Asking a friend to donate sperm
November 11, 2008 6:59 PM   Subscribe

How do you ask a friend to be a sperm donor? Does having the specimen pass through the hands of a doctor really help to sever his parental rights/responsibilities (in Canada)?

We have a few male friends who we might consider asking to be our sperm donor - do we rank them and ask them one at a time? Do we let people know and wait for offers? Do we ask face-to-face out of respect or in a letter so that they can compose their reaction before seeing us? How do we make it clear that an answer of "No" is totally fine with us and won't offend us at all?

Past AI experiences were awful (with the diy at home with a turkey baster method) so we were wondering if there is a way to have a known donor but AI in a clinic. Does Canadian health care cover this?

We will lawyer up, and pay both his lawyer and ours of course. We will all have STD checks etc. We know the drill.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total)
 
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posted by amtho at 7:49 PM on November 11, 2008


I'd suggest you ask them one at a time, under strict confidentiality - you don't want your friends knowing that you consider Joe to be better genetic material than Jon.

Also, there should be no need for the specimen to pass through the hands of a doctor. Your male friends are probably more than capable of producing it by themselves.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:33 PM on November 11, 2008


In the US, in most states, you do need a medical transfer of sperm to help clarify legal status, and you can do known donor AI in a clinic (where they wash and prep the sperm for insemination). You should definitely talk to a lawyer about how it works in your province, and talk to a clinic or sperm bank about the way they work with families and known donors.
posted by judith at 9:54 PM on November 11, 2008


Also, there should be no need for the specimen to pass through the hands of a doctor. Your male friends are probably more than capable of producing it by themselves.

In my country at least, there has been at least one case where an informal sperm donor to a lesbian couple has found himself on the hook for child support.

If I was a man donating sperm, then, I would want to be sure that would not happen to me. If donating sperm via a test tube in a clinic is the way to get the right legal status, that's what I'd do.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:11 AM on November 12, 2008


Past AI experiences were awful (with the diy at home with a turkey baster method) so we were wondering if there is a way to have a known donor but AI in a clinic. Does Canadian health care cover this?

I am in New Zealand, not Canada, but I know that at least one local fertility clinic will do AI with a specified donor's sperm.
posted by rodgerd at 1:39 AM on November 12, 2008


Yes, rank them. Start at the top and speak to them face to face. If they have a partner, make it a conversation between ALL of you. Allow the person time to consider your request and all the implications of the potential agreement. Do not ask another person until you have a definitive "No" from the person you've just asked. Please be understanding if your request is turned down. The reasons you may be turned down can very easily have nothing to do with you but everything to do with the potential donor's comfort levels with the situation and any legal issues involved.

A friend made this request of my husband and was kind enough to involve me in the conversation. By doing so, the friend acknowledged that I have a vested interest in the situation because of potential impact to our family. While we did turn down the request, the conversation (over dinner) was thoughtful, cordial, and very sensitively handled.
posted by onhazier at 6:49 AM on November 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've been asked to be a donor, so here's my take. My advice is for California, rather than Canada, but perhaps it will apply to you.

How do you ask the donor? Well, you ask politely and with no expectations. You probably ask a friend who is close enough to be family. In my opinion, lawyering up on agreements, while useful, is secondary to having a trusting, good, long-term relationship with the donor. You'll also want to be on good terms with the donor's partner.

If the donor says yes, you'll want to get the donor's medical history and talk frankly about any STDs. I recommend that you do this one on one rather than involving your partner or the donor's, to make it easier to talk. I recommend also giving the donor every opportunity to back out, in case they are uncomfortable.

In California, you are supposed to go through a doctor for the actual insemination, I assume to remove the chance of 'who's the parent' suits from either the donor against the parents, or the biological mom against the donor.

Whether you actually do this, or just all claim that you've done this, is another matter. It is much more convenient to be able to go to the donor when you're ovulating and pick up the sperm for home insemination, than it is to go through a clinic. The sperm will also be fresher.

In California, you'll also need the donor's consent so that the non-biological parent can adopt the kid.

Good luck with whatever path you take, and feel free to MeFi-mail me if you have other questions.
posted by zippy at 11:20 AM on November 12, 2008


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