Need donor sperm for a baby? Beware of sperm donor websites

11th May 2013 in Treatments

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices, prices or regulations.

If you need donor sperm to have a baby, you may be tempted to go for what seems like the easiest option – the internet.

Increasing numbers of websites are offering donor sperm, under the guise of forums which match women needing donor sperm with men willing to donate. Some men who offer to be donors will even only donate through natural means – full intercourse – instead of through artificial insemination.

The dangers are obvious – none of these sites are regulated by the HFEA - but according to some media reports, rising numbers of women are opting for these sites to have a baby because they believe that going through a registered clinic to find a donor and undergo donor insemination will be expensive and time-consuming. Or there will be a waiting list for donor sperm, and often these women are opting to have a baby on their own because they feel they are getting too old and don’t want to wait.

Many internet sperm services are illegal and it’s also a very big risk to take. You can’t be sure the sperm has been sufficiently screened to protect you, and any child, from any genetic, hereditary or other diseases, as it would be if it came from an HFEA-licensed clinic like Manchester Fertility where all our donors go through stringent checks to be accepted.

There is also the issue of legal parentage. If sperm donating takes place through an official HFEA-licensed clinic, then the parentage is set by law – the donor has no legal, financial or moral responsibility for any subsequent children.

Donating in another way – whether through private arrangement or through ‘introductory agencies’ – may make the donor the legal parent of any children born, including all of the financial and legal responsibilities this carries, depending upon your relationship status and method of conception .

At Manchester Fertility we have a strong sperm donor programme. You are able to specify the donor characteristics and physical traits you’d like your donor to have, and you can start treatment straight away. If you wish to undergo donor insemination, please call us on 0161 300 2737 – our friendly team of Patient Advisors will be able to tell you more about what’s involved.

To find out more about the risks of unregulated sperm donation, visit the HFEA’s dedicated page.

Last updated: 13th April 2021