Long to have a baby but haven’t found Mr Right? Is asking someone you know a good idea?
The urge to be a mother is a powerful one. Many of us long to have a baby, but what if you haven’t met the right partner? Do you wait, hoping the perfect father material will come along?
What if he never does?
One option is to use a sperm donor via a clinic. There, you can pick characteristics such as height, eye colour and education level.
Yet, understandably, some women don’t want an anonymous donor.
They want to know exactly who the father of their child is — what he’s like and whether they’d warm to his personality.
Perhaps it’s no wonder then, that there are an increasing number of websites offering women the chance to match with a private sperm donor to become pregnant.
More and more women are also asking a trusted friend to impregnate them.
But is it safe? And where does it leave you legally?
A spokesperson from the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) says: ‘While donating sperm is an act of kindness that helps people who might not otherwise be able to have a family — donation arrangements made outside of licensed UK clinics carry significant risks that can impact everyone involved.’
The major problem is that you won't know about any inherited diseases your donor might carry, whereas with a clinic, sperm is screened.
But that’s not all. Consent is something that both parties should look at carefully.
Just because you agree that the donor won’t have parental responsibility, it doesn’t mean the law sees it that way.
The HFEA says: ‘If consent is not correctly established, then legal parenthood status may
not transfer, meaning the donor will still be the father in the eyes of the law.’
Because of this, many solicitors are now helping friends come to an arrangement about parental responsibility before the baby is born — or even conceived.
When you become pregnant with a known donor, you can either opt for artificial insemination, or natural insemination by having sex.
But even when you do choose someone you know and like, having their sperm screened is always a good idea to ensure it’s healthy and there are no genetic abnormalities.
Edited by Julie Cook
I asked my ex for a baby
When I was in my 20s, I went out with a man called David. I had other relationships over the years, but they didn’t work out.
By the time I was in my 30s, I’d tried IVF using a clinic donor, but nothing worked. I began to worry whether I would ever be a mum.
David and I had remained good friends. He was single and had no children, and it got me thinking — if I couldn’t find the right man, maybe I could ask him.
I told him I wanted a baby and he said, ‘You can have my sperm.’
I couldn’t believe my luck.
We agreed he would have no parental responsibility and I would raise the child alone.
David donated his sperm to me via a clinic, where it was screened for genetic abnormalities.
Nine months after I began IVF, I had my daughter Jemma — and then a second daughter, Sarah.
Although I never planned for him to be involved, seeing my babies made me realise I didn’t want David to be a stranger to them. He visits frequently and they know he’s the donor, but I still have full parental responsibility and I’m a proud solo mum.
I’m so lucky that a friend was willing to donate his sperm. It’s the greatest gift anyone can give.
From Jenny Williams, 43, of Liverpool
All names apart from Jenny’s, have been changed. For more information, visit dcnetwork.org