INFORMATION FOR DONORS
Donating sperm, eggs, or embryos is not like donating blood. It results in a new life rather than helping someone who is already alive. It is a unique contribution with unique implications.
Society's attitude has changed enormously over time and this has been reflected in the regulations and their changes over the years.
If you donated before 1 August 1991?
Donor conception was very much shrouded in secrecy. Donors were assured on anonymity, parents were encouraged to never tell the offspring how they were conceived and the industry was completely unregulated.
Many records have been destroyed or lost over time, and if records still exist the legal position in the U.K. is that donors remain anonymous and no-one has any ability to access them.
If you donated between 1 August 1991 and 31 March 2005?
The law changed from 1 August 1991 which meant that the fertility industry became regulated by the HFEA. While donors still remained anonymous, all treatments were recorded and non-identifying information on donors was recorded including:
the donor’s physical description (height, weight, eye and hair colour);
the year and country of their birth;
whether they had any children at the time of donation; and
any additional information the donor chose to supply such as occupation, religion, interests and a brief self description.
Any donors from this time now have the right to remove their anonymity if they wish. More information on removing your donor anonymity can be found on the HFEA page here.
Why should I join the DCR?
Donors had many different reasons for donating when they did. You might not have considered the implications at the time, carried on with your life, had families of your own and not thought about what happened as a result of your donations.
This might be the first time you have considered coming forward and removing your anonymity or it may be something you have considered in the past and not known what to do or how to proceed.
The DCR can provide support to donors. You can still join the DCR and have access to the support without submitting your DNA until you are ready.
If you would prefer to be put in contact with another donor who is already registered to discuss their experience of being on the register, please get in contact and we will try our best to arrange that. Please check out the Personal Stories sections for both donors and donor conceived people.
What are donor conceived people looking for from their donor?
The majority of donor conceived people that are members of the DCR are looking for answers about their origins. They want to know more about where they come from, where they get certain physical traits or mannerisms from and so on.
Finding a link can be a fulfilling, emotional experience. In some cases, it has led to positive, personal relationships between the donor and their offspring.
Will donor anonymity be maintained?
Currently there are no plans to change the legislation and retrospectively remove donors' anonymity.
Due to the big increase in members of the public taking commercial DNA testing kits (e.g. Ancestry) there is a much bigger chance that donor conceived people will be able to identify their donor. This can be achieved without the donor taking a DNA test themselves. They can be identified from as little as a donor's second cousin but also from much less. The world's largest database is Ancestry which currently has 15 million entries.
More and more people are taking these tests, so going forward the prospect of a donor remaining anonymous if someone is looking for them diminishes over time.