Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

The regulator's view


Having looked at the legal side, we now consider some of the concerns that the UK regulator has with regards to gamete donation.

Juliet Tizzard, Director of Strategy at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), here weighs in on some the issues that we have discussed.

First she covers the problems that might arise if parents omit to tell the child about their donor-conceived status. The risk of accidental disclosure, especially when other family members are aware, is a cause for concern.

Next the need for appropriate counselling is highlighted, and the HFEA has issued guidance on how fertility clinics should advice prospective parents about donor conception. The relevant section is copied below:

The centre should tell people who seek treatment with donated gametes or embryos that it is best for any resulting child to be told about their origin early in childhood. There is evidence that finding out suddenly, later in life, about donor origins can be emotionally damaging to children and to family relations.

Finally, Tizzard mentions the unique nature of fertility medicine. Unlike other forms of therapy, fertility treatments create new families and, at the heart of it, create new life. This compels us to think about all the implications of the choices we make as parents, healthcare professionals and society in general.

For discussion: How would you weigh up the different considerations with regards to encouraging as opposed to requiring parents to tell their children they were conceived using donated gametes? Do you think disclosure should be made mandatory? If so, how?

This article is from the free online

Making Babies in the 21st Century

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now