The reasons for donating sperm are very well documented. However, the long-term concerns from being a sperm donor seem underrepresented in published literature. Establishing a family, getting a partner, ageing, and the changes in society’s perception of donors are all factors that can alter the attitude or experience of the donor. How does having donated sperm in the past influence the current lives of donors, if at all? Does their attitude towards donation change over time? This study sheds light on these questions.
23 former sperm donors at Cryos International in Denmark, all with more than 10 years since last donation, participated in one qualitative interview each. The interviews were semi-structured, meaning that the interviewers were open to engage in the topics that a participant might introduce on his own initiative.
The study observed that most of the respondents found it unproblematic that they were sperm donors in the past. Donating was meaningful and convenient at the time, but was now considered a closed chapter. Most of the participants easily distinguished between fatherhood and genetic origin and thus were not troubled by moral aftermath from donating. The reasons for terminating donations were mostly related to inconvenience, such as employment or moving away from the proximity of the donation site and not a result of regret. However, a few donors mention that their wives are “a bit unhappy” about their husbands’ genetic pools not being exclusive to them. The participants had chosen anonymity, which they value. Mostly, they were not interested in receiving information about or being contacted by their potential offspring.
This study thus highlights that the interviewed former donors thought about their donation activity as something they are proud of and now represented an unproblematic closed chapter. Thus, being a past donor did not impact their current lives.
If you want to read other layman's summaries of our scientific research, we can recommend the layman's summary of our donor motivation study and the layman's summary of our research about expanded carrier screening.