( dpa )- He's blond, blue-eyed, of medium build and has O- positive blood: that's all Geraldine Hewitt knows about the man who donated the sperm that led to her birth 21 years ago.
"I think I'd just like to know him beyond the bland description that I've been given by the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney," Hewitt said.
For his anonymous efforts, Hewitt's biological dad received a token payment and the reward of believing he was helping a barren couple. That's how it was in the 1980s when the first babies were born through artificial insemination.
Now, Hewitt would have the right to know her biological father and could likely get in touch with any siblings. And it's that switch from anonymity to full disclosure that is helping empty the fridges at Australia's sperm banks.
As well as the end of anonymity, other rule changes have dried up supply.
The number of families that can use an individual donor has been halved to just five, the age limit for donors has dropped from 50 to 35, and stringent testing means the days of a quick deposit in a sample jar are long gone.
"I had 12 months of tests to ensure I had not sexually transmitted diseases, that my DNA didn't contain any commonly known genetic diseases, that my fertility levels were high enough and to confirm that my sperm was able to survive the freezing and thawing," a recent donor, who insisted on anonymity, said.
"I was also interviewed about my family and medical history by doctors and counsellors , and advised on the current laws pertaining to sperm donation," he said
Late last year, the New South Wales state government legislated to bring a new level of regulation into donation so that donors can now specify, for example, that only Christians and married couples get to use their sperm.
It's legislation that Greens member of parliament John Kaye said would grant "legal sanction to bigotry and prejudice" and which runs counter to anti-discrimination legislation.
The state government argued that because recipients have a say on the background of donors, it was only right that donors had the right to allocate their sperm as they wished.
Melbourne University ethicist Leslie Cannold deplored the new rules, saying: "The whole idea of donating is giving and I don't think you give gifts with those sorts of conditions attached."
Just how complex donation has become is exemplified by 53-year-old Peter Browne, a donor when he was in his 30s who know wants to trace the children he may have fathered - whether they want to know their lineage or not.
"It might sound a bit strange, but to me it would possibly go a long way to validating my whole existence," Browne said. "I've always wanted to have children, so it would mean the world to me, actually."
Pressures from both sides of the equation have made donation a vexed issue and emptied shelves in sperm banks.
One of the results has been a black market in sperm, with potential mothers turning to their friends, to one-night-stands with strangers or to blokes like John Mayger , a 59-year-old Sydney bus driver who likes to call himself the Sperm Subversive.
He gives away his semen, allowing women wanting babies to circumvent the red-tape and jump a lengthening queue.
"Some of my mums have decided to have an annual picnic so the children all know each other," Mayger told The Sydney Morning Herald. "There is a real risk of inbreeding in the small lesbian community in Sydney, but if every child knows their father, we can prevent that."
Mayger is not like the donors of yore who were happy with just small change and the knowledge that they were perhaps helping a childless couple.
He doesn't like the idea of waiting until his child is over 18 to have even the chance of getting to know his progeny.
"There are a lot of men out there who want to know their offspring and for their offspring to know them but they are not given that option at fertility clinics," he said.
Many others are not like Mayger : they donate privately to friends who promise to keep parentage a secret.