Is a Known, Anonymous, or Open Donor Arrangement Best?
If future parents with fertility problems need services of an individual sperm donor or egg donor for having a baby, a decision will have to be made on which donation option is right for them. So that the prospective mom and dad understand what they can count on, all the necessary information is collected in this article.
- 🩺 Donors: known, anonymous, semi-open or open?
- 🤰 Where to choose a donor? And what are the guarantees?
- ⭐ Known
- 💊 Anonymous
- ✔ Semi-open
- 📝 Open
- ⚡ Children conceived by a donor
Donors: known, anonymous, semi-open or open?
As the title of the chapter suggests, prospective parents will have to make an agreement with one of the listed donors. Let us see who is who:
- A known donor is a person from among the relatives or acquaintances of the future parents who has agreed to donate genetic material to them;
- An anonymous donor is a stranger about whom you do not have identifying information. Most often, his services are provided by an agency. Biological parents can only focus on a description of the phenotype or a photograph. No contacts are provided in this case;
- Semi-Open Donor - This option involves limited contact between parties through an agency or clinic. For example, the donor may be given information about the success of his contribution to the expansion of the family, or the biological parents will allow him to contact the child after he reaches the age of majority.
- An open donor (personal) knows with whom he works or even knows his parents and has contact with them. Meetings and communication during the program and after it are allowed at the discretion of the parties.
Each donation method has both advantages and disadvantages. Let us consider them in more detail.
Many Intended Parents are determined to involve a relative or friend as a donor in the program. This step has undeniable advantages:
- Feeling of confidence and security: the person with whom you have established a close and trusting relationship will respect your wishes. For example, to keep the birth of your child secret, if you desire so. Biological parents are aware of the donor's identity, background and family history, and know what genetic potential can be passed on to their child.
- Cost savings: The services of a loved one will save you a decent amount. Having voluntarily agreed to this role, a loved one is unlikely to count on a fee. You will only need to pay the costs associated with medical procedures and the legal regulation of the process.
- A new level of communication: people born through the donation of genetic material (especially in the case of eggs) experience unprecedented unity, emotional closeness, tend to show increased care and tolerance towards each other. All this helps to smooth out stress due to fertility problems.
- The possibility of a genetic connection with a child for someone who does not use their oocytes or sperm if a close relative (brother or sister) becomes a donor.
If future parents decide not to hide his origin from the child, then it will be less stressful for him to find out that a close person with whom his family maintains a warm emotional relationship played a role in his birth.
These advantages, however, come with some disadvantages:
- Increasing the duration of the reproductive program and its cost with the participation of “their” donor: the clinic will not approve his participation until an extended examination is carried out to confirm the medical and psychological suitability of the candidate and legal issues are settled.
- Possible conflicts due to “mixing” of roles or even litigation: despite the fact that the biological parents are indicated in the contract, the donor’s refusal of parental rights is recorded - there is a risk of conflicts in the future. Moreover, from different sides: parents can demand alimony from the donor, although he does not bear financial obligations, and the donor can challenge their custody rights.
- The past experience can alienate the family and loved one from each other: often, against the background of unsuccessful infertility treatment, both the donor and the family feel guilty. The donor may also experience guilt if they feel they accepted their role under duress or refused procedures when loved ones needed it. Such conflicts are especially hard to experience in the case of a donation by a daughter for a mother due to the peculiarities of parent-child relationships.
- Medical and Ethical Issues: “Cross” donations, such as a brother's sperm to a sister, or a sister's eggs to a brother, are unacceptable. Firstly, it threatens with possible genetic pathologies, and secondly, it can be perceived as an incestuous relationship.
At the beginning of the development of reproductive technologies, the concept of “the parties do not know about each other” was considered the most preferred. The following arguments are given in its favor:
- Donor Risk Reduction: The person who donated germ cells is protected from child support and parental lawsuits. There is no way for a child to find his “real” parent.
- Risk Reduction for Parents: Protection from potential donor claims for parental rights. Also, you can not worry that the child will seek communication with the one who helped him to be born.
- Protection from shame and feelings of inferiority: especially relevant in cases of sperm donation. For many fathers, the inability to conceive is a severe psychological trauma. Needless to say, how painful it is for them to know and see the donor.
However, the transition from the concept of unconditional anonymity did not happen just like that: you can not ignore the feelings and mind of the child. Children are very sensitive and observant: they may suspect something is wrong, seeing that they are not like their parents. Or accidentally finding out that with their blood type, they could not have been born from their parents. This can give rise to serious internal conflict. In many respects, the disadvantages of the anonymity of donation stem from this.
Disadvantages, in addition to the above, come down to possible actions on the part of the donor:
- Reliable anonymity cannot be guaranteed: this is due to the activities of DNA laboratories, where a child or donor can send their DNA and find out if they have relatives they do not know about. The child can thus discover the secret of his origin.
