A known sperm donor is a friend, a family member or someone who voluntarily donates their sperm to be used in assisted reproduction. Known donors can choose to be anonymous or opt to play a role in the child’s life. The sperm donor is not involved with the recipient of the sperm in a sexual way and simply donates the sperm for the conception of a child.
Choosing a known sperm donor is a popular option but many clinics will suggest you consider counselling as well as getting legal advice before making any final decisions. It differs from anonymous donation as there are many more issues to consider including legal, medical, social and familial ones.
All known sperm donors have to be tested as per regular protocol and full screening is still carried out. Semen samples will be frozen and quarantined for approximately six months in most clinics. This is to guarantee any infectious diseases can be tested for before insemination. Once the quarantine period is over both the semen and the donor will be retested for infectious diseases. The quality of the semen has a key role in how successful the process is.
Choosing a known donor
Below and the key considerations when you choose a known donor and the outcomes of each:
- The child will have the right to form a relationship with the donor, if agreed legally. This can help the child understand their birth process better which can be difficult if they have no contact with their biological father.
- The child will be legally entitled to know their genetic background and origin and if involved the donor can share this information with them themselves. This can help the child come to terms with their alternative birth more easily.
- Utilising a known donor means you can involve another key person in the child’s life in addition to yourself and your partner. Having a third role model in the child’s life and choosing the person due to their personal traits means you can inject further positivity into your child’s upbringing.
- Knowing their donor can help a child avoid any psychological difficulties relating to their genetic background in later life.
Choosing a known donor is an option many people choose as they like to have a clear understanding of the exact person who is fathering their child. It can work if you’ve got close family members who want to help and it can also work if you use one of the online forums developed to help you find a known donor. It’s a very different experience to using an anonymous donation and you should always consider all options.
Choosing a sperm donor for your prospective child can be a difficult decision to make, and your requirements for your sperm donor will surely differ depending on the other people in your life.
One of the best ways to think of the most important qualities for your sperm donor is to think about your own relations and friends. What are the most interesting and important things about those people in your eyes? Is it their height, hair colour, religion or complexion, or is it what they do for a living, what their hobbies are, their values or their education?
Chances are that your child, once he or she is born, will be far more interested to know whether their natural father was an athlete or a scientist than to know that he was chosen because of his tall dark and handsome looks that didn’t pass on to your offspring. Using an anonymous sperm donor will mean that your child will never know or see a picture the man that gave them the chance that they needed to be born, and so his looks and resemblance to them won’t be as important as his past.
Certainly, your donor’s medical history is one of the most important factors to consider when you are considering an anonymous sperm donor, and if you want to keep the procedure as blind as possible, then at least consider the donor’s family health history. Most sperm banks in the west are now known for the quality of their sperm testing, particularly for hereditary and acquired diseases, giving you as much knowledge as possible about any possible conditions that your child could have. Unfortunately, however, some of these could slip through the cracks and if your child was to develop a genetic disease further down the line then you won’t be able to contact an anonymous donor to obtain any further medical information.
Therefore, if you want as little knowledge as possible about your child’s father, at least make sure you know all you can about their health; otherwise you could regret it in years to come.
What to Do Once You Have Found a Sperm Donor Online
We’re sure that you feel so much more relaxed now that you have found your perfect sperm donor online through CoParents.com, but you might also be wondering what you should be doing next. And that’s a very good question.
Once you’ve chosen your sperm donor and made contact through coparents.com, it would be wise to meet the donor in one form or another. You could choose to do this virtually, or you could meet in person in a casual setting. Once you have met your donor and are satisfied with the result of your meeting, you will then need to decide which form on insemination you wish to use, and find a HFEA regulated fertility clinic if necessary.
If you are going to meet your sperm donor virtually, then you should perhaps set up a webcam call through which you can both discuss your preferences, and then you can get a look at the man whose genes will be a part of your child. If you want to keep your sperm donor anonymous (this could be your preference or his), then it is possible to ‘meet’ via a simple phone call, but this may make it more difficult to ask and answer the necessary questions.
