The UK Department of Health (DH) is to announce shortly whether sperm donors are to lose their right to anonymity. Existing law in the UK does not allow children conceived using donor sperm to discover the identity of the donor, but only to find out small amounts of non-identifying information about him when they reach the age of 18.
Last year, the DH held a public consultation on what information ought to be provided to children born after donor assisted conception. The questions considered by the consultation paper asked whether regulations should specify what further information should be made available. The paper asked whether non-identifying information on existing donors should be provided on request and, for future donors, whether more comprehensive non-identifying information should be collected and made available, or whether identifying information should be provided.
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which will administer any new law, has previously said that it favours not just the provision of more information, but of identifying information about the donor. It was not persuaded a possible 'double track' system where prospective parents choose between identified or anonymous donors, saying that it would be practically difficult to administer and would create two classes of donor offspring with different rights of access to information. The DH is finalising details before a final announcement is made, saying 'it's jumping the gun to say that a decision has been made'. But on Monday, one source reported that a DH spokesperson had said 'we can categorically say we are not going to remove anonymity for donors, and we be making an announcement on the subject shortly'.
Sources and References
Anonymity ruling 'would deter sperm donors'
Sperm donor children can meet father
Sperm donors to keep anonymity