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Study On Sperm Donors Perspective

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November 6,2013

Sperm donation has been used to create families for over 100 years, but in the last 20 years the attitude toward the practice has shifted from protecting the child from the nontraditional form of conception to advocating for a more open discussion between the donor, recipient and donor-conceived child. In the paper published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility in November 2013 , a three decade cross section of sperm donors in Denmark noted shifts in age, occupation and number of donors with children of their own. In 2012 donors were older, one-third had a child, and only 50% of donors were students, down from 98% in 1992. Donors were primarily motivated by altruism and payment, with significantly fewer donors citing monetary compensation as the primary reason in 2012. However, of the donors surveyed, only 14% would continue donating if there were no monetary compensation.

Lesbian use of donor sperm was supported by donors only 55% of the time in 2002, but increased to 76% in 2012. During the same time frame a positive shift in the use of donor sperm was also noted by donors in the single woman population, from 40% to 72%.

Among the donors surveyed in 2012, 70% chose to be anonymous (meaning the child cannot learn of the donors identity when they turn 18 years old). The age of the donors choosing to be anonymous was lower than those who were non-anonymous. Over the three decades an increasing trend in the amount of information shared with recipients was noted. By 2012, 85% of donors believed all non-identifying information could be shared. This indicates that donors are willing to share information that could not identify them, but they would prefer to keep their identity private.

Two thirds of sperm donors reported if there was a change in the anonymity of their donation they would want to know the number of children born from their sperm, half would accept the child knowing their identity, but only 18% would accept contact from the child. This is in contrast to the children’s wish to know the source of their genetic material, and in fact, consider them their “biological father.” Children from donor sperm indicated they would like to establish a relationship with their donor.

Recipients and donors should consider all of the aspects of information sharing to facilitate the best outcome for all involved.

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