Anonymous sperm donors’ attitude towards donation and the release of identifying information

Abstract

Introduction

Belgian legislation allows only strictly anonymous gamete donation and known donation (donation to a recipient known by the donor). Recently, an amendment of the legislation was proposed to grant donor offspring, as of 18 years old, the right to claim identifying information about their donor.

Purpose

The aim is to explore the attitude of actual sperm donors towards donation and the release of identifying information and to investigate which donors would be willing to donate when anonymity would be prohibited by law.

Methods

All men who were accepted as sperm donors (n = 242) by AZ Jan Palfijn Hospital (Ghent, Belgium) were invited to complete an anonymous online survey. The response rate was 65.5%.

Results

One in five (20.1%; n = 30) would continue sperm donation upon a legislation change towards identifiable donation. Three in four donors (75.2%) would agree to provide basic non-identifiable information about themselves and one in three (32.9%) would provide extra non-identifiable information such as a baby photo or a personal letter. Almost half of the donors (45.6%) would agree to donate in a system where the hospital can trace the donor at the child’s request and contact the donor, leaving it to the donor to decide whether or not to have contact with the requesting donor child.

Conclusion

These findings show that only one in five current donors would continue to donate when identifiable. The study also demonstrates that current donors think more positive about alternative options and that nearly half of them are willing to be contacted by the hospital at the donor child’s request, providing the donor can decide at that time whether or not to release his identity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Adams DH. Conceptualising a child-centric paradigm do we have freedom of choice in donor conception reproduction? J Bioeth Inq. 2013;10(3):369–81. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11673-013-9454-7.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Bay B, Larsen PB, Kesmodel US, Ingerslev HJ. Danish sperm donors across three decades: motivations and attitudes. Fertil Steril. 2014;101(1):252–7 e251. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.09.013.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Berlin Sperm Bank. Legal position in Germany. http://www.berlin-spermbank.com/donors/legal-aspects.html. 2011.

  4. 4.

    Blyth E, Frith L. The UK’s gamete donor ‘crisis’ - a critical analysis. Crit Soc Policy. 2008;28(1):74–95. https://doi.org/10.1177/0261018307085508.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Blyth E, Frith L. Access to genetic and biographical history in donorconception: an analysis of provisions permitting disclosure of donor identity. Mol Hum Reprod. 2009;24:i50.

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Daniels. Anonymity and openness and the recruitment of gamete donors. Part I: semen donors. Hum Fertil (Camb). 2007;10(3):151–8. https://doi.org/10.1080/14647270601110298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Daniels KR, Lewis GM, Curson R. Information sharing in semen donation: the views of donors. Soc Sci Med. 1997;44(5):673–80.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Daniels K, Blyth E, Crawshaw M, Curson R. Short communication: previous semen donors and their views regarding the sharing of information with offspring. Hum Reprod. 2005;20(6):1670–5. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deh839.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Ernst E, Ingerslev HJ, Schou O, Stoltenberg M. Attitudes among sperm donors in 1992 and 2002: a Danish questionnaire survey. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2007;86(3):327–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/00016340601133913.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Frith L. Gamete donation and anonymity: the ethical and legal debate. Hum Reprod. 2001;16(5):818–24.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Frith L, Blyth E, Farrand A. UK gamete donors’ reflections on the removal of anonymity: implications for recruitment. Hum Reprod. 2007;22(6):1675–80. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dem061.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Ide L, Verheecke T, Decleer W, Osmanagaoglu K. Public opinion survey among potential sperm donors for the possible future behavior of such donors in case the Belgian legislature would abolish the donor anonymity. Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2015;71(19):1229–31.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Jadva V, Freeman T, Kramer W, Golombok S. Sperm and oocyte donors’ experiences of anonymous donation and subsequent contact with their donor offspring. Hum Reprod. 2011;26(3):638–45. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deq364.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Janssens PMW, Simons AHM, van Kooij RJ, Blokzijl E, Dunselman GAJ. A new Dutch law regulating provision of identifying information of donors to offspring: background, content and impact. Hum Reprod. 2006;21(4):852–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Lui SC, Weaver SM. Attitudes and motives of semen donors and non-donors. Hum Reprod. 1996;11(9):2061–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Lui SC, Weaver SM, Robinson J, Debono M, Nieland M, Killick SR, et al. A survey of semen donor attitudes. Hum Reprod. 1995;10(1):234–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Nelson MK, Hertz R, Kramer A. Gamete donor anonymity and limits on numbers of offspring: the views of three stakeholders. J Law Biosci. 2016;3(1):39–67. https://doi.org/10.1093/jlb/lsv045.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Pedersen B, Nielsen AF, Lauritsen JG. Psychosocial aspects of donor insemination. Sperm donors--their motivations and attitudes to artificial insemination. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1994;73(9):701–5.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Pennings G. The rough guide to insemination: cross-border travelling for donor semen due to different regulations. Facts Views and Vision in Obgyn, Monograph, 55–60; 2010.

  20. 20.

    Provoost V, Van Rompuy F, Pennings G. Non-donors’ attitudes towards sperm donation and their willingness to donate. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2018;35(1):107–18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-017-1036-x.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Riggs DW, Russell L. Characteristics of men willing to act as sperm donors in the context of identity-release legislation. Hum Reprod. 2011;26(1):266–72. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deq314.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Sekhon L, Said T, Del Valle A. The opinions and concerns of current sperm donors regarding donor identity disclosure in Canada. Fertil Steril. 2014;101(2):e7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Thijssen A, Dhont N, Vandormael E, Cox A, Klerkx E, Creemers E, et al. Artificial insemination with donor sperm (AID): heterogeneity in sperm banking facilities in a single country (Belgium). Facts Views Vis Obgyn. 2014;6(2):57–67.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Thijssen A, Provoost V, Vandormael E, Dhont N, Pennings G, Ombelet W. Motivations and attitudes of candidate sperm donors in Belgium. Fertil Steril. 2017;108(3):539–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.06.014.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Thorn P, Katzorke T, Daniels K. Semen donors in Germany: a study exploring motivations and attitudes. Hum Reprod. 2008;23(11):2415–20. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/den279.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Van den Broeck U, Vandermeeren M, Vanderschueren D, Enzlin P, Demyttenaere K, D’Hooghe T. A systematic review of sperm donors: demographic characteristics, attitudes, motives and experiences of the process of sperm donation. Hum Reprod Update. 2013;19(1):37–51. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dms039.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to F. Mahieu.

Ethics declarations

The study was approved by the University Hospital Ghent Ethics Committee, with Belgian Registration Number (B0201733518), and received a positive advice from the local Jan Palfijn Ghent Hospital Ethics Committee. All respondents gave their informed consent at the start of the online survey.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mahieu, F., Decleer, W., Osmanagaoglu, K. et al. Anonymous sperm donors’ attitude towards donation and the release of identifying information. J Assist Reprod Genet 36, 2007–2016 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10815-019-01569-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Anonymity
  • Motivation
  • Disclosure
  • Attitude
  • Semen donor
  • Donor conception