If you are considering providing your eggs or sperm to someone who is not your partner to help them conceive, then it is important to be clear where you stand legally and to also be aware as to what you can do to protect yourself.
If you are contemplating donation through a UK based licensed clinic, the clinic will have to follow rules set down by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which provides a licence to all clinics. Information about you, as a donor, will be kept on the HFEA’s register and you have a right, as a donor, to ask whether any children were conceived with your eggs or sperm, although you do not have any right to contact them.
If you wish to become a sperm donor and donate via home insemination, there are no rules on the amount of times you may donate. No register is kept as it is an informal agreement so, before agreeing to be a donor, it is worthwhile thinking about the legal implications and the use of a Donor Agreement.
In the case where you decide to become a donor for a relative or a friend, simply to assist them and with no intentions of having involvement in the child’s life, then the laws on this are more complex. It is important to decide what you intend to accept from such an agreement and the same for the intended parent(s). It is sensible to consider the merit of a pre-conception agreement to cement what the parties have agreed. By undertaking this, you are preventing any further issues concerning child maintenance and contact arrangements for the future. It sets the boundaries between all the parties involved and prevents any conflict or future court applications for contact and/or child maintenance.
The preparation of an agreement can assist everyone involved. For more information, or some preliminary, confidential advice please contact Anne-Marie Hamer, our Fertility & Surrogacy expert.