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Donor Identity: ID Release vs Non-ID Release Donors

Donor Identity: ID Release vs Non-ID Release Donors

When considering becoming a sperm donor, a major decision you’ll need to make involves which kind of donor arrangement you prefer: ID Release (“Open donors”) or Non-ID Release (“Anonymous donors”). At Donor-Network, we provide extensive information to help you make this decision, irrespective of your choice concerning anonymity. No matter which arrangement you choose, the same care and requirements are placed on every potential donor.

We recommend considering the pros and cons of each option and reflecting on your personal beliefs before making your decision.

Over the years, attitudes toward sperm donor identity have evolved. Some argue in favour of maintaining donor anonymity, citing privacy concerns and the rights of donors. Others advocate for more transparency, referencing the rights of donor-conceived individuals to access information about their genetic origins.

So, What’s the Difference Between Non-ID Release and ID Release Donors?

When it comes to sperm donation, there are two primary donor options: ID Release and Non-ID Release. These terms refer to the level of potential contact between the donor and any resulting offspring.


ID Release Donors

ID Release or Identity Release donors agree to have their identities disclosed to any offspring resulting from their donation. In this arrangement, when a child reaches a certain age (usually 18 or 21), they can access identifying information about their donor at the sperm bank. This information may include your name, address, or other personal details, potentially enabling the child to contact you should they wish to.


Advantages of Being an ID Release Donor:

  • Anticipates future advances in consumer genetic testing that could potentially render anonymity obsolete.
  • Provides the donor-conceived child with the ability to know their biological origin.
  • Addresses ethical considerations regarding the rights of the child.
  • Preserves the opportunity to be contacted by donor children at a later time.

Disadvantages of Being an ID Release Donor:

  • There may be unexpected emotional implications if a child decides to make contact in the future.
  • The donor may later have reservations about the decision, especially if their personal circumstances change.

Non-ID Release Donors

Non-ID Release donors, also known as anonymous donors, remain anonymous and do not consent to the release of their identifying information to any offspring. The donor’s identity is kept confidential, and there is no opportunity for contact or access to personal information between the donor and any resulting children.

Advantages of Being an Anonymous Donor:

  • Establishes clear emotional boundaries.
  • Sets the decision regarding donor-child contact once and for all.

Disadvantages of Being an Anonymous Donor:

  • Anticipated advances in consumer genetic testing could make anonymity less assured in the future.
  • The right of donor-conceived individuals to know their genetic origins continues to be a topic of ethical debate.
  • Some donor-conceived children may experience emotional struggles related to their unknown genetic origins.
  • Affects compensation

It's essential to note that different countries have different laws and regulations regarding donor anonymity. In some countries, like the UK and the Netherlands, only ID Release donation is allowed. In others, like the U.S., both ID Release and Non-ID Release donations are permitted.

The choice between being an ID Release or Non-ID Release donor involves various implications regarding privacy, personal identity, emotional well-being, and health-related matters. It's a complex ethical subject, and those considering becoming donors should carefully consider all aspects before making a decision.