrictions are:
  • only non-identifying information is released about themselves; or
  • no information is released until after their death; or
  • certain people do not have access to their details.
People do not have to place any restrictions on the release of their information.

What are the grounds for asking that information is not released?

People listed on the register do not have to give any reasons for placing restrictions on the release of their information.

Matching Donors and Donor Offspring


Is Births, Deaths and Marriages likely to be able to match donors and donor offspring?

For donations made prior to 22 August 2005 Births, Deaths and Marriages can only be sure of a link by matching the donor identifier of a donor to one or more donor offspring in cases where both parties have provided information to Births, Deaths and Marriages. Fertility treatment in New Zealand commenced in the late 1970's and during the early years information concerning donors was not usually kept, so there will be some people for whom a link cannot be made. The more people who register their details with Births, Deaths and Marriages, the higher the chance will be of making a link.

Where a birth occurs from a donation made after 22 August 2005, fertility clinics will provide information to Births, Deaths and Marriages that links the donor and donor offspring.

How can donors and donor offspring find out their "identifier" number or symbol?

Donors and donor offspring should contact the fertility clinic that provided the original fertility treatment that resulted in the birth to find out their unique identifier.

How will donors and donor offspring be advised that a link has been made?

When Births, Deaths and Marriages receives a registration that links a donor and donor offspring, each party will be advised that a link has been made. Parties can then apply to access information from Births, Deaths and Marriages or fertility clinics about their donor / offspring / siblings. When identifying information is released concerning either the donor or donor offspring, the other party will be advised. Parties may choose to confirm the genetic link through DNA testing.

If I have no luck finding out about my donor / offspring through Births, Deaths and Marriages, what else can I do?

Contact the fertility clinic that provided the original fertility treatment. They may be able to provide you with information, depending on whether those people consented to the disclosure of their information when they made their donations.
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Role of Fertility Clinics


What is the role of fertility clinics for the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register?

For donations made on or after 22 August 2005 that result in a birth, fertility clinics will provide to Births, Deaths and Marriages details of the donors, offspring and guardians. Clinics will provide basic information to Births, Deaths and Marriages following a birth, and will send more detailed information after 50 years (or earlier if the clinic goes out of business).

Fertility clinics will not be providing Births, Deaths and Marriages with any information relating to births resulting from donations made prior to 22 August 2005. Donors / offspring / guardians may be able to obtain information on these births from the clinic that carried out the original treatment.

Is Births, Deaths and Marriages the only holder of Human Assisted Reproductive Technology information?

Fertility clinics will continue to hold information about people who use their services and have used their services in the past.

Births, Deaths and Marriages will provide a single central point for collecting and providing access to information on donors and donor offspring relating to donations made prior to 22 August 2005.

Fertility clinics will initially hold more detailed information than Births, Deaths and Marriages for births which resulted from donations made on or after 22 August 2005. For these births, the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register will contain basic donor, offspring and guardian information. Clinics will send more detailed information to Births, Deaths and Marriages after 50 years (or earlier if the clinic goes out of business).
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Other Assistance


If I am accessing donor / offspring / sibling information, should I get counselling?

Counselling is recommended for people considering accessing information about their donor, offspring or siblings who share the same donor. A counsellor may also be able to advise on the usefulness of DNA testing to confirm a genetic link. You may choose to approach the fertility clinic where the treatment took place, or speak to an independent counsellor. The person seeking the counselling is responsible for any cost incurred.

If I am accessing donor / offspring / sibling information, do I need to have DNA tests to confirm a genetic link?

It is entirely up to you whether you confirm a genetic link using DNA testing. Any cost incurred in this process is the responsibility of the person seeking the test.


Fee for Using the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Register


Is there a fee for using the register?

There is no cost to donors, offspring or guardians to provide information for registration.

There is a fee for an individual to check if there is any information recorded about themselves or related donor(s) or donor offspring, and there is a further fee for printouts of the recorded information for people who are entitled to access that information. Fees are outlined below:

NZ$40.80 for accessing donor and donor offspring information. You will be able to receive printouts containing all or any of the following:
  • Applications by donor offspring (or their guardian(s) (BDM 404)
    Information relating to the donor offspring who is the subject of an application
    Information relating to the donor(s) of the donor offspring
    Information relating to other donor offspring related to the same donor
  • Applications by donors (BDM 403)
    Information relating to the donor who is the subject of the application
    Information about all donor offspring related to the donor (if consent to disclosure is held by Births, Deaths and Marriages)
NZ$15.30 (or no extra fee if requested with the above products) for confirmation that information about a donor or donor offspring is held. You will be able to receive printouts containing all or any of the following information:

Filling out the Forms


What form do I need to fill out for access / registration?

Application forms and information brochures on this website are in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view or download the form or brochure. You can download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Adobe site. Once you have clicked on the link we suggest that you select ‘Open’ to view and print the application form or brochure rather than ‘Save’ as our forms and brochures change from time to time. Alternatively, hard copy versions of these forms and brochures are available from Births, Deaths and Marriages. Note: For donations of a donated cell or donated embryo made on or after 22 August 2005, donors, offspring and guardians do not have to fill out any forms. Fertility clinics will provide the relevant details to Births, Deaths and Marriages following a birth.

Can I fill out a form online?

Births, Deaths and Marriages requires an original signature to process applications for registration or access.

What does a statutory declaration involve?

A statutory declaration is a signed and witnessed statement that the information provided is true. Statutory declarations are made in the presence of an authorised person, e.g. a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages; a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand; a Justice of the Peace, or a Notary Public.
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Information About Other Aspects of the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act

The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act was passed in November 2004. The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act prohibits such activities as cloning of human embryos for reproductive purposes and the implantation of a human embryo in an animal, or vice versa. The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act also introduces protection against the commercialisation of surrogacy, embryos, sperm and eggs; and establishes a register so that people born from donated embryos, sperm or eggs (i.e. donor offspring) can find out about their genetic origins.

The Ministry of Justice has overall responsibility for the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act. Contact the Ministry of Justice for information on the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act: mailto:reception@justice.govt.nz.

View the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology (HART) Act and regulations at www.legislation.govt.nz (click on "statutes" or "regulations").

The Ministry of Health is responsible for setting up advisory and ethics committees on assisted human reproduction and research. For information about the ethics and advisory committees, contact the Ministry of Health at mailto:MOH@moh.govt.nz.

For information about fertility treatment, counselling or donations contact a local fertility clinic. Your GP may be able to provide more information.

To find a counsellor, contact your GP, local fertility clinic or look under Counselling Services in the Yellow Pages.
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