We're redesigning our website - we're keen for you to try it so we can hear your views on how it can be improved ahead of the official launch. Head on over to the HFEA BETA to see how it is shaping up.

Donor Sibling Link (DSL)

Contact your donor-conceived genetic siblings

Donor-conceived people are able to get in touch with others who share the same donor, their genetic siblings, through the Donor Sibling Link (DSL).

If you were conceived after 1 August 1991 and are over 18 years of age you are eligible to join. 

By signing up to the DSL you can share and/or receive contact details of your donor-conceived genetic siblings who have also consented to join the service and share their details.

The HFEA recommends you complete an ‘Opening the Register’ application first to find out if you have any donor-conceived genetic siblings.

Things to consider before joining

There are a number of things to consider before joining the Donor Sibling Link. Our leaflets can help you think through these issues.

You might want to think about the following:

  • Are you ready to potentially meet any donor-conceived genetic siblings? 
  • What if there is a lot more or a lot less information available than you expect?
  • Do you want to initiate contact or are you happy for others to contact you? 
  • Would you be disappointed if none of your siblings joined the DSL? Many donor-conceived people may be unaware of their origins, may not know about the Register, or simply may not be interested in meeting other donor-conceived genetic siblings. 
  • What if you contact your donor-conceived genetic siblings and they don’t respond?

We recommend that you talk these issues through with family and friends. If you think you need further help thinking through the issues, we can provide professional support.

This involves being referred to a specialist with expertise in supporting people involved in, or affected by, donation. If you were conceived at a UK licensed centre, we can offer you a number of free sessions.

Apply to join the DSL

Complete the DSL application form below and submit it with the relevant proof of identity and address requirements.

Remember, only submit your application if you are aware that you have donor-conceived genetic siblings, have had an opportunity to talk through what the implications of contacting or being contacted by them (or possibly even being able to meet them), and are certain you wish to join the Donor Sibling Link.

Back to top

Identification and proof of address

As part of the application process, you will be asked for proof of identification and address.

The HFEA accepts:

Identification

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate (if your name has changed since this was issued, you also need to submit deed poll documentation or a marriage certificate)
  • Valid full or provisional UK driving licence (photo card)
  • Valid old style paper UK driving licence (pre-1998 containing your date of birth)

Address (dated within the last three months)

  • Utility bill
  • Council tax bill
  • Bank statement
  • Credit card statement
  • Payslip
  • NHS card

We can only accept original identity documents or copies that have been certified by a solicitor.

Back to top

Processing your application

Once the HFEA receives your application, the request can be processed.

First, your proof of identity and address will be returned to you by special delivery within five working days.

Confirmation of your registration on the DSL, your PIN (see below for details), and any other information requested will be sent to you within 20 working days.

The HFEA Personal Identification Number

When you receive confirmation from the HFEA you will also receive a PIN, keep this number safe as it will enable you to update your contact details on the register through this website.

Back to top

How the DSL works

When a fertility clinic treats a patient with donated gametes the details are sent to the HFEA, these include the donor used. Outcomes of treatments carried out at licenced UK fertility clinics are subsequently submitted to the HFEA.

The data on these forms and the DSL application form combined with details from a birth mother’s clinic registration form, enables us to confirm the identity of applicants to the DSL and it tells us which donor was used in the relevant treatment.

Each DSL applicant, when they join, is allocated to a ‘sibling group’ – a group who share the same donor used in the treatment that resulted in their birth.

When any other applicant who was born following treatment with the same donor or donors joins the DSL they are allocated the same sibling group code. All donor-conceived genetic siblings are matched using the sibling group code.

Back to top

Further information

To find out more about the Donor Sibling Link, email: openingtheregister@hfea.gov.uk.

Back to top

 

Support & advice

A donor-conceived person talking to her friendFinding out about your donor, and about any donor-conceived genetic siblings you may have, can be an emotional process.

We encourage you to undertake this journey with the support of others.

Find out where to get support, and what you should consider when applying for information about your donor.

...more about support & advice