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What is donor conception?

Donor conception is the term covering ways of having a baby by using donated sperm, eggs or embryos through self-insemination or fertility treatment, such as IVF. It can also include surrogacy when gametes are donated.

Donor conception is when a person donates their sperm, egg or an embryo, and recipient parent(s) receive the donation. They can then follow the steps to conception through treatments such as In vitro fertilisation (IVF), Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or Intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Donor conception is a form of assisted reproduction.

Who would need to use donor conception?

Your GP or another medical professional may recommend donor conception to you for a variety of different reasons. These could include, but are not limited to:

  • You are not producing your own eggs/sperm or your partner is not
  • You are in a same-sex relationship
  • You are single
  • Your own gametes are unlikely to result in conception
  • You have an inherited disease that may be passed on

Whatever your reason, our empathetic solicitors are here to help you navigate the legal complexities.

What advice can a family lawyer give me?

Fertility law in the UK can be complex and everyone involved in the process has legal rights and responsibilities.

The legal consequences of your chosen treatment will likely need discussing with a solicitor, and you may be recommended or required by your clinic to speak to a fertility lawyer before embarking on the journey.

Our team can advise on:

  • The legal implication of using donated eggs, donated sperm and donated embryos, including rights to information
  • The importance of consent
  • Legal parenthood

There are a number of legalities around informational rights. It is important to note that donors are not considered the legal parents of the donor-conceived child. Recipient parents are automatically considered the legal parents.

The key pieces of legislation are:

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008

We’re proud to be a member of The Surrogacy Network, the leading directory and platform for surrogacy professionals.

The Surrogacy Network

I know you are excited to get started on your family building plans, but if you are using a known donor you need early legal advice to ensure that you understand how legal parentage will be assigned at birth.

Where are our family law solicitors based?

Altrincham

WorkSmart Altrincham Hub, 12-14 Shaw’s Road
Altrincham
WA14 1QU

Banbury

Jeffersons Business Centre, Room 3, 6 S Bar St
Banbury
OX16 9AA

Bath

Northgate House, Upper Borough Walls
Bath
BA1 1RG

Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted House, 121 High St
Berkhamsted
HP4 2DJ

Beverley

First Floor, 22 Trinity Ln
Beverley
HU17 0DY

Birmingham

The Colmore Building, 20 Colmore Circus, Queensway
Birmingham
B4 6AT

Bishop’s Stortford

The Residence Coworking, New Mead Barn, Wickham Hall, Hadham Rd
Bishop's Stortford
CM23 1JG

