10th November 2004

The British Fertility Society (BFS) welcomes this study from Human Reproduction as the first evidence of the attitudes of donor conceived children to their biological fathers. Although small, this study is important as it, and others like it, will enable us to minimise uncertainty of the future for donors who agree to donate sperm at UK clinics from April 2005 (anonymity of UK sperm and egg donors will be removed in April 2005).

Dr Allan Pacey, of the British Fertility Society said, “BFS members are concerned that the removal of donor anonymity may lead to a dramatic drop in the number of donors. The study should go part of the way to reassure future donors that donor conceived children will take a measured and responsible view about contacting them.”

“It is reassuring that they were concerned about respecting their biological father’s privacy, and not intruding on his life.”

“However, it is of some concern that 4 out of 5 donor conceived people were likely to try and contact the donor as this may mean that even if future donors come forward, they may place limits on the number of births that can be achieved from their donations.”

The British Fertility Society’s position on the removal of gamete donor anonymity is as follows:

1) The views of the BFS’ membership are diverse, as they are in society at large, however

2) There is unanimous concern among members that the number of donors who are willing to be identified may not be sufficient to meet the needs of those requiring treatment.

3) The Society will continue to work proactively with the Government and other bodies on long-term education and recruitment campaigns to try to ensure that donor numbers are maintained.

Notes

This press release relates to: Adolescents with open-identity sperm donors: reports from 12-17 year olds. Human Reproduction. Doi:10.1093/humrep/deh581.

Full text of the study can be found at: http://www3.oup.co.uk/eshre/press-release/nov04.pdf