Embryo Donation and the Law
What does it mean for you?
Since 2005, all egg, sperm and embryo donors in the UK must agree to be identifiable to any person conceived from their donation.
This means that when you become an embryo donor in a UK-based clinic licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), you will be asked for certain details. This information will initially be used by the clinic to assess your suitability as an embryo donor and, if approved, will then be passed on to the HFEA which will keep your details on a confidential up-to-date register. Your details will be stored confidentially and in line with data protection legislation. The HFEA will pass your details on to any child born as a result of your donation if that child requests it.
Who or what is the HFEA?
The HFEA is the UK’s independent regulator responsible for overseeing the use of gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos in fertility treatment and research.
What information will be kept about you?
When donating your embryos at any HFEA-licensed clinic you will be asked to give the following information about yourself:
- date of birth
- ethnic group
- marital status
- the number of children you already have and their gender
- physical characteristics
- details of your screening tests and medical history
- a goodwill message to any potential children conceived following your donation
- a personal description.
When can your recipients ask for information about you and about any other children born from your donations?
Your recipients can ask the HFEA for non-identifying information about you at any time. They can pass these details on to their donor-conceived child whenever they like.
Your recipients can also find out how many other children have been born following your donations, their gender and year of birth.
When can donor-conceived people ask for information about you and what details will they be given?
When a person conceived through your donation reaches the age of 16 they can apply to the HFEA to receive all the non-identifying information you provided when you donated. That is, all the information you gave except for your name, NHS number and last-known address.
When a person conceived through your donation reaches the age of 18 they can apply to the HFEA to find all the information you provided, including identifying information such as your name, NHS number and last-known address.
When can you ask for information about your donation and what details will you receive?
Any time following your donation, you have a right to find out:
- if your donation has been successful
- the number of children born as a result of your donation
- the gender and year of birth of any children born following your donation.
How many children could have been born from your donation?
There isn’t a limit as such on the number of children that can be born from your donations. However, a maximum of 10 families can be created from your donations. You will be asked for your consent for the number of families than can be created from your donations. You have the right to limit this to any number you want. You cannot increase the number of families beyond 10.
In The Media
Over the last ten years there’s been an increase in egg and sperm donors coming forward in the UK. This didn’t happen by accident. Media coverage, in whatever way, shape or form, has an important role to play. The more media inches, the more awareness, the more donors come forward.
It is as simple as that.
National Fertility Awareness Week is 30 October – 5 November.read more
Donor stories needed for article for the Sun on Sunday on sperm donation…read more
10 Years since the Ending of Donor Anonymity. What now?read more