PrivateBlogBreaking down the taboos surrounding heterosexual couples using donor sperm
Infertility and treatment

Breaking down the taboos surrounding heterosexual couples using donor sperm

Heterosexual couple and their child

In recent years, more heterosexual couples experience infertility issues and must turn to other alternatives to fulfil their dream of a child. One alternative is to use a sperm donor. Despite the increase in couples needing help, many people still hold misconceptions towards fertility treatment with donor sperm. In this blog post, we want to challenge these misconceptions and help break the taboos surrounding heterosexual couples using a sperm donor.

Some heterosexual couples who fulfilled their dream of parenthood using donor sperm, do not want to share how their family came to be, as they feel ashamed or stigmatized. By focusing on the misconceptions surrounding heterosexual couples using a sperm donor, we hope to promote understanding and make it easier for families to share their stories. Here is a list of common misconceptions about heterosexual couples using donor sperm:

A man is not a man if he cannot reproduce

Men struggling with their sperm quality often restrain from talking about it. They often feel stigmatized and ashamed because of the assumption that a real man must be able to reproduce. While reproduction is an important part of human biology, there are many defining characteristics of what it means to be a man – and the idea that a man is not a man if he cannot reproduce is a harmful and outdated misconception. Men who cannot reproduce may feel like they are failing to live up to societal expectations of what it means to be a man, leading to feelings of shame and inadequacy. This can have serious mental health implications.

There are many reasons why a man may not be able to reproduce, such as infertility or medical conditions, and it is unfair to suggest that these men are somehow less of a man because of something that is often out of their control. Research shows that men’s sperm quality is decreasing in general. According to WHO, 1 out of 6 couples experience infertility and need help to become parents. Male infertility is in other words rather normal in our society. Therefore, we need men to talk more openly about male infertility to try and remove any feelings of shame and stigmatization, and at the same time create awareness about the infertility issues that affect many men and women around the world.

Male infertility is self-inflicted

Male infertility can be caused by a variety of factors that are often outside of a man's control. Some of the most common causes of male infertility include genetic conditions, hormonal imbalances, infections, and physical trauma. Lifestyle factors can also impact your sperm quality, as overweight, fatty food, and cigarettes is proven to harm your sperm quality and can contribute to infertility. But your lifestyle is not the only factor determining your sperm quality, as genetics, medical history, and age will have an impact as well. Genetic factors or inherited diseases can lead to reduced sperm quality and are often impossible to diagnose without a sperm quality test. As a result, many men may appear to be in good health, yet they are unable to conceive children without fertility treatment or the use of donor sperm.

Father and son reading a book

You cannot be a father to a child without sharing genes

Again, the assumption that there must be a genetic relationship between a child and their father is wrong. The belief that being a father is centred around genetics is a misconception, as fatherhood is about much more than a biological relation. Being a father involves responsibility, love, support, guidance, and nurturing – all of which can be achieved without a genetic relationship.

Donor-conceived children raised in heterosexual families will have identity issues

The most important thing when raising a child is to provide a loving and supportive environment and to help your child form their own identity. If your child is conceived with the help of a donor and you love and support them, they are just as likely to thrive as any other child.

Many donor-conceived children grow up with a clear understanding of their origins and are raised in families where openness and honesty about their conception are valued. This can help to reduce any potential identity issues and promote a healthy sense of self. Some children may be curious about their genetic origin and want to know who their donor is and whether they have any donor ‘siblings’, while others may not. A common misconception regarding donor-conceived children is that they want to have a relationship with their donor. Some donor-conceived children may want to meet their donor, but very few want to establish a relationship with their donor. No matter what your child wishes to do, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to support them and try to help them the best you can.

An example of a donor-conceived child who was told from birth is Emma. She was conceived with the help of a sperm donor and her parents made the donor a part of her story. Her story is an excellent example of how heterosexual couples can share how their biggest wish was fulfilled.

Why addressing misconceptions matters

Taboos and misconceptions often come from misunderstandings or a lack of knowledge, and the best way to overcome them is through education. In our blog, you can read personal stories of different heterosexual couples and their journeys to parenthood using donor sperm:

In general, it is important to break the taboos as they may affect people to not follow their dreams. If you want to read more about breaking taboos, we recommend you follow the links to our blog post about the taboos surrounding single motherhood and the taboos surrounding lesbian parents.

If you consider using donor sperm as a heterosexual couple, it is natural to have questions or concerns. We hope this blog post can help by addressing some common misconceptions that may be difficult to discuss openly. If you want to talk to others in a similar situation or heterosexual couples who have successfully become parents using donor sperm, feel free to join our Facebook group "Family Dreams." You can also contact our Customer Care Team if you have any questions regarding fertility treatment with donor sperm.