Confusingly, the answer to this question is both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ as there are two different aspects to consider about anonymity:
1. Yes, egg donation is anonymous at the time of donation. You will receive only non-identifying information about the donor.
2. No, egg donation is not anonymous in the long term. In the UK at 18 donor-conceived people have the legal right to know who their donor is.
In the UK, the legal position is that egg donors (and sperm donors) have no rights, claims or responsibility towards any child conceived with their help. They cannot find out who you or your family are at any point. Similarly a donor-conceived person has no claim, rights or responsibility for, or on, the donor.
Anonymous egg donation
Many Altrui donors are naturally interested to know a little about you and your journey to egg donation. For egg donors, it makes their donation important and personal, and gives them the motivation to help someone they don’t know. It is a big ‘ask’ of a woman to go through these procedures to donate eggs. We will check with you in the first instance what you might like her to know, we never give any information that could enable her to identify you, and neither will we reveal her identity. We refer you and the donor to the same clinic for your treatment cycles, and you can be assured that they will keep all identifying information entirely confidential and separate.
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, makes this a very personal donation and enables you both to feel a connection with each other despite not being known to one another.
The Law – knowing the donor
UK law states that, once they reach 18, any child born as a result of egg (or sperm) donation has the right to find the identity of their egg donor.
It is recommended that parents of children born as the result of egg 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 they will then be) will have to go through. They will need to apply 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.
We advise you to discuss this with an experienced fertility counsellor who will guide you through these implications.