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Legal Issues Relating to Sperm Donation
Not sure about the legalities of private sperm donation
in your country? Use this to ask questions and a lawyer will
answer them for as little as £11 (you choose what you pay -
and only pay when satisfied with the answer)
Choose a family law specialist for your country
you buy sperm from a legitimate sperm bank/ company/ organization
the sperm donor can be 'known' (information available to the child at 18) or anonymous.
No information is given. (FSDW do not support this option)
A third party
screens the donor,
arranges all financial and legal
arrangements and other
than often being
this is a relatively safe way of trying to conceive
male partner, by artificial insemination.
Many USA sperm banks will ship
to your home address, although some will
only send sperm to your doctor.
When you buy or are provided with sperm from a sperm
regulated organization then the sperm donor assumes
or liability for any child conceived
by his donations.
Likewise, he has no
rights to any
conceived by his donations.
All donor information is completely confidential. Donor
coded to assure confidentiality of information
and access to the files
is restricted. The identity
of the sperm donor is not revealed to any
-unless he is a 'known donor- likewise, the identity of any recipient may
disclosed to the sperm donor.
Our main issue with these options is that the child is given no information until 18 at the earliest- when they have already formed their identities. This can be something that affects them
negatively their whole lives- regardless of how amazing the parents who have raised the child.
Please see the
'Children Deserve to Know Where They Come From' campaign
Updated Sept 2013
As shown on facebook a few months ago, I am now advising that you do NOT put
your real name on your agreement as it's pot luck who you get as a judge if it goes to court (there
is no legal precedence re a private agreement being broken, when there was an agreement in
place, witnessed, prior to conception) Put your FSDW username and make sure you use your home IP, should either party breach this agreement and this 'intent' is needed in court.
When both parties feel more confident in the agreement there are likely to be less complications
and the donor and parent/s can maintain the biological link regardless of the fact that the law
does not yet recognise these agreements, that are in the best interest of the child. (compared to the child's rights when a sperm bank is used)
through sperm donor insemination
What is it?
insemination is the process of a man donating sperm
that a woman can inseminate herself- or be inseminated by health care professionals.
This can be
privately or in a clinic however the legal implications for both are very different .
is doing it?
Single women, lesbians
and heterosexual couples with fertility problems.
Gay or straight men who do not want an active
role in their child's
life often donate sperm,
men who only want a limited
role as an 'uncle' figure.
More and more FSDW donors are opting for increased information sharing, with many
making their own arrangement regarding any level of involvement.
The legalities of this are outlined further down the page.
do you have to do?
a sperm donor carefully. This could be a friend or
sperm donor from a clinic.
Get rigorous health checks before going ahead with any
There are many lesbian-friendly clinics with
banks of donor sperm
available if that is your prefrence. All sperm in this situation
is screened for Sexually
Transmitted Infections, including
If you are self inseminating, you will need a kit. You
can buy these
from support and advice groups or from FSDW
First, however, contact a solicitor. Your legal position will differ
whether your children are conceived in
a regulated clinic
or a private arrangement.
Pros and cons
most obvious advantage of sperm donation for lesbian
seems to be that the donors will not want any involvement
with the child.
FSDW members and donors- we are finding that this is changing. Most women
are now wanting the child to at least have information- and are often
arranging for the donor
and child to meet before 18. People are now starting to
think about what their child
might want. When using a sperm donor your child will
also be genetically
related to one of you.
In fairly recent changes
and egg donors have lost their right to anonymity in
UK Donor children ('donor' having donated to a registered sperm bank)
born after April 2005 will – when
they turn 18 – be able to find out
who their biological
parents were (although the donor will have
or financial obligation to their child).
This is why many are turning to sites such as FSDW- because they want their child to
have information earlier than that. And donors want to choose who to donate to.
are also legal issues for lesbians with this 'official' options in most countries:
will not be legally connected to her child.
At the moment, the
only legal option
open to the lesbian
partner is a Joint Residence
Order, which means they
effectively share parental responsibility.
you use a private sperm donor you can choose whether ot not to put his
the birth certificate. Unless the sperm donor
for some reason
later requested a blood test
to court for PR he has no
parental rights while not
on the birth certificate
and while he does
If he has PR then technically he would gain custody
of the child
should the mother die - but he would have
to go to court to
request this, and this is granted
if it is in the best interest of
the child. And even
if he had PR and wanted full custody again
best interests are put forward.
can legally put into place who would take the role as
if you have a child from sperm donation That
is where you
(in advance, through court)
to take immediate
guardianship of your child in the
event that you
are incapacitated or
dead. If say your
mother or partner was set up as a standby guardian
the child s/he would have immediate guardianship, and
position would be a little weaker. In addition,
your mother or partner
wouldn't have to go to court
after your death. The guardianship
would already be
legally in place.
