The UK Donor Link (UKDL) has won a temporary funding reprieve, following the award of a further government grant up until the end of March 2012 while more permanent funding is sought. This has enabled UKDL to re-open its doors to new registrants on 15 September 2011 (having previously closed to new registrants on 26 August 2011 due to lack of funds).
In a letter to UKDL dated 5 September 2011 the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, Anne Milton, said “I am keen for options to be considered in the next few months, bearing in mind the difficulties that have been encountered in sorting out a more settled future for the register.” The UKDL has set up an ePetition calling on the government to restore its funding to safeguard the service and it remains highly concerned about its uncertain funding position.
UKDL enables donor conceived people, their donors and half-siblings to exchange information and where agreed contact each other. The register is available throughout the UK and helps individuals who were conceived with donor gametes and donors who donated before the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act came into force in 1991.
As a specialist in fertility and parenting law in the UK, “I am delighted that UKDL has secured a temporary funding reprieve until March 2012. However, there is a real need for longer term funding to be put in place to safeguard the invaluable service UKDL provides, enabling donor conceived individuals and donors to access information about their genetic origins and make contact with genetic relatives when they might not otherwise be able to do so (as donors were usually anonymous and there was no legal requirement to maintain records before August 1991). If UKDL is forced to close next year due to lack of funding it could have devastating consequences for donor conceived people and donors across the UK and it would be a serious retrograde step and an immeasurable loss to the fertility sector.”