If you’re planning to have a baby with us with the help of one of our UK-based sperm donors or egg donors, did you know you can find out if your child has any genetically-related brothers and sisters?
Many different couples in different circumstances could have used the same egg or sperm donor you have through treatment with us, to also create their family.
Ten individual families can be created using the same sperm or egg donor in the UK, with no limit within each family on the number of children. This means that your child could have biologically-related siblings.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) created the Donor Sibling Link (DSL) in 2010, recognising the need for donor-conceived people to find out more about genetic siblings. It’s open to anyone donor-conceived after 1 August 1991 over the age of 18, and gives your child the opportunity to potentially meet related siblings in future.
When a child is born through the use of donor sperm or donor eggs, details are recorded by the HFEA on its Register, including the donor that was used, enabling the HFEA to match donor-conceived people to specific donor groups through the Donor Sibling Link.
Discovering your child’s genetic siblings
As the parent of a donor-conceived child, you are able to apply to the HFEA to find out the number of children born from the same donor, the gender of each child and the year of birth. You won’t be given any identifying details; the information is supplied so you pass it onto your child. You can find out more about how to apply here.
Finding out about genetic siblings as a donor-conceived person
Your child will be able to apply to join the Donor Sibling Link when they turn 18, if they wish to - it is entirely your child’s personal choice. They have to consent to sharing their details, including contact details, with people who share the same donor who have also consented to join the service.
As only donor-conceived people who have joined the Link can be connected, it’s possible that your child may find that although they have genetic siblings, they’re not registered with the Link.
The siblings may not even be aware of the fact that they are donor-conceived, may not know about the Link or have chosen not to join. Whilst the opportunity to find genetic sisters or brothers will be a welcomed by many donor-conceived people, others they may not wish to know.
So it’s important to be prepared for every eventuality and support your child in future.
The importance of counselling
It’s why your implications counselling sessions – included for all patients using donor eggs or sperm - include telling your child about being donor-conceived and the possibility of genetic siblings, so you’re prepared and ready for the future.
We’ll make sure you understand what information you and your child can access, and when. And how best to explain your child’s origins when the time is right, with positivity.
You can see our counsellors at any time to suit you, throughout your treatment journey.
Immediate treatment with donor eggs or donor sperm
We have no waiting list for IVF treatment with donor eggs or donor sperm, or donor sperm insemination at Manchester Fertility. We can offer you an extensive choice of UK-based, traceable donors through our highly successful Manchester Donors egg donor programme and Semovo national sperm bank.
Last updated: 20th January 2020