As of October 1st, individuals born through sperm or egg donation in the UK who are turning 18 will have the opportunity to access identifying information of their donor due to changes in the law.
This shift provides newfound opportunities for individuals born through sperm or egg donation who have recently, or who are on the cusp of, turning 18. These changes grant them access to a profound aspect of their identity – the identity of their donor.
Sperm Donor Discovery
Donor-conceived children can have already been able to obtain some information about their donor, including details about their heritage, physical attributes, hobbies, and academic background, but those turning 18 will now be able to access identifiable information about their donors, including their names, last-known addresses, dates of birth, and places of birth. .
This change in legislation marks a significant milestone for the more than 70,000 donor-conceived individuals born in the UK since 1991. The 2005 law eliminated anonymity for individuals donating sperm, eggs, and embryos after that year, and those affected by this change will begin turning 18 from October 1st.
Some parents of donor-conceived children took deliberate steps in response to the 2005 law change. They consciously postponed their fertility treatments to ensure that their offspring would have the opportunity to access donor information upon reaching adulthood.
Challenges for Pre-2005 Births
For individuals born before 2005, the ability to identify their donors remains a more complex process, often involving home DNA testing kits and the hope that donors have also taken similar steps to connect. It is also possible to request information from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) if the donor has voluntarily chosen to remove their anonymity.
These legislative changes not only signify a landmark moment for donor-conceived individuals but also reflect a more comprehensive shift in societal attitudes and practices surrounding donor conception. This transformation is a gateway to greater transparency and enhanced opportunities for those born through assisted reproductive technologies to explore the depths of their origins.