Fertility clinics in the UK are warning social media users of the dangers of finding a sperm donor off of the internet. It may seem strange that some people are turning to social media to find a sperm donor, but given the circumstances, their logic is understandable. This does not mean, however, that the dangers are to be overlooked.
In the UK, both sperm donations and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are not widely available or accessible through the National Health Service (NHS); either there aren’t enough options, or the procedure is too expensive. Due to this gap, those trying to have a baby have turned to the internet to find sperm donors. In the UK, it’s legal to find them online, so many people overlook the risks if they believe they’re being thorough enough. What they don’t realize is that there is much more to getting a sperm donor than finding a willing, healthy candidate.
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Fertility clinics in the country are urging women to stop looking for their sperm donors online. Medical professionals are concerned because the sperm is not officially screened. Unless the man can provide authentic documents of his health, the donations given could be risky. Even if you’re thoroughly vetting each candidate for their medical history, physical attributes, and mental health, there are a number of factors that can only be detected by professionals.
Other than the medical issues, finding a sperm donor online may also unleash a tsunami of legal questions one will have to deal with. Without official paperwork that are required at a fertility clinic, who the legal parent of the child is will be difficult to define. In the UK, if the donation was made through a Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) licensed clinic, the donor cannot be the legal parent of the child or have any legal obligations towards them. Finding a donor by yourself online risks not having these legal protections.
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In the end, medical professionals are just looking out for the people. While their concerns of availability and expenses are valid, turning to unregulated avenues pose a multitude of risks to the health of all parties involved. Finding your baby’s father on Facebook groups isn’t the best idea.