However if the sperm donor decided he wanted to be a
part of the
child's life then he has the same right
as if they had sex, regardless
of any papers signed
by both parties. This also means that technically
woman or couple could go after the sperm donor for financial
Also note that technically a child conceived
through donor conception
has the same rights when the
sperm donor dies- is they could
come forward for inheritance.
is advisable that you sign a written agreement
It isn’t usually legally
enforceable, but it is important evidence of
An example of a document drawn
up by a previous
donor and recipient on the site can be seen by clicking in
the 'Members Only' part
your control panel.
Simply modify this according to your own arrangement
You really must decide which is the
best option for
you and which risk you would rather take
- any method
has its risks.
Please note that this information given is for your interest only and should not be used
to substitute legal advice from a qualified practitioner.
UK/ USA/ Australia/ Other / Discussions and Articles
USA legislation - sperm donation
Sperm donation in the USA especially has been around a
time and was codified by the CA legislature in 1992.
section 7613 covers donations made under the
supervision of a
There are two main aspects of this code section. Section
(a) discusses the recognition of the husband as the legal
“If, … with the consent of her husband,
a wife is inseminated artificially
with semen donated
by a man not her husband, the husband is treated
as if he were the natural father of a child thereby conceived.”
(b) discusses that the donor shall have no rights or
to this child. “The donor of semen provided to a
licensed physician and surgeon for use in artificial insemination
of a woman other than the donor’s wife is treated
in law as if he
were not the natural father of a child
and large, sperm donation is covered by the Family Code.
clearly spells out what should happen for the
intended father to perfect
his rights and to make certain
that the sperm donor will not have claim
to the child.
If an insemination takes place with an unmarried woman,
without a doctor’s supervision, the sperm “donor”
will be considered
the father and will have those rights
and responsibilities. If the
recipient of the donation
is married, the situation is not as clear
as there are
a number of other statutes to be considered
Please send us updated information- we welcome feedback and suggestions
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"Vorzimer, Masserman & Chapman, based in Beverly
with additional offices in Encino,
California and, Annapolis, Maryland, consists
of a dynamic
group of attorneys who have extensive experience in the
areas of practice: business litigation; reproductive
law, including surrogacy
and egg donation; general
liability defense; real estate; general business
cyber law; family law; criminal defense; and entertainment
Vorzimer, Masserman & Chapman
8383 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 750
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
PHONE: (323) 782-1400
FAX: (323) 782-1850
us with any useful information
relating to the legal
issues surrounding private sperm
donor conception, in your country - thank you
found this useful quote, and although Free Sperm Donations
Worldwide attempt to offer an alternative solution to
ie message boards for people looking
for sperm donors to meet with private
and make their own arrangements- we do urge you to take
note of this useful advice.
Suzi Leather says:
HFEA cannot guarantee good laboratory practices and
safe testing of
donated sperm from unlicensed donation
services. We would strongly
advise women using donated
sperm to ensure it has been adequately
screened to standards
recommended in professional guidelines. Women wishing
to use donated sperm are advised to do so through an
HFEA licensed clinic where
donated sperm is thoroughly
tested and legal parentage is set down in law.”
Proper screening requires sperm to be frozen and quarantined
in a licensed
storage facility before it can be used
for treatment. This quarantine process
requires a licence
from the HFEA, therefore sperm from unlicensed services
cannot have been quarantined and properly screened.
Current HFEA guidelines
recommend that donated sperm
should be quarantined for at least 180 days
to detect infections such as HIV.
The following story was released Dec 3 2007- we will keep an eye out
to see what happens
regarding family law within the UK in this respect.
FSDW donors (and members) have access to a free known donor agreement doc,
to modify and use freely
- passed on by a valued FSDW donor who had concerns in this regard.
Natalie Gamble- UK family law specialist- states, you really need to ensure
that your interntions are clearly defined.
Also take time choosing who are you are entering into an agreement with- and have all
agreed on before you start trying to conceive.
Sperm donor pays maintenance
By Graham Tibbetts
Last Updated: 8:42pm GMT 03/12/2007
A sperm donor who helped a lesbian couple have two children is now being forced to pay thousands of pounds for their upbringing, he said.
Andy Bathie: Legal challenge
But after the couple split up he was tracked down by the Child Support Agency and forced to make regular maintenance payments.
Mr Bathie, a fireman from Enfield, north London, said the financial burden was preventing him from starting his own family.
"These women wanted to be parents and take on all the responsibilities that brings. I would never have agreed to this unless they had been living as a committed family. And now I can't afford to have children with my own wife - it's crippling me financially," he said.
