Sperm Donation

Sperm donation is a form of assisted reproduction technology that can occur at a medical facility or at home, and can be done using a known sperm donor or an unidentified sperm donor.

The fertility industry is moving away from the term “anonymous” and toward the term “unidentified” because, with the emergence of home DNA testing such as 23andMe, complete anonymity is no longer a realistic possibility.  There is also a shift in the fertility industry towards a preference for known sperm donors. This allows for sharing of genetic medical information and recognizes the strong desire of donor conceived persons to have access to information about their egg/sperm donors.

In the case of a known sperm donor who is personally known by the intended parent(s), rather than sourced through a sperm bank, the intended parents can avoid the issue of high numbers of donations by the same donor which can result in a multitude of genetically related donor conceived children.

When working with a donor who is personally known to you, you have the option of using a fertility clinic and using procedures like intrauterine insemination (“IUI”) or in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) to achieve a pregnancy.  You also have the option of doing an at home insemination and kits can be purchased online for this purpose.  It is important to note that at home insemination cannot occur via sexual intercourse.

It is important to have a sperm donation agreement in place before your sperm donation occurs.  The sperm donation agreement will detail the sperm donation process the parties have chosen, expenses that will be reimbursed to the sperm donor, and confirm that the donor will not have any legal rights or responsibilities for the child, while the intended parent(s) will have all legal rights and responsibilities to the child.  Both the intended parent(s) and the donor should have independent legal counsel and it is typical for the intended parent(s) to pay for the legal fees of the sperm donor.

If you use a sperm bank to obtain donated sperm, you will not have a sperm donation agreement directly with your sperm donor, but will execute various consent forms with the sperm bank regarding the identity of your sperm donor and other important matters.

Next Steps:

Regardless of how you obtain donated sperm, it is a best practice to obtain a parentage order that specifically states that the intended parent(s) are the parents of the child and that the sperm donor is not a parent.

The parentage proceeding is typically filed during the second trimester of the pregnancy but can also be filed after the child is born.

Couples or individuals who have frozen sperm left after they have finished creating their family also need to consider how the sperm will be treated in the event of a divorce or upon their death. The disposition of frozen eggs, sperm and embryos should be addressed in disposition forms and/or an agreement between the parties.

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