If you have decided to become a sperm donor, you will need to know the rights you have as well as the legislation that will apply to you throughout the process. This will avoid any situations where you might become tied up in legal battles or any other unexpected complications along the way.
From the level of anonymity you are granted, to the process of putting together an agreement with whomever you are donating to, it is important to be aware of where you stand.
The law has changed since 2005, lifting anonymity from sperm donors once the child turns 18 if you donate through a licensed clinic. After this, they are allowed access to information such as your name and last known address.
However, as an anonymous donor you have no legal rights to contact your conceived offspring – it is up to the child to reach out to you.
Clinic vs At Home Insemination
By donating through an HFEA clinic, you do not have any legal rights as the parent, regardless of whether you are providing semen to a heterosexual or lesbian couple, or a single woman.
If you make arrangements outside of a licensed clinic as a known donor, this automatic assignment of parental rights changes.
If donating to a heterosexual couple outside of a clinic, you will need to ensure that they are married, and that the man consents to the artificial insemination, otherwise you could end up being deemed as the father in the eyes of the law. In some situations, you could end up being pursued for child maintenance.
In order for parental responsibilities to be assigned to the lesbian couple, they must be in a civil partnership or marriage. Again, the partner must agree to the process in order to count as the second parent.
Single/Unmarried heterosexual and lesbian women
If the woman uses at home insemination, you will be the lawful father. Even in licensed clinics, as an identified donor, this may be the case depending on the individual circumstance.
In each of these situations, this only applies for artificial insemination, and not by natural means. If you are requested to inseminate naturally (i.e. by having sex with the intended mother), you will be deemed the father.
Sperm Donor Agreements
In a situation where you know the parents-to-be, many decide to put together an agreement so each party is clear on the child’s upbringing, and what role you will play in this. Although not legally binding, it is a useful document to have in case an issue does come into play.
Always consult a legal specialist when drafting a donor agreement, as they will be able to advise on the areas to cover.
The act that you should stay up to date with is the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act of 2008. This clearly outlines the official meaning of ‘father’, as well as parental orders. You can read the relevant sections here.
Before entering any arrangement to donate sperm, make sure you are up to date with the latest regulations.
Now that you know the fundamentals of what rights you have as a sperm donor, you can head over to our forum and connect with those that need your help the most.