Using Someone You Know as a Sperm Donor

If you are currently seeking fertility treatment, you may have heard a lot about sperm donation. Sperm donation is becoming increasingly popular among couples struggling with their fertility; this is because donor sperm can often increase a couple’s chances of becoming pregnant.

Used for a variety of reasons, donor sperm is usually a safe and healthy way to conceive. However, many couples are reluctant to use an anonymous sperm donor. These couples often decide to use a known donor with which to conceive a child.

What is a Known Sperm Donor?

A known sperm donor is someone who you know on a personal level. Unlike anonymous donors, a known sperm donor is often a close friend or family member.

Your known donor provides you and your partner with sperm so that you can try to increase your chances of conceiving a child. The sperm from your known donor is inserted into your uterus during fertility treatments, typically IUI although donor sperm can also be used during IVF.

Who Uses a Known Sperm Donor?

Many couples struggling with infertility decide to use a sperm donor to help them conceive. In fact, 1 out of 8 infertile couples choose to try donor insemination. There are a number of reasons for using a sperm donor, ranging from male factor infertility to the prevention of genetic disease.

Most couples opt to use anonymous sperm donors, but some decide to use sperm samples donated by someone they know.

Known sperm donors are commonly used by:

  • single women
  • same-sex couples
  • couples who are uncomfortable using anonymous donors

Where do you Find a Known Sperm Donor?

Known sperm donors are typically men with whom you have a close, personal relationship. Usually, couples are familiar with a known donor’s familial, psychological, and medical background, and keep in close contact with him on a regular basis.

If you are looking to find a known sperm donor, you may find one:

  • at work
  • amongst your relatives
  • in your group of friends
  • at a support, community, or religious group

Why Use a Known Sperm Donor?

Many couples find that using a known sperm donor can offer a lot of advantages.

Knowing The Father

Having to use an anonymous sperm donor can be an emotionally and physically daunting prospect. For some couples, not knowing the biological father of their child can be upsetting and unnerving.

By using the sperm of a close friend or family member, many couples find that they are able to go through the IUI process with less anxiety and worry. Using a known donor enables you to know, firsthand, their personal, medical, and psychological history.

Faster Process

Using a known sperm donor can also help to speed up the process of fertility treatments. Anonymously donated sperm must be tested, frozen, and quarantined for six months. This can mean a long wait before you can begin your IUI cycles. However, known sperm does not have to be frozen and quarantined, and can typically be used much sooner.

Closer Relationships

The idea of using a known sperm donor appeals to many couples because it can offer children the benefit of knowing who their biological father is. Anonymous donors typically have no contact with any children conceived with their sperm. However, a known donor can have a much closer relationship, particularly if he lives in your area.


Using a known donor is a less expensive option for many couples. Most known donors do not expect to be paid for their sperm, so you will only have to worry about the cost of testing and IUI treatments. Also, known donor samples do not have to be stored, which can save you up to $300 a year.

Drawbacks to Using a Known Sperm Donor

As with anything, there are drawbacks to using a known sperm donor.

  • Risk of Infection: Testing procedures for known sperm donors are much less rigorous than those used with anonymous donors. Sperm is screened for infectious diseases, but it often takes six months or more for evidence of infection to turn up. Therefore, by using a known sperm donor your risk for infection does increase slightly.
  • Legal Problems: Legal guidelines are much less straightforward when it comes to using a known sperm donor. A known sperm donor could try to claim parental rights and this has happened in some cases.
  • Relationship Issues: Using someone you know as a sperm donor can be quite taxing on a relationship. A lot of emotional and psychological stress is placed both upon the donor and the infertile couple, and this may cause relationship issues. Your donor may also have different beliefs when it comes to the role he should play in your child’s life.

Before Using a Known Sperm Donor

Before you enlist your best friend or coworker as a sperm donor, it is a good idea to have a frank discussion with him about your particular needs. Discuss all pertinent issues before you undergo IUI, to prevent any complications later on.

Some things that you might want to discuss include:

  • health screening for STDs, blood type, and genetic abnormalities
  • safe sex practices
  • time commitments
  • testing and treatment expenses
  • parental claim issues

Even if you are using a close friend as a sperm donor it is a good idea to hire a lawyer to draw up a donor agreement. This is a contract that outlines exactly how and when your donor will be involved in your pregnancy and subsequently, your child’s life.

A donor agreement can prove invaluable in circumstances in which your parental rights may be threatened.


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