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Donor conception

Anonymous or known donors?

14 replies

ConfusedKangaroo · 15/10/2023 18:27

DP and I are looking into donor conception (definitely sperm, and likely eggs too). We are impressed by the Spanish clinics but I'm a bit concerned about the donors being anonymous in Spain, and have been looking at clinics in Denmark (although am not sure that we would be able to use donor eggs there without attempting treatment with my own eggs first which is unlikely to be successful). I've not heard great things about the UK clinics from friends and apparently there are not many egg donors in the UK hence looking abroad.

What are people's thoughts around anonymous vs. known donors? I was certain that known donors would be better, but was then talking to a friend who is donor conceived and she firmly believes that anonymous is better so now I'm quite unsure of how to proceed. I guess it just depends on the child but that makes it so difficult to make a decision!

I have also joined the DCN and have an information evening with them next week, so will hopefully get some more information and understanding there.

Any advice from people who have made these decisions would be so appreciated. Thank you.

OP posts:
2welshmums · 17/10/2023 21:40


We used a known sperm donor, it was the best choice for us. Daughter is now at almost 5, we have kept in touch with donor and now trying again for #2 (AI at home)

It didn't take too long to find someone suitable, but we had to weed through the men who were looking for sexual experiences first which wasn't great but this person was brilliant and we knew when we met him that he was right for us.

Whatever you chose, make sure it's right for you. Good luck

Florence329 · 17/10/2023 22:40

I had de treatment in Spain. My daughter is now nearly 4 months old. If I am honest, I wasn’t 100% comfortable with anonymous donation but we felt so comfortable with the Spanish specialist. She was so kind and helped to solve some issues with my cervix which the British clinics had not been able to do. They were also able to match me with a donor straight away. DCN do tend to recommend non-anonymous donation but I suspect I would have dwelled on the donor more during the pregnancy, birth and time with my newborn if I had known more about her. Honestly, for the most part I forget I used a donor. I have found myself looking for physical similarities between my family and when the drs and midwives ask about family medical history, I talk about my family. On one occasion , I had to ring back to tell the dr that I had forgotten that she doesn’t have my dna! I must seem so dizzy but she is 100% my little girl However , I worry it might be harder for her. We will be using the dcn resources to help us to have those important conversations.

ConfusedKangaroo · 17/10/2023 22:59

@Florence329 thank you for sharing. It sounds like you were facing the same questions as us in terms of liking the Spanish clinics but being unsure about the anonymous donors. I’m glad to hear that it worked out so well for you! Did you speak with the DCN or find accounts of children/adults with anonymous donors who have always known they are DC? (A lot of the accounts I’ve come across are DC children/adults who weren’t openly told they were DC and found out when older) thank you again

OP posts:
Florence329 · 18/10/2023 22:21

Most of the dcn accounts I have read refer to sperm donation. Most of these are non-anonymous. However, I also know 2 people with older children who used anonymous egg donors and so far their children have been accepting because they are very open about their life stories. Joining the dcn will give me the opportunity to link with other people in the same situation which I intend to do. Another factor for choosing a clinic abroad was the time factor. My husband and I are in our 40s and didn’t want to waste any more time (our fertility journey was 7 years.)

Froooty · 26/10/2023 23:33

I am 8 months pregnant with a DE and also had my treatment in Spain. I did a lot of research and reading, including how it would work in the UK, and what ultimately helped me decide was seeing the long wait time in UK clinics. The price (in theory) was lower in Spain, but once you add in the medication, tests and travel, it was not a huge factor. I loved my doctor, he was just a very respectful, kind and enthusiastic soul who clearly felt his work was a blessing.

I choose to see the anonymity as a blessing. The fact that it's anonymous is part of the reason there's no wait for donors in Spain, and accordingly, it's the reason that my soon-to-be-DD even exists! I will talk to her about this even before she can understand so that it's never a shock for her to learn. One day, we are likely to find some distant DNA relative on an online database somewhere, and if the donors want to be found, we shouldn't have trouble finding them. But if they don't, that's ok, it'll just hopefully be something of interest rather than a huge obsession. I think as the actual parents we'll be able to shape this somewhat just by our general attitude (I have two older kids whose "dad" is no DNA-relation to them; and he is still their dad - they know how to contact their genetic father, but have no interest). There's just so much more to family than DNA, like whether we care about each other and laugh at the same jokes, you know?

For what it's worth I also forget I'm not DNA related to this baby! She's no less "mine" than the two I carried who are.

ConfusedKangaroo · 27/10/2023 10:12

@Froooty thank you for sharing. Do you mind me asking which clinic you went with in Spain? We have been in touch with several.

