Your child's rights
Since October 2009
Clinics must take account of 'the welfare of the child' when providing fertility treatment, but will no longer have to include in this the child’s 'need for a father'
Since April 2005
In April 2005, amendments to the HFEAct 1991 gave children born following treatment in licensed UK clinics the following rights:
- Donors must provide basic information and may also write a ‘Letter’ to any child born from their donation, although it is not mandatory for a donor to write such a document. This information is available to parents at the time of treatment or any later stage on request, and to the offspring from age 16.
- The HFEA will also provide information (number, gender and year of birth) of any other children born from the same donor to applicants who can show they were the recipients of donated gametes.
- From age 16, if ‘intending to enter an intimate relationship’, any young person can check with the HFEA (or whoever takes over this function on its demise) to find out whether they were conceived with donor gametes, and whether their intended partner was conceived from the same donor.
- At age 18, young people will be given their donor’s name and last known address on request. If they wish to try to contact the donor, they should be offered guidance and support.
There are a small number of exceptions to this, as some pre-2005 anonymous donations were allowed to be used, for instance in the case of families which already had one child, so younger siblings could have the same donor. The HFEA will be able to confirm whether this was the case for any applicant.
August 1991 – April 2005
Children conceived between August 1991 and end of March 2005 do not have a right to identifying information about their donor at 18 unless that donor has re-registered with their clinic or the HFEA that they are 'willing to be known'. This possibility came about following the change in law in 2005. Young people conceived in this era can apply at age 16 to find out if they are indeed donor conceived (if that information has been witheld from them) and to discover how many other children were conceived with gametes from their donor, their years of birth and gender. Parents can apply for this information at any time up to their child's 16th birthday. At age 18 young people can put their names on a register held by the HFEA to indicate interest in having contact with half-siblings by mutual consent. There is no right to information about the children born into the donor’s family, and they have no right to apply for information from the register.