For many lesbian women who wish to become parents, they known that when the time comes, the decision and process is not going to be easy. But here in the 21st century we are lucky enough to have options. Artificial insemination is just one way that scores of lesbians have been able to become mothers. Sperm banks are a common fixture in our society, and mums-to-be visit them to find an anonymous donor. But there is another type of sperm donor as well, called a known donor, and there are pros and cons to this type of donation.
A known donor is someone that you already know personally, or wish to meet. Whether he's a straight friend or a gay colleague, you may know him well enough to feel comfortable asking him to help you become a parent, but this can often be a difficult subject to bring up with someone. This is why sperm donor and co-parent connection sites are becoming more and more popular. You are able to assess his character and determine whether or not you "connect” with him. You might be more comfortable finding someone whom you've known for a long time, but is just as possible to meet someone new and click with him as well.
Actually meeting with your prospective donor gives you the opportunity to find out about their personality, humour, mental health and allows you to see any obvious health conditions. Remembering 50% of your child’s genetics and traits will come from your chosen donor. Health screening also is such an important issue to consider, ensuring that your donor does agree to have up to date infection testing completed.
Which brings us to the issue of known donor involvement? What level of interaction do you want the donor or co-parent to have in the child’s life? It is important to decide and discuss this with your known donor beforehand. You’ll have to decide if you want him to function as her ‘uncle’ or as her ‘daddy’. Many lesbian couples want the donor for his sperm and medical history, but little else. They do not ask for any financial or physical assistance from the sperm donor; they will not be co-parenting or wishing to share responsibility. Although some lesbian couples choose a known donor wish their child to have the option of meeting the donor if they later choose to, and some wish the donor to act as distant “father figure” or “uncle type” role in their lives.
Using a known donor has many other advantages; it is less expensive than using frozen sperm, even if going to a fertility clinic for treatment. Also there is a better chance of successful conception from insemination using fresh sperm opposed to frozen sperm. There are however more legal complications when using a known sperm donor. Although with the recent changes to fertility parenting law, there is now far more reassurance for lesbian couples in civil partnerships, for both being legal parents. This also gives sperm donors the reassurance that they can help lesbian women without the worry of being held financially responsible further down the line. It is highly recommended that a written donor agreement is in place from the start to prevent any problems occurring.