Page URL:

Sperm donor fathers 17 families and breaks UK limits

26 September 2011
Appeared in BioNews 626

The Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK's fertility regulator, has admitted breaches of the sperm donation limit have occurred, following news that one donor has fathered 17 families.

According to current regulations, one donor's sperm may be used to create up to ten families. This rule is in place in order to limit the risk of offspring meeting and having an incestuous relationship. In addition to the donor who has fathered 17 families, another donor has created 12, and three more donors have all fathered 11 families.

Alan Doran, chief executive of the HFEA, will be issuing written warnings to fertility clinics in the UK after it emerged that the exact number of breaches is unknown. If there are any further violations the clinic in question may lose its licence.

'There is a real danger in a small country like the UK for donor-conceived children to meet up unknowingly with half-siblings', said Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics. 'It is truly lamentable that the HFEA has such inadequate systems in place that it is unable to monitor properly the numbers of babies conceived in this way'.

The ten-family limit was imposed not only to make incestuous relationships less likely, but also to limit the number of half-brothers and -sisters a child from a sperm donor may have.

As there are no limits on how many children recipients can have using donated sperm, it is unknown how many children this donor may have. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average British family has 1.9 children, which suggests the man who has fathered 17 families may have 34 children.

British sperm donor fathers SEVENTEEN families
Daily Mail |  18 September 2011
Incest rules breached as sperm donor fathers 17 families
The Sunday Times |  18 September 2011
7 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...
22 October 2012 - by Dr Linda Wijlaars 
A celebrity sperm donor service called Fame Daddy that was profiled in news reports in the British media has been revealed as a hoax...
8 May 2012 - by Wendy Kramer 
In 1988 the Office of Technology Assessment estimated that 30,000 children were born via donor insemination during the year 1986/87 in the US. A quarter of a century - and no further research - later, '30,000 annual births' is still trotted out in academia, lectures and the media...
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...
24 October 2011 - by Dr Djuke Veldhuis 
Should women who choose their career first, and children second, be allowed to receive IVF on the NHS at an age when some would consider it 'unnatural'? Now ask whether it's acceptable for young soldiers fighting in Afghanistan to store their sperm in case they don't come back. And the questions surrounding reproductive medicine don't end there: after insemination, how much screening or manipulation of genetic material is reasonable?...
18 July 2011 - by Sandy Starr 
The UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has made its first set of decisions following the outcome of its recent consultation on sperm and egg donation, known as the Donation Review...
31 January 2011 - by Nishat Hyder 
The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has published a position paper on intrafamilial medically assisted reproduction (IMAR) concluding that the practice is 'morally acceptable' in some circumstances....
24 November 2008 - by Professor Eric Blyth and Dr Marilyn Crawshaw 
The report of the British Fertility Society's (BFS) Working Party on Sperm Donation Services in the UK (1) recently hit the headlines, following an associated editorial in the British Medical Journal (2). However, the report's proposals for a fundamental overhaul of the current arrangements for organising donor recruitment were considered...
28 August 2001 - by BioNews 
A London clinic has confirmed that it is considering offering IVF treatment using donor sperm to a post-menopausal French woman. The 47-year old woman is not able to receive treatment in France as it is illegal there to be treated after the menopause. The woman will use an anonymously...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.