For parents of donor-conceived

What you can find out about your child's donor or donor-conceived genetic siblings

Parent of a donor-conceived person accessing information about their donorThe HFEA has a record of all births as a result of assisted conception treatments from licensed UK fertility clinics from 1 August 1991 – the date the HFEA was set up – and onwards.

The information includes details of everyone whose donated sperm, eggs or embryos are used at licensed UK fertility clinics.

Parents of a donor-conceived child are able to access information on their child’s donor (and about any donor-conceived genetic siblings) from the HFEA or the clinic where they received treatment. This is because parents are seen as guardians of their children’s interests and are in the best position to pass information on to their children at an age when they can understand it.

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What can I find out about my child’s donor?

When you apply to the HFEA for information you will be given everything we hold about your child’s donor except for that which could identify them. Only information which could not, on its own or in conjunction with any other information, be used to trace or identify the donor will be given.

Different donors will have provided different amounts and types of information. Some donors may have only provided a small amount of information, others will have provided a more detailed description about themselves as a person.

The information you receive, depending on what your child’s donor provided, could include:

  • a physical description of the donor (height, weight, eye and hair colour)
  • the year and country of the donor’s birth
  • the donor’s ethnicity
  • whether the donor had any children at time of donation, how many and their gender
  • the donor’s marital status
  • the donor’s medical history
  • a goodwill message from the donor to any potential children.

Please note that any identifying information in the donor goodwill message and pen profile will be redacted.

 

Information about your child’s donor-conceived genetic siblings

In many cases, lots of different couples will have used the same donor to help create their family. This means that there may be other people who are genetically related to your child.

Parents are entitled to find out the number, sex and year of birth of their child’s donor-conceived genetic siblings.
10 different families are able to use the same donor and have as many children as they like, so it is possible that your child could have over 20 donor-conceived genetic siblings. It is also possible that they may have none.

What to do with the information you receive

We provide information to parents so that it can be passed on to their donor-conceived children. It could be that your child has shown an interest in learning about their background, or you are preparing to tell your child that they were conceived with the help of a donor.

There are support groups and professional counselling services which may be able to give you advice and help on how best to talk to your child.

For more information see:

Where does this information come from?

The information we hold about donors is submitted to us by the clinics where they register.

When donors donate they have to fill in a donor information form. Download the current form to get an idea about the information we collect:

What can my child find out about their donor?

When your child reaches 16, he or she can apply to the HFEA to find out if he or she is donor-conceived.  If the applicant is donor-conceived, and on the HFEA Register, non-identifying information about their donor, and about any donor-conceived genetic siblings they may have may be disclosed.

When your child reaches 18, he or she can apply to the HFEA for information about their donor and donor-conceived genetic siblings. The donor information could, in some cases, include identifying details such as a name, date of birth and last known address.

Due to changes in the law, people who donate at a licenced UK fertility clinic, after 1 April 2005, are required to provide contact details that can be passed on to any potential children who apply to the HFEA for information. Prior to 1 April 2005, donation occurred anonymously.

In recognition of the fact that donor-conceived children may have a desire to discover as much about their origins as they can, and that donors are also interested in learning about any genetically related children they may have, those who donated prior to 1 April 2005 have been given the option to remove their anonymity if they wish.

If a donor removes their anonymity by ‘re-registering’ at the clinic where they donated or the HFEA, their contact details can be provided to any child over 18 who requests this information from the HFEA. Since donor re-registration was introduced in 2005, 90 donors have re-registered.

 

Where is the donor information kept?

Information on donors and the donor-conceived is stored on what is called the HFEA Register. The register contains information on all registrations, treatments and outcomes of assisted reproduction techniques in the UK since 1 August 1991.

Why have the Register?
The Register gives people conceived through donation an opportunity to learn about their origins.

It also allows donors to discover if they have helped an infertile person to get the family they longed for.

Page last updated: 01 October 2012

HFEA policies on donation

On 1 October 2009, our policies on donor information access were updated to reflect changes in the law. These changes gave donor-conceived people broader legal rights to find out about their donors.

See what changed and how the changes came about:

 

Talk to your child

Mother talking to her donor-conceived childTalking to your donor-conceived child about their origins can be a difficult subject to broach.

Get advice on how to approach this sensitive issue. 

...more about talking to your child

Further information

Question markIf you have any questions about applying for donor information, or would like further advice, get in touch with the HFEA.

...contact us