The anonymity of ova and sperm donors can no longer be guaranteed due to the increasing popularity of DNA test kits such as AncestryDNA (photo)

Anonymity for egg and sperm donors can no longer be guaranteed due to the increasing popularity of DNA test kits, experts have warned.


British adults who donate sperm and eggs have not had the right to remain anonymous since the amendment of the law in 2005.

But even those who donated before the ruling can now be easily found, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority said.

DNA kits, which cost around £ 50, can provide geographic heritage and even names in a database for lost family members.

More and more people are using the kits – and ancestor websites – to track down their biological parents, the HFEA added.

The anonymity of ova and sperm donors can no longer be guaranteed due to the increasing popularity of DNA test kits such as AncestryDNA (photo)

The anonymity of ova and sperm donors can no longer be guaranteed due to the increasing popularity of DNA test kits such as AncestryDNA (photo)


The body has encouraged donors to abandon their anonymity to prevent emotional stress when a biological child contacts them.

Genealogical sites, such as AncestryDNA with a global network of 15 billion members, connect people through their DNA.

Information can help people identify relationships with unknown family members, even if that person did not do the test themselves.

A simple spit test has the ability to dismantle a family story, with rare cases where people discover that they have been accidentally conceived by a donor.

The fertility institution that according to Progress Educational Trust will have used around 100 million people by 2021.

It believes that a support system should be set up for anyone affected by the increase in home DNA testing, the BBC reports.

Sarah Norcross, director of the charity, said: & This is a wake-up call for everyone involved in the conception of donors.


& # 39; There can no longer be any donor secrets. What is needed now is appropriate and adequate support for all involved. & # 39;

Andy Waters has conceived up to 110 children after donating his sperm, some of whom have tracked him down through ancestral sites.

Two children have found him in the past year and he recently met a son who tracked him down with AncestryDNA.

& # 39; The mind is out of the bottle, & # 39; the 54-year-old from Hemel Hempstead told the BBC. & # 39; The anonymity of the donor is dead.

& # 39; Because of these websites, it no longer matters whether you as an individual choose to participate. If your family members do that, genetic similarities can be identified with you. & # 39;


Mr. Waters started donating sperm as a 19-year-old student. He then raised two children himself.

It made him think how important it might be for his children to contact him – and he has now put his data in the register prepared by donors so that his other children could find him if they wanted to.

He said: & # 39; It is time to tell our children where they came from before they discover it and hate us for it. The later we leave, the more suffering and anger it causes. & # 39;

The HFEA told BBC Radio 5 Live that the number of people asking for information about their biological parents since 2010 had increased by 200.


If a person donated after April 1, 2005, children conceived from those eggs or sperm can find out who they are biologically related to when they turn 16 and 18 years old.


The donor must provide information at the time of your donation.

Anyone who is conceived by a donation in a clinic licensed by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority between August 1, 1991 and March 31, 2005 has a legal right to become acquainted with their genetic origin.

However, they cannot receive information that would identify the donor, such as their name or address.

At the age of 16 they can find information such as their donor profession, religion, ethnicity and basic description.

As a result, the HFEA has made it possible for donors to remove their anonymity from the register.


It also asks clinics to emphasize the risks of finding through ancestral sites and DNA kits for donors.

Sally Cheshire, president of the HFEA, said: & # 39; The recent increase in the number of people using DNA test websites to track their origins means that more people can accidentally discover that they have been conceived by a donor.

& # 39; We are talking to these companies about providing clear information on their websites about the potential risks of using their DNA matching services and showing them their users the appropriate support. & # 39;

A survey in June of this year showed that one third of people conceived with a sperm or egg donor discover the truth through DNA test websites.

Support Group We Are Donor Conceived, who interviewed 312 people, discovered that 37 percent found out after using a genealogical site.

At the start of 2019, more than 26 million consumers had added their DNA to four leading commercial ancestors and health databases, according to estimates from MIT Technology.

It is thought that more than 4 million people are registered in the UK and that around 3,500 children per year are born from donated sperm and eggs.

From 2023, those who turn 18 will be able to find out the name and recent address of their donor parent through the 2005 amendment of the law.

MailOnline has contacted AncestryDNA for comments.

It has previously stated in a statement: & # 39; We take our responsibility towards our customers – and the potential impact of complex discoveries – very seriously.


& # 39; Ancestry works hard to help our customers understand that some of the things they learn about themselves can be unexpected. & # 39;


DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a complex chemical in almost all organisms that contains genetic information.

It is located in chromosomes, the cell nucleus and almost every cell in a person's body has the same DNA.

It is composed of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T).

The structure of the double helix DNA is derived from adenine binding with thymine and cytosine binding with guanine.


Human DNA consists of three billion bases and more than 99 percent of it is the same for all people.

The order of the bases determines what information is available for maintaining an organism (similar to the way letters of the alphabet form sentences).

The DNA bases pair with each other and also attach to a sugar molecule and phosphate molecule, which together form a nucleotide.

These nucleotides are arranged in two long strands that form a spiral called a double helix.

The double helix looks like a ladder with the base pairs that form the rungs and the sugar and phosphate molecules that form vertical side rafters.


For the first time, a new form of DNA was discovered in living human cells.

The shape is called i-motif and looks like a twisted & # 39; node & # 39; of DNA instead of the well-known double helix.

The function of the i-motif is unclear, but experts think it could be to read & # 39; DNA sequences & # 39; and convert it into usable substances.

Source: American National Library of Medicine

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