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New UK law on donor information shows anonymity is not absolute

On Behalf of | Sep 27, 2023 | Egg & Sperm Donation, International Surrogacy |

National and international laws surrounding fertility and surrogacy are continuously evolving. And, since surrogacy often crosses international borders, it is important to keep abreast of international changes to surrogacy law.

For example, a recent United Kingdom law expanded access to donor information for certain individuals born from donor embryos, eggs or sperm, and it potentially eliminates donor anonymity.

Who can ask for donor information?

People conceived from donor materials collected after April 2005 will be able to ask for donor information, like the donor’s name and other personal information. The people must also be at least 18 years old. By 2030, the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority estimates over 10,000 people will be eligible to ask for donor information. Asking for donor personal information is optional.

What about the donor’s privacy?

The UK passed laws in 2005 that removed donor privacy. So, both families looking to conceive and donors could have informed consent regarding the process. These laws are unique to the UK and are not applicable to every country, but provide additional rights to the donor conceived person to access personally identifiable information once they turn 18.

You can always craft donor agreements enforceable in the United States.

Why would anyone need this information?

Some people want to contact their whole biological family for medical and familial information, like a parent’s eye color, familial genetic disorders or what country their biological mother or father came from. This law simply restores the ability for a donor conceived adult to know where they came from.

There is also a rationale that with genetic at home testing, individuals can pinpoint their genetic origins, but knowing the person can provide context. Donors can also choose to update their contact information with the UK Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.