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Over 500 UK sperm donors have 'fathered' more than ten children each

26 August 2014

By Nishat Hyder

Appeared in BioNews 768

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has revealed that 504 sperm donors in the UK have between them 'fathered' more than 6,200 children.

The figures indicate that each donor has biologically fathered children in at least ten separate instances. Furthermore, fifteen donors have successfully fathered twenty or more children. The HFEA has refused to reveal the highest number of children born to a single sperm donor, however, on grounds that it may result in a breach of the confidentiality provisions of section 33A of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended), and the information was therefore exempt from disclosure under section 44 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The data is drawn from records of IVF and other fertility treatments gathered by the HFEA from clinics across the UK. Current laws restrict the use of sperm from each donor to ten different families (excluding their own), however there is no limit set on the number of children born into each family.

Donors who donate through a licensed fertility clinic acquire no legal rights or responsibilities towards any resulting children, but after a change in the law in 2005 donor-conceived children now have the right to receive identifying information about their biological parents once they reach the age of 18.

Current estimates show that approximately 1,000 children are born every year in the UK with the help of sperm donation.


26 January 2015 - by Simon Hazelwood-Smith 
The world of unregulated sperm donation is revealed as an underground market of desperation, exploitation and remarkable characters.
19 January 2015 - by Professor Eric Blyth and Dr Marilyn Crawshaw 
Freedom of Information requests and email correspondence reveal the HFEA's singular lack of coherence as regards breaches of its family-limit policy...
10 November 2014 - by Jenny Sharpe 
An Australian woman has become engaged to the sperm donor who fathered her one-year-old daughter...
03 November 2014 - by Sean Byrne 
A national sperm bank set up by a £77,000 grant from the UK's Department of Health has now opened for business....

20 January 2014 - by Rhys Baker 
This remake of sperm donation film 'Starbuck' touches (too briefly) on several heavy-hitting questions on the ethics of sperm donation...
07 May 2013 - by Ari Haque 
A man who claims to have fathered 49 children as a private sperm donor has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault...
23 April 2012 - by Rosemary Paxman 
Ed Houben, a 42-year-old Dutch man has fathered at least 82 children by private sperm donation, mostly by having sex with his clients, news sources report...
16 April 2012 - by Cait McDonagh 
A British scientist who ran a fertility clinic in London from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, used his own sperm and may have fathered hundreds of children, it has been claimed...

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