Question number one that I see asked on trying to concieve forums for those considering at home insemination with donor sperm is “how do I find a donor?” On this subject everyone’s advice will be different, but I figured I could add my advice to the mix. So, here’s what I think those looking for a donor need to know!
1) Know what you are looking for
There are a LOT of men out there willing to donate their sperm. Depending where you live, there may be quite a few that use your preferred method in your area. Know what you are looking for. If you are the “any guy will do” type then fair enough, but if not think about what you want. Tall? Short? Blonde hair? Dark hair? Do you want the donor to look similar to the non biological parent in the relationship? Discuss this and decide what you would like and how important each criteria is to both of you.
2) Method. Think about method
Generally within the sperm donation community there are a few ways for a man to donate. A few methods that can be used.
AI is artificial insemination and the method that we personally use. The donor deposits his sample into a sterile pot and then leaves, having no part in the insemination itself and no physical contact with the recipient or her partner.
AI+ is AI with recipient help. Can be anything from stimulation, to just being in the room when the donor produces the donation.
PI is penetrative insemination. The donor masturbates until he is ready to ejaculate, then enters the recipient and ejaculated into her vagina.
NI is natural insemination, or sex.
When you first start thinking about using a donor, look at what method you wish to use and agree before starting to look. If a donor offers an alternative method, politely decline. Ignore any donor that tells you one method is more effective than another as this is simply not true. On the other side of the coin, if a donor says he does not use your preferred method, do not try and coerce him into it. Donors have just as much right to chose their method.
3) Don’t Rush
Take your time. These genes will be the other biological half of your child. Whether or not the donor will have contact, this is important. Find out some things about the donor, get to know them a little and let them get to know you a little. Make sure you could work together for a number of months as it could take a while.
4) Safety First
If anything makes you uneasy, think about why. Trust your instincts and don’t take anything for granted. Just like Internet dating, don’t put yourself in any dangerous situations. Always take a friend or partner to a first meeting, and try to meet up at least once in a public place before first insemination. Also,t his gives you a chance to make sure you and the donor and comfortable together. Again, if a donor tries to change their method at the last minute and you are not ok with it, politely decline and send them on their way. On the flip side, don’t change your method without discussion with the donor. Always ask for an up to date STI certificate.
5) Discuss Contact
Always discuss with your donor what contact they will have with the future child. Ask what they would like and decide whether that is ok. Some donors want no contact, others want photo updates or some contact and some donors are more like co parents and wish to play an active role in the child’s life. Discuss this until you find a happy medium. Contracts can be drawn up about this, but they don’t have a huge amount of legal standing. They are definitely useful to have though.
6) Write a Good Advert
Just writing “donor required for lesbian couple” often doesn’t do the trick. I would usually go for something with a little more information so the right people respond. For example “Caucasian make donor required for lesbian couple in Essex. Looking to start trying next month. AI only. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org”. That way you won’t get anyone and everyone responding.
Anyhow hope this helps anyone still in the search for a donor. What are your top tips for finding a donor? Drop me a comment and share!