The #WhoIsMyDonor campaign aims to raise awareness of donor conception, of the information available to people affected by egg and sperm donation and how they can apply for it.
Around 30 people who were conceived by egg, sperm or embryo donation from donors who registered after 1st April 2005 will turn 18 this year, with the first celebrating birthdays in October.
This gives them the right to request their donor’s full name, date of birth and last known address from the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA). To raise awareness of this landmark moment, the HFEA – the UK’s fertility regulator – has launched its #WhoIsMyDonor campaign.
It also acts as a fresh reminder for donors to update their information ahead of the first donor conceived people becoming eligible to apply.
Rachel Cutting, Director of Information & Compliance at the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA), said:
“An egg or sperm donation made 18 years ago could rightly feel like a distant memory for some, and forgetting to update contact details is easily done. However, giving the correct information to the donor conceived person and notifying the donor an application has been made, can help facilitate successful communication and may reduce any emotional impact.
We know that around 30 young people were conceived by donors who donated from 1 April to 31 December 2005 and, by the end of 2030, this rises to 2,406 people. One quick email or phone call by a donor to the clinic where they donated, or to the HFEA, can make a huge difference to a donor conceived person’s life. We hope the #WhoIsMyDonor campaign removes barriers to contact, and ensures all those affected by donor conception have the best possible outcome.”
The law changed in 2005 to ensure that everyone has a right to information about their genetic origins.
Not having information about your genetic origins has been shown in a number of studies to have a significant impact on donor conceived individuals and so donors who donated anonymously before the law changed, have long been encouraged to lift their anonymity via the HFEA if they are comfortable with this.
Ben, 21, who supports the HFEA’s #WhoIsMyDonor campaign, was told he was donor conceived at a young age.
“I have always known I was donor conceived, and now at the age of 21, being donor conceived is still a positive part of my life, even through challenges of making sense of the different levels to my identity. However, none of this would have been possible without the information that is available to me and my family to navigate the conversations about building a family through donor conception.
I believe my family is closer because of that support and information through the HFEA and the Donor Conception Network (DCN); it has guided me to discover more about my own DNA. I want other families to be able to have this support to explore who they are as a family, and recognise, like I did, that donor conception can make a family closer rather than more separate.”