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HFEA statement on Donor Conceived Register

A recent statement issued by the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) asserts that the HFEA has ‘decided to close the Donor Conceived Register (DCR) for which they are funders.’ This is not the case. We will continue to support all donor conceived people, whether they were born before or after 1991, but it is clear that we need to find new and better ways to provide support services to the individuals on the DCR. We will be consulting on options for change over the next few weeks.

A recent statement issued by the National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) asserts that the HFEA has ‘decided to close the Donor Conceived Register (DCR) for which they are funders.’ This is not the case. The HFEA has long supported donor-conceived people by enabling those conceived after 1991 and their parents to receive non-identifying information about their donor and donor-conceived half-siblings through our Opening the Register process. From 2023, those who turn 18 will be entitled to the identity of their donor. More recently, the HFEA has taken over responsibility from the Department of Health for supporting the DCR, which enables donor conceived people who were born before the HFEA was established in 1991, to share their details in the hope that they might make contact with their donor or half siblings.

The DCR has been run by the NGDT since April 2013. When the HFEA took over the support of the DCR in April 2017 we agreed to continue to support the service entirely from our own resources, pending a competitive tender process. We issued an invitation to tender in November 2017 and received a single bid from the NDGT on the closing date of 26 January 2018. In evaluating the bid we concluded that it did not meet the required threshold for quality and was more expensive than the price range set out in the tender. A decision was therefore taken not to award the running of the DCR service to NGDT.

The quality of that tender and the lack of other organisations coming forward to bid, combined with the current high cost of the service and the limited number of applications (c.25 per year), have led us to consider how we can find a more sustainable way of providing support to donor conceived people born before 1991.

On 17 March 2018 we wrote to the NGDT with the outcome of the tender exercise, indicating our willingness to fund the service to the end of May 2018, and potentially longer, to enable a transition to other arrangements. We also asked for feedback on how the DCR might be supported in the future and indicated our wish to meet with the DCR panel to discuss options, which we are pleased has been arranged for 14 April 2018. We will be consulting on the best way of supporting people affected by donation prior to 1991 over the coming weeks, taking into account the need to secure value for (public) money, the wishes of the people involved, and technological advances – for example in DNA testing and associated developments.

 

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Publication date: 17 April 2018

Review date: 17 April 2020