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. (August 2018)
Sperm donation is the provision by a man of his sperm with the intention that it be used in the artificial insemination or other 'fertility treatment' of a woman or women who are not his sexual partners in order that they may become pregnant by him.
The man is known as a 'sperm donor' and the sperm he provides is known as 'donor sperm' because the intention is that the man will give up all legal rights to any child produced from his sperm, and will not be the legal father.
However conception is achieved, the nature and course of the pregnancy will be the same as one achieved by sexual intercourse, and the sperm donor will be the biological father of every child born from his donations.
Sperm donation enables a man to father a child for third-party women, and is therefore, categorized as a form of third party reproduction.
Sperm may be donated by the donor directly to the intended recipient woman, or through a sperm bank or fertility clinic. Pregnancies are usually achieved by using donor sperm in assisted reproductive technology (ART) techniques which include artificial insemination (either by intracervical insemination (ICI) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) in a clinic, or intravaginal insemination at home). Less commonly, donor sperm may be used in in vitro fertilization (IVF). The primary recipients of donor sperm are single women, lesbian couples and heterosexual couples suffering from male infertility.
Donor sperm and 'fertility treatments' using donor sperm may be obtained at a sperm bank or fertility clinic. Sperm banks or clinics may be subject to state or professional regulations, including restrictions on donor anonymity and the number of offspring that may be produced, and there may be other legal protections of the rights and responsibilities of both recipient and donor. Some sperm banks, either by choice or regulation, limit the amount of information available to potential recipients; a desire to obtain more information on donors is one reason why recipients may choose to use a known donor or private donation (i.e. a de-identified donor).
A sperm donor is generally not intended to be the legal or de jure father of a child produced from his sperm. The law may however, make implications in relation to legal fatherhood or the absence of a father. The law may also govern the fertility process through sperm donation in a fertility clinic. It may make provision as to whether a sperm donor may be anonymous or not, and it might give an adult donor conceived offspring the right to trace his or her biological father.
In the past it was considered that the method of insemination was crucial to determining the legal responsibility of the male as the father. A recent case (see below 'Natural Insemination')has held that it is the purpose, rather than the method of insemination which will determine responsibility.
Laws regulating sperm donation address issues such as permissible reimbursement or payment to sperm donors, rights and responsibilities of the donor towards his biological offspring, the child's right to know his/her father's identity, and procedural issues. Laws vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In general, laws are more likely to disregard the sperm donor's biological link to the child, so that he will neither have child support obligations nor rights to the child. In the absence of specific legal protection, courts may order a sperm donor to pay child support or recognize his parental rights, and will invariably do so where the insemination is carried out by natural, as opposed to artificial means.
Laws in many jurisdictions limit the number of offspring that a sperm donor can give rise to, and who may be a recipient of donor sperm.
Lawsuit over donor qualification
In 2017, a lawsuit was brought in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois regarding autism diagnoses among multiple offspring of Donor-H898. The suit asserts that false information was presented regarding a donor who should not have been considered an appropriate candidate for a sperm donation program because of a diagnosis of ADHD. Reportedly, the situation is being studied by some of the world's foremost experts in the genetics of autism because of the numbers of his offspring being diagnosed with autism.