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Voluntary register for donor offspring

13 October 2003
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 229

A voluntary register to enable people conceived using donated eggssperm or embryos to contact their donors and biological half-siblings is to be launched in the UK. The registry, called UK DonorLink, will be piloted early next year, and will be available to anyone over the age of 18. It will offer genetic testing to match offspring with donors and other biologically related offspring who are also registered with the service.

Since the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was passed in 1990, which required that such births are registered, over 18,000 people have been born in the UK following the use of donated embryos or gametes. An estimated 12,000 people were conceived with donor egg or sperm before then. The new register is being established as a pilot by the charity After Adoption Yorkshire, following an announcement made by former Public Health Minister, Hazel Blears, in January 2003. 'The team at UK DonorLink is committed to ensuring that this register is shaped by the needs of donor conceived people and their families, as well as by donors and their relatives' said project manager Lyndsey Marshall.

The UK's Department of Health announced in January 2001 that it would be reviewing the legislation covering the information available to people conceived through egg, sperm or embryo donation. It said the review would consider several options, including allowing donor offspring access to non-identifying information such as hair and eye colour, releasing details of the health records and medical history of donors, and giving donors the opportunity to make their name and address available to any future offspring on request. It stressed, however, that any change in the law would not be retrospective. In January 2003, it said it would be considering the issues for another six months, but has not yet made any further announcements.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Link for families in donor births
The Daily Telegraph |  10 October 2003
List to help trace donors
The Mail on Sunday |  10 October 2003
Voluntary register for sperm, egg and embryo donors and donor-conceived people to be piloted
UK DonorLink |  9 October 2003
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A BBC1 documentary 'Donor Mum: The children I've never met' is to be broadcast at 10.35pm tonight (30 August). The programme tells the extraordinary story of a woman - herself the single mother by choice of a donor insemination-conceived adult son – meeting with the twins born from her egg donation nineteen years ago....
23 April 2004 - by BioNews 
A voluntary register that enables people conceived using donated eggs, sperm or embryos to contact their donors and biological half-siblings has been launched in the UK. The registry, called UK DonorLink and funded by the Department of Health (DH), can be used by anyone over the age of 18 and...
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