Sperm donation and the law


Will I be a legal parent?

All UK-based clinics licensed by the HFEA must conform to strict medical, legal and ethical standards. If you donate your sperm through one of these clinics to an unknown recipient, you will not be the legal parent of any child born as a result of your donation. This means you will have no legal connection to the child and you won’t be named on the birth certificate. You will not have any rights over how the child will be brought up, and you will have no financial obligations.

If you know the recipient, the issue of legal parentage may be more complex, and whether you will be a legal parent depends on the particular circumstances of the arrangement. If you are planning to donate your sperm to someone you know, it’s sensible to seek legal advice to ensure you understand how your plans may impact on your legal parental status.

Is sperm donation anonymous?

  • No, it’s no longer possible to donate sperm anonymously in the UK.
  • Since 2005, all egg, sperm and embryo donors in the UK must agree to be identifiable to any person conceived from their donation.
  • When the child reaches the age of 16, they can ask the HFEA for non-identifying information about you (such as a physical description, your year of birth and your medical history). When the child reaches 18, they are entitled to identifying information from the HFEA about you, including your name and last known address.
  • The recipients of a donation can ask the HFEA for non-identifying information about you at any time, and they can pass these details on to their child whenever they like.
  • The recipients can also find out how many other children have been born following your donations, their gender and year of birth.

When can I ask for information about my donation and what details will I receive?

Any time following your donation, you have a right to find out:

  • if your donation has been successful;
  • the number of children born as a result of your donation; and
  • the gender and year of birth of any children born following your donation.

How many children could have been born from my donation?

There isn’t a limit as such on the number of children that can be born, but a maximum of 10 families can be created from your donation(s).

You will be asked for your consent for the number of families that can be created from your donation(s). You have the right to limit this to any number you want. You cannot increase the number of families beyond 10.

More information on the legal issues mentioned above can be found on these websites: