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Yorkshire Post: potential sperm donors should do their homework

In today’s Yorkshire Post, I explain some of things you should consider if you want to donate sperm. It is more complicated than you may imagine and may have consequences for years to come.

Sperm donors have been in the public eye a lot recently. Soap opera Emmerdale featured a storyline in which one couple had to deal with the fallout of a donation. In the real world, a national sperm bank has opened in Birmingham.

So what are the actual implications for sperm donors and prospective parents? It’s a difficult choice to make, but one that many couples make for many reasons like infertility or same-sex couples who want children of their own.

My advice to anyone who is interested in this subject, be they potential donors or parents, is to make sure you do your homework before taking action. The Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority (HFEA) is the UK’s independent regulator of sperm donation and they are a great information resource to use.

The main point for a potential sperm donor to realise is that by choosing to donate anonymously through an HFEA licensed clinic, he won’t be the legal father of any child conceived as a result. Additionally, he won’t be open to any financial or inheritance claim related to the child down the road.

I go into more detail in the article. To read it in full, click here. Alternatively, you can watch my recent appearance on Sky News to discuss the matter.

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known family law solicitors and divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

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  1. Andrew says:

    Before the Child Support Act it was common for parties to divorce to reach an arrangement by which “the wife kept the house, the man kept his income, and the taxpayer kept the children”, and that was one of the reasons for the Act. To be sure, there was no guarantee of immunity from claims for child maintenance for the court but they were highly unlikely to succeed.

    Then came the Act and all that was torn up, and the CSA generally saw the men concerned as low-hanging fruit and went for them. Grossly wrong. (And when the law was changed in 1991 it was at the expense of the taxpayer; assessments could be reduced, where the right thing to do would have been to re-open the settlement and impose a Mesher order).

    That breach of faith could happen again. If I had been a donor at any time in the last eighteen years I would be nervous. Once the time comes when children can chase bio-daddy the risk will increase, because it will only take one case for a child brought up in poverty to find a donor who was rich and HM Treasury will pounce – probably retrospectively.

    So the best advice I can give to a man considering being a donor is THINK BETTER OF IT!

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