Egg donation and UK law

Who will be the legal parents of my child?

woman and heartUnder UK law the woman who gives birth is the legal mother. That means that your egg donor (who is not carrying the pregnancy) will have no legal or financial responsibilities and will not be a parent. This applies automatically and there is no need for any contract between you and your UK donor.

If you and your egg donor know each other, or wish to have direct contact, there may be scope for a more fluid legal position even though your donor will not be a legal parent, and we recommend seeking legal advice.

What information will be available to my child?

If your child is conceived in the UK, the details will be recorded on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Register of Information. A donor-conceived person has certain legal rights to access that information, with non-identifying information available from age 16 (or before with your support) and identifying information available from age 18, including the donor's name, date of birth and last known address. This means that your child might be able to contact the donor in adulthood, if he or she wishes to do so.  If your donor has also donated to other families, your child can also ask whether he or she has any genetic half siblings, and from age 18 can register to be put in touch with them if they have asked to be contacted.

If your child is conceived in the USA, these statutory rules will not apply.  What information is available to you about your donor before you conceive, and what further information or opportunity for future contact (if any) is available for your child further down the line, will depend on how you set things up with your egg donor at the start.  This is therefore an important consideration in any choice of egg donor.

Is there a legal obligation for parents to tell their child if they are donor conceived?

No, this is a matter for you to decide, and nothing will be recorded on your child's birth certificate to show they were donor conceived. However, all the research available shows that it is in children's best interests to be told, and to be told as a process which starts from a very young age.

What can a donor find out about us?

The law gives UK egg donors a right to ask the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority whether their donation resulted in a birth and, if so, whether the child was a boy or a girl and the year they were born. The donor has no right to find out your, or your child's, identity.

Further information

For more information about UK law on egg donation check out the NGA Law website for lots of free information.