If you’re in the process of choosing a sperm donor, you have a lot to think about. What do you need to know before you choose your sperm donor?

If you’re in a same-sex relationship, are single, or are facing male factor infertility, you might have considered using donated sperm. Donor sperm can allow a wide variety of people to live out their dreams of having a baby and starting (or growing) their families. But do you understand the process of searching for donor sperm?

Using a known donor

You and/or you and your partner might have someone in your lives who is willing to donate sperm. A friend, family member, or even another couple might make a suitable donor, providing that everyone is on the same page. Before you even consider starting the process, you need to talk at length with them about your mutual expectations.

Will they be completely hands-off, or do they want to have visitation rights? Will you share custody, or will your child only learn of their identity when they reach a certain age?

If you come to an amenable agreement about all significant points and considerations, you need to have a notary or lawyer draft a legal contract. Never move forward without a legal contract in place.

Start by selecting a reliable fertility clinic or sperm bank

Unless you are using sperm from a known donor, you’ll need to start by choosing a sperm bank or fertility clinic. Even if you decide to procure sperm from a sperm bank, you will likely still need to use the services of a fertility clinic for insemination via IUI or IVF. Of course, some women elect to try insemination at home, with varying results.

A fertility clinic will help you determine if you need to use IVF (a more costly option), or IUI (a less effective and more affordable option).

Think about your donor’s appearance

One of the benefits of using donated sperm is that you can set your preferences about how you want your baby to look. You can assess your donor’s race, physical attributes, and hair and eye colour, not to mention their height, weight, and build.

What about their personality and hobbies?

Of course, your child’s looks, aren’t everything! Their personality is what will really make them special and unique. Look into your donor’s hobbies, interests, and ethnicity. What career are they in, and what is their education level?

You should also investigate their medical profile and family medical history. This is especially important if you carry the genes for hereditary illnesses or diseases.

Do you want an open or closed donation?

If you elect to source sperm from a UK fertility clinic or sperm bank, do note that your child will have the right to learn the identity of the donor when they reach the age of 18. They can also access non-identifying information from the age of 16. The HFEA (Human Fertility and Embryology Authority) will alert the donor when their data has been requested and released.

If you prefer a closed sperm donor, where you and your child will never be privy to the identity of the donor, you will need to check your country’s regulations when sourcing a sperm donor.

Choosing a sperm donor is a big decision, and one that requires your time, research, and potentially, your money. Have you gone this route before to have your family? If you’re happy to share your journey we would love to hear from you at [email protected]