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Types of Donation

Know your options

As you consider types of donations, we invite you to visit "We Are Donor Conceived" to learn more about real life stories from donor conceived people and some donors themselves.

Directed Donation or Identified Donations (also known as Open Donation)

Directed donation is when the parties may already know each other personally (family or friend) so they share contact information and sign all agreements with full names. Identified Donation is between parties who did not know one another previously but agree to share some or all identifying and contact information with one another. Identified donation may be a choice of the parties, or it may be that due to the donor’s FDA eligibility to donate the parties may be required by the IVF clinic to have a level of shared contact information in order to work together. Identified donation should be used only by those comfortable with having some level of contact and sharing some or all of their identifying information with the other parties. Some clinics require the parties to sign all consents and agreements with full names, addresses, etc. Others may only require the parties meet in person, by video chat or phone and share names. The criterion for Identified donation is a clinic decision, not an agency decision, and requirements will vary from clinic to clinic. As an agency, A Perfect Match has no control over whether in the future the parties will respect agreed upon boundaries, respect the privacy of the other party, or if they will remain in touch over time.

Identified or Open donation requirements may include any or all of these:

A phone conversation between intended parents and donor in which full names are shared, or a phone conversation or personal meetings in which all personal contact information is shared, including phone numbers and emails.

More identifying and contact information shared between the parties, but the information is also added to all legal contracts and/or consent forms.

If a surrogate is involved, any or all the above may apply to all parties—or it may mean that only the donor and surrogate must meet the requirements to be known to one another and share information.

Semi-open Donation or Limited Identification Donation

This type of donation is a compromise between being fully known and not known at all. Semi-open donation is when intended parents and the donor agree to share limited identifying information at time of match, but the parties decide they will share limited personal contact and identifying information once the retrieval is completed and there is a known pregnancy/birth.

Semi-open donations are common when the parties agree that a future meeting between the child and donor is important. In addition, all parties agree to maintain periodic contact with each other either directly, through the agency, or through a third party to receive yearly medical updates until the time of meeting occurs. Semi-open donation doesn’t necessarily mean ongoing direct contact between the parties is required or desired. A third-party intermediary such as the Donor Sibling Registry may be chosen as the primary contact for future medical updates and messages.

Semi-open donation is now recommended by most mental health professionals in this industry, and it can be a wonderful option if all parties agree on the level of contact and appropriate personal boundaries before personal information is shared. While we find that this is a wonderful option for many, and most parties show true concern and respect for the other, APM cannot guarantee that parties will adhere to boundaries, remain in touch, or will respect the privacy of the other.

Anonymous or Non-Identified Donation

Anonymous donation is the most common type of donation when working through a sperm bank. Due to the advances in technology, however, the risk of being identified in the future is high. Anonymity, no matter how one may try, is not guaranteed to a donor or a donor child.

Until recently, sperm donation was very secretive and donors, intended parents, and even the children created were able to be completely anonymous…or so they thought! With the advances of science, DNA testing, and face recognition software, it is no longer a question of “IF” a donor can be found, but it is now “WHEN and HOW” that can/will happen.

An anonymous/non-identified donation contractual agreement does not preclude a family from asking the donor to meet the child in the future. Mental health professionals agree that it is in the best interest of the child created through donation to have access to medical information and access to the donor in the future, and it is highly encouraged that all donors agree to meet a child at age 18 or upon other agreement. You can control the narrative to some degree as to when and how that will happen. If, however, you never want to be contacted by a child, you should not become a sperm donor. Remember, this is about the well-being of a child – not you!

We see the term ‘non-identified’ now being used to describe a relationship in which Intended parents and their donor share no personal contact or other identifying information with each other—in fact, they may even choose to be identified in the contract by only a number or alias. All donors are asked to remain in touch with any medical, genetic, or mental health changes that could affect a child. This may be done through a professional registry, (Donor Sibling Registry is one) the agency, or an attorney.

All Types of Donations

Identified, Semi-Open or Non-Identified, all parties need to understand the responsibility to share medical, genetic, or mental health information that can affect the child created through donation, or your right to be informed of any information learned that could affect your own future children. Parties should agree to maintain and update personal contact information through the agency or other third party, such as the Donor Sibling Registry, but an agreement should be made on how to share important information with the other party during the legal contract stage of a cycle.

Learn More!

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