Donor conception, also known as third-party reproduction, is the use of donated gametes (eggs or sperm) or embryos to create a pregnancy. It is a growing option for individuals and couples who are struggling to conceive naturally due to infertility or other medical issues. Here are 7 facts about donor conception that you may not have known:
- Donor conception has a long history. The first recorded case of donor conception was in 1884 when a woman in England gave birth to a child conceived using donated sperm. However, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that donor conception became more widely available and socially accepted.
- Donor conception can be anonymous or non-anonymous. In anonymous donor conception, the donor’s identity is not disclosed to the recipient. In non-anonymous donor conception, the donor’s identity is known to the recipient. Some countries, only allow anonymous donor conception, while others, like Denmark, allow both anonymous and non-anonymous donor conception.
- Donor conception can involve eggs, sperm, or embryos. In egg donor conception, a woman donates her eggs to be fertilized by the recipient’s partner or a sperm donor. In sperm donor conception, a man donates his sperm to be used to fertilize the recipient’s eggs. In embryo donor conception, a couple donates their unused embryos from in vitro fertilization (IVF) to another couple or individual.
- Donor conception is not only for heterosexual couples struggling with infertility. Donor conception can also be used by single people and same-sex couples as a way to start a family.
- Donor conception involves legal agreements. Depending on the country and the type of donor conception being used, there may be legal agreements in place to determine the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. For example, in the United States, a legal contract called a “donor agreement” is often used to clarify the relationship between the donor and the recipient.
- Donor conception has high success rates. The success rate of donor conception depends on several factors, including the age of the recipient and the quality of the donated gametes or embryos. However, overall, donor conception has high success rates, with many recipients achieving a pregnancy and giving birth to healthy children.
- Donor conception can have emotional considerations. Donor conception can be an emotionally complex process. Those considering donor conception needs to understand the potential emotional implications and seek support if needed.
Donor conception is a viable option for individuals and couples who are unable to conceive naturally. While it can have emotional considerations, it has a long history and high success rates and can be used by single people and same-sex couples. If you are considering donor conception, it is important to thoroughly research your options and understand the legal and emotional implications.
Learn more about my own experience as donor-conceived on my Instagram @donorchild or through my book Donor Child – a child of love.