When you’re trying to conceive and need a sperm donor it can be hard to know just where to begin. Should you ask someone you know? Someone with a genetic tie to your partner? Or should you use an anonymous donor who has many of the traits you would like for your future child?
There are many different scenarios when someone opts to use a sperm donor. Same-sex couples use donor sperm, as do single women who wish to start a family. Male infertility is another big reason people choose donor sperm. Whatever your reason for choosing to select a sperm donor, it can be one of the most challenging decisions you’ll make as you begin the journey to grow your family.
Choosing The Type of Donor You Want
There are four types of donor arrangements, and you will need to decide which one is best for your family, and, specifically, your future child. Your individual situation is unique and what works for others may not be the best choice for you (and your partner). Well-meaning family and friends may wish to weigh in on your decision (if you tell them) but remember it is a decision which will affect your future and the future of your child. Here are the types of donor arrangements available to you.
In this case the donor is someone you know; a family member, a friend or an acquaintance. There are benefits to choosing a known donor. If the donor has a genetic connection to your partner that can be an advantage as it creates a genetic connection between your partner and their child. You know more about your donor and his background, and your known donor knows your situation. If you know the donor you can decide together how much, or how little, involvement they have in your child’s life.
There are a few disadvantages to selecting a known donor, especially if you aren’t all on the same page. The donor may not feel comfortable saying no, and that can lead to problems with your relationship. Should the insemination not be successful your donor may feel responsible. There is also a risk of legal complications, which is the reason you should make your arrangement contractual with the assistance of an attorney who specializes in family formation law.
Unknown or Anonymous Sperm Donor
An anonymous sperm donor is one whose personal details are not known to the intended parents or donor-conceived child. There is no way for either party to contact one another, nor is there a risk that the donor will attempt to involve himself in your lives.
The disadvantage to using an anonymous sperm donor is that the child, or parents, for whatever reason, may have some questions in the future. With genetic technology no donor is truly anonymous. The popularity of home DNA testing kits and online communities of matching relatives means there is no way to completely ensure anonymity. You will not be able to keep the circumstances of your child’s conception necessarily a secret.
Semi-Open Donor Arrangement
A semi-open donor arrangement allows you and the donor to decide how much or how little information is shared. It opens the door for future contact, if that’s what you both desire. The advantages of a semi-open donor sperm donor arrangement include getting an idea of the kind of person you’re choosing, their common interests and things of that nature. You are allowed to pass messages back and forth between an intermediary, so you can ask specific questions of your donor.
If, at any time, you or the donor decide you would be more comfortable not communicating any further, that’s an option. Likewise, should you decide and agree upon having your sperm donor stay in contact you can choose to do so.
Open Door Sperm Donor
An open donor sperm donor is the least common sperm donor. This arrangement leads to an exchange of information with more details. Names, both first and last, and geographical locations, as well as occupation are often exchanged in an open donor situation. Very often, with an open donor arrangement, both parties wish to maintain a relationship. If that is not the case, the door does remain open for the donor-conceived child to reach out at some point, usually after the age of 18.
Proceed With Confidence
No matter the sperm donor relationship you select you can be assured, even with an individual who is known to you personally, your sperm donor will undergo rigorous screening. Tests are run for blood type, and a basic medical history is taken. Your sperm donor is checked for any STDs, and you can feel confident that your donor is a viable and worthy match.
Choosing the type of sperm donor you and your partner desire is such a personal decision. Weigh your options, speak with your fertility specialist and know that whatever arrangement you choose will reflect our individual and unique family.