- Breach of secrecy by sites like the Donor Sibling Registry: Your child may find out they have siblings conceived from a donor's genetic material.
- Law Change: Your country's law may retroactively require agencies and reproductive clinics to disclose the secret of a child's birth.
However, you should not unequivocally assume that information about the donor will injure the child and force him to move away from you. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a child loved by his parents takes such news quite calmly, and may express a need to communicate with the donor. And having received all the information interesting to him, he is grateful to his parents for the honesty and love with which he is surrounded.
With this method, communication between the parties occurs through an intermediary from an agency or clinic, which helps to reduce some risks while respecting the rights of the child to information about their origin.
The advantages of the method include:
- Respect for the rights of the child: after reaching the age of 18, he will be able to exchange messages with the donor if he wants.
- A step towards the feelings of the donor: information on the number of children born with the use of gametes, as well as photographs of children, can be provided.
In this case, the parties may come to an agreement to establish friendly contacts, if they have such a desire. In some cases, this will be possible even at the stage of the reproductive program.
The main and most obvious drawback will be the inability to keep a secret and negative feelings (shame, feelings of inferiority) on the part of the parents or the child.
This method allows you to strike a balance between partial confidentiality and obtaining the information parents need about whose genetics will be passed on to their child.
In this case, there may be a personal communication of parents with an individual donor. The parties know quite a lot about each other: names, place of residence, occupation. Prerequisites are being formed for further communication between families. How close it will be, the participants decide for themselves.
A relatively new approach was predetermined by the research of child psychologists who study the attitude of children born from a donor to their origin. The main conclusions are reduced to the need to respect the right of the child to know about the circumstances of his birth.
Children conceived by a donor
- About 76% of children would like to know more about the donor (despite the fact that 90% of the children studied had critically little information about him).
- 65% tend to refer to the donor as “biological father/mother”.
- 80% attempted to find a donor.
- 88% would like to establish friendly relations with possible stepbrothers and sisters, children of the donor.
In order to avoid problems with self-identification against the background of feeling that “something is wrong” with his birth, it is recommended to tell the child how he was born. If he finds out about this from third-party sources (DNA laboratories, the Registry of brothers and sisters, etc.), your relationship may become complicated.
Important: the vast majority of children have no motive to find “new parents”. They just want to know more about themselves.
Another argument in favor of open donation is the possible long-term consequences. For example, over time, a donor will develop a disease that has signs of heredity. Thus, telling the family about this will help to take timely medical measures.
As the descriptions suggest, the type of agreement you choose can have an impact on your entire family and the donor's family. Therefore, analyze your expectations, as well as the available opportunities. If you do not know any of the relatives or friends who could agree to donate, then you will have to choose from the three remaining options. However, there may be problems here too: the clinic or agency you have chosen may not provide open donation services. Then the choice comes down to semi-open or anonymous donation.
Other factors are also important when making a decision: the laws of the country where the reproductive program is carried out (especially if surrogacy is also planned), the budget allocated for the reproductive travel. Therefore, before concluding a contract, be sure to consult with a lawyer practicing in the field of reproductive law.
Where to choose a donor? And what are the guarantees?
Whatever type of agreement you choose, you have a reliable guarantor and provider of the required services.
Feskov Human Reproduction Group has a huge database of egg and sperm donors of all races and phenotypes, including exotic ones. Each candidate is thoroughly examined, psychologically fit for his role, and according to the laws of Ukraine does not even have a theoretical chance to challenge your parental rights.
The degree of closeness of the relationship with the donor is determined by the biological parents: we have cases both with open donation, when the family keeps in touch with the person who donated the gametes for many years, and with the anonymous one, when the family chooses a donor from a photo and does not maintain any contact with him.
If you wish to involve a person close to you in the program, we welcome your decision. If, according to the results of the examination of your donor, no medical or psychological contraindications are revealed, there are no obstacles to concluding a contract with him!
If you are concerned about possible long-term medical consequences in the form of a hereditary disease, but you do not want to communicate with the donor after the program, we have the opportunity to eliminate this fear. The “Perfect Human” service even eliminates the predisposition to more than 500 hereditary diseases, including oncology, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia and others.
If you already have cryo-frozen genetic material of one of the parents, you can carry out a remote program in our clinic. Just choose a donor, and we will take care of the transportation of frozen eggs/sperm ourselves as part of a special service. After the program, you only need to come to us for your child.
Do not worry about accommodation and meals: all this is included in the cost of the program, along with legal support for the legalization of the baby in your country.
Our programs are guaranteed: if an unsuccessful IVF happened or the pregnancy was interrupted, repeated cycles (including the services of selected donors) are at our expense. There will be as many programs as needed for the birth of a baby. You pay for our work only once in accordance with the payment schedule.
Check out a part of our donor database on the website, and if you want to know more, the manager on our website is waiting for your questions!
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