He is now bringing a legal challenge to remove his responsibilities as a parent to the two children in a case believed to be the first of its kind.
Mr Bathie, who pays £450 a month in maintenance, cannot afford to employ a solicitor or barrister to take up his case but will approach his local MP, Joan Ryan, in the hope she can highlight his plight in the Commons.
He is seeking a retrospective change in the law that would place paternal responsibility on Sharon Arnold, who was the non-biological mother in the lesbian relationship.
Mr Bathie was approached by the couple five years ago after they had unsuccessfully asked other male friends, but no formal legal arrangement was put in place.
Last November he was astonished to be contacted by the CSA, who demanded payments and ordered him to take a £400 paternity test to prove he was the father.
He has only met his offspring on a couple of occasions.
"When they (Terri and Sharon) first approached me I did look into the legal side and understood that as a couple they would be the parents, not me. I was never 'Daddy'," he told a newspaper.
"The only reason these children are here is because they wanted children as a couple which means they should take responsibility. The CSA admit that mine is an unusual case - this is double standards and I'm having money stolen by the Government."
At the time of the donation, Mr Bathie was in a relationship with a woman who had been sterilised and was not planning to have children. He has since married another woman.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said that private sperm donors are liable financially unless they donate through a licensed clinic.
"We would warn men providing genetic material that the only time they are not the father is when they donate through a licensed fertility clinic. This does not apply to unlicensed websites or home insemination," said a spokesman.
Natalie Gamble, a fertility law expert at Lester Aldridge who advised Mr Bathie recently, said the non-biological mother in the lesbian relationship currently had no legal responsibility for the children's upbringing.
"At the moment she has no responsibility at all, which seems rather unfair. She ought to have some responsibility towards the children she has helped bring into the world," she said.
The Government is seeking to reform the legislation to give equal parenting rights to same-sex couples who form civil partnerships.
Had it been in place when Mr Bathie donated sperm it would have meant his right as a father would have passed to the non-biological mother.
Mrs Gamble said the law was becoming obsolete as a result of changes to the family structure.
"Lots of women and same-sex couples are having children through home insemination, because its cheaper, or they want somebody to have involvement in the child's upbringing or because they want to know who the father is.
"But the law is struggling to keep up with these modern scenarios. Until things go wrong it's difficult to say how the law applies."
She urged would-be parents and donors to ensure they have an
agreement in place so all parties are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Sharon and Terri Arnold could not be contacted for comment.
And this was the other side of the story! - December 4 2007
Why fireman sperm donor
By ANDREW LEVY - More by this author »
MUST pay to raise our children,
by lesbian mother
The lesbian mother of two children conceived with a friend's sperm yesterday denied it is unfair to make him pay for their upbringing.
Terri Arnold, 25, had a boy and a girl after fireman Andy Bathie agreed to take part in a home insemination.
Bathie now has to pay £450 a month toward bringing up the two children produced using his sperm.
He insisted he was only a donor and did not want take an active role in raising the youngsters.
But the mother has hit back, claiming the 37-year-old changed his mind and regularly saw his four-year-old daughter.
Terri Arnold, from Clacton, Essex, said Mr Bathie would take the girl to stay with him overnight and even took paternity leave to care for her.
She said: "At first the idea was that he wasn't going to have anything to do with the children. He said he was going to draw up a contract saying he had no responsibility for the children and that he would be Uncle Andy.
"He was Uncle Andy but after the christening he said he didn't want to be the uncle - he wanted to be the daddy. He was seeing her roughly once a month - she would stay over at his house.”
The mother of two became pregnant after a DIY artificial insemination. She said Mr Bathie originally wanted nothing to do with his daughter, who is now four, but started seeing her regularly after her christening when she was five months.
Ms Arnold said: "We were going to go to a clinic (to arrange a sperm donor), we approached our GP about it, but then Andy offered. He said it was probably his only chance to be a father. Andy was a friend of my partner and we trusted him.
Scroll down for more...
Lesbian mother Terri Arnold (left) and her former lover Sharon Arnold
"We've got photographs of our little girl at his home, we've got a box full of birthday and Christmas cards from him saying 'from daddy'. He bought her a silver trinket box and engraved it 'daddy'. He had been seeing her for two years, she became very attached to him.”
Ms Arnold said Mr Bathie helped pay for his daughter's pram and shoes and regularly bought her presents.
Two years after her birth Mr Bathie became the couple's sperm donor for a second time and Ms Arnold gave birth to a boy. He suffers from a serious digestive problem, which is being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Mrs Arnold, 25, said: "When we had the second child, we had a long discussion about it and we agreed he was going to have the same responsibility and he said, 'Fine, I'd love to have another one'. He went into it with his eyes wide open.”
