Law for Known Donors

Known egg and sperm donation:  for donors

If you are a known egg donor then you will not be treated as your child’s legal mother under English law, since the law says that the woman who carries a child is his or her legal mother.  If your recipients conceive in the UK, your details will be recorded on the Register of Information held at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.  Your offspring will have legal rights to access that information as they grow up, including being able to find out your name and address once they are 18.

If you are a known sperm donor, the law is more complicated.  Whether or not you are treated as your child’s legal father will depend on the relationship status of your recipients, as well as whether you conceive at a clinic or at home. 

  • You will not be the child’s legal father if your recipients are married or in a civil partnership at the time of conception, the child is conceived through artificial insemination or IVF and both partners consent.


  • You will not be the child’s legal father if your recipients are an unmarried couple, and conceive at a licensed clinic in the UK and sign the necessary forms to make them both legal parents.


  • In other situations (for example if you are donating to a single woman or to an unmarried couple conceiving through home insemination) you will be the child’s legal father.

If you are treated as your child’s legal father then you will be financially responsible for your child and could be pursued for maintenance or other financial support.  Your child will also have a right of inheritance from you in the event of your death (although this may be excluded by a carefully drafted Will). 

Whether you are named on the birth certificate is also significant, since if you are your child’s legal father and are named on the birth certificate, you will acquire ‘parental responsibility’ which gives you the right to be involved in important decision making about your child’s upbringing.

If you are intending to play any kind of ongoing role, it is important to set strong foundations to avoid disputes later, and that everyone is clear and agrees about how your arrangement will work.  See the sections on disputes and problems [link to section below] and donor agreements [link to section below] for more information.

For more detailed information, visit NGA Law’s free and searchable online Knowledge Centre