Known donor safety: online sites

A growing number of independent websites and discussion groups have formed that connect donors directly with people who are in search of sperm. There obviously are no safeguards with this kind of contact. Many of the donors indicate they are giving altruistically, motivated only to help people create families.

We are highly skeptical of anyone who chooses to work outside of a clinic setting, where they could provide altruistically as a directed donor, providing tested sperm that would pass a rigorous screening process. It might be tempting to get “free” sperm, but many individuals have reported that these donors tend to want to have sex, rather than donate for insemination.

There is a big difference between, say, having a one-night stand compared to having a child with someone. There are long-term repercussions – financially, emotionally, legally – no matter how cavalier the situation seems. Everyone obviously has their own choices and judgments to make, but I would strongly caution any women thinking of purposely using a stranger as a known donor to consider what story you will someday tell your child, how capable you and the man will be to negotiate over time (even if he promises to completely disappear), and why he isn’t altruistically donating at a sperm bank instead. Was he rejected? What is his family’s medical history? How many other women has he directly donated to? What is his sperm motility, as tested from a doctor you trust?

At the very least, if you’ve identified someone who wants to be a known donor, ask him to be a directed donor for you at a clinic. It might not be as cheap in the long run, but it gives you the long-term protection you and your child will need.

Read this article for an example of one case of a fraudulent donor sperm business.

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