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Fertility watchdog aims to put donor siblings in touch

12 April 2010
Appeared in BioNews 553
A new service which enables donor conceived people to make contact with others who have been conceived using the same donor (their genetic siblings) has been launched by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) this week.

The Donor Sibling Link (DSL) allows those conceived after 1st August 1991 or who are over 18 to join and find out whether anyone else shares the same donor. If so, people who have consented will be able to share their contact details with each other. The service is only open to donor conceived people and not available to any other family members, including their own parents. It also allows donor conceived people to opt out at any point.

Professor Lisa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, said: 'Donor conceived people all have their own individual views on this. Many I know put huge value on knowing they have donor conceived siblings. Sharing your experiences with someone in the same position as you can be very worthwhile and people will have their own reasons for wanting to make contact. The great thing is they now have the opportunity to do so, and the choice will be theirs.'

The DSL works by using information that is submitted to the HFEA at the fertility clinics during the treatment stage. These details and that on the DSL application form, together with information from the birth mother's clinic registration form, enables confirmation of the applicant to the DSL and provides the donor's information.

The applicant will be allocated a 'sibling group' where all members share the same donor. All future applicants using the same donor will also be allocated the same code, and this is used to match all donor-conceived genetic siblings.

Olivia Montuschi, co-founder of the Donor Conception Network said: 'Our experience has shown that donor conceived young people are much more interested in half siblings than they are in their donor. We think that this is a wonderful service to help those people get in touch with each other.'

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Donor Sibling Link (DSL)
HFEA |  6 April 2010
HFEA to help donor-conceived siblings contact each other (press release)
HFEA |  6 April 2010
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