Mrs Arnold gave birth to the second baby, a boy, at Colchester Hospital in Essex, in October 2005. She claims Mr Bathie asked to be present and even took paternity leave from the fire service to look after the elder child.
Mrs Arnold, who has since split from her partner, said that shortly after the birth of the boy, now two, Mr Bathie stopped seeing his children.
She said the fireman is not named as the children's father on their birth certificates but claims she was forced to give his name to the Child Support Agency (CSA) when they threatened to cut her income support.
Ms Arnold also stresses that she would be pursuing the case even if she and her partner were still together.
She said: "At the end of the day, he walked away. He knew full well. It is not like the CSA contacted him out of the blue.
"My son was diagnosed with a disability after he was born. He was still seeing my daughter on a regular basis. I couldn't return to work because of my son being in hospital so much.
"I was then informed by the CSA that if I did not give the father's details then my income support would be cut down, and I wouldn't be able to afford to live.
"How can be turn his back on his disabled son?”
She added: "He's portrayed me as just being after his money but I'm not. I don't care about his money - I just care about my kids, his kids.
"You can't play at being a dad for two years and then just leave. Our little girl kept asking when she was going to see her daddy again - what can you say to a child?
"The money is not for me, it's for their food, clothes and shoes. This is about a principle and I'll fight all the way. He wanted to be a father but he doesn't want the financial responsibility.”
Mr Bathie, from Enfield, has launched a legal challenge, thought to be the first of its kind, so that he is not recognised as a legal parent to the children.
He said he cannot afford to start a family of his own because of the thousands of pounds he has to pay in child maintenance.
He said: "These women wanted to be parents and take on all the responsibilities that brings. I would never have agreed to this unless they had been living as a committed family.
“I am already paying for a family…I'm not a high-flying City banker.”
But Ms Arnold today expressed her surprise at his desire for his own children, claiming he had told her and her partner that he did not want any.
"That's funny because just before he stopped seeing his daughter, he informed us that he and his girlfriend at the time did not want children," she said.
Mr Bathie said: "I don't have any particular ill will. It's the fact that I still even now don't see why I should have to pay for another couple's children."
Hmm... well he cant have the good parts of being a hands on father and
not the responsibilities that go with that?
A useful story we should discuss and learn from?
Back to top
We found this page and site very useful and informative.
Australian Legislation on Donor Conception
The practice of donor conception has been used as a method
technology for decades in Australia. Indeed
donor insemination may well have
been used as early as
the first decade of the 20th Century. It has been for
most part conducted in secrecy with donors remaining
majority of parents maintained the secrecy
suggested to them by medical
practitioners by not telling
their donor conceived children the truth
about their parentage.
that we are in the early 21st Century, has anything changed?
The answer is
yes, but a very qualified yes.
Donation in Other Countries
Discussion and Useful related articles
bring us round to the legal implications of a private
sperm donation arrangement.
More and more often we hear of 'friends' that
have donated, we see adverts placed in local and national
newspapers for women
/ couples looking for sperm donors.
This is in part why Emma created this site.
You cant avoid what is happening- there are certainly
more and more women who
are no longer happy to 'wait
for Mr Right' and want to know that they will have
child before the become older and chances becomes
slimmer. Lesbian couples
are no longer willing to
conform to what some elements of society expects,
want the opportunity to parent without a male
FSDW aim to provide help
and advice, and a wider
range of sperm donor choices,
for those wishing to opt out of the sperm bank route,
and yet still wish to conceive artificially.
The legislation shown above covers anonymous sperm
donation and donor
conception using a sperm bank-
ie a government regulated group, or
under a qualified
happens should you decide to arrange for a private sperm
- even with someone you know and trust?
This arrangement can get complicated as generally speaking,
in the UK, USA,
Europe, Australia and New Zealand (our
covered countries) the law only protects
sperm bank donors
from legal obligations.
The first thing you should do is make a clear contract between both parties,
setting out your
intention and the terms of your arrangement.
If this is not possible - ie such a document would not
stand up in court- then it is
even more important that
you meet and trust your donr- and vice versa. All parties
must be happy with the arrangements before you go ahead.
More coming soon - legal advice relating to sperm donation,
donor conception, provided by family law specialists
in the UK, Europe,
USA, Australia and New Zealand
Back to top
Research on Donors and Offspring
insemination has been practiced for at least a century.
children have grown up without knowing that
their biological father was, in
fact, not the man who
raised them. Male infertility was a taboo subject and
was widely felt that the children simply didn't need
attitude is now changing and many countries are considering
will guarantee that the children born
from donor insemination have a right to
access their medical
history and contact their biological fathers. Two recent
studies in the medical journal, Human Reproduction raise
issues for countries considering legislation on a child's
right to know.