Sunday, June 15, 2014

Types of Donation

Through conversations with others there seems to be misunderstanding and misuse of various terms in donor conception. For this post I am going to discuss differing types of donation.
Anonymous – this is where the offspring will never be able to gain access to identifying information on the donor (and vice-versa). Historically this is the most common form however the use of the following forms is increasing.
Identifiable – this is where the offspring will be able to access identifying information on the donor usually after reaching a specific age (ie 18 years).
Known – this is where the identity of the donor is known to the recipient parents at the time of donation. This is sometimes done through friends, acquaintances or even private arrangements.

Some people have been using anonymous to describe the second situation because they feel that during those 18 years the offspring will not be able to access this information. However, this is incorrect, particularly in places like Australia where regulation specifies that current donors must be identifiable. So while they child may not initially not be allowed access to identifying information they will certainly be allowed to do so at some stage, making the use of the term anonymous problematic. Its use in this way also provides confusion to the wider community. In academic literature in reference to the practice in Australia, we typically refer to the anonymous periods and identifiable or willing to be known periods. So for those Aussie donors who are currently donating, STOP using the term anonymous. No anonymous donations have been allowed in Australian fertility clinics since the introduction of National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines from 2004 that came into effect in 2005.


Joseph said...


I am an Intended Parent who will have an open donation. I had investigating a lot in the past 2 years on all the psychological effects on my future children might have. I found that most of the emotions in the blogs are anger because of not knowing half or full or your genetical background.

What in your experience would have change if you knew who your donor is?
Do you know any adults who know their biological mother/father who were donors?

Do you have an email where I can write you.



damianhadams said...

Hi Joseph,
Thanks for the question. It is impossible to know exactly how I would feel if the situation is different. I can only postulate and extrapolate. For me not much would change in my perceptions of donor conception as these have been arrived through a long period of assimilation, experience and research.
There are a whole rainbow of emotions of donor conception, some happy, some angry, and this even applies to those that do know who their genetic father/mother (the donor) is and not just to those that don't know. And yes I do know some adult offspring who know who the donor is (their biological father) and some are fine with it while some are still angry with the situation.
While knowledge of who their progenitor is and their familial genealogy and health history is vitally important and should happen in all instances it is no guarantee that the child will be happy about it all. And that is fine, they should be able to feel however they want to feel about it.
It is great that you are doing as much reading and research as possible on the subject, and it is great to hear that you are going for an open donation where they are willing to be known rather than anonymous.
My contact email is available if you look at my profile.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Damian!

Anonymous said...

Sign this petition to help end anonymity in the U.S!
It is just an online petition, but it is something.
Starting a conversation or discussion is extremely crucial to our cause.

Link to petition:

Does anyone have any ideas of how to get this conversation going? How to advocate for this cause? Please post suggestions and comments on this site. I don't know any donor conceived people so I am really glad to see people posting on here and telling their opinion and stories.

damianhadams said...

thankyou for posting the link - I have already signed it - I will put it as a separate post so that hopefully more will see it

marilynn said...

Types of Donation? Let's hip your readers to what a REAL gamete donor agrees to, shall we?

There you go ladies and gentlemen. Check that REAL gamete donation agreement against your own to see if what you signed is really an unenforceable contract for a black market adoption of the gamete donor's child.

See a real gamete donation agreement involves the donation of gametes and nothing else. It will say something like the linked agreement says "Donated materials will never be used for the generation of human embryos or to
make a baby."

The recipients are allowed to store, transport, observe, ponder, study and generally not reproduce the donor in any way shape or form even embryonic.

So the term sperm donor is really a misnomer when referring to a man who became the father of a child he's not raising through an act of sperm donation. That particular type of sperm donor signs a black market adoption agreement which is shameful and it's horrible that young men are duped into signing such agreements with marketing tag lines like "make money doing what you do for free anyway" or "don't flush it donate it".

It's ridiculous that people say they are only donating sperm not children just look at the contracts they do sign! They say they agree to give up any children born of their donation! Not sperm, children! Furthermore they cannot give up a child until one is born. Nobody will care if they keep their promise to give up a child until one is born. It's after the kid is born that a 'breach' of the contract terms is possible. Only after the child is born is there a real threat that the father might think better of abandoning his child and come looking for them. And there are those that do. And plenty more that want to but don't know where to begin looking. Still more that have the nagging suspicion that there was something not quite right about what they did. They wonder how can they feel badly at giving someone the chance at life? Well to that I'd say that they should not feel guilty about giving someone a chance at life its a wonderful thing their children are born. Feel guilty at having abandoned them though. Do feel the gnawing gut wrenching guilt of having abandoned your children to the care of utter strangers who qualified to raise other people's kids not through background investigations or home studies as with a court approved adoption, but rather the ability to pay a fee to take home a baby that looks like them.