Criteria for Becoming A Donor – What You Should Know

doctor glove holds jar sample sperm

Known Donation vs. Anonymous Donation – Which is the Best Option?

If artificial insemination is your chosen way of getting pregnant then you need to think about your options. You need to decide whether you’re going to use an anonymous sperm donation via a clinic or accept a donation from a known directed donor from someone you know. There are benefits to both choices and below we’re looking at the reasons for choosing each.

Why Choose Known Donor Sperm?

Research suggests that there are four key reasons that people may choose known donor sperm:

  1. The child will have the right to form a relationship with the donor and therefore be able to understand their birth process more clearly and handle the situation more comfortably.
  2. The child will have the right to know their genetic origins and the donor will be able to share this with the child if you agree this is the right pathway for your child.
  3. The child will have the right to know the identity of the donor which can help avoid the psychological problems which sometimes develop in children born from donation.
  4. Using donor sperm gives you the opportunity to include a third, key person in the child’s life who you believe will influence them in a positive way.

 

doctor glove holds jar sample sperm

 

Why Choose Anonymous Donor Sperm?

The reasons for choosing anonymous sperm donation varies from person to person and below are four key reasons research has shown people may choose anonymous donation:

  1. The child doesn’t have any involvement with the donor and the parents can raise them without any external influences.
  2. The family unit is clear and complete with the child and the parents – the inclusion of a donor in the child’s life can challenge the authority and completeness of the family unit and confuse the child.
  3. Complications including legal proceedings are a side effect of choosing a known donor, anonymous sperm donors have no legal right or knowledge of the child so can’t cause this stress.
  4. Involving a donor can challenge the role of the non-biological parent, whether they’re a mother or father. This can make family life strained and not positive for the child.

The choice between known and anonymous donation is highly personal and something each couple should discuss privately before making any rash decisions. Most clinics will provide counselling and advice to support your decision.

There is so much more to being a donor than some would ever imagine, however it is from what angle you approach and take your view from that matters. What leads someone to becoming a donor?

So, what happens once you’ve handed over your sample, shut the door and walked away? what are the feelings associated with being a sperm donor/ being a father? being anonymous? helping the unable?

Ultimately it is down to your personal experiences which lead you to becoming a donor or not. For many, it’s a scary and unconnected role – to which they wouldn’ t be a part of. Though for some it’s a choice that with much consideration is the right one for them. The possibility of not knowing whether you walk past your child in a future shopping mall or speak with your grandchild at a bar one day is an oddity and a comfort rolled into one.

Whether the possibility of passing the closest of strangers fills you with sadness or joy, the answer will be clear if it is right for you. There are many questions to be answered within sperm donation and this is just one side of a remarkable journey that could be waiting for you and your family.

It’s believed one in seven couples require help at some stage in their lives with their fertility. For some people donor sperm is one of the few option available to them when trying to conceive.

The UK currently has a shortage of both donor sperm and donor eggs. Becoming a sperm donor can change somebody else’s life and it also has an impact on yours of course. Donation can bring a sense of pride to the donor as they’re offering a very generous gift.

The decision to donate can have consequences on you and your family which is why it’s recommended you talk to other donors and professionals before making the decision. You should ensure every one of your questions is answered before you decide. Even a single shred of doubt should be enough for you not to do it.

Who can donate sperm?

To donate sperm you should be aged between 18 and 40 years old, medically fit and healthy and have a clear family history with no evidence of inherited disorders. You should be able to commit a period of time to the process and the majority of clinics ask that you keep in contact for at least a year if you are accepted as a donor.

Who cannot donate?

There are a range of reasons you may not be able to donate as shown below:

Age

The majority of clinics ask that you are under 40 to avoid the higher risk of genetic abnormalities which are possible at an older age.

Adopted

If you were adopted and therefore don’t have access to your detailed family medical history then you are likely to be considered too high risk for donation.

Promiscuity

Being sexually promiscuous puts you at higher risk of STIs and therefore less likely to have ‘clean’ sperm. Accepted donors are screened at the beginning and end of the donation process but you’re putting your chances at risk through increased sexual activity.

Drugs

Both prescription and recreational drugs can have an impact on the sperm quality. Sperm can be permanently damaged and this is something you’ll find out once you’re screened. If you tell a clinic you use recreational drugs it’s unlikely you’ll be accepted in the first place but damage from prescription drugs may be found at a later date.

Previous Sperm Donations

There is a legal limit to the number of children that can be born following the use of donor sperm. By law a centre cannot accept sperm from a donor who has donated elsewhere.

Becoming a sperm donor is a selfless, valuable act which can really make a difference to other families. Think about it carefully before you make your choice.

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