SPERM DONOR ANONYMITY: HAS IT REALLY CAUSED DONOR NUMBERS TO DROP?11th November 2016
The removal of sperm donor anonymity in 2005 has a lot to answer for if you read all the recent news headlines.
It’s the main reason why the UK has a ‘shortage’ of sperm donors, why the National Sperm Bank closed to new sperm donors.
Men apparently don’t want to donate anymore, because children who are born with their help can ‘track them down’. One fertility doctor is now suggesting that anonymity removal should be reversed in the UK, in a bid to increase sperm donor numbers.
The reason donor anonymity was changed in the first place was so donor-conceived people can find out their biological origins if they wish to when they turn 18 years of age.
There’s no financial motivation for this, sperm donors donating through a HFEA-licensed clinic aren’t actually financially, legally or morally responsible for any child they help to create. The person who used the donor sperm through the clinic is the child’s legal parent.
It’s not an automatic ‘big reveal’ of who the sperm donor is either – the person must apply to get identifying information about their sperm donor from the HFEA, if they decide to find out.
And the sperm donor is under no obligation whatsoever to form any kind of ‘relationship’ with a person born with his help, if that person decides to get in touch.
So, it’s possible that the person born with your help may never contact you at all. And that if they do, you don’t have to form any kind of ‘bond’. You’re under no obligation whatsoever and you’re not liable for child support donating through a licensed clinic. Would anonymity removal still prevent you donating sperm?
The answer – for the vast majority of men it seems - is actually no. Sperm donor numbers have remained steady since 2005. And have been growing, for our sperm donor programme at least, year-on-year.
What anonymity removal did do was change the profile of a typical sperm donor. Whilst before it was largely students and young professionals who donated sperm, now we see more older men donating. Men who already have their own children, and understand the importance of biological heritage for any child they help to create.
Donor anonymity removal was a good thing. HFEA-registered sperm donors are still fully protected, whilst donor-conceived people can understand where they came from. And who the special and generous man was, who stepped forward to help their Mum – and maybe Dad too - become a family against the odds.
Why not find out the facts about sperm donation? Read our sperm donor FAQs. If you’d like to apply to donate sperm to us, you can fill out this simple initial form online, and our friendly team will get back to you, or call us on 0345 266 1272.
Our sperm donation clinics are in Liverpool, Manchester and soon Leeds – with more Semovo clinics to come in Birmingham, Glasgow and London.