Treatments & Options - Donor Sperm - Resources

In this section, Donor Sperm Resources, we offer some tips to help you select a sperm donor. First, we discuss what to expect when using an anonymous donor from a sperm bank. Next, we discuss points to consider when choosing a known sperm donor.

Anonymous donor from a sperm bank
Choosing an anonymous sperm donor from a sperm bank may sound more appealing to you. After all, this process is regulated to protect you and your child from infectious diseases and future legal issues. Benefits to choosing anonymous donor sperm include the following:

  • Sperm bank samples are frozen and quarantined for six months before being screened and tested for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
  • The sperm bank also performs a physical exam of each donor, testing each individual for heritable diseases, like cystic fibrosis.
  • You can select your donor based on his health history, desired physical characteristics, including race and ethnicity, and education/professional experience.

Some anonymous donors leave no identifying information. Others may choose to participate in an “identity release” program offered by some sperm banks. This means the donor permits the sperm bank to release his information at the request of adult offspring once he or she turns 18. In order to limit the number of half siblings that come from any one donor, strongly consider working with a sperm bank that controls the number of live births obtained from each donor.

Overall, buying anonymous donor sperm from a sperm bank is a safe route because the law doesn’t grant anonymous donors any legal right to the children born using their sperm.

Choosing a donor that you know
If you are considering a dear friend or loved one to be the biological father of your child, think it through carefully. There may be benefits, as well as challenges, to using a donor that you know. Here are some of the benefits:

  • You can save money since you will not need to purchase a sample from a sperm bank.
  • Your child may be able to have a more intimate relationship with his or her biological father (if you approve) than if you choose an anonymous donor.
  • You may have more of a biological connection the child if you so choose.

Remember: all sperm anonymously donated to a sperm bank is legally required to undergo health testing. If you use fresh sperm from a known donor, you bypass the safeguards and screenings offered by sperm banks (although you can still pursue the screenings on your own).

Secure legal advice
If you do choose this route it’s critical to understand the laws about donor insemination in your home state. Some state laws may require legal rights or child support responsibilities for known donors. This may be something that you desire, or something you want to avoid. You may want to ask the donor to sign a contract, relinquishing him from any responsibilities or rights to the child. Discussing these scenarios with your partner and non-anonymous donor will make this choice more tangible, realistic and safe for all involved. To protect yourself and your child, sit down with an attorney.

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