known donors — The Bump
LGBT Parenting

known donors

We are contemplating using a friend of ours as a sperm donor. We would not go ahead unless he was sure he didn't want any parental rights, but I'm having a difficult time finding information on the legal side of this. My wife and I are married, so our names can both go on the birth certificate automatically, but what else can we do/do we need to do in order to establish the non-carrying mom as the legal co-parent and our friend as not a parent?

I've heard some horror stories about known donors getting in the middle of custody battles or being asked to pay child support, and I want to protect all of us from those possibilities.

We live in VT, so any local knowledge would be especially appreciated.

Re: known donors

  • edited April 2014
    Couple initial thoughts...get an attorney to write/approve paperwork. Second, I've heard its better to have a doc inseminate vs. at home (cases where a donor flat out lied and said there was sex involved to get rights is avoided). I know there are a lot of known donor users here who will know way more.

    also if you're on FB, I have a friend who manages a big private page there of all lesbians who used known donors. If you pm me your fb email I can help you get connected.
    Lil'mamaz was born on Aug 21, 2014! She's PERFECT!

    It's been a long road to here...
    Me (43) and J (45) - same sex couple. And we don't feel 40+!
    June'12 - First RE Visit
    Sept. '12 - Tubes removed
    Dec. '12 - Donor Egg/Donor Sperm IVF Cycle - 4 good embies!
    Dec. '12 - Fresh transfer, BFP! EDD 8/29/13
    Mar. '13 - Missed m/c at 16w1d, baby boy stopped growing at 15w4d
    Loss due to umbilical cord was perfect. :(
    Jul '13 - FET#1 - c/p
    Sept. '13 - FET#2 - BFN
    Dec.' 2, 2013 - FET#3 with our last chance embie - BFP!!!
    Dec' 26, 2013 - hb!!
    EDD 8/20/14 with a baby girl!
    Little S was born on 8/21/14 - 8lb, 14 oz and 20 inches long.
    We live in Seattle and used SRM for our donor egg IVF cycle


  • We are in Canada so the legal outlook is slightly different, but one thing that is essentially the same is that it is very difficult to determine parental rights for any child before birth (in any way that holds legal weight). This means that any known donor situation is a pretty big leap of faith in the donor and any court system that may end up involved.

    We decided not to seek a known donor for those reasons, but if you want to wrap it up legally, the only way would be to have your donor give up his rights after the birth and do a second parent adoption. Those generally hold up pretty well in places that may not recognize a birth certificate with two mothers on it.
    queer couple - 32 (me) & 33 (my love) years old - donor sperm,

    Our IF/TTC journey since Nov 2012.

    Me: dx of DOR in Nov. 2012. Low AMH, AFC - 6, Normal FSH, SS-A (RO) Antibodies (Autoimmune issues), tubes clear, Sono (November 2013) NORMAL! <p>

    7 IUI's - December 2012-September 2013.  Medicated, Injected, Triggered.... all BFN.

    My Love:  (the amazing @Healz413)
    Normal AMH & FSH, AFC ~27, blocked tube dx'd via HSG in 2012.   Hydrosalpinx & ovarian cyst dx'd in May 2013.
    dx of Stage IV Endo & bilateral salpinectomy in June 2013.  


    Partner IVF#1a- December 2013 - H's eggs, my Ute - CANCELLED due to low response
    Partner IVF #1b - February 2014 - H's eggs, my Ute - ER February 4 (10 retrieved, 3 fertilized), Transfer Feb 7 of one Grade 1 and one Grade 2 day 3 embryos.  1 - Day 3, Grade 1 frosty saved.   BFP - 6dp3dt via FRER, Beta #1 - 110, Beta #2 175, Beta #3 - 348, Beta #4 - 2222!, Beta #5 - 4255.  Ultrasound (6w1d) - 2 heartbearts!  

    We lost our beautiful Twin baby girls on June 18, 2014.  Tavin Sara and Casey Elizabeth were born at 21 weeks gestation and were absolutely beautiful, precious, amazing babies.  We miss our daughters every day and love them with all our hearts.


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  • I agree with everything written above.  We used a known donor (for both our kids), and have had a great experience. Aside from legal documentation and pursuing second parent adoption we opted to pay our donor per insemination (for his time and the "deposit") to further clarify the relationship. I've seen the KD relationship work out really well for all parties involved (including in our case thus far). But I've also seen it get "messy".  The situation I'm referring to did not involve any custody issues but rather the donor being disagreeable after the child had been born, and also wanting the couple to pay additional funds for his time, etc. The couple only had a verbal friendly agreement with him and his wife at the time (since divorced - you can see why...)  Anyway that situation of course left the couple feeling bad and distancing themselves from the KD.  I mention this only to emphasize the need for clear boundaries :-).
    Again we love our donor and our relationship with him, and I am grateful everyday that after a long road TTC that using a KD made getting pregnant fairly easy (1st try both times).  Good luck!!!

  • Thanks for all your insight.

    What is the situation with doing home insemination without the donor, home insemination with the donor (the traditional way) and insemination at the doctor's office? It feels like all the less expensive options carry way more possible complications, and I don't get it. It seems like if you pay a doctor to inseminate, that adds a level of protection, and if you pay for donor sperm, that adds a level of protection, especially if you also pay a cryobank to get it for you and deliver it to you. I understand that parenting is expensive, but that's actually all the more reason I don't want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars that could be put toward day care or a college fund.
  • 2momsinCA2momsinCA member
    edited April 2014
    If you plan on doing IUI, taking any fertility meds, or do any other ART processes that can improve your odds of conceiving then you would have to inseminate at a doctor or midwife's office. You could do those things with frozen anonymous donor or fresh known donor sperm. It's expensive, but for many of us, that was the only way to conceive. I did not pay a doctor to inseminate for protection (though I totally understand that rationale), I paid her because I was hoping it would be more effective than trying at home.

    If you plan on doing IVI or ICI (basically just depositing the sperm near your cervix near ovulation time), you can do that at home (for free) with either fresh known donor or frozen (purchased from a cryobank) sperm. Yes, buying from a cryobank does add legal protection. But many women do have positive and healthy experiences with known donors. However, no matter how much you trust your male friend/acquaintance who would be your KD, you still need to meet with a lawyer to hammer out a contract that the KD will sign away their rights AND you should pay for at least basic STD testing and possibly genetic testing to make sure he isn't a carrier for cystic fibrosis, etc (standard testing that is done when you buy from a cryobank). So the sperm is not totally free. I guess those things are optional, you could skip the contract and the testing, but it is so much better to be safe in those respects than sorry.

    No matter which path you choose there will be some expenses. There is no way to know for sure how much. Lots of women start out doing it as inexpensively as possible and get frustrated and end up at the more expensive end doing IVF. Others get lucky at home right away.

    A & K, married 7/1/13.

    After 10 months of ttc via medicated IUIs and two early losses, we finally got our boys- Perfect premie twins born 5/27/14.



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