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Donated Eggs, Sperm or Embryos: Becoming a Parent

Deciding to use donated eggs, sperm, or embryos in fertility treatment is a significant step that requires careful consideration. This blog aims to provide valuable insights into the various aspects of donor conception, covering key information and addressing common questions and concerns.


Is Donor Conception Right for You?

Choosing donor conception is a personal decision that should be approached with careful thought and consideration. Factors such as infertility, genetic risks, or being in a same-sex relationship are common reasons for considering donor conception. Seeking the advice of friends, family, or professional counselors can help you navigate your feelings and make an informed decision.


Key Facts to Consider

  1. Altruistic Donation: In the UK, donors cannot be paid for their contributions; they can only receive reimbursement for expenses. For egg donors, guidelines established by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) specify that in the UK, the maximum compensation for an egg donor is £750 per cycle. A cycle encompasses one full round of treatment, concluding with the collection and donation of eggs. This compensation of £750 includes crucial expenses such as travel costs, compensation for loss of earnings, accommodation fees, and childcare. For sperm donors, expenses are covered up to £35 per clinic visit.
  2. Clinic Safety: Opt for licensed fertility clinics to ensure donor screening for infections, diseases, and genetic disorders.
  3. Waiting Lists: Donor waiting lists can be lengthy, so it’s advisable to explore multiple clinics and inquire about waiting times.
  4. Home Insemination Risks: Using donated sperm without clinic involvement poses health risks, and legal complications may arise regarding parental rights.


Donor Selection

  1. Clinic Donors: Most secure option, ensuring health checks and support for the donor.
  2. Known Donors: Using donations from friends or relatives is possible but has limitations and may require clinic involvement.
  3. Importing Donations: Strict conditions apply when importing sperm, eggs, or embryos from abroad through licensed UK clinics.
  4. Online Donor Matching Services: Caution is advised due to potential risks and consequences of private arrangements.


Legal Considerations

Clinic Donors: Legal rights and responsibilities do not extend to donors in licensed UK fertility clinics.

Non-Clinic Arrangements: Legal complexities may arise, and consultation with a solicitor is recommended to understand parental rights.

Consent: Understanding and obtaining consent is a crucial aspect of donor conception, ensuring legal and ethical considerations are met.


Information About Donors

Clinic Donors: Physical traits, medical history, and limited personal information are available, maintaining donor anonymity.
Siblings and Multiple Children: Reserving gametes for future use may incur fees, and the UK has a limit of ten families per donor.


Children’s Rights and Information Access

At 16: Children can access limited information about the donor, similar to what the recipient receives.
At 18: Full donor information, including name and contact details, becomes accessible to the donor-conceived individual.


Exploring support networks like the Donor Conception Network and seeking counseling can aid in decision-making. Choosing a clinic, considering treatment options like intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), and addressing any emotional concerns are essential steps forward.

Embracing the journey of donor conception requires careful planning, consideration, and informed decision-making. By understanding the key aspects discussed in this blog, individuals and couples can navigate this path with confidence, making choices that align with their personal circumstances and aspirations.

The ExSeed app includes a map showing verified fertility clinics and sperm banks around London – download it for free for Apple or Android smartphones and tablets here.

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