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Choosing Sperm Donation for Lesbian Couples

For lesbian couples looking to conceive, sperm donation is a necessity. And there are a couple of ways you can go about it, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with your options.

What Kind of Donor Should I Choose?

You have the choice of going with a known sperm donor or an anonymous sperm donor. Some women prefer to use a known sperm donor—such as a male friend—because it’s important for them to know personal characteristics. They also like that it may provide their child with the opportunity to know their donor.

However, this can bring with it some complicated legal situations, so if you choose to go this route, it’s important you understand the laws in your state. Consulting with a reproductive law attorney can help you through this process and help you achieve peace of mind that the arrangement is best for all parties, including the child.

In order to bypass these potential legal concerns, some women prefer to go the anonymous sperm donor route. In this case, the child both your nor your child would know the donor, and the potential legal issues are greatly diminished.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

If you choose a known sperm donor, you can obtain a fresh sperm sample. But using fresh sperm can be risky, since it isn’t subject to the same testing required by the FDA for sperm obtained from sperm banks.

As for anonymous donation, there are a wide variety of sperm banks that work with lesbian couples, and the policies regarding information on sperm donors can vary. So it’s a good idea to talk with your partner about what you want in a donor, and search for a sperm bank that offers it. For instance, it may be important to you that the registry offers a “search” function where half-siblings would be able to find each other, or an “identity release” program that would allow the bank to release donor information once the child becomes an adult.

Dr. Laurence Jacobs, a fertility doctor with Fertility Centers of Illinois, offers advice and information for lesbian women and couples who are going to use a sperm donor to have a baby:

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Want some real-life tips on how to navigate the process? Check out the GLBT forum or Donor Sperm forum on!

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