Having a baby by using a sperm donor means that you will conceive using the sperm of a man you may or may not know, but who isn’t your life partner.
If you are in the unfortunate position of not being able to conceive a child with your own partner, there might be other options open to you such as adoption or indeed sperm donation. If you can’t or don’t want to adopt a child, then sperm donation is another method of creating a much longed for child.
Before making the decision to go ahead with sperm donation, it is necessary to sit down with your partner and talk about how you and they feel about the procedure. It may be that counselling will help you to make the decision, or by reading information and forums available through the internet.
If you are a couple in a heterosexual relationship, your partner will have to accept that biologically the child isn’t his. Although it is the nurturing and caring about the child that makes a father; it might be difficult for some men to accept that they are not genetically connected. Women too, must accept that the sperm that created their child was from a donor and not from her partner.
If you decide to go ahead with sperm donation, you must then make the decision whether or not to have the procedure carried out in a clinic, or by inseminating yourself at home. The sperm donors available in clinics have been thoroughly vetted, through a battery of various tests in order that the clinic can be sure the sperm they produce is healthy and of good quality.
If you feel the clinic route is not for you, you can of course ask a man you know to become a donor, or search online on one of the many donor websites for someone who is willing to donate their sperm to you. This is a cheaper and less clinical method of finding a donor, but you should still ask the man to have at least the basic tests carried out to ensure he isn’t carrying any genetic diseases or illness.
The Donor Conception Network in the UK is a website especially for families who have used, or are thinking about, sperm or egg donation and are seeking advice and support. The website covers useful information such as making your decision, telling family and friends and letting a child know how they were conceived.
Donors from clinics don’t have any right to anonymity in the UK. When a donor child is 18 they can apply for the information the clinic have about the donor and this could lead to the donor being traced in the future. However not all donor children are particularly interested, read this article by donor child, Lucy McDonald. As Lucy points out she has no connection with her biological father and has no desire to get to know him.
Donors cannot be made to pay child support or any other payments towards a child, unless it was conceived by sexual intercourse. This makes the donor the legal father and he can be held responsible for any child he produces.
Single women and lesbian couples might want a donor who is involved in their child’s life. Co-parenting is becoming more and more popular in the UK and the United States, especially with gay men who want children, but they don’t have a partner, or their partners don’t want to become parents.
There is a lot to think about before using a sperm donor. Talk it over with family and friends and seek professional advice if you need to and seek out as much information as you can from the internet.