UK Donor Link, a service that helps match donors with off-spring resulting from their donation, have recently confirmed matches for 10 genetic half-sibling adults in their 40s and 50s in this, their first anniversary year.

They are calling for more donors and donor conceived adults, who donated or were conceived before 1991, and those who want to contact their genetically related half siblings, to contact them in a bid to expand their database and maximise the opportunity of a potential match.

UK DonorLink is a pilot voluntary information exchange and contact register, funded by the Department of Health, that wants to encourage more donors, donor conceived adults and their genetically related half-siblings to register with them and have the chance to make contact with each other.

Those already registered on UK Donor Link, one third of whom are donors, are keen for the database to expand in order to maximise their opportunity for a potential match or further information. So far there is interest from around 200 people and around 80 people have already begun to formally register but there are believed to be at least 12,000 people born from donation since 1990.

Lyndsey Marshall , Project Manager, of UK DonorLink says:

"We want more people to register with us so more people have a chance to find out more information about their genetic relatives. Many donors would like to know the outcome of their donation, whilst donor conceived adults often wish to know more about their genetic background. By gaining more information about themselves it is hoped that many more people will be able to lead a much fuller and emotionally secure life."

Caroline Flint, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Public Health, said:

"Donor Link UK provides a valuable opportunity to both donors and their off-spring if they wish to find out information about each other. Some people say they need to find the missing parts of their genetic past to make their lives complete. By supporting UK Donor Link the Government are helping those who currently have no access to such information."

John, aged 57, himself a sperm donor in the 1980's says:

"I have a naturally conceived family and they are the most important part of my life. However, I know my wife and I were fortunate to be able to conceive this way. I hope that by being a sperm donor I've been able to help other couples realise the happiness that family life can bring. Now, almost 18 years later, I'd love to know who was conceived through my donation and know what they are doing now. It would be lovely to know their names and even meet them, but it would be just as exciting to know they are out there healthy and happy."

Susan, aged 31, conceived through sperm and born in the 1970's said:

"I found out I was conceived through donor insemination when I was in my early 20's. Previously, I had no idea that my 'Dad' was not infact my natural father. Since finding out I was conceived through sperm donation, I have a strong innate desire to find out my genetic roots. UK DonorLink has given me the opportunity to have a future with hope instead of despair. I look forward to the possibility of meeting my biological father and any half-siblings. It feels as if part of me is missing and the chance to see a picture, or even have some basic questions answered would go a long way towards filling that gap." For many couples, the chances of having a family are greatly increased as a result of their receiving donated sperm, eggs and embryos but pre 1991 secrecy was encouraged and very little information recorded about the donation. Many people consequently have a big gap in their genetic history both medical and social. UK DonorLink aim to redress this balance in the hope of helping as many people as possible to find those missing pieces.

1. UK Donor link is funded by the Department of Health

2. Anyone who wishes to contact UK DonorLink for further information can do so at ukdonorlink , e-mail: infoukdonorlink , Tel: 0113 278 3217

3. Over 25,000 people have been born as a result of treatment with donated sperm, eggs or embryos since the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 required the HFEA to maintain a register of such births. An estimated 12,000 people were conceived with donor sperm or eggs before then.

4. The change in law removes the major discrepancy that existed between the rights of donor-conceived people and those of adopted people. A number of other countries already provide donor conceived people with access to identifying information about their donor and have valued the change they have made.

5. The new regulations will only apply to people who donate after April 1 2005. This means that the first time 18 year olds will be able to ask for the identity of their donor - if they choose - will be in 2023.The new regulations will not be retrospective. People donating sperm, eggs or embryos before April 2005 will not be identifiable. When the new regulations do come into force, they will not impact on a donor's responsibilities to any child born as a result of their donation. As now, they will have no financial or legal obligations towards the child.


GNNREF: 115767 Issued by : DOH Press Office, UK

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