Using a sperm donor - making the decision to have a baby alone

Making the decision use a sperm donor to have a baby on your own is not an easy one, In fact it really can feel like taking a leap in to the unknown. My experience of consulting women considering this option is that they don’t know where to turn to get the all important information they need. In this blog, I’ll cover everything you need to know, get you really considering if this decision is right for you and where to go for further information.

Many women find themselves confronting the option of using a sperm donor to have a baby on their own in their late thirties, when they start to feel that time is running out to have children. They may have only recently discovered that having children is important to them and may have not met the right partner in which to start a family.

They may have been battling with the inevitable ‘what will people think’ before really considering this option. Thoughts of ‘Am I being selfish?’ or ‘Am I wrong to bring a child in to the world without a father?’. ‘Am I opening myself up to disapproval from family and friends’. The weight of societal pressure and fears of negative comments from complete strangers weighs heavily.

Where to find a sperm donor and the legal implications

When considering where to find a sperm donor, there are various options to consider. You can:

  • Use a donor by private arrangement
  • Have fertility treatment at a fertility clinic
  • Go overseas for donor treatment
  1. Using a sperm donor by private arrangement

This could be someone you know or a donor you don’t know. If you decide to undergo a private arrangement, you will always be the child’s mother. However, the law on who will be the child’s other parent is not as clear. It is possible that the donor will be the legal father of the child with all the parental and financial responsibility this involves.

Whilst this option may appeal – often popular because you can have on-going contact with the donor during the child’s life – this donor conception route is unregulated by law and can be very risky. It would be advisable to seek advice from a solicitor before proceeding with this option.

Donor sperm from someone you don’t know can be found via introductory websites, however these are often not regulated and vary enormously with regards to how much support they are able to provide. You will not have the same safety and legal protections and you can’t be sure that the donor has undergone the rigorous screening and quality checks that would be routine if using a donor via a fertility clinic.

  1. Using a Fertility Clinic

Fertility clinics in the UK are regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA)

At regulated clinics the sperm donor is screened for infectious diseases, such as Chlamydia and HIV, and is offered counselling and information about their rights and obligations.

If you have donor insemination at a clinic the donor will not be the legal parent, and will not have any legal obligation to the child. Only you will be named on the birth certificate and the sperm donor will not have any legal rights over the child or be required to support the child financially.

  1. Going overseas for treatment.

Some people choose to travel abroad for donor treatment. Often the cost of treatment is lower and there is a greater availability of sperm donors.

If you plan to go abroad for treatment, it is important to remember that different safety and legal rules may apply and it would be up to you to consider this before embarking on treatment. It would be important to consider the differing standards and safety issues of clinics abroad, as well as the legal implications, what information about the donor you can access and what rights the child has to accessing information about the donor in the future.

Financial Impact

There are many factors that will determine the cost and this would depend on the option you choose and if using a clinic, the treatment method such as IUI or IVF. There may also be various investigations and treatments you need prior to any assisted conception procedures and the cost of the donor.

What you can do to prepare yourself

It is wise to consider all options when considering having a baby alone and how this may impact on you mentally, physically and emotionally. Fertility coaching helps you to make decisions, consider your options and supports you emotionally through the process of seeking a donor, going through treatments and navigating your pregnancy and birth.

 Where to get more information – all the advice you need to choosing a donor, legal and financial implications – choosing a donor and real life case studies.

 Using a Sperm Donor - having a baby alone