What exactly does ‘Known Donor’ mean?

The known donor term tends to bring about a lot of confusion by what it actually means. When I referred to my known donor in the first instance, having never met or communicated with him other than through my keyboard, he was my ‘unknown-known’ donor. Once we had caught up on Facetime he was no longer unknown to me, he then became known.

According to John Mayger, an admin for the FB Group ‘Sperm Donation Australia’ who has been an active donor for decades says “donors can be classified in three types of ‘known-ness’ with you, your child or children and his other donor children.

In his FB post he writes donors can be:

1) Known Donor Co-Parent – The known donor in this scenario actually plays a role in your child’s life. He has significant input into raising and financing the child/ren.

2) Known Donor Anonymous – This is where you both use false names and even fake profile photos and never plan for the donor or the child to know of each other. As facial recognition technology has advanced so much, some men don’t want ever to be identified. This means you will have to trust his words when you connect as you may never know what they actually look like until you meet in the flesh.

3) Known donor – Most donors on the FB page fall under this category. This gives all parties full disclosure of each other. The child will know their donor and the donor and his other children will know your child. He has zero parenting input and may or may not exist in your physical world. There may be a level of contact through receiving annual photos of the child or it could be that the donor takes on an ‘uncle type role’ in the child’s life. How you intend to implement the arrangement is up to both donor and recipient and should be clearly defined prior to insemination.

As John says, many women reject “known donors” like himself as they confuse/conflate this with a co-parenting role. “I never donate to “unknown donor” requests and discriminate against these women. The rise of DNA testing and DNA databases means that there is no longer any anonymity for donor children to find their siblings and donor. There is always the possibility for donors and siblings to track down your child with DNA testing.”