Is egg donation anonymous?

Confusingly the answer to this question is both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ as there are two different aspects to consider:

1. Yes, at the time of donation you and the donor will be anonymous to each other.
2. No, all children have the right to find out the identity of their donor when they reach 18 years old.

Anonymous egg donation

Although we tell the donor quite a lot about you, we never give her any information that could enable her to identify who you are, and neither will we reveal her identity to you. In this case therefore egg donation is completely anonymous. We refer both you and the donor to the same clinic for your treatment cycles, but they will also keep all identifying information entirely confidential.

Being anonymous in this way makes the experience of egg donation much clearer for both you and the donor, keeping confusing emotions and relationships separate. However, this does not mean that it is any less special. The way that we match you with a donor, and the amount of information that we are able to pass between you both, makes this a very personal donation and enables you both to feel a connection with each other despite not being directly known to one another.

Donor identity for a child

The law in the UK states that any child born as a result of egg (or sperm) donation has the right to find out the identity of the donor once he or she reaches 18 years old. In this way egg donation cannot be entirely anonymous, although it will be for at least these first 18 years.

It is generally recommended that parents of children born as the result of egg (or sperm) donation are completely open with the child about their origins. Experience has shown that where this happens from an early change the child grows up with a much more secure sense of their personal identity, so that issues about being donor conceived become inconsequential.

Discovering the identity of the donor is no casual matter and there will be plenty of opportunities to handle the process sensitively. There is a definite process that the child (or young adult as he or she will then be) will have to go through which will entail him or her making an application to the HFEA (the government regulatory authority) to get access to this information. The HFEA will then contact the donor to let her know that they have received such a request and they will manage things from that point. You can also be reassured that your child will have no claim on the donor in any way, and neither will the donor have any rights or responsibilities towards him or her.

We at Altrui are happy to discuss all aspects of this with you if you feel concerned about it in any way.

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