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Egg 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 egg 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 egg donor. When you go on to become an egg donor that information will then be passed on to the HFEA which will keep your details on an up-to-date register. Your information will always be kept confidential and stored in line with Data Protection legislation. The HFEA will pass your details on to any individual born as a result of your donation if that person 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 eggs at any HFEA-licensed clinic you will be asked to give the following information about yourself:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • address
  • 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. Unless you are donating exclusively to one recipient, it’s possible that in one donation cycle alone, your eggs will be shared between two or three recipient women. Once your eggs have been fertilised and become embryos it’s possible that the embryos might be frozen and stored for later use by those recipients. This could mean that more than one child is born from your donation in the same family. It’s also possible that your recipient family may wish to donate their frozen embryos if they decide not to use them.

You will be asked for your consent for the number of families that 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.

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