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Hi,
I'm exploring IVF with the Lister clinic. Being in a same sex relationship we need a sperm donor. We've discovered that the Lister only use sperm from a donor back in Denmark called Nordic Cryobank. I wondered if anyone had any knowledge of the legal issues with regards to using imported sperm. For example do the British anonymity laws still apply? Can I assume that our information will remain confidential frpm the donor and that the child will be able to seek the donor once they reach 18? Also, will the same standards apply in terms of sreening the donor for diseases etc?
Hope someone can help.

thanks
Pixel
 

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Hi Pixel

UK clinics can only import sperm from abroad if it has been screened for all the same diseases as UK donor sperm. Regarding the anonymity laws, the foreign donor has to register with the HFEA and give his consent to the release of his information. That means that your child will have exactly the same rights to information from the HFEA as if you used a UK donor.

The only area in which you need to take a little more care is over parenthood. If the donor is domiciled in Denmark, then it is probable that Danish law applies to him regarding whether or not he is the legal father of the child. Most countries have laws protecting donors to ensure this is the case, but not all, so this is definitely something you need to check.

This is particularly important for you, as a same sex couple, since under UK law only the birth mother will be a legal parent, and if the donor is the legal father that could make things more complicated when you come to acquire joint parental rights. (Incidentally, if you'd like my help with this, do get in touch direct).

The other thing to bear in mind at the moment is that there are massive problems with moving gametes around within the EEA (all to do with the failure of European clinics to implement the EU Tissues Directive) and you may find that the Lister are not able to import sperm for you from Denmark. I would ask them about this before you go much further - I'm hearing from too many clients at the moment that they get to the point of treatment before they are told this is an issue.

The good news is that there are now lots of clinics offering DI to lesbian couples, and some have plenty of UK donor sperm available (the London Women's Clinic for example). If you would prefer to use a UK donor, just shop around.

You may also find this useful - it's a link to the HFEA guidance for clinics on importing sperm:

http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2008-03-04_Guidance_on_the_revised_policy_on_imports_and_export_of_gametes_and_embryos.pdf

Best of luck

Natalie
[email protected]
 
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