The UK government is to consider plans that would allow children conceived using anonymous sperm donation to have access to details of their biological origins, according to a report in the Independent newspaper. The Department of Health proposals will be presented to ministers in the next two weeks, and will be followed by a public consultation.
The proposals outline five different options, which range from keeping the regulations as they are, to creating a separate birth register for all children conceived following donor insemination (DI). Currently, sperm donors are asked to give their name, national insurance number and known medical history - the details of which are currently confidential. A change in the law may also require them to give permission to be identified to any future children conceived using their sperm.
Around 11,000 DI children have been born in Britain since 1991, and research indicates that most of them are currently unaware of the circumstances surrounding their conception. But a recent study of adults conceived using DI revealed that the majority believed they had the right to find out who their genetic fathers were, and 58 per cent wanted to meet them.
A spokesman for the Donor Conception network told the Independent that a separate register for DI children was the 'right moral stance'. But some fertility experts fear that removing donor anonymity would lead to an acute shortage of sperm for couples facing fertility problems.