If it is possible, it would be advantageous to meet your donor face to face. It is well known that face to face communication is by far a lot easier than communicating via the telephone or the internet, and this way you will really be able to get to know your donor best. You should perhaps arrange to meet casually the first time around, so that there is not too much pressure on the both of you. This could be in a local coffee shop close by to both of you, or in a pub or another public setting, this way you will both be relaxed and able to get to know the true personalities of each other. Remember, this is not a date, so you shouldn’t be putting on airs and graces for each other, it is important, particularly if the donor wishes to be a part of the child’s life, that you get to know the real personalities of each other, because you will be involved in each other’s lives for a long time ahead.
Once you have met your donor for the first time and are still comfortable to go ahead with insemination, you will need to decide which method of insemination you wish to go ahead with. Read more about different forms of insemination on coparents.com here, but make sure that all parties agree with the decision made.
If you choose to go for artificial insemination, you should find a HFEA regulated fertility clinic that is in a convenient location for all parties. The donor can then make his donation in the clinic, and they will look after the specimen until you are ready to be inseminated. This enables the donor to remain anonymous if he wishes to do so, and he doesn’t have to be present for the entire insemination process. The clinic will also undertake any necessary health and fertility screening tests before the donor makes his contribution, so that you don’t have to worry about that part of it.
However, if you wish to go forward with natural insemination, you will have to carry out these screening checks yourself, and for a helpful guide to pre-donation tests, please see coparents.com’s guide here. Once these checks have been carried out, you can go ahead with insemination in the way that makes you the most comfortable.
Sperm Donor Health Checklist
Choosing to become a sperm donor to help out a single woman, a couple struggling to get pregnant or a same sex couple who need somebody to help them become a family is an extremely selfless act, particularly if you are choosing to do this without requesting access to the child.
However, before you begin your process of donating sperm, it is imperative that you take yourself through all of these tests suggested below to ensure that you are in the best possible shape. This will surely help to speed up the process of sperm donation, and ensure that the insemination process is easy and, most importantly, successful.
Prospective parents looking for a sperm donor should require results of these tests from every sperm donor that they speak to, and it will give them peace of mind when you begin the insemination process to know that their donor is healthy, fertile and ready to help create a new life.
Besides legal checks, accounting for your own and your family’s medical history and agreeing on a contract with your co-parent or the parents you are donating to. The following are the most important tests that you should ensure to undertake before donating your sperm.
Test for sexually transmitted infections.
Even if you are 100% certain about your sexual health, you should undertake both a HIV and a blood and urine test for any other sexually transmitted diseases. This test will enable you to then prove to the prospective parents or the sperm bank that you are in good sexual health and that you are at absolutely no risk of passing on any ill health either to the prospective mother or to the child.
Blood typing test.
You should undertake a blood and urine test for blood typing and other health indicators such as urine analysis and liver function. This enables you to have an in depth analysis of your medical health, ensuring that no issues slip through the cracks, and it will give the prospective parents peace of mind before insemination.
It’s important that you, and perhaps the prospective mother, undertake testing for genetic carrier traits. This is more important for the sperm donor to carry out if he is either an anonymous donor or a donor that will not play a part in the child’s life. Allowing the parents to have the information regarding genetic carrier traits will give them the ability to prepare themselves for any possible health problems in the future, without needing to track down their donor or navigate tricky medical testing. These tests should be carried out for:cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell disease, thalassemia and other blood disorders.
Besides health testing, you will also need to ensure you get your sperm tested and ‘certified’ before you donate. These tests should incorporate sperm count and motility at the very least.
Sperm count testing involves measuring the concentration of sperm in a man’s ejaculation and measuring this volume against what typical figures state as ‘normal’ – which is currently over 15 million sperm per millilitre. It is possible to undertake these tests at home with your own kit, or to have it done for you by a medical professional.
Motility testing means testing how active your sperm are. Motility and sperm count should both be tested as one result can affect the other. For example, a low sperm count but a very high rate of motility could mean an overall very good fertility rate, which a high sperm count but a low rate of motility could also mean the same. It is when a low sperm count and a low motility rate occur that fertility may be questioned.