Bolton

120 Bark St
Bolton
BL1 2AX

Bournemouth

25 Basepoint Business Centre, Aviation Business Park, Enterprise Close
Christchurch
BH23 6NX

Bracknell

Venture House, Arlington Square, Downshire Way
Bracknell
RG12 1WA

Brighton

Room 525 Mocatta House, Trafalgar Pl
Brighton
BN1 4DU

Bristol

St Nicholas House, 31-34 High St
Bristol
BS1 2AW

Bromley

Kingfisher House Business Centre, 21-23 Elmfield Rd
Bromley
BR1 1LT

Camberley

Basepoint Business Centre, 377-399 London Rd
Camberley
GU15 3HL

Cambridge

Regus - Cambridge, Wellington House, East Rd, Petersfield
Cambridge
CB1 1BH

Camden

13 Hawley Crescent
London
NW1 8NP

Canary Wharf

37th Floor, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf
London
E14 5AP

Canterbury

Fruitworks Coworking, 1-2 Jewry Lane
Canterbury
CT1 2NP

Cardiff

Temple Court, 13A Cathedral Rd
Cardiff
CF11 9HA

Chelmsford

Second Floor, Saxon House, 27 Duke St
Chelmsford
CM1 1HT

Chelsea

50 Sloane Avenue, Chelsea
London
SW3 3DD

Cheltenham

Harley House, 29 Cambray Pl
Cheltenham
GL50 1JN

Chester

Regus House, Business Park, Heronsway
Chester
CH4 9QR

Chesterfield

Northern Gateway Enterprise Centre, Saltergate
Chesterfield
S40 1UT

Colchester

Suite F15, Innovation Centre, Knowledge Gateway, Boundary Rd
Colchester
CO4 3ZQ

Covent Garden

60 St Martin's Ln
London
WC2N 4JS

Croydon

The Lansdowne Building, 2 Lansdowne Road
Croydon
CR9 2ER

Derby

Derwent Business Centre, Clarke St
Derby
DE1 2BU

Durham

Durham Workspace, Abbey Rd, Pity Me
Durham
DH1 5JZ

Esher

The Bellbourne, 103 High St
Esher
KT10 9QE

Exeter

Broadwalk House, Southernhay West
Exeter
EX1 1UA

Farnborough

The Hub, Business Park, Fowler Ave
Farnborough
GU14 7JF

Fleet

Pearson Court, 3 Kings Rd
Fleet
GU51 3DL

Guildford

2 Wey Court, Mary Road
Guildford
GU1 4QU

Hammersmith

1 Lyric Square
London
W6 0NB

Harrogate

Royal Chambers, 110 Station Parade
Harrogate
HG1 1EP

High Wycombe

1 Aston Court, Kingsmead Business Park, Frederick Pl, Loudwater
High Wycombe
HP11 1JU

Huddersfield

Empire House, Lewisham Rd, Slaithwaite
Huddersfield
HD7 5AL

Ilkley

18 Church St
Ilkley
LS29 9DS

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Suite 422, Franciscan House, 51 Princes St
Ipswich
IP1 1UR

Kingston

Second Floor, 25 Union Street
Kingston upon Thames
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Booths Hall, Booths Park, Chelford Rd
Knutsford
WA16 8GS

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7 Clarendon Pl
Leamington Spa
CV32 5QL

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Clockwise, Yorkshire House, Greek Street
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LS1 5SH

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106 New Walk
Leicester
LE1 7EA

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Advantage House, Stowe Court, Stowe St
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WS13 6AQ

Lincoln

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Lincoln
LN6 7YT

Liverpool

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Liverpool
L3 4AF

London

Ground Floor, 128 Buckingham Palace Rd
London
SW1W 9SA

Maidenhead

Regus, Concorde Park, Concorde Rd
Maidenhead
SL6 4BY

Manchester

Suite 22c & 22d, 53 King St
Manchester
M2 4LQ

Middlesbrough

Commerce House, 1 Exchange Square
Middlesbrough
TS1 1DE

Milton Keynes

Exchange House, 314 Midsummer Blvd
Milton Keynes
MK9 2UB

Nantwich

Stapeley House, London Road
Nantwich
CW5 7JW

Newcastle

City Quadrant, 2nd Floor, 11 Waterloo St
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 4DP

North Shields

5 Royal Quays Business Centre, The CAI Building
North Shields
NE29 6DE

Norwich

Regus - Norwich Stannard Place, Cavell House & Austin House, Stannard Place, St Crispins Rd
Norwich
NR3 1YE

Nottingham

CUBO, Standard Court, Park Row
Nottingham
NG1 6GN

Oxford

Suite 22, 1600 Oxford House, Pure Offices Ltd, Parkway Court, John Smith Dr
Oxford
OX4 2JY

Plymouth

4th Floor, Sutton Harbour, 6 North East Quay Salt Quay House
Plymouth
PL4 0HP

Portsmouth

Ground Floor, Building 1000 Lakeside, Western Road
Portsmouth
PO6 3EZ

Preston

Unit 5, Albert Edward House, The Pavillions, Ashton-on-Ribble
Preston
PR2 2YB

Reading

Suite 28, The Blade, Abbey Square
Reading
RG1 3BD

Reigate

Castle Court, 41 London Rd
Reigate
RH2 9RJ

Richmond

Parkshot House, 5 Kew Rd
London
TW9 2PR

Rickmansworth

Cardinal Point, 1 Park Rd
Rickmansworth
WD3 1RE

Sevenoaks

Lime Tree Work Shop, 11 Lime Tree Walk
Sevenoaks
TN13 1YH

Sheffield

Cubo 38, Carver St
Sheffield
S1 4FS

Slough

The Future Works, 2 Brunel Way
Slough
SL1 1XL

Solihull

Radcliffe House, Blenheim Court, Warwick Rd
Solihull
B91 2AA

Southampton

21 Carlton Cres
Southampton
SO15 2ET

Southgate

5th Floor, The Grange, 100 High St
London
N14 6BN

Southwark

201 Borough High Street
London
SE1 1JA

St Albans

Regus - St. Albans Victoria Square, Fountain Court, 2 Victoria Square
St Albans
AL1 3TF

