The importance of sperm and egg donor identity

18th February 2015 in Advice

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

If you need to use a sperm or egg donor to have a baby, you may already have an idea of what he or she needs to look like and what characteristics you’re looking for. But what about their identity?

Donor anonymity rules are different in every country – many still allow anonymous donations. If you’re contemplating going abroad for fertility treatment with donor eggs or getting donor sperm from abroad, your child may not be able to ever find out who their donor is.

How important could it be to your child in future, that they are able to find out their donor’s identity? Although you may not think it’s important right now, in the future it may be crucial to your child, so they can fully understand and appreciate their genetic origin. 

Having treatment in the UK through a licensed clinic such as Manchester Fertility ensures your child has this vital opportunity. The law in the UK was changed in 2005 to give donor-conceived people more rights. From 2005 onwards, any men donating sperm or women donating eggs had to agree to be identifiable to any children born from their donation.

What this means is that if you have a child with the help of a Manchester Fertility egg or sperm donor, your child can apply to the HFEA for details about their donor, when they turn 18, if they wish to. As the recipient of the eggs or sperm, you aren’t given any identifying information at any stage when you undergo your treatment with us – in this sense, donation is still anonymous between donor and recipient. 

But please be reassured that even if your child in future decides to find out who their donor is, it doesn’t give the donor any rights over your child. As you used a HFEA-registered donor from a licensed clinic, your donor has no legal, moral or financial responsibility for your child. You are the child’s legal parent.

When you come to us for treatment with donor eggs or donor sperm, counselling is a crucial part of the process. Our experienced counsellors discuss with you both the short and long-term implications of using donated eggs or sperm, including anonymity and how you can explain to a child how they came to be born and their right to identify their donor if they want to.

If you’re interested in having treatment using eggs or sperm from our fully-screened and HFEA-registered donors, we can offer treatment immediately with no waiting lists. You’ll always be offered a wide choice of donors, we get to know our donors well and are able to advise you on who may be the right donor for you. Each of our donors has a detailed profile, including a personal message and the reassuring knowledge that they are fully identifiable to any children you may have.

Last updated: 20th January 2020