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Finding out about your donor and genetic siblings

We collect information from people who donate at licensed UK fertility clinics. On this page you can find out what information we hold on your donor and any donor-conceived siblings you might have and how to access it.

What information can I request about my donor?

If you’re aged 16 or over, you can ask for information about your donor and any donor-conceived siblings you may have.

The type of information we may hold about your origins depends on when you were conceived, as the information donors were required to give us has changed over the years.

Unfortunately we don’t hold any information about people who donated before 1 August 1991 as that’s when we were set up. However there are a couple of options you can explore:

The Donor Conceived Register helps to connect donors and their donor-conceived children before 1 August 1991.

The clinic where your parents were treated may be able to give you some anonymous information about your donor if they still have it. However many clinics have now closed down or will have destroyed their records.

If you were conceived between 1 August 1991 and 31 March 2005

If you were conceived between 1 August 1991 and 31 March 2005, you can request:

  • your donor’s physical description (height, weight, eye and hair colour) 
  • the year and country of their birth 
  • their ethnicity
  • whether they had any children at the time of donation 
  • any additional information the donor chose to supply such as occupation, religion, interests and a brief self description.

Bear in mind that not every donor will have provided all of this information. This means there is the possibility that you will receive less information than you would like – or what you get could be very different from what you expect. You may find it helpful to get counselling or talk to a support group before accessing any information from us.

People who donated during this period now have the opportunity to remove their anonymity if they wish. If your donor chooses to do this then you may be able to get their contact details providing you’re 18 years old. You’ll need to apply to us for information and if your donor has removed their anonymity we’ll let you know.

Information for past applicants

If you were conceived after 1 April 2005

From 1 April 2005, people were no longer able to donate anonymously. This means that when donor-conceived children conceived after 1 April 2005 reach 18, they can ask for their donor’s name, date of birth and last known address.

At 16 you can ask for:

  • Your donor’s physical description (height, weight, eye and hair colour) if provided
  • the year and country of their birth 
  • their ethnicity 
  • whether they had any children, how many and their gender 
  • their marital status 
  • their medical history 
  • a goodwill message to any potential children (if provided). We will redact any information that might reveal the donor’s identity.

At 18 you can ask for:

  • Your donor’s name, date of birth and last known address.

It’s important to be aware that sperm and embryos can be stored for up to 10 years and still used in treatment. So if someone donated before 1 April 2005, even if it has been used more recently in treatment, it will still be viewed as an anonymous donation.

Donors can find out the number, gender and year of birth of any donor-conceived children

What information can I request about my donor-conceived siblings?

If your donor donated to any other families, you may have siblings you’re genetically related to. To find out whether you do have any donor-conceived siblings you'll need to apply to us for this information.

Once we’ve confirmed that you do have donor-conceived siblings, if you’re over 16 you can find out:

  • how many donor-conceived siblings you have
  • their gender
  • their year of birth

At 18 you can join our Donor Sibling Link, which allows people conceived with the help of a donor to find their genetic siblings and share contact details.

Register for Donor Sibling Link

How can I avoid having a relationship with a donor-conceived sibling?

If you’re over 16 and are thinking about starting a physical relationship with someone, you can make a joint application to us to find out if you’re genetically related.

Apply for information

What if I’m not old enough to apply for information?

If you’re under 16 and feel ready to learn about your origins, you can ask your parent/s to request information from us on your behalf. Parents are entitled to this information because they are seen as having your best interests at heart.

Your parent/s can find out only anonymous information about your donor – including your donor’s:

  • height
  • hair colour 
  • occupation
  • goodwill message
  • pen portrait.

Your parents can also find out the number, if any, of donor-conceived siblings you have who were conceived by your same donor (this does not include the donor’s legal/natural children). They cannot find out identifying information about your donor.

Finding out about your child's donor or donor-conceived siblings

When you turn 18 you'll be able to apply to receive identifying information about your donor, if it's available.

Woman looking out of a window at dusk

If you're under 16, your parents can apply to us for information on your behalf

What do I need to do before requesting information?

Finding out about your donor and any donor-conceived siblings you may have, can be an emotional process. That’s why we encourage you to get as much support as possible from family and friends, professional counsellors and people who have already been through this experience.

We’ve also produced information to help you think through some of the most common questions and concerns people have:

 

Where to go for support:

Our support and intermediary service

We currently offer a free pilot support and intermediary service for donor-conceived people thinking of contacting their donor or donor-conceived siblings.

Donor Conception Network

The Donor Conception Network is a supportive network of over 2000 donor-conceived people and their families.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

Find an accredited counsellor on their website, Good to Talk.

I’m ready - how do I apply for information on my donor or genetic siblings?

You’ll need to submit a written application form along with proof of identification. It’s free to apply for our information.

Apply for information

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Review date: 7 July 2019