Stamford

Orion House, 14 Barn Hill
Stamford
PE9 2AE

Stockport

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Stockport
SK1 1AR

Stockton Heath

Suite 6, Hillcrest House, 143 London Rd
Stockton Heath, Warrington
WA4 6LG

Stoke-on-Trent

Trent House, 234 Victoria Rd
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 2LW

Sunderland

Regus - Sunderland, Doxford International Business Park, 4 Admiral Way
Sunderland
SR3 3XW

Swansea

Princess House, 14-16 Princess Way
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SA1 3LW

Swindon

FigFlex Offices, 3 Newbridge Sq
Swindon
SN1 1HN

The City

1 Poultry
London
EC2R 8EJ

Tunbridge Wells

Lonsdale Gate, Lonsdale Gardens
Tunbridge Wells
TN1 1NU

Wetherby

Oakgate House, Market Pl
Wetherby
LS22 6LQ

Wigan

Unity House, Westwood Park
Wigan
WN3 4HE

Wimbledon

The Old Town Hall, 4 Queen's Rd
London
SW19 8YB

Winchester

Southgate Chambers, 37-39 Southgate St
Winchester
SO23 9EH

Windsor

Castle Hill House, Castle Hill
Windsor
SL4 1PD

Woking

Albion House, Spaces One, Unit 6 High St
Woking
GU21 6BG

Worcester

Kingsway House, 40 Foregate St
Worcester
WR1 1EE

York

Tower House Business Centre, Fishergate
York
YO10 4UA

Why choose Stowe Family Law?

  • We’re the only national law firm 100% dedicated to family matters, which means our family lawyers have a huge depth and variety of experience in this sector.
  • We take pride in offering an empathic, understanding approach to support you and your family during your case.
  • You’ll be kept in the loop throughout the process and our family lawyers won’t use technical jargon to complicate things further.
  • We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and are listed amongst The Legal 500
  • We’re proud to have been shortlisted for national awards and been named Family Law Firm of the Year by the Hampshire Law Society and at the Yorkshire Legal Awards.
  • We’re rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot, based on hundreds of reviews from past clients.
  • You can access our wealth of helpful guides to support you with your family law queries.

Common questions about donor conception

Common questions about donor conception

  • What types of donation are there?

    The three types of donation are egg donation, sperm donation and embryo donation.

    If you are intending on donating your gametes, you should do it through a registered clinic. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has a list of registered clinics.

    It is recommended that you speak to a fertility lawyer to understand your legal rights and responsibilities as a donor.

  • Can I donate if I am LGBTQ+?

    Yes, you can donate your eggs or sperm if you identify as LGBTQ+.

    In May 2024, the government passed a law which means that LGBTQ+ people who have non-transmissible HIV can donate their eggs and sperm.

    However, there are restrictions regarding eligibility criteria. These are not specific to LGBTQ+ couples but may apply to trans-men who have started to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as the quality of eggs can be reduced.

  • Will my child legally have to have a relationship with the donor?

    Fertility law in the UK means that the donor has no legal rights to the child if you use a registered donor clinic. This means that they have no legal or financial obligation to the child. They will not be named on the birth certificate, and you (and your partner, if you have one) will be the child’s legal parents. They have no legal right to have a relationship with the child.

    Where legal complications can arise is if the treatment is not done through a registered clinic, as the donor may be considered a parent by law.

    Our specialist solicitors can discuss this with you and give advice.

  • Do I get paid for being a donor?

    It is illegal to pay for donation in the UK. You may be able to receive compensation, which is up to £750 per donation cycle for eggs, and £35 for sperm. You may be able to claim more if your travel or other expenses were more than this.

  • Can I donate to a family member?

    It is legal to donate to your family member, however there are restrictions on mixing the eggs and sperm of close family members, e.g., brother and sister (including half brothers/sister).

  • Am I a legal parent if I donate my sperm/egg?

    If you are a woman and you give birth to a child, you are automatically considered the legal parent of the child, regardless of whether the egg is donated or is your own.

    As a donor, providing you use a registered UK fertility clinic, you will have no legal rights or responsibilities towards any child conceived from your donation.

    However, this can be more complex if you do not use a registered clinic as you may be considered the legal parent.

    It is best to seek legal advice, as well as the advice of the fertility clinic, before embarking on the donation journey.

Liza is based in our Winchester & Southampton offices and is experienced in divorce, financial matters, and legal issues issues involving children.

Date last reviewed: 19/06/2024

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