OP posts:
Cattenberg · 27/10/2023 10:40

I chose a non-anonymous sperm donor. If my DD wants to find out his identity when she’s 18, she can, and if she’d rather never know, then that’s also her choice.

I think the law changed in the UK for good reason - many donor-conceived adults in the UK are very unhappy about the fact that their donors will always be anonymous. Some of those who’ve tried to track their donors down have received solicitors’ letters on behalf of the possible donors, asking them to cease all attempts at contact. At least a non-anonymous donor knows from the beginning that they might be contacted one day.

SquashPenguin · 27/10/2023 10:47

After 4 failed ivf cycles with my own eggs we decided to move onto donor eggs in the uk, as I am strongly against anonymous donation. We had a consultation with the donor coordinator and within a week she had multiple donors for us. There was no wait at all. I paid for the cycle and literally just had to wait for CD1 to get started. My period never actually turned up as by some miracle I was pregnant naturally, but my own (short lived!) experience was a very positive one. It’s not true that all clinics in the UK have huge waiting lists!

Shelaydownunderthetable · 30/10/2023 22:17

TTC with donor sperm here. My personal view is that known is best, ID release at 18 is better and anon is the least optimal “contract”… I feel this way because my personal view is that it is often ultimately better for the identity of the donor conceived child. But as your friend evidences this isn’t always the case. However, I’m mostly just posting to say… in this day and age, completely anonymous donations are possibility a thing of the past with services like 23&Me.

DCN are a great resource for us, I hope they will be for you too.

Froooty · 31/10/2023 23:45

ConfusedKangaroo · 27/10/2023 10:12

@Froooty thank you for sharing. Do you mind me asking which clinic you went with in Spain? We have been in touch with several.

I went with IVF-Life in Alicante. I had spoken with a few others but found IVF-Life seemed to have the best handle on how to navigate the "medical services in a country where you don't speak the language" - and apart from a couple of little bits and pieces relating to administrative & paperwork, they really nailed it in making sure I understood every step and requirement, and in fact they anticipated really well what I might ask and need as a foreigner in Spain. I have quite an unusual phenotype (Spain requires that the baby resembles the mother) and they have a big database & store of donors from all over the world, having had 7,000+ babies born to their clients, so they were able to match me fairly well. Not completely, but close. I know that in the UK I'd be unlikely to find a match to "me" for quite a while - let's just imagine for arguments' sake that I'm dark skinned with light blue eyes, I am not, but it's that sort of thing. I wouldn't care what my baby looked like, but baby might think it's important to resemble her mother a little bit, so it mattered to me in that way. 🙂

Nomada · 16/01/2024 17:10

Thanks everyone for your perspectives and thanks @ConfusedKangaroo for asking this tough question. I'm in the same position and am wondering what you decided to do in the end (if you're comfortable sharing of course!)

LittleLeggs · 07/02/2024 19:14

I am sperm donor conceived and at that time it was all anonymous. I also see it as a blessing, and am glad I don't even have to think about my donor and whether or not I want contact with them as I have no choice. As a result, they really don't matter to me at all (other than being thankful for them and their donation), I have my loving parents and they are all that matter to me and I've never had an identity crisis about it or have it define me (it's just a small part of my story).

However, I do think the key is always bringing your child up knowing their DC status (in an age appropriate way) and this has much more impact on how well they process their identity than whether or not the donor is anonymous. I don't remember a time I ever didn't know and so it was never an issue for me. Although apparently when I was 5 and someone asked me "is that man your dad?", referring to my dad, I apparently replied "yes, but I was a frozen tadpole" facepalm

LittleLeggs · 07/02/2024 19:26

I would also add I often hear the line that DC children as adults are unhappy it is anonymous (as some have said on this thread). I find that quite at odds with my own experience. They clearly exist and I don't want to invalidate their feelings which they are entitled to, but I would maybe question how the issue was addressed in their childhood that maybe might contribute? Either way, sweeping statements that all DC people prefer non-anonymous is clearly false as myself and your friend prove. But I also guess they're the ones you often hear about as they are vocal about their unhappiness, whilst those like me are generally not campaigning or being vocal about it, but just getting on with our lives so I guess we become a bit invisible. (Part of the reason I felt compelled to reply to this old thread to be honest, just to demonstrate that we do exist too and anonymous is not necessarily a bad thing).

Nomada · 08/02/2024 10:42

Thank you - I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to this. It's actually donor conceived individuals who I am most interested in hearing from, as the child's interests are my highest priority. Thank you again.

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