Becoming a Sperm Donor
How to become a donorThe first step to becoming a sperm donor is to contact a fertility clinic and speak to a member of the staff. They will be able to give advice and also assess the suitability of the person wanting to become a donor. Several factors need to be taken into consideration and before any screening is arranged the potential donor should be aware of rules and regulations regarding being accepted as a sperm donor.
Most donors need to be aged between 18 and 40 years.
If there are no obvious reasons to exclude a person as a donor the next step is to attend a clinic and produce a sample of semen. The potential donor is advised to abstain from any other sexual activity for 3 to 5 days beforehand. This will be examined in a laboratory. Blood samples are also taken for blood grouping and screened for common genetic diseases and sexually transmitted diseases. There will also be an examination by a doctor who will take swabs and a sample of urine for testing.
The next step is to have an interview with one of the clinic staff. This will involve a detailed discussion regarding the donation process and also the legal aspects that surround it. It is extremely important that the donor realises the legal implications relating to donation before becoming a sperm donor. This is the potential donors chance to understand their rights as donors, recipients rights and also any child born as a result of donor insemination.
If the donor still wants to proceed and is accepted onto the programme legal forms need to be signed giving consent. This allows the samples to be stored for up to ten years, although this can be for a shorter time depending on the donor’s wishes. The donor’s details are held on a register.
Is it better to know the donor?The first and most important decision anyone considering donor insemination must make is whether to use a known or unknown donor. Although every case is different and personal situations vary. It is crucial to consider all possible future implications when making this choice.
The only real benefits of using sperm donated from a friend or acquaintance is that you will have knowledge of the looks and personality of the donor. The child born using the donated sperm will also have the opportunity to develop a relationship with the donor. Although this could be beneficial in some cases, it can also create problems, as the child grows older. With a known donor there are not the same precautions and screening methods in place, which could increase the risk of the child being exposed to HIV and other viruses.
Many experts in this area recommend that women use an unknown donor and there are several reasons for this. Accredited sperm banks and clinics quarantine the semen sample for six months before using the sample to achieve conception. By quarantining all specimens this allows time for thorough testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. With a sperm bank you have the benefit of choosing a donor based on a very comprehensive report of the donor’s medical history. All fertility clinics use rigorous testing methods on donor sperm. This minimises any risk of infection or medical conditions being passed on to the child through infected sperm.
Another disadvantage of using a known donor is that there is always the chance of the donor developing strong feelings towards the child. Using an unknown donor protects the recipient from the legal risk of a custody battle. As unknown donors surrender any future parenting rights this ensures that the situation would not arise.
If the recipient is determined to use a known donor, steps should be taken to reduce the risks. Before any conception is contemplated a legal agreement should be drawn up so the donor knows exactly what it expected of him. It can be beneficial to have a known donor in certain cases, especially where a recipient is happy for the donor to be involved with the child’s upbringing. If the recipient were not happy for the donor to be involved after conception, the sensible choice would be an unknown donor to avoid any misunderstandings later on.
Reasons to keep in touch
Before making the decision of whether or not to become a sperm donor, another very important consideration is how much or little contact the donor has with the child conceived using the donated sperm. It does not matter how much you prepare yourself or how good your intentions are emotions can change when the child is conceived and eventually born.
Some people may decide to donate sperm and then have no input in the child’s life. When the child reaches the age of eighteen they are entitled to have the biological father’s details so a donor should be aware contact is always a possibility eventually.
Alternatively if a donor decides they wish to have emotional and physical input in a child’s life this is also a possibility. One way to organise this is to become a co-parent. A co-parent is different from a known donor, as they will play a more involved parental type role in the child’s life.
If the donor decides they want to take more of an active role it has to be agreed with the mother. The co-parent automatically has rights regarding the decision making process for a child’s upbringing. This can cover several important decisions including medical treatment, immunisation and even which schools to apply for. Prospective co-parents should decide and agree from the outset on how they intend to care for their child.
A well-drafted agreement is essential to help manage expectations. This agreement should map out ground rules covering day-to-day parenting issues. The most important consideration should always be to take into account what is in the best interest of the child.If all parties are happy with the agreement and working in the child’s best interests there is no reason why donors would not have a worthwhile relationship with children conceived with their donated sperm.If a person decides from the outset that they do not wish to play any part in the child’s day-to-day upbringing then this must be respected. As long as this is made clear then it should not cause problems.
Any prospective donor should be aware that any child created with their sperm would have legal rights regarding the donor’s information when they reach the age of eighteen. This is not negotiable and is now law as it is seen as in the interests of the child. Whatever thoughts people have regarding this matter it is never a decision to be made without serious consideration.
Current Legislation in the US
Clearly, there is no uniformity in the law regulating parental rights and obligations of sperm donors and the option brings threats for both the mom and the donor. However, steps can be taken to avoid many of the risks. To make sure that your intentions relating to parentage will be honored in case of a future disagreement, parties considering use of a known donor ought to consider the following:
Know your state's law relating to sperm donation and follow its requirements as carefully as possible. The very best way to do this is to seek advice from an attorney who will have the ability to advise you about the law in your state.
If your objective is to make use of a known donor who will have no adult rights or duties, have the donor supply the sperm sample to a medical professional. If your goal is to co-parent with your sperm donor, you may still want to have the actual treatment carried out by a doctor for medical or other factors. Be sure that any authorization documents you sign at the medical center are consistent with your objectives concerning parental status.
Hire a lawyer to draft a written contract defining the rights and obligations of the sperm donor, however you should acknowledge that not all courts would accept these contracts. In addition, for those looking for a donor without parental contribution, verbal contracts can in some states supply a basis for the donor to seek parental status. On the other hand, for parties requiring the donor to be a parent, verbal arrangements could be inadequate to avoid the statutory bar to being a parent for contributors.
Clearly, there is no uniformity in the law regulating adult rights and obligations of sperm donors and the option brings threats for both the mom and the contributor. Individuals can take steps to lower those threats. To make best use of the likelihood that your intentions relating to parentage will be honored in case of a future disagreement, parties considering use of an understood contributor ought to consider the following:
1. Know your state's law relating to sperm donation and follow its requirements as carefully as possible. The very best method to do this is to seek advice from an attorney who will have the ability to advise you about the law in your certain state.
2. If your objective is to make use of a known donor who will have no adult rights or duties, have the contributor supply the sperms sample to a medical professional. If your goal is to co-parent with your sperm service provider, you may still want to have actually the treatment carried out by a doctor for medical or other factors. Be sure that any authorization kinds you sign at the center are consistent with your objectives concerning adult status.
3. Hire a lawyer to draft a written contract defining the rights and obligations of the sperm carrier, however acknowledge that not all courts will impose these contracts. In addition, for those looking for a benefactor without parental condition, oral contracts can in some states supply a basis for the contributor to seek parental status. On the other hand, for parties imagining the sperm carrier as a parent, dental arrangements could be inadequate to stay clear of the statutory bar to being a parent for contributors.
4. Even composed arrangements have limitations. A contract that seeks to relieve a donor of monetary responsibilities while preserving some limited duty for him in the child's life is specifically vulnerable to attack and could result in a searching for of paternal.