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33 Questions to Ask Potential Known Donors

Working with a known donor has many advantages, including getting a detailed donor profile, saving money, and having the option to include the donor in your child’s life. The downside is that choosing the right person requires more effort than selecting an anonymous profile from a sperm bank registry.


Sperm Donor


If you don’t have someone specific in mind, narrow down your list of potential candidates and schedule a discussion with each one. These talks will help you learn more about each donor and decide whether or not you’re compatible.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask potential donors. These questions cover a wide range of topics, from their motivations for donating to the kind of relationship they hope to have with the child, and everything in between.


 

What Is a Known Donor?

A known donor is someone you know, such as a friend, relative, or acquaintance, who volunteers or is asked to donate sperm.


On one hand, choosing a known donor can offer a sense of familiarity and trust. On the other hand, it’s important to consider factors such as the donor-child relationship, legal implications (including parental rights and responsibilities), emotional dynamics, medical history, and clear boundaries regarding the donor’s involvement in the child’s life.


The questions in this article address each of these considerations, helping you feel confident when choosing a known donor.


Questions to Ask Potential Known Donors

We’ve organized these questions into four main categories: the donor’s involvement with the child, communication and decision-making, health considerations, and long-term commitment and future planning.


 

Donor’s involvement and relationship with the child

Who you choose as a donor will shape both your child’s life and your family dynamics. That’s why it’s important to clarify expectations and boundaries early on.

  • Will you have a relationship with the child? If so, what will that relationship look like? For example, will the donor ever spend time alone with the child, or will they only meet in group settings?

  • What will the child call you?

  • Are you comfortable allowing me and my partner to make all of the decisions about the child?

  • Are you willing to give up your parental rights if we ask you to?

  • Will you be invited to events like birthday parties, school plays, and sports competitions?

  • How much information do you want about daily happenings or big events in the child’s life?

  • Will your family have a relationship with me, my partner, or the child? If so, what does that relationship look like?

  • If necessary, how will we adjust expectations once the child arrives?

  • If you have your own child or donate to someone else, will those children have a relationship with each other?

  • If our friendship ends, do you want to stay in contact with the child?

  • Would you want to be the designated legal guardian if my partner and I die after the child is born?


 

Communication and decision-making

Effective communication and clear decision-making are essential when navigating the complexities of using a known donor. Here are some questions to ensure everyone is aligned:

  • Can we all commit to open communication?

  • Why do you want to donate? What does it mean to you?

  • How should we refer to you when talking to our friends or family? Do you have any reservations about discussing your relationship with us?

  • How do you want to handle the financial side of things? For example, do you want me and my partner to pay for medical expenses like STI testing and sperm analysis, or are you willing to contribute?

  • How flexible are you willing to be when we need to inseminate? Are you willing to prioritize our insemination schedule?

  • How long do you envision this process taking?

  • How would you feel if we decided to abort? (i.e. if there are genetic abnormalities that could impact the child’s quality of life or the health of the child or parent)


 

Health considerations

Understanding a known donor’s health history and lifestyle will help ensure your future child is as healthy as possible. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a solid starting point.

  • How is your general physical and mental health? When was your last physical and what were the results?

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a health issue that could impact your fertility?

  • Are you willing to take a fertility test?

  • Do any diseases run in your family? If so, which ones? (e.g. cancer, genetic diseases, allergies, addiction)

  • Are you currently taking medications? If so, what are they for and how long will you take them?

  • Do you drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or use drugs? If so, how often?

  • How are you planning to practice safer sex while we’re trying to conceive?

  • If you participate in a sexual activity that goes beyond our risk tolerance, would you be willing to let us know?

  • What do you need and/or want in the sperm donation process to feel comfortable?

  • Are you comfortable donating at a sperm bank if we end up having to use a fertility clinic?


 

Long-term commitment and future planning

The donation process may be brief, but its implications are far-reaching. Here are some questions to help guide conversations about the future.

  • Can you think of any decisions you’d like to be involved in when the child arrives?

  • What would you do if I or my partner make a parenting choice that goes against your beliefs or that you strongly disagree with?

  • Are you willing to donate again if we decide to have a second child?

  • Are you donating elsewhere? If so, how many times will you donate?

  • How do you anticipate bringing this up to future partners? Would future partnerships change the type of relationship you have with our child?


We hope these questions are helpful as you choose a known donor. While we’ve done our best to create a comprehensive list, we understand that every journey is different. So, feel free to ask the questions that resonate with you, skip the ones that don’t, and add any we might have missed.

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