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Donor Semen

What is semen / sperm donation?

Sperm donation is the provision (or "donation") by a male (known as a sperm donor) of his sperm (known as donor sperm), principally for the purpose of inseminating a female who is not his sexual partner. Sperm may be donated privately and directly to the intended recipient, or through a sperm bank or fertility clinic. The female may be inseminated naturally (i.e., by sexual intercourse) or through artificial insemination. The primary recipients of donor sperm are heterosexual couples suffering from male infertility, lesbian couples and single women.


When going through a sperm bank, the recipient may select donor sperm on the basis of the donor's characteristics, such as looks, personality, academic ability, race, and many other factors. Sperm banks or clinics are subject to state regulations, including restrictions on donor anonymity and 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 and/or private donation.


While a sperm donor is regarded as the natural or biological father of every child produced as a result of his donation, he is generally not intended to be the legal or de jure father. Depending on the jurisdiction and its laws, he may or may not later be eligible to seek parental rights or be held responsible for parental obligations.


The general process of sperm donation is described as third party reproduction. Pregnancies are usually achieved using donor sperm by assisted reproductive technology (ART). Techniques include artificial insemination (either by intracervical insemination (ICI) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) in a clinic, or intravaginal insemination at home) and less commonly in vitro fertilization (IVF). Insemination may also be achieved by a donor having sexual intercourse with a female for the sole purpose of initiating conception. This method is known as natural insemination. 

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