but maybe you are worried about whether you are making the right decision or just want to prevent things going wrong? In this blog I am going to talk about the main areas which people have concerns and about what you can do to minimise the risk of anything going wrong?
The first is finding the right donor for you?
There is a right donor out there for everyone, this is because we all want different things. So firstly identify what is really important to you? is it eye colour, height, intelligence, good looks? or is a good personality more important? are you wanting contact with your donor? or maybe you don't want the donor to stay in touch. The important thing is to prioritise what really matters to you. Don't forget the more exact your requirements are, the harder it may be and the longer it may take, so be flexible.
So when you find your donor and start communicating, be honest with them from the outset. The donor is helping you, so it's only fair that you talk with them about your expectations. If it doesn't feel right, be upfront, move on and find someone else.
What health screening/genetic tests do I need?
Protecting your health from infectious disease is so important. There are three main options either take your donor to a fertility clinic and they will do all the tests or ask the donor to go to their doctors or thirdly a sexual health clinic and get the checks done there. Make sure you personally see the results and check their ID - don't ever just take their word for it.
Ask your donor questions about his health and his family's. If there are any concerns over genetics conditions take the donor to a fertility clinic for genetic tests or approach a private genetic testing clinic.
Should I use home insemination or go to a clinic?
Whether you get treatment at a clinic or use home insemination is a personal choice. Many people wish to conceive using home insemination as it has the advantages of using fresh sperm, being a relaxed environment and its cheaper! However there can be legal considerations depending on your personal situation and the law in your country. Taking a donor to a clinic for treatment is going to be the safest and will protect your rights especially if you are a single woman. If a single woman conceives at home, the donor would be classed as the legal father. In the UK married couples or lesbian couples in civil partnerships can conceive using a donor at home and still be the legal parents but its best to check your rights first.
Should I be paying my donor?
In the UK it is illegal to ask for payment for sperm, but it is reasonable for them to request expenses. Expenses include travel, hotel accommodation and time out of work. If a donor asks for a large amount of money BEWARE!
Many donors will donate for free, but there is a positive side to paying expenses - that it clearly shows that the donor was purely acting as a donor not as a potential co-parent.
Where do I stand legally?
The law in the UK has become much clearer in recent years. If you take a donor to a clinic they will not be the legal parent of your child. If you conceive at home, it depends on your situation, are you single or married or in a civil partnership? It's best to get legal advice to be on the safe side and get something in writing. Legal Sperm donor agreements can prevent future conflicts, so spending several hundred pounds or dollars now, can help prevent costly court cases further down the line.
Should I maintain contact with my donor?
Studies have shown that donor conceived children often want to know more about their donor, so having information about your donor and contact details is important. However whether you maintain regular contact between your donor and child is a personal decision and often depends on how you get on with your donor and the wishes of your child as they grow up. To prevent problems its best to be clear and honest with your donor about your expectations from the onset.
For example, if you want your donor to be an uncle type figure seeing your child twice a year, make sure that it is clearly communicated that you don't want him to be 'dad' and that you don't expect him to 'contribute financially'
Giving mixed messages about how you see your donor's role in your child's life is one of the biggest ways of creating future conflicts! so prevent problems by talking openly.
Read more about getting a legal sperm donor agreement.