What Does it Mean to be a Sperm Donor?

A sperm donor is a man who has donated sperm to a sperm bank in order for a woman to use it to become pregnant. Sperm donors are used in many situations: with lesbian couples who wish to have children, by single women who haven't found the right man to have a child with, even by heterosexual couple due to problems with conceiving.

Generally, sperm donors are the biological father of the child their sperm has created, but they have no legal or financial rights in the eyes of the law. Since 2005, the UK has removed the right for anonymity for the donor as the children conceived through the donated sperm are able to trace their biological father when they hit 18 should they wish to.

Now, it has been ruled by the High Court that "men who donate sperm can apply to seek a role in the lives of their biological children" following cases where two lesbian couples used the sperm of two men in a civil partnership, whom they were friends with. The men initially had contact with the children but it seemed there were disagreements in the amount of involvement which led to them seeking advice on the matter.

Revising the matter, it seems that the system of sperm donation may be facing a possible change in the near future. While this ruling doesn't mean that every man that submits an application to seek a role in their biological child's life will be accepted, it certainly does make you think. Even though this only applies to people who use sperm from donors they know, it raises questions about what the future will hold for the possibility of unknown donors being able to seek access to their biological children despite having no legal role as parents of the child.

Sperm donations used to be anonymous for the men and safe for the parents of the child, so why the changes? The 2005 change was to allow the children the right to seek out their biological parents should they wish as the law covered the donation of eggs as well. This ruling doesn't seem as straight forward as the 2005 one, and it seems far more harmful to the parents of the children, too.

For the sake of the parents and children, let's just hope that the UK doesn't allow donors to have the right to invade their biological child's life when they don't raise the child themselves. Being a parent is more than just being the one who biologically created the child, it's about giving the child love, care and affection, and being the one to financially care for the child. Just because a couple needed outside help to conceive a child doesn't make them any less of parents than a couple who conceived a child without help.


  • BBC

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