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Importing sperm, eggs or embryos

Importing sperm, eggs or embryos from abroadOn this page:


Why import donor sperm, eggs or embryos?

You may choose to use donated sperm, eggs and embryos in your treatment, for example because you want a particular type of donor. 

However, it is important to realise that:

  • the clinic has to apply for an import licence, and they may charge you for it
  • if the sperm, eggs or embryos do not meet UK standards, the application will not be granted.

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What are the risks when importing donor sperm, eggs or embryos?

When considering importing sperm, eggs or embryos, bear in mind the following points.

  • The HFEA inspects clinics in the UK regularly, and licensed clinics have to abide by the HFEA Code of Practice. We do not regulate clinics in other countries. These may be subject to local standards and regulations, which vary from country to country.

    Make sure you understand the standards of treatment you can expect from a clinic you are considering.
  • In the UK, donors are not paid and are required to give informed, written consent. They must also be offered counselling and provide information about themselves. This is not standard practice outside the UK.

    Ask the clinic about their donor recruitment processes, and what information about the donor will be available to you and to any child born from the donation.
  • In the UK, the donor has no legal responsibility or rights in respect of children born as a result of their donation – this may not be the case in other countries, so you will need to seek independent legal advice.

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Page last updated: 30 April 2014

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