HFEA to help donor-conceived siblings contact each other

Donor conceived people will be able to get in touch with others who share the same donor, their genetic siblings, through a new service launched by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) this week.

Around 2,000 people are born each year as a result of the donation of sperm, eggs or embryos. Since the launch of the HFEA in August 1991 around 36,000 donor conceived people have been born following treatment at a HFEA licensed centre.

From April, anyone conceived through donor conception treatment, and who has turned 18 years old, will be able to join Donor Sibling Link (DSL), to find out if there are other people who share the same donor. If there are, they will be able to choose to exchange their contact details if they wish to.

DSL will only put people in touch with each other if they consent to sharing their contact information. Only donor-conceived siblings will be able to share information, it will not be available to others including their own parents or other family members. Donor conceived people will also be able to opt out at any point.

Prof Lisa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, said:

“Donor conceived people all have their own individual views on this. Many I know put huge value on knowing they have donor conceived siblings. Sharing your experiences with someone in the same position as you can be very worthwhile and people will have their own reasons for wanting to make contact. The great thing is they now have the opportunity to do so, and the choice will be theirs.”

Olivia Montuschi, co-founder of the Donor Conception Network said:

“Our experience has shown that donor conceived young people are much more interested in half siblings than they are in their donor. We think that this is a wonderful service to help those people get in touch with each other. “

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Notes to editors

  • People wishing to join Donor Sibling Link can do so via an online application form. They will need to provide proof of idea along with details of their birth mother. Additionally they will need to state what their preferred method of contact is.
  • The HFEA is the independent regulator for IVF treatment and embryo research. Our role is to protect patients and the public interest, to drive improvement in the treatment and research sectors and to provide information to the public and policymakers about treatment and research.
  • The HFEA was set up in August 1991 as part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.  The HFEA’s principal tasks are to license and monitor clinics that carry out in vitro fertilisation (IVF), artificial insemination (AI) and human embryo research. The HFEA also regulates the storage of gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos.

Page last updated: 06 April 2010

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