I’m using a donor, what are some of the issues I need to consider?
There are several important issues to consider when using a donor abroad:
The law: In the UK, if you have treatment using a donor at a licensed UK clinic, the donor will have no rights or responsibilities to any children conceived. This might not be the case in other countries so it’s important to do your research and seek legal advice if you’re unclear about the situation.
Recruitment and health checks: Find out what the process is for recruiting and screening potential donors. They should be checked for infectious diseases and their family history should be assessed to ensure they don’t pass on any serious genetic diseases. In the UK, donors are also given counselling to ensure they fully understand the commitment they’re making.
Donor anonymity: Some countries allow people to donate anonymously. This means there would be no way of your child being able to trace their donor or potentially their donor-conceived siblings. In the UK, donor-conceived people aged 16 can find out non-identifying information about their donor by contacting us. When they are aged 18, theycan request identifying information including contact details for their donor and can make contact with their genetic siblings if both parties want to.
Donor information: Even in countries where donation is not anonymous, you should find out if the clinic can give you any information about the donor (for example, a physical description and medical history). Donor-conceived children naturally have questions about their origins, so you may want to keep this information to share when the time is right.
Limits on donating: You may want to check with your clinic if there are any limits on how many families an imported donor can donate to outside of the UK. In the UK, one donor’s sperm, eggs or embryos can be used to create up to 10 families, thereby limiting the number of children with a genetic connection to your child. That might not be the case in other countries, meaning your child could be genetically related to many more families. The HFEA only regulates UK licensed fertility clinics and only collects data about the use of donated eggs, sperm and embryos within the UK.
The ten-family limit is more important for those using sperm donation to consider than for those using egg donation. This is because in practice it is rare for an egg donor to be used to create 10 families.