Sperm donation is the provision or "donation" by a man “sperm donor” of his sperm, principally for it to be used in the artificial insemination of a woman or women who are not his sexual partners for the purpose of achieving a pregnancy.
Everything you wanted to know about this unique and increasingly common way of starting a family.
AT A GLANCE:
• Sperm donation refers to the use of sperm that has been donated to assist an individual or couple in becoming parents
• Donors may be de-identified or known, and the rules vary depending on which state you live in
• A vigorous physical and psychological screening process is required for both donor and recipient
A sperm donor will usually donate sperm to a sperm bank under a contract, which typically specifies the period during which the donor will be required to produce sperm, which generally ranges from six to 24 months depending on the number of pregnancies which the sperm bank intends to produce from the donor.
Sperm provided by a sperm bank will be produced by a donor attending at the sperm bank's premises in order to ascertain the donor's identity on every occasion. The sperm is frozen and quarantined, usually for a period of six months, and the donor is re-tested prior to the sperm being used for artificial insemination.
Many donees do not inform the child that they were conceived through sperm donation, or, when non-anonymous donor sperm has been used, they do not tell the child until they are old enough for the clinic to provide contact information about the donor. Some believe that it is a human right for a person to know who their biological mother and father are, and thus it should be illegal to conceal this information in any way and at any time. For donor conceived children who find out after a long period of secrecy, their main grief is usually not the fact that they are not the genetic child of the couple who have raised them, but the fact that the parent or parents have kept information from or lied to them, causing loss of trust.
There are certain circumstances where the child very likely should be told:
• When many relatives know about the insemination, so that the child might find it out from somebody else.
• When the adoptive father carries a significant genetic disease, relieving the child from fear of being a carrier.
The parents' decision-making process of telling the child is influenced by many intrapersonal factors, interpersonal factors, as well as social and family life cycle factors. The appropriate age of the child at disclosure is most commonly given at between 7 and 11 years.
Single mothers and lesbian couples are more likely to disclose from a young age. Donor conceived children in heterosexual coupled families are more likely to find out about their disclosure from a third party.