Health & Lifestyle

‘Landmark moment’ as Brits conceived using donor egg or sperm can contact biological parents from next month

  • Brits will be able to ask for the the name, date of birth and last known address
  • By 2030 11,427 young people will be able to request identifying information

People conceived using egg or sperm donation will be able to trace their biological parents from next month.

Changes to the UKs donor anonymity law mean the first donor-conceived adults able to request information on their biological origins are turning 18.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said around 30 donor-conceived 18-year-olds will become eligible to find their donor by the end of the year.

The ‘monumental’ changes to donation conditions mean 11,427 young people will be able to request identifying information – such as the name, date of birth and last known address – by 2030.

Dr Marta Jansa Perez, of the British Fertility Society, described it as a ‘landmark’ moment.

By 2030 11,427 young people will be able to request identifying information when they reach 18

By 2030 11,427 young people will be able to request identifying information when they reach 18

More than 70,000 donor conceived children have been born since 1991 and donor conception now accounts for 1 in 6 IVF births in the UK and 1 in 170 of all UK births

More than 70,000 donor conceived children have been born since 1991 and donor conception now accounts for 1 in 6 IVF births in the UK and 1 in 170 of all UK births

She said: ‘This is a very important landmark for those people who were conceived by the use of donor eggs or sperm since 2005 as when they reach 18 they will be able to receive identifiable information about their donors.

‘The British Fertility Society would like to encourage all donors to get back in touch with the clinic where they donated or to contact the HFEA to ensure that their contact details are up to date, so that donor conceived people can have information on their genetic origins if they so wish to.’

The law around releasing a sperm, egg or embryo donor’s personal information changed in April 2005, when it was deemed everyone has the right to know about their genetic history.

Data from the HFEA shows that by the end of 2024, more than 700 donor-conceived people will be able to request identifying information about their donor, should they wish.

It is launching a #WhoIsMyDonor campaign to encourage donors to ensure their data is up to date with their clinic as the first young adults apply for information.

Rachel Cutting, HFEA director of information and compliance, said: ‘An egg or sperm donation made 18 years ago could rightly feel like a distant memory for some, and forgetting to update contact details is easily done.

‘However, giving the correct information to the donor-conceived person and notifying the donor an application has been made, can help facilitate successful communication and may reduce any emotional impact.

She added: ‘One quick email or phone call by a donor to the clinic where they donated, or to the HFEA, can make a huge difference to a donor-conceived person’s life.’

More than 70,000 donor conceived children have been born since 1991 and donor conception now accounts for 1 in 6 IVF births in the UK and 1 in 170 of all UK births.

By 2030, the regulator predicts there will be an average of one or two donor conceived children in every English state primary school.

Professor Jackson Kirkman-Brown, chair of the Association for Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS), said it was important those involved used the support on offer.

He said some people born through donation had been using home ancestry tests to track down biological family, without having access to such help and information.

‘This is a very important time for young adults who were conceived by the use of donor sperm or eggs. Many will hope to find out more about their donors as they reach 18,’ he said.

‘There are now many other ways that a donor could be identified such as home ancestry tests and historic donors will usually not have had information and support around this – we therefore encourage them to reach out now and get the accurate guidance, support and information they require and deserve.

‘Being a donor is an incredible gift and alongside the sector ARCS are keen to recognise and support those who enable people to have the families they desire.’


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