Talking to your child about their origins
If one or more of your children were conceived with the help of a donor, you can apply to us for certain information about their donor(s) and donor-conceived siblings. Find out more about what’s available and how you can apply for information.
You can request all the personal information we have on your child’s donor, except anything that could identify them. Different donors will have provided different amounts and types of information. Some donors will only provide the minimum information required whilst others will have given a much fuller description of themselves as a person.
The information you may be able to find out includes:
Please note we will remove any information that could identify the donor.
You can find out the number, sex and year of birth of your child’s donor-conceived siblings. It’s important to be aware that 10 different families are able to use the same donor and have multiple children so your child could be genetically related to more than 20 donor-conceived siblings. It’s also possible that they have none.
More information on what you and your child can access about your donor and any possible donor-conceived genetic siblings is available in our leaflet 'Finding out about your child's donor and donor-conceived genetic siblings'.
Download the leaflet (PDF 216 KB)
It’s completely up to you, but many parents find it helpful to use it to start a conversation with their child around their background. It might be that your child has shown an interest in learning more about their donor and siblings or you’re ready to have a conversation with them about how they were conceived.
You may wish to access professional support groups to help you to have these conversations in an open and sensitive way.
Find out more about talking to your child about their origins
The information we hold about donors comes from a donor information form they’re required to complete at the clinic at the time of donation. Clinics are then required to submit this information to us where it’s held securely.
When your child turns 16 they can apply to us to find out whether or not they’re donor-conceived. If they are, they can request non-identifying information about their donor and donor-conceived siblings. They can’t find out any information that would reveal the identity of their donor or genetic siblings at this point.
When they reach 18, depending on when they were conceived, they can ask for any identifying information we hold on their donor, including their name, date of birth and last known address. They can also join Donor Sibling Link (DSL), which allows them to swap contact details with any donor-conceived siblings who have also joined.
Before 1 April 2005 donation was anonymous, however we have now made it possible for donors to remove their anonymity if they’d like adults conceived from their donation to be able to request their contact details when they turn 18.
Donors are required to go through a rigorous screening and recruitment process to ensure that no serious conditions or diseases are passed on to any children conceived from their donation.
However, if you’re unsure about how to answer certain questions about your child’s family medical history or you need more information, read our information on finding out about your donor’s personal and family medical history
You’ll need to complete an application form and post it to us with proof of your ID and address. It’s free to apply for information.
Support and advice for donor conception families (Donor Conception Network)
Find an accredited infertility counsellor (BICA)
Books and resources for talking to donor-conceived children (Donor Conception Network)
Review date: 3 November 2023