Cryobanks and sperm donor anonymity

I recently posted a comment to phoebejen’s blog post at, which prompted me to write an article for The Examiner (

Over the past year, I’ve spoken to so many people on the pros and cons of using sperm from an anonymous donor. I’d really like to keep the conversation open and hear what others, across the country and the world, think about this topic.

Baby's Hand
Image obtained from

For LGBT couples, deciding to start a family can be a complex process. For same-sex couples who have the desire to conceive a child, it is necessary to involve a third-party.

Lesbian couples must seek a sperm donor (and in some cases, a surrogate, if neither partner can carry the child), while gay couples must involve an egg donor and a surrogate (note that in the case of traditional surrogacy, the surrogate can be the egg donor as well).

Choosing a sperm donor or an egg donor is an important decision for many same-sex couples. In our own experience, my wife and I went through a cryobank to select our donor. We felt that, for our own family, it would be less complicated to choose an anonymous sperm donor. The other options that existed were:

  • ID-Release donor through a cryobank or sperm bank
  • Known donor from our male friend circle

These options are a topic of contention in the LGBT community, as well as in the world at large. ID-Release donors have agreed to allow a cryobank to release their contact information to a child once the child has reached the age of 18. If you are looking for an ID-Release donor in particular, some prominent cryobanks that offer this service include:

When we were considering known donors (including male friends), we thought about possibilities that could occur in the future, like the known donor wanting to be part of our child’s life or the known donor wanting to be involved in decision-making for the child’s upbringing.

In the case of ID-Release donors, we considered that contacting the donor could possibly be a traumatic experience for our child. We can neither control nor predict the ID-Release donor’s reaction 18 years from now, if our son were to contact him.

Ultimately, Fertility Cryobank gave us the opportunity to create our child through third-party reproduction, without having to "involve" the third-party. Because Fertility Cryobank offers video profiles of their anonymous donors, we could still provide our child with a glimpse into his donor’s life and personality.

In the end, we decided that the known donor route wasn’t for us. Now, I’m sure that our son at some point will say, "Mom, who is my sperm donor?" At that point, we’ll have the video from Fertility Cryobank, as well as a comprehensive profile that the donor, himself, completed.


5 thoughts on “Cryobanks and sperm donor anonymity

  • January 28, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Please see my blog on Proud Parenting:

    for the perspective of the donor conceived who advocate for the donor conceived and their best interests/rights.

  • January 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    If you’d “really like to keep the conversation open and hear what others, across the country and the world, think about this topic”, then how about not deleting comments from people whose opinions you don’t agree with?

    Or are you really just looking for people to support you in the decision you’ve already taken to use an anonymous donor?

    Remember, anonymous donation is actually illegal in several countries. Not just discouraged, but illegal.

  • January 22, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Hi ml66uk, I didn’t delete your comment and I’m not sure why it’s no longer showing as a response to my blog post. In the future, I would appreciate if you do not make blind accusations. In fact, if you look at (which I see you already did and made a similar comment), both of our comments are now gone from this page. Instead of making accusations, why don’t you try contacting “Proud Parenting” customer service at

  • January 22, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Sorry, but the comments were gone, and I just assumed that you must have deleted them. That has happened to me on another board today. I’ll contact proudparenting to find out if they were intentionally deleted by someone there, or if there’s a technical glitch.

  • May 21, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I don’t understand why this has to be a controversial issue. Every human has the right to have children, this relatively new approach brought happiness to many couples. I see nothing wrong in it and I am glad we have this option today. People become more and more familiar with artificial insemination.

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