7 facts about using donor sperm on your way to parenthood
For many, the process of using donor sperm on your way to parenthood is a whole new world and can be a bit confusing. In this article, we try to outline some facts about the journey towards becoming the parent of a donor-conceived child.
1. Donor conception is for some an active choice, while for others it is plan B
A lot of different people receive help from a sperm or egg bank when they wish to fulfil their dream of a family. For some, using a gamete bank is plan A and for some, it is plan B. Using a donor to get pregnant is for same-sex families the obvious choice. For others, using a gamete bank was not part of the initial plan. Couples experiencing infertility often have a history of trying to conceive for a long time before consulting a fertility clinic or a sperm and egg bank.
Just as couples experiencing infertility, most single women and men becoming single parents wished to start a family with a partner but realised that the opportunity has passed or will never be there. During the last 4 years, we have seen an increase in the number of single women wanting to start a family with the help of a sperm donor. Over half of Cryos’ customers are Single Mothers by Choice and it is not just women using donor sperm to execute their plan B. Some women choose to be single mothers because they want to raise a child on their own terms.
2. Some may need to travel to other countries to have the treatment or donor they want
In 2020, 23% of our customers needed to travel to another country to receive fertility treatment. When borders are crossed because of a desire to receive fertility treatment and start a family, it is called fertility tourism.
The need for fertility tourism is almost always caused by regulations in our private customers home country. There are a lot of different rules regarding fertility treatment with donor gametes (sperm and eggs) across the world. An example is the possibility of using an identifiable donor (ID Release Donor) is in some countries illegal and in some countries mandatory. Depending on your wishes, you may need to cross borders to be able to use the type of donor you desire.
Another reason for receiving fertility treatment abroad could also be your sexual orientation or relationship status. This was the case for Phoebe and her wife, that received fertility treatment abroad. In some countries, it is illegal for fertility clinics to help lesbian couples and single women with their dream of a child. If you have questions regarding the laws on fertility treatments in your country, contact our Customer Care at [email protected]
3. Getting all the support you can is important – join a community or a support group
While more and more common, being on the journey to parenthood with help from a donor is not conventional, which in turn can make you feel isolated – but you are not alone. On the internet, there are a lot of communities that will offer you support and advice on your journey towards parenthood.
We have created a support group on Facebook called “Family Dreams” for all people thinking about or having had a child with the help of a donor. Joining a community like “Family Dreams” may help you overcome some obstacles and feel supported on your journey towards creating a family. If you experience infertility and want to read more about the subject, we can also recommend the articles on All About Fertility.
4. There are additional considerations when using donor sperm on your way to parenthood
When you wish to have a child with the help of a donor, there are some extra considerations to make on top of the regular ones associated with having a child:
- Finding a clinic: As soon as you find a fertility clinic, we can help you with the donor gametes. It is important to find the right fertility clinic because you may need to come there often and depending on your journey towards parenthood, you could be a bit emotional when receiving treatment. If you want tips on how to find the right fertility clinic, then follow the link to our blog post on the subject.
- Deciding which type of donor you want: When choosing a sperm donor, you must decide between a Basic or Extended Sperm Donor Profile and ID Release or Non-ID Release Sperm Donor. Before making your choice, we recommend you follow the links and read about the different options.
- Choosing the donor: When the right fertility clinic is found you need to find the right sperm donor for you based on your preferences – physical traits, race, education and so on. At Cryos, you can see, and filter donors based on different parameters in our free Sperm Donor Search.
- Placing the order: Depending on your fertility clinic and the treatment type, you must place a specific order with certain sperm motility – some clinics may do this for you, and some clinics recommend you to place the order directly with us. But it is important to do it correctly, so be sure to receive guidance from the fertility clinic or Cryos’ Customer Care.
- Consider saving gametes for future treatment: You may need to reserve sperm straws for future treatments if you wish your child to have a genetic sibling.
5. Choosing the right donor profile for you and your future child matters
Deciding between all the donors can be a bit overwhelming, but it is an important decision that will have a great effect on your child. The physical traits of the sperm donor are obviously important, if you wish your child to look like you or your partner. In fact, 79% of our customers said that physical traits were the most important factor in deciding the donor.
Besides physical appearance, you also need to think about the level of information accessible to your child when they celebrate their 18th birthday. You need to choose between a Basic or Extended Profile. By choosing a donor with a Basic Profile, the information available only covers physical traits like hair and eye colour, race, ethnicity, etc. An Extended Profile consists of more personal information such as education, family background, photos of the donor as a child, it is even possible to choose sperm donors with pictures of themselves as adults.
Other than the level of information, you need to decide between an ID Release or a Non-ID Release Donor. With an ID Release donor, your child will be able to contact the donor at the age of 18. The popular choice of donor profile between our customers is an ID Release Donor with an Extended Profile, which over half of our customers want. If you want inspiration on how to choose your donor, we can recommend this guide to choosing a sperm donor.
6. Your donor-conceived child does not have to be the first one
Some parents to donor-conceived children are already blessed with children in their household - some donor-conceived and some not. Many parents want their child to have a sibling, which is why we often see more than one donor-conceived child in a family. The percentage of households already having a child is higher with same-sex families and couples experiencing infertility where they have children from previous relationships.
Already having children in the family is not just limited to same-sex families and couples experiencing infertility, but also Single Mothers by Choice that want to give their child a sibling or couples suffering from secondary infertility, where they already had completed a successful pregnancy and now need help from donor sperm or eggs to conceive.
7. Your donor-conceived child is just a regular child
A popular concern on conceiving with help from a donor is the wellbeing of the children. This concern is unfounded as studies show that donor-conceived people are generally very doing well. As Susan Golombok, Professor of Family Research says:
“Children thrive in all different kinds of family. What matters is the quality of relationships between children and their parents. But also, how much their family is accepted in the wider society in which they live.”
Additionally, you went to extra lengths for having a child and your child should know that. Research also shows that honesty from birth and sharing the story of conception with your child from a young age is important. Take for example the story of donor-conceived Emma, who was told about